Do you want a canine companion but always find yourself sneezing and scratching around furry friends? Do you live in a small space that doesn’t have room for a large breed to get the exercise needed to thrive? A hypoallergenic small dog breed might be right for you.
Hypoallergenic small dogs come in many shapes and sizes, so even in this seemingly niche category, there are many pups you can welcome into your family. Our list will help introduce you to just some of the hypoallergenic small dogs that could bring the kind of love only dogs have to offer into your life, without all the sneezing and watery eyes.
What is a hypoallergenic dog?
A hypoallergenic dog has a non-shedding coat that produces considerably less pet dander than other breeds. Pet dander is often the culprit behind allergic reactions; it is comprised of extremely small, even microscopic, bits of skin that shed along with the coats of cats, dogs, rodents, and birds. The proteins found in these skin cells can cause allergic reactions, including excessive sneezing, running or congested noses, and irritated eyes. About 10% of the American population is allergic to household pets, including dogs.
10 popular breeds of hypoallergenic small dogs
If you're looking for a hypoallergenic small dog, you have quite the list of breeds to choose from. These breeds are just some of the hypoallergenic small dogs that have given pet owners with allergies the freedom to enjoy the companionship and loyalty that comes along with owning a canine and, of course, the many face-kisses and tail wags!
1. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is a gruff-looking, bearded terrier that is notably friendly, intelligent, and highly trainable. It is one of the most popular breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, ranking 19 out of 195. The Miniature Schnauzer stands between 12 and 14 inches tall and weighs between 11 and 20 pounds. It is the smallest of the three Schnauzer breeds and very low-shedding.
2. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is an adorable, curly dog known for a playfully curious demeanor and an energetic personality to match. It is a breed that stands between 9.5 and 11.5 inches tall and weighs between 12 and 18 pounds. Bichon Frise is French and translates to "curly lap dog." And luckily, these curls don't shed.
3. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a very popular small dog breed that ranks 20 in popularity with the American Kennel Club. It tends to be on the tiny side of small, standing just 9 to 10.5 inches tall and weighing between 9 and 16.5 pounds. Shih Tzus are well-known for their playful and outgoing disposition. They are also very affectionate family dogs that bond to their owners and never let go. Expect a lot of laughs with this hypoallergenic breed.
4. Toy Poodle
The classic Poodle is number 7 in popularity on the American Kennel Club's list. Poodles are renowned for their considerable intellect and the pride that comes along with it. There are standard, miniature, and toy varieties of Poodles; while a standard Poodle clocks in relatively tall and heavy, miniature and toy breeds may be just the right size for those looking for a small dog.
5. West Highland Terrier
The West Highland Terrier is as regal a dog as its name suggests. Known for its stalwart loyalty, playfulness, and happiness, the West Highland Terrier, or "Westie," is a great household companion that won't stir up your allergies. The Westie stands about 11 inches tall and weighs between 15 and 20 pounds.
6. Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier is an unforgettable breed with prominent, pointed ears and a scruffy mustache that can't be mistaken. It is an independent and confident breed that thinks for itself and brightens the mood in any home. The Scottish Terrier stands about 10 inches tall and weighs between 18 and 22 pounds fully grown.
7. Griffon Bruxellois
If you're looking for a dog that doesn't miss a beat, the Griffon Bruxellois might be the companion for you. This loyal and alert dog has a curiosity that means it's constantly on the job, investigating every scent and sound around every corner. It's a toy breed that stands no more than 10 inches and height and generally weighs only up to 10 pounds. What it lacks in size, though, the Griffon Bruxellois makes up for in personality.
No, a pasta dish did not make its way onto this list. The Bolognese is a fluffy breed that doesn't shed or leave behind dander, even if it looks like a small cloud of fuzz. The Bolognese is often described as laid-back and playful, but don't doubt its loyalty; this breed is devoted to its family in a way that's unusual even for dogs. It is a small breed that stands between 10 and 12 inches in height and weighs between 5.5 and 9 pounds. Be aware, though, that the Bolognese is one of the rarest dog breeds.
