They say dogs are man's best friend, but they can be the worst enemies of people with allergies. Dog allergies can bring sneezing, itchy eyes, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. Dog allergies are caused by proteins found in dog hair, dander, saliva, and urine, or the dust and pollen they carry into houses. Although there are no completely hypoallergenic dogs, there are breeds that generally cause fewer reactions in allergic people. Low-allergy dogs allow people to experience the joy of a furry companion without allergy symptoms.
The most famous Portuguese water dog is former First Dog, Bo, who lived in the White House with the Obamas. Water dogs are excellent swimmers who worked alongside Portuguese fishermen for centuries. As a working dog, they do need plenty of exercise and will happily play fetch or join you for a run. Loyal, affectionate, and good with children, Portuguese water dogs are also low shedders, making them a good pick for people with allergies.
Poodles come in standard, miniature and toy size, but all are known for their intelligence, making them easy to train. Competition dogs require a specific pattern of clipping, which can give the impression of delicacy, but poodles are actually a very active and fun breed. Their coat mats when left alone, so even family dogs need regular grooming. Poodles also need plenty of exercise and prefer to spend most of their time around people.
Poodles have become a popular dog to breed with other dogs, and many of these mixes are low-allergy breeds. The labradoodle, a Labrador-poodle mix, was originally bred to be a guide dog for people with allergies and was the breed that started the trend. Other breeds include the Goldendoodle, Schnoodle, Yorkipoo, and cockapoo. First-generation mixes are those with one poodle parent and one parent of another breed. First-generation mixes may not have the low-allergy characteristics of their poodle parent, though breed characteristics become more predictable in subsequent generations.
Also known as westies, West Highland white terriers are a big personality in a little dog. They have an independent and stubborn streak that can make them hard to train and need to be regularly socialized from the time they are puppies. Although they do not often look to their humans for direction, they are still loyal and will sound the alarm when strangers arrive. Their white coat needs to be clipped regularly, but sheds rarely and does not hold dirt.
The modern Maltese terrier is a companion dog that is devoted to its owner and fits perfectly in most laps. They are highly intelligent but can be prone to barking. Maltese terriers are active indoors and are well-suited to apartment living, although they still need regular walks. Known for their long, silky coat, they need daily grooming or a regular clip to stay neat. Despite this, they are low shedders. The Maltipoo, a Maltese-poodle mix, is another good choice for those with allergies.
People who prefer not to worry about any coat can look to the Chinese crested breed. The hairless variety only has hair on their head, tail, and feet, leading to a distinctive appearance. Although mostly hairless, the breed still needs regular maintenance, including bathing to keep the skin healthy. They are a happy and alert dog that make loving companions. They have a higher body temperature than most dogs, making them perfect for laps.
The Komondor's most striking feature is its double-coat that develops into cords at 8-10 months of age. Bred to guard sheep, they are protective of their family and guarded with strangers, with a tendency to follow their humans. Owners need to take time to separate cords as they develop, so they remain thin, and most trim them regularly, so they do not trail on the ground. The tight cords mean that individual hairs that irritate allergies are rarely shed, though whole cords may occasionally fall off.
Basenjis are a short-haired dog native to Africa. They do not bark, but they make a unique noise referred to as a yodel. They are also low-allergy, which may make them appealing to prospective dog owners. Despite this, they can be difficult to train and, without plenty of exercise, may turn to digging and chewing to stay entertained. With early socialization to other animals and people, they can be good companions that are easy to care for and loyal to their families.
Airedale Terriers are known as the king of terriers, partly because of their size, which originally came from mixing terriers with hounds. This mix also softened their personalities, and although they can have the stubbornness of terriers, they generally get on better with other dogs than most terrier breeds. Airedales need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and many owners combine training with exercise. They are protective of their families and enjoy human company.
Known affectionately as Iggies by their owners, Italian Greyhounds are a miniature greyhound that needs little grooming or exercise. They are gentle but can be aloof with strangers. Italian greyhounds that do not get enough attention may become shy or hyperactive, but when properly cared for, their sweet disposition shines through. Their short coat means that they get cold easily and need sweaters or jackets during the winter months.
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