Do you want a dog but start coughing and sneezing whenever you are near one? Pet allergies are very common, especially in people who have other allergies or asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 10% of people in the U.S. are allergic to dogs.
While there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog, these 15 small dog breeds have low or non-shedding coats that produce less dander. Here are the best small dog breeds for allergy sufferers.
Affenpinschers are an adorable, cuddly, and petite Pinscher dog breed. Also known as 'Monkey Terriers', these dogs originate from Germany, with "Affe" meaning ape or monkey in German. They are active, adventurous, and playful. Because Affenpinschers weigh less than 10 lbs and easily adjust to new environments, they are perfect apartment dogs, bag dogs, travel companions.
Originally bred to hunt rats in homes and around farms, Affenpinschers need short, lively play sessions or leisurely walks every day to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. While they make excellent watchdogs, they will bark at just about anything. They are also high-strung and tend to tremble when they are excited.
Affenpinschers absolutely adore their humans and love being around other family pets. Have babies, toddlers, or young preschool-aged children? The Affenpinscher may not be right for your family. These proud and sensitive pups hate roughhousing and being held against their will.
Basenjis, also known as African Barkless Dogs, are hunting dogs that originated in Central Africa. They are known for their large pointed ears and short, tightly curled tails. While Basenjis cannot physically bark, they can laugh, growl, whine, yodel, and even scream. Their medium build (22-24 lbs) makes them excellent city-slickers. They are also ideal for allergy sufferers because they lick themselves clean like cats.
Basenjis are independent thinkers known for their intensely loyal, mischievous, stubborn, and reserved personalities. Without an hour of daily exercise, they will bolt out of open doors or climb over chain link fences to find something fun to do. Bred to hunt reed rats, Basenjis also have a strong prey drive and will chase backyard chickens, pet cats, and young children. For this reason, it is important to keep them on a leash and introduce them to other people and animals at an early age.
The Bichon Frise (which means ‘curly lap dog’ in French) comes from the Barbet, a Mediterranean water dog. Weighing no more than 18 lbs and averaging 9.5-11.5 inches in height, Bichon Frises are perfect for apartment dwellers and people with young children or other pets. As the American Kennel Club states, “They operate under the assumption that there are no strangers, just friends they have not met yet.” These gentle, sensitive house dogs love learning new tricks, especially when high-quality dog treats are offered as rewards.
Bichon Frises enjoy racing from one room to the next and bouncing off the furniture before they snuggle next to you on the sofa. While they are not dominant dogs, they have a stubborn streak and are notoriously difficult to potty train. Bichon Frises also have a very high-pitched bark. Work long hours away from home? Bichon Frises crave human companionship and can suffer from separation anxiety when they are left for long periods.
The Bolognese is an easy-going, devoted dog with a pure white coat that is soft and fluffy like cotton. Bolognese dogs love spending time with their owners whether they are taking a stroll around the block or playing with their kids in the backyard. Their small size (5.5-9 lbs) and cheerful personalities make them ideal apartment dwellers and easy travel companions.
Bolognese dogs require moderate exercise to prevent excessive barking and destructive chewing. They are shy around strangers and will bark at nearly anything that moves. The Bolognese is also hard to housebreak and prone to separation anxiety. Have kids? These adorable little white fluff balls can get hurt if played with too rough and are likely to bite if frightened.
Border Terriers are happy and energetic little dogs with an easy-to-maintain wire coat. They typically weigh no more than 12-15 lbs. Border terriers' easy-tempered nature makes them amicable to both city and country life, and their small stature makes them great travel companions. Given their energetic nature, Border Terriers need a good dose of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy - either a long daily walk or run in the dog park will keep them content at home. Bred as hunting dogs, Border Terriers also have a strong instinct to chase squirrels and other small animals. For this reason, it is wise to always keep these adorable pups on a high quality dog leash when out and about.
The Brussels Griffon (also known as Griffon Bruxellois) was named after the city of Brussels, Belgium. These adorable little pups weigh anywhere from 5-15 lbs and have oversized, self-important, and comedic personalities. Brussels Griffons' small size and positive disposition make them wonderful apartment dwellers, easy travel companions, and loving four-legged companions. Have a city job that requires you to leave your apartment for endless hours on end? If so, a Brussels Griffon may not be your ideal canine companion. These big-hearted dogs are more sensitive to loneliness than other dog breeds on our list.
The Chinese Crested is a high-spirited and sweet-tempered little dog that typically weighs 10-13 lbs. When a Chinese Crested falls in love with you, he will stay glued to your side and will hug your neck tightly with his paws. Are you a couch potato or occasional couch surfer? A Chinese Crested will curl up beside you for hours without moving a muscle.
With that said, Chinese Cresteds are “cat-like” and will climb fences or walls to escape confinement. They are also nervous and timid with new people and new situations. They are prone to separation anxiety and tend to bark a lot. Chinese Cresteds are difficult to housebreak, and unneutered males will excessively mark their territory. While these exotic-looking dogs can lie in the 100-degree sun for hours, they despise the cold. They will need a dog hoodie or dog coat for chilly walks.
