If you've got a dog itch that just has to be scratched, check out these hypoallergenic breeds.When I was a kid, my parents always balked at getting a dog, blaming my allergies as sufficient reason to maintain a pet-free household (although, I have my suspicions my health was just fine). I'm sure there are plenty of dog lovers out there who are in the same boat, which explains the popularity of dog breeds that are “hypoallergenic.” While there is controversy surrounding whether any dog is truly hypoallergenic (because all dogs, with or without fur, produce some level of dander), it's a fact that certain breeds shed less than others. If you suffer from allergies and want a dog, consider size—smaller breeds produce less allergen, which means they're less likely to cause a reaction. Ways to also keep dander-related issued to a minimum including bathing a dog regularly, and frequent house cleaning and vacuuming. You can also choose from an assortment of allergy medications or shots, but you may be able to keep symptoms in check by following the tips above, and by choosing a dog from our list of top seven breeds for allergy sufferers.
iStock/debibishopSmart and sporting sneeze-free fur, the Poodle comes conveniently packaged in three sizes – toy, miniature and standard. Not only will your sniffles be kept to a minimum, but you'll also benefit from their love of exercise and training. Because of their friendly and affectionate temperament, this breed makes a wonderful family pet. The Poodle sheds little, but you should keep up with regular grooming and trimming to prevent matting and to keep his coat in good condition.
iStock/aabejonKnown for its fluffy double coat and cheerful personality, the Bichon Frise has hair that grows continuously (giving it a cotton ball appearance) that doesn't shed significantly. Since that hair never stops growing, you'll have to stay on top of regular grooming to prevent mats. And even though you may have to brush and trim your Bichon Frise more than the average dog, this breed will make it up with plenty of love and lap cuddles.
iStock/FeverstockphotoJust like the poodle, the smart and cheerful Schnauzer comes in three sizes—miniature, standard and giant. This dog has long fur on the face that resembles a beard, as well as a wiry double coat on the rest of his body. His coat sheds little and is fairly easy to care for. If you plan on showing your Schnauzer competitively, you'll have to hand-strip his coat; but the average pet owner will only have to provide occasional clipping to keep his coat in tip-top shape.
iStock/Jello5700With its long, silky coat and large, dark eyes, it's hard to resist this adorable lap dog. Boasting great looks, an affectionate personality and portable handling, the Maltese breed makes both wonderful companion animals and family pets. You'll find that the Maltese doesn't shed significantly, but you'll need to brush his long coat often to prevent unsightly mats.
iStock/GavinDNo, that's not a friendly sheep—that's a Bedlington Terrier! Sporting a wooly coat and a sheep-like appearance, this dog comes equipped with a gentle nature that makes them an excellent choice for families. As he ages, the fur will become thicker on his legs and top of the head, but he won't shed much. Regular grooming is needed to keep his coat in its proper form and to prevent matting.
iStock/tsikChoose from the nearly naked variety or the Powderpuff version—allergy sufferers can't go wrong with the Chinese Crested. The almost-hairless Chinese Crested has little hair on his body, so there’s little dander or shedding, and the Powderpuff variety of this breed has a full coat of soft hair that won't have you reaching for the tissues. And not only with this little lap dog keep your allergies at bay, but he’ll want to cuddle with you every chance he gets.
Portuguese Water Dog
iStock/suefeldbergNow that President Barak Obama has one in the White House, this breed has jumped in popularity. The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is outfitted in a curly coat that needs regular grooming to keep it from matting, but will keep your eyes from constantly watering. Extremely smart and easy to train, the PWD catches on to training easily and swiftly and needs to be kept busy in order to stay out of trouble.