Here's the thing: some pet owners will claim that their dog is entirely hypoallergenic, but that's actually impossible. No dog is truly hypoallergenic because they all produce some kind of dander.
Luckily for the 10 percent of Americans who are allergic to dogs, there are still some breeds that are better for allergy sufferers than others. These twenty breeds are good choices for individuals who start to sniffle, sneeze or wheeze around furry friends. Don't worry; they're not all hairless.
1. Affenpinschers. As terrible as it sounds, this dog looks like a monkey, but in a cute way. In fact, the word "affen" means monkey in German. Affenpinschers are known for being affectionate, family-friendly dogs, and they barely shed any hair in comparison to other breeds. This makes them particularly smart choices for allergy sufferers.
2. Afghan Hounds. Even though these pups have extremely long hair that requires quite a bit of maintenance, they only have one coat and they shed very little. As long as you're willing to deal with their human-like cosmetic demands, Afghan hounds can be incredibly smart and loyal companions.
3. American Hairless Terriers. The idea of adopting a hairless dog might sound bizarre, but one look at this curious, affectionate breed will have you rethinking the decision. American hairless terriers are eager to please and generally good with kids, and their lack of fur makes them a prime adoption candidate for people with animal allergies.
4. Bedlington Terriers. If you mixed the genetics of a cute little lamb and an average-sized terrier, you'd probably wind up with a creature that looks just like a Bedlington terrier. The breed causes very few problems for most allergy sufferers, which is why it is commonly referred to as a completely hypoallergenic breed. Of course, that's not entirely true, but your chances of sneezing or breaking out in hives around these guys are slim.
5. Bichon Frises. These dogs have beautiful, curly coats that surprisingly shed very little. Although some people complain of itchy skin and mild allergies around Bichon Frises, people with minimal pet allergies may find that they're a safe choice as long as the dog is groomed fairly often.
6. Chinese Cresteds. Have you ever seen an animal that's so ugly it's kind of cute? Chinese crested dogs are sometimes hairless and sometimes not. When they have hair, they tend to develop a funny-looking main around their heads. That's where the "crested" part of their name comes in. They have lively, playful personalities and can be extremely affectionate once they bond with a family.
7. Coton de Tulears. This small breed typically doesn't weight more than 18 pounds and has a coat that feels like soft cotton.
8. Havenses. Easy-going and downright adorable, Havaneses are some of the friendliest dogs around. They're a breed of the Bichon type, which means they don't shed their soft coats very much. Like all dogs, Havenses still produce dander that can cause allergies, but their hairy coats are much less likely to trigger a reaction than those of many other breeds.
9. Irish Water Spaniels. Although you will have to tame this dog's coat with frequent brushing and trimming, the maintenance is well worth it. The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest type of spaniel and is known for being very alert and quick to learn. Their curly coat typically doesn't cause many problems amongst humans, but there's no guarantee when it comes to pet allergies.
10. Italian Greyhounds. This tiny dog breed has a very unique coat that is a fantastic choice for people with allergies. It requires practically no grooming besides the occasional bath, which helps reduce the allergy sufferer's exposure to dander and saliva. Italian Greyhounds are known for being extremely loyal and athletic, and although they can be a bit timid at times, their affectionate personalities make up for it.
11. Labradoodles. Although this is not truly a "purebred" species, this Labrador-poodle hybrid has been praised for its anti-allergen qualities. They often embody the sweet, loving personality of the Labrador but the low-shedding qualities of the poodle, which makes it an excellent compromise for families who include an allergy sufferer.
12. Lagotto Romagnolos. Many people are allergic to a dog's saliva, which is why it's helpful that this breed barely drools or sheds. It's another breed that is frequently touted as 100 percent hypoallergenic, and even though that isn't true, it is one of the least likely breeds to cause allergies. Lagotto Romagnolos are keen to learn and desperate to please, so when you adopt one, you know you're getting a sweet life-long companion.
13. Malteses. You can't help but say "awww" when you see a little Maltese pup. They may be a small breed, but they're typically full of energy and great around children. Some describe them as a big dog trapped in a small dog body because of their fearless personalities. Plus, their long, silky fur is known to trigger very few allergies.
14. Peruvian Inca Orchids. This is one of the few hairless dogs on this list (although the occasional Peruvian Inca Orchid is born with some hair). They originate from Peruvian pre-Inca cultures and are known for being protective and noble. As the owner, you'll spend very little time grooming them due to their smooth, hairless skin.
15. Poodles. These pups come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. No matter what size you're interested in, most poodles shed very little. They're people-oriented and good with kids, and you'll have little trouble training them due to their high levels of intelligence.
16. Portuguese Water Dog. As one of the most obedient dog breeds, Portuguese Water Dogs are often praised for the learning abilities. They only have one goat of hair, which decreases their risk of triggering allergies and makes a better choice for many adopters.
17. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. People love the spirit of these affectionate dogs, and their long, silky coat makes it possible for many people with allergies to enjoy their company. The occasional bit of loose hair may need to be combed out once in a while, but in general, they won't shed seasonally.
18. Spanish Water Dogs. You won't need to spend much time training this breed; they were developed to herd animals and learn with very minimal instruction. A Spanish Water Dog will be very active and protective, but also sweet when properly introduced to people. Make sure you give them plenty of stimulation to feed their intelligent, eager nature.
19. Schnauzers. Whether you're going with a miniature Schnauzer or a standard one, you'll find this breed to be spunk and enthusiastic. They rarely shed and have a wiry top coat, so as long as they are groomed regularly, Schnauzers shouldn't cause many problems for people with allergies or asthma.
20. Xoloitzcuintlis. Good luck spelling this breed's name. Instead, just refer to it by the casual name: Mexican Hairless Dog. These pups are usually hairless and small, which makes them safe bets for allergy sufferers. People have fallen in love with their cheerful personalities for thousands of years, so maybe a soft, furry coat isn't everything when it comes to being man's best friend.
If you're worried about adopting a new dog because you or someone in the family tends to have breathing problems, the best thing to do is schedule a trial run. Many shelters, breeders and individual sellers are more than happy to let you try out a new dog for a few days. This will give you the opportunity to experience life with the animal and determine if you'll develop allergy symptoms.