Coton De Tulears were named after the city of Tuléar, Madagascar. These happy-go-lucky companion dogs weigh anywhere from 8-13 lbs and have clownish, curious, and affectionate personalities. They are people-oriented Velcro-dogs that thrive on attention. Coton De Tulears are perfect for families with young children and other pets. They love talking to their humans in grunts and growls.
Coton De Tulears are great apartment pets, but they should not be left alone for long periods. If they are unhappy or bored, they will vent through destructive chewing and excessive barking. Coton De Tulears are also slow to housetrain and should be socialized as puppies.
Havanese dogs are small (7-13 lbs), intelligent, and spirited dogs with a friendly and social disposition. Although Havanese dogs can keep up during adventures and outdoor excursions, they are not overly energetic or excitable and do nicely with modest daily exercise and in smaller residences.
Havanese dogs' small stature and disinclination to bark excessively make them wonderful city dwellers and travel companions. Because they get quite attached to their human companions, Havanese dogs should not be left alone all day.
Maltese dogs are a toy dog breed known for their gentle and affectionate disposition and long, silky hair. Their petite stature and adaptable nature make them wonderful apartment and city pets. On average, Maltese weigh anywhere from 2-8 lbs when fully grown.
Maltipoos are a cross between Maltese dogs and Toy or Miniature Poodles. They tend to inherit both the gentle disposition of their Maltese ancestors and the energy of their Poodle relatives. Routine, modest exercise will keep your Maltipoo happy and healthy.
Lhasa Apsos, meaning “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog'', have been employed as watchdogs in Tibetian palaces and monasteries since 800 B.C. They are known for their floor-length, flat-hanging coats and feathery, curly tails. These 13-15 lbs dogs are smart, confident, and comical. They are similar to willful toddlers and will listen to you only if you build a strong bond with them.
Lhasa Apsos also like to run around the apartment by themselves or play with dog toys in a fenced yard. Many Lhasa Apsos prefer to be the only dog and are naturally suspicious of anything new or different. Want a kid-friendly dog? The Lhasa Apso has a sharp, loud bark and will bite if he is bullied or badgered.
Standing 12-14 inches tall and tipping the scale at 20 lbs, Miniature Schnauzers have warm and spunky personalities. They are famous for their walrus-like beards and expressive eyebrows. While Miniature Schnauzers are extroverted and independent, they are wary of strangers. Miniature Schnauzers easily adapt to city or country life as long as they get an hour of exercise every day
If a Miniature Schnauzer chooses you as his favorite person, he will always want to touch you or be near you. Miniature Schnauzers are also dig-into-the-sand stubborn and they will pretend they cannot hear you if they are bored. They tend to bark at larger dogs without worrying about the consequences and chase after smaller animals. This swagger can get them into big trouble, so it is up to you to keep them on a leash.
Standard Poodles are incredibly intelligent, and Miniature and Toy Poodles are no different. Miniature Poodles are very smart, easily trainable, and quite sociable. They have a gentle disposition and rarely make good guard dogs.
Miniature Poodles are known for their athleticism and agility and are usually lovers of water and swimming - they were bred for duck hunting after all. They are built for the outdoors and therefore make excellent outdoor adventure companions. Whether you're going on a hike or planning a trip to a lake, poodles will absolutely love joining the adventure.
Shih Tzus are small and sturdy dogs. They are known for their outgoing and alert temperament and beautiful, flowing, and silky locks. Although Shih Tzus are incredibly loyal to their dog owners, they are also incredibly social and will gladly curl up against a stranger if it means getting a few extra cuddles in!
Shih Tzus' small size and easy-going nature make them wonderful apartment and city dogs. Similar to Dachshunds, they can be prone to stubbornness. For this reason, they need routine training at an early age to prevent disobedience later in life.
Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest dog breeds, weighing no more than 7 lbs as adults. Yorkies are loving, affectionate, and feisty dogs and tend to bark more excessively than other dog breeds.
Yorkies' petite size makes them popular "purse dogs" and travel companions. Given their tiny stature, only light exercise is needed to keep them fit and happy. Yorkshire Terriers are adaptable to their surroundings and will gladly be toted around town or in a subway in a high quality and comfortable dog carrier bag or dog purse.
While fur carries allergens like tree pollen or dust, it does not usually trigger an allergic reaction. Pet dander, which is like dandruff in humans, and saliva are the main culprits. Dander becomes airborne quite easily and can be breathed in. Saliva and dander are also very sticky. They can collect on bedding, clothing, and furniture.
As the American Lung Association elaborates, “For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do.”
If you suffer from allergies and/or asthma, we recommend researching non-shedding dog breeds to find the dog that best matches your personality and lifestyle. Consider getting a proper allergy test, and arrange to spend time with your preferred dog breed to make sure that it does not trigger an allergy or asthma attack.
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