What’s the best hypoallergenic lap dog?

In close quarters dogs can cause humans allergic symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose or even hives. The underlying cause is not dog hair, as many people think, but a protein that is contained in the body’s cells that a dog discharges. It consists in their hair, saliva, urine or dead skin cells. There are though some breeds that are hypoallergenic.

The best hypoallergenic lap dogs

1. American Hairless Terrier
2. Australian Terrier
3. Basenji
4. Bedlington Terrier
5. Bichon Frise
6. Bolognese
7. Brussels Griffon
8. Pinscher
9. Poodle
10. Portuguese Water Dog
11. Shih Tzu
12. Tibetan Terrier
13. Yorkshire Terrier
Some breeds of dogs are considered hypoallergenic because they cause little or no symptoms of allergy to humans. Importantly Hypoallergenic dogs usually shed little or no hair, have no dandruff and don’t drool.

What does Hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic is a word that was first used in a cosmetic campaign in 1953 and was used to mean “below normal” or “slightly” allergenic. It is a word used to describe items that cause, or are claimed to cause “fewer allergic reactions”.

Hypoallergenic pets still produce allergens, but because of their type of coat or absence of fur and/or the absence of a gene that produces a certain protein, they generally produce fewer allergens than other breeds of the same species.

What happens to people with Allergies to Dogs?

People look for hypoallergenic dogs usually because they have some type of allergic reaction when they spend time in the company of a normal dog. These allergies can come in the form of :-

Itching of the skin due to contact with the dog or its hair
Coughing or a sense of choking, usually with a shortness of breath
Eyes itching and or watering
Hives or rashes on the skin
Sudden appearance of a runny or stuffy nose

For many the above can happen extremely quickly, remove yourself from the dog and the area if you can.
You may need to remove clothing.
You could take anti histamine tablets or apply anti histamine cream.

Clearly if you suffer from any of these conditions when near a dog then you really do need to find a breed of dog that is Hypoallergenic.

What small dogs are hypoallergenic?

1. American Hairless Terrier

As you can see from the picture this dog has no hair. Generally bought as a working dog this breed will happily keep any family entertained. This is a small working dog that is completely hairless, although quite a few dogs can be born with the recessive gene that gives them a short-haired coat. The coat can have a wide range of colors. Lively, playful and strong, these dogs are perfect to train and get on well with children.

They require a good dose of daily exercise for and will happily live in apartments, but a garden or a good walk in the woods is good because they love to dig, so keep them away from your flower borders. Their hairless skin should be protected from excessive sunlight (yes suntan lotion or a coat) and will obviously need a coat in cold weather.

A few times a week, bathing is recommended with an occasional application of a lanolin-free moisturizer. Without hair and with little dander this really is a perfect dog for allergy sufferers.

Find More Detail on the American Hairless Terrier Here

2. Australian Terrier

This is a small, stocky dog that has a shaggy, long coat that can be tan, blue, sand, or red with a lighter pigtail. The dogs are brave, loyal and easy to train.
The Australian Terriers are obedient and friendly towards children and pets. However, they must be watched closely, especially when dealing with small pets.

The breed is suitable for keeping in apartments without land. The dog should have daily a daily walk.
The coat will need to be brushed 2-3 times a week or the hair will tangle with big knots.

Find more detail on the Australian Terrier here

3. Basenji

These elegant, alert and sporty dogs have a short, shiny coat. Usually it is red, coppery or brindle with black stripes on a reddish brown background. It has a very similar look to the Pinscher.
The legs, chest and tail should be colored white. The dogs are very lively, intelligent, possess some cat-like qualities and should be supervised in their games with children and small animals.

The Dutiful Basenji

They are reserved with strangers and very attached to their owners. They must be consistently occupied or they can develop destructive behaviours .
They do not bark much and can live in a flat with a small plot.

They enjoy and need exercise every day. Try including some interesting games and activities to keep the dog physically fit and banish boredom. The Basenjis are clean and need only occasional brushing to remove dead hair. These dogs are perfect for allergy sufferers .

Find more detail on the Basenji here.

4. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terriers , with their short double-fur of a thick and flaxen, well-protruding but non-wiry hair which resembles the coat of a lamb. The coat is blue, liver brown or sand color, it can become lighter with age.
Loving, attentive and courageous , these dogs love children, but need proper education to be kept with other pets.

These dogs can be great fun

Training could be challenging. They like to bark and dig and have to be leashed on the walk because they are exploratory and extremely good runners.
An apartment may not be good for this breed unless daily exercise outside is an option.
The coat is brushed weekly and cut every two months to obtain the lamb-like appearance.
See more detail on the Bedlington Terrier Here

5. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small hypoallergenic dog with a soft dense undercoat and a smooth , silky top coat . Their coat is usually pure white or white with a stitch in coffee, apricot or grey color.
The Bichon Frise is easy to work out, has lots of energy and loves cuddling. The dogs are very social and intelligent , they can easily learn different tricks.

The breed is ideal for small children and the elderly. The Bichon Frise can live in a flat without the need for a garden. But they are a playful character and will need daily exercise even if its chasing around the apartment.
They need to be brushed every day and need bath and professional care about once a month. This reduces the amount of allergens in the coat and the hair removal .