9. Chinese Crested
You might not know it by name, but chances are you have seen the Chinese Crested before. This instantly recognizable breed only has wisps of fur on its ears, head, and around its legs. The rest of its body is hairless. Unashamed of its nakedness, the Chinese Crested is known for its lively personality and undying affection. The breed stands between 11 and 13 inches and weighs up to 12 pounds. If you're looking for a unique, hypoallergenic breed of dog that comes with its own built-in socks, look no further than the Chinese Crested.
10. Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier boasts a short, curly coat and adorable thin tail. It is a larger terrier, standing between 15 and 17.5 inches and weighing between 17 and 23 pounds. It is often described as a charming breed prone to wandering around in enjoyment of its surroundings. Don't worry, though, this breed won't stray too far; it is known for its exceptional loyalty as well.
What’s the connection between small dogs and hypoallergenic dogs?
Small dog breeds are defined as those that weigh between 10 and 22 pounds and stand between 12 and 16 inches tall. Small dogs, more than larger breeds, tend to be low or non-shedding; in other words, small dog breeds are far more likely to be hypoallergenic. There are a lot of great reasons to choose a small dog breed beyond their non-shedding status, too: small dogs can adapt to a variety of living arrangements, and their small stature can make it easier for humans to care for them.
How can I reduce dog allergy symptoms?
If you are a pet owner with allergies who already shares your life with a non-hypoallergenic dog, there are a few methods you can employ to possibly reduce the amount of pet dander in your home or protect yourself against the most severe allergic reactions. After all, in many cases, we put our pets before ourselves; but that doesn't mean you have to suffer in silence while Fido’s shedding triggers sneezing fits. Here are a few things you can try to help diminish allergic reactions to a non-hypoallergenic dog:
- Regular baths: Giving your canine companion regular baths can help reduce your allergy symptoms. There are many shampoos and conditioners specifically designed to reduce shedding; consider employing these products in a weekly bathing routine. Dog bath alternatives such as wipes and waterless shampoo may help reduce dander between baths as well.
- The right diet: Feeding your dog a healthy diet and high-quality, human-grade food can keep their coat in tip-top shape and reduce shedding. Dog food brands like Ollie contain high quality meat, fruits and vegetables, and zero fillers, formulated to support optimal health, coat included.
- Set aside an animal-free room: It's always best to create a space in your home where the animals aren't allowed. This way, if your allergies start to act up and you just need a break from the dander, you can spend some time in a space with less dander until your symptoms recede.
- Regular brushing: Much like regular bathing, regular brushing helps clear away loose fur and the dander associated with it. If possible, get a non-allergic household member to handle the brushing and dispose of the hair in a trash can outdoors.
- Install an air filter: Installing a HEPA air filter can help reduce the number of allergens and contaminants in the air inside your home. Some models are recommended specifically for pet dander. It is a great addition to any home with dogs, allergies or not.
- Remove rugs and soft surfaces: Pet dander gets trapped in rugs, carpets and other soft surfaces. Removing these types of materials from any areas where your pets are allowed is a good way to control the amount of dander in the room. If you like the look of your rug or carpeting, consider vacuuming more often than you normally would.
- Consult your doctor: For any medical options, be sure to consult your doctor or your pet's veterinarian. There might be medications which could help lessen the severity of allergy symptoms.
Non-shedding hypoallergenic dogs: Pet ownership without the itchy eyes
Allergies are commonplace for many Americans, but that doesn't mean you have to forego owning a dog. There are multiple breeds out there that will offer their unconditional love and affection without triggering allergy symptoms that can make daily life uncomfortable. If you've gone without the delight of bringing a dog into your home for fear of allergic reactions, fret no more. There are dozens of hypoallergenic breeds to choose from and there are countless dogs waiting to find their new home with you!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.