Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, wheezing, inflamed eyes, skin irritation: None of these is an ideal reaction to have when playing with an adorable puppy. As many as three in 10 allergy sufferers in the United States are sensitive to cats and dogs, according to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America—an unfortunate prognosis for any animal lover.
Allergies are the result of oversensitive immune systems, which can be triggered by a pet’s dander, urine, or saliva to bring on allergic reactions. In addition, pet hair—which in and of itself is not an allergen—can transport other allergens such as pollen. Because of this, some people may believe they have a pet allergy when it is the dust or pollen on a pet’s coat that is triggering an allergic reaction. Pet allergens are easy to transfer on clothes, which is why some homes that have never had pets in them can still have pet allergens. Allergens can also stick around for months or years on upholstery, carpets, or any other home fabrics.
Luckily, allergies don’t have to prevent you from joining the 65% of American households with a pet at home. Yes, there are allergy shots, nasal sprays, and antihistamine pills that can all help minimize the symptoms of pet allergies, but a more proactive approach may be seeking the right dog. To the delight of sneezing dog-lovers everywhere, the American Kennel Club has compiled a list of 23 dog breeds that are considered hypoallergenic. Though no dogs are truly 100% allergy-proof—and everyone’s allergies are different—the following breeds have non-shedding coats that produce significantly less dander. Some of them are even hairless. Stacker has listed the dogs by the American Kennel Club’s 2019 dog breed popularity rankings in the following compilation. Editor's note: There are no AKC popularity rankings for the first three dogs.
Read on to find out which hairless "Inca" dog made the list—and get excited to adopt a new furry family member.
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- Popularity rank: not ranked
Though coated Peruvian Inca orchid dogs exist, most of the breed is entirely hairless, making them a good choice for people with allergies. These dogs are sight hounds: Much like greyhounds and whippets, they have sleek, muscular bodies well-suited to running.
- Popularity rank: not ranked
Like the pasta dish of the same name, the Bolognese breed originates in Italy. Though Bolognese dogs have soft, fluffy coats, they don’t shed. Allergy sufferers can also ask groomers to keep the coat cropped to just one inch.
- Popularity rank: not ranked
These rustic French water dogs have dense, curly coats that are well-suited to swimming and hunting—the barbet’s original job. Calm, intelligent and amiable, these tall, sturdy dogs need regular exercise to stay at their happiest.
- Popularity rank: #170 (out of 193)
The Irish water spaniel’s tight, reddish-brown curls contrast with its long, skinny tail. These active, high-energy pups are relatively easy to train, but need plenty of daily exercise.
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- Popularity rank: #158 (out of 193)
German for “little lion,” lowchen are popular companion dogs. Just over a foot tall at the shoulder, this non-shedding dog is known for its bravery—and, of course, its tiny lion-like appearance given its mane and tail.
- Popularity rank: #151 (out of 193)
Once you see a Bedlington terrier, you won’t forget him anytime soon: This dog’s pear-shaped head, arched back, sheep-like coat and hairless ears make him instantly recognizable. Bedlingtons are energetic, charming and fun-loving—though they like cuddling up on the couch, too.
- Popularity rank: #150 (out of 193)
The fearless, animated affenpinscher are known affectionately as “monkey dogs” by owners. The terrier-like dog is under one foot tall but greatly confident—not to mention loyal and amusing.
- Popularity rank: #137 (out of 193)
This 3,000-year-old breed dates back to the time of the Aztecs, when they were revered as the companion of the gods. Allergy sufferers might revere them for another reason: The Xoloitzcuintli breed does not have any hair, so they don’t shed dander. Owners might need to apply sunscreen to the dogs before prolonged sun exposure, however.
- Popularity rank: #133 (out of 193)
These sturdy, square terriers have a show-stopping coat that ranges from light blue-gray to dark slate. Named for its home county in Ireland, this breed is well known as a hard-working dog.
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- Popularity rank: #124 (out of 193)
This breed from Louisiana comes in both hairless and coated varieties, either of which would be a good choice for people with allergies. American hairless terriers are inquisitive, intelligent, and playful.
- Popularity rank: #111 (out of 193)
Despite the Afghan hound’s long, silky locks, this dog is in fact hypoallergenic. Still, prospective owners should expect to spend plenty of time bathing, brushing, and grooming an Afghan hound.
- Popularity rank: #97 (out of 193)
With their pointy ears, bushy eyebrows, and dignified whiskers, standard schnauzers are downright adorable. These fearless, high-spirited farm dogs make excellent companions and capable watchdogs.
- Popularity rank: #90 (out of 193)
The lagotto Romagnolo’s thick, curly, waterproof coat only sheds minimally, so these dogs would be a good match for allergy sufferers. Traditionally, these dogs are trained to hunt for precious Italian truffles.
- Popularity rank: #81 (out of 193)
Known as the “royal dog of Madagascar,” the coton de Tulear’s name was inspired by the breed’s soft, cotton-like white coat (“coton” is French for cotton). Remarkably sympathetic and entertaining, these dogs make devoted lifelong companions.
- Popularity rank: #80 (out of 193)
The name of this unusual-looking dog refers to its spiky hairdo, furry socks, and fluffy tail—quite the look, especially when combined with an otherwise hairless body. As you might guess, shedding is not a problem with this breed.
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- Popularity rank: #71 (out of 193)
The larger, more powerful cousin of the standard schnauzer, the giant schnauzer maintains the same characteristics: bold, valiant, intelligent, and loyal.
- Popularity rank: #54 (out of 193)
Though the soft-coated Wheaten terrier’s wavy hair is low-shedding, it also requires constant grooming to keep it from matting. These exuberant dogs have lovely, joyful personalities with just a tinge of stereotypical terrier stubbornness.
- Popularity rank: #49 (out of 193)
This breed took its spot on the world stage in 2010 when the Obama family adopted Bo, a Portuguese water dog. A few years later, the family also adopted Sunny, another of these athletic, allergy-friendly dogs.
- Popularity rank: #43 (out of 193)
Bichon frises have personality for miles: This breed is known as a jokester, with oodles of confidence and a love for people. They’re adorable, too, with a white hypoallergenic coat that almost gives them the appearance of a teddy bear.
- Popularity rank: #36 (out of 193)
Maltese only grow about 7–9 inches tall, but a long, silky coat that drapes all the way to their feet give them an outsized presence. Though they look petite and perhaps even a little precious, Maltese have hardy, adaptable personalities that leave them ready for anything.
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- Popularity rank: #18 (out of 193)
The smallest of the three schnauzer breeds looks a little stockier and more gruff than their larger cousins, but still has the same low-shedding wiry coat and bright, friendly demeanor.
- Popularity rank: #12 (out of 193)
These tiny terriers are known for their hypoallergenic curtain-like head-to-toe coats (you can’t even see their feet). Despite their stature, they can be solid watchdogs. Once known for their Victorian-era companionship, they are now a favorite of city-dwellers.
- Popularity rank: #6 (out of 193)
The most popular breed on this list, the poodle nevertheless has a reputation as a bit of a prissy dog. That couldn’t be further from the truth: These regal, elegant dogs are typically eager, energetic, and extraordinarily smart. Their soft, fluffy coats can be trimmed either in the elaborate “continental” style, or the simpler sporting look.
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