Find more detail on the Bichon Frise here

6. Bolognese

Exceptionally cute the Bolognese is a small dog with a pure white, woolly coat. The temperament resembles that of it cousin, the Bichon Frise, only the Bolognese is a little more docile and serious.

The Bolognese is often mistaken for a Bichon Frise but the hair is generally in tighter curls and has a slightly larger frame.

These dogs are very obedient and friendly, get on well with everyone and can live in a flat without a garden . They need daily exercise and exercise-intensive games can work well.
The coat should be combed every day and groomed professionally once a month.

Find more detail on the Bolognese here

7. The Brussels Griffon (a small Belgian dog)

The Brussels griffons are known for their alert abilities and friendly character. These dogs are also hypoallergenic. Brussels griffins are becoming excellent pets for families with children.

Brussel Griffon with Smooth Coat

The Brussel Griffon has a smooth coat breed and a wire coated breed.

Brussel Griffon with the normal wiry coat

An interesting fact of these dogs is that they are very expressive and are often selected for various roles in film and television.

8. Pinscher  (Miniature Pinscher)   

Pinscher are tough little dogs with little hair. Their coat is coarse or rough and usually black, although other colors such as silver, tan or red do occur. Weekly brushing and combing are sufficient to keep these four-legged fellows in good shape. The coat may occasionally require plucking and should not be cut too short.

A Pinscher will love your lap

These dogs are intelligent, lively and mischievous, they get along well with children and pets, but need controlling as they can be possessive of their toys and food. They need constant amusement, from a young age and need firm leadership.

Pinscher are well suited for families with older children and can happily live in a flat without a garden.
Due to this breeds temperament and intelligence you would do well to have lots of puzzles, activity and games.

9. Poodle, Toy or Miniature

The poodle is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide.

For those that love it, it is the most intelligent and loyal dog ever.
They are usually very strongly fixed on their owners, but are still appropriate at socializing with other people.

Poodles are generally intelligent

Generally they are of a friendly personality, intelligent, loving, loyal and mischievous are four words that Poodle owners use to describe its personality.

Dignified but ready to play

Known for its dignified attitude in addition to his royal appearance, the poodle also has a silly streak and loves to play – always ready to participate in any game.
It likes people very much and always wants to please them, and when you combine this with its legendary intelligence and you get a highly trainable dog .

10. Portuguese Water Dog

A muscular Portuguese water dog is always faithful and energetic. Their hair falls very little, and they are considered hypoallergenic, but the Portuguese water dog also needs regular maintenance .

Portuguese Water Dog

It is interesting to note that these dogs are very rare and you may never have heard of them. A very active but loving dog, probably the largest lapdog you may find.

11. Shih Tzu   

Shih Tzu dogs are loyal and friendly, and they are also hypoallergenic. Shih Tzu does not spill and its hair only falls when combing or cutting.

An interesting fact about these dogs is that the name shih-tzu comes from the word “lion” in Chinese. This breed was bred to resemble miniature lions, a shape they can possess if the hair is cut in the correct manner.

Excellent pets for families and the elderly alike. Loyal and gentle little dogs that will make you smile with their attention to you.

Find out more about the Shih-Tzu here.

12. The Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terriers prove that the hypoallergenic race does not have to be naked. These dogs appear very hairy, yet they lose almost no hair. They do require a little grooming though, once every day or two will usually suffice.

Looks like a miniature old English sheepdog but doesn’t create hair loss

Interestingly , these fluffy dogs once served with Buddhist monks and were guardian animals with nomadic ranchers.

Find out more about the Tibetan Terrier Here.

13. Yorkshire Terrier

The courageous and loving adventure of the Yorkshire Terrier should not be judged by its size . Yorkies are often not quiet dogs and can be very headstrong.
Initially, they were bred for rodent hunting, but Yorkies are more well known for their loyalty and dedication to their owners. Despite their long hair very little falls out.

Lots of fluff but no allergy problems with this little terrier

It is interesting to note that although the exact origin of the Yorkshire Terrier breed is unknown , it is believed that they were bred in the north of England to catch rats . These first Yorkies were significantly larger, but over time, breeding established the current small breed standard .

Find more detail on the Yorkshire Terrier here.

Other Hypoallergenic Breeds

Afghan Hound
Chinese Crested
Irish Water Spaniel
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lagotto Romagnolo
Schnauzers, Giant, Miniature and Standard
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Spanish Water Dog
Xoloitzcuintli (a Mexican breed like the American Hairless)

Things you can do to help with your Allergy at home

If you do find a breed of dog that suits you, there are still a number of things you can do in addition, to help yourself at home.

  • Try to keep parts of your house dog-free such as your bedroom.
  • Keep your dog off your furniture or use covers.
  • Get a good carpet cleaner to clean carpets regularly.
  • Clean upholstered furniture on a regular basis too.
  • Use a good-quality vacuum cleaner around the house.
  • If you use cooling fans, wipe them regularly.
  • Change your clothing after having lots of contact with your dog.
  • Get someone else who is not allergic to brush the dog.
  • Wash your dog on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that you clean the dogs bedding area on a very regular basis.
  • Keep Anti-Histamine creams tablets or Epi-Pens etc handy.


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