Choosing the best hypoallergenic dogs for kids is an important step if your allergic child wants to have a dog in his life. Hypoallergenic dogs is a term that is not totally true. No dog is completely hypoallergenic but some dogs are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Do keep in mind; just because a dog is considered hypoallergenic does not make him the perfect dog for your child. Anytime you are adding a dog to your family, there will be many considerations, including: the size of the dog, the activity level of the dog and how that matches your family’s lifestyle, and upkeep of the dog. With these things in mind, let’s look at some of the best hypoallergenic dogs for kids and their particular characteristics.
What causes an allergy to dogs?
Dogs are typically the most common animal that causes allergies while cats, horses and other animals may also cause allergic reactions. Allergies can be triggered by a number of factors but there is no definitive answer on what specifically triggers an allergy to dogs in humans. Often people who have been living with pets for many years suddenly develop an allergy as their immune system changes over time or they are exposed to more allergens than before from different sources such as work, home environments etc…
Some characteristics of dog breeds might contribute towards making them ‘hypoallergenic’. These include furless coats (like poodles), short hair like terriers and low dander production – which refers to how much particles become airborne when it’s released from the animal’s skin.
What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic
While you may long to see your allergic child running along beside a beautiful Golden Retriever or friendly Labrador Retriever, it is not recommended for a child with allergies. The Golden and Lab are huge shedders along with being big droolers. Both breeds make great dogs for kids but not for a child with allergies. But, there are some amazing hypoallergenic dog alternatives.
This brings us to what makes a dog be considered hypoallergenic. Dogs that shed a lot of their hair are very allergenic due to the amount of dander that is also shed with the hair. the more shed hair, the more dander. Dander is the main culprit that affects allergies. The other thing that causes allergies to flare is saliva from the dog. Dogs that are big. slobbery droolers are out of the question for allergy sufferers; think Saint Bernard, that would be a big NO!
So, the best hypoallergenic dogs for kids with allergies would be a low-shedding dog that does not slobber a lot.
Best Hypoallergenic Dogs For Kids With Allergies
Bichon Frise – The bichon is a small dog that especially seems to like kids. With their tightly coiled wooly hair, they are non-shedders but will require regular brushing and grooming about once per month to avoid matting.
- Yorkshire Terrier– the Yorkshire Terrier is a small, energetic dog that’s perfect for children. They are also considered to be hypoallergenic because they don’t have any heavy shedding or dander. Yorkies make great dogs for older kids who want a pet but not something too demanding of their time and attention. The Yorkie is definitely one of the little dogs that is a good non-shedding choice. Health issues of the breed include epilepsy, patellar luxation and hypothyroidism.
Poodle – Poodles come in several sizes, so there is a poodle to fit in all needs and lifestyles. Sizes range from the Tiny Teacup Poodle, weighing 3-5 pounds to the Standard Poodle, weighing in at 70 pounds plus. Poodles have tightly curled hair that does not shed but will mat if not regularly brushed and professionally groomed. Often poodle owners choose to clip their dog’s hair close for easy maintenance. Poodles generally are real clowns and enjoy playing with the children in the family. Health concerns in the breed include epilepsy, patellar luxation, and hypothyroidism.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – The Wheaten Terrier is a dog that likes to be active and should be exercised daily. This hypoallergenic breed does well with kids and usually readily adapts to his environment, whether that be city life or country life. This silky-coated dog needs regular brushing to prevent his hair from matting.
Portuguese Water Dog – The Portuguese Water Dog is a larger breed that would do well in an active family who likes outdoor activities. This is the hypoallergenic dog that President Obama chose for his daughter who was allergic to dogs. This breed requires grooming to keep his waterproof coat in top shape.
Schnauzer – The Schnauzer is an active breed that enjoys living in an active family with kids. This hypoallergenic dog breed comes in three sizes; Miniature, Standard and the Giant Schnauzer, so there is one for every age child. The breed does require regular grooming to prevent his coat from matting. The schnauzer tends to be a protective breed that will guard his family.
Maltese – The Maltese dog is small size dog and known to be brave and fearless. This non-shedding dog would probably do best in a home with older children due to being more fragile despite the fact that they view themselves as big and bad. The Maltese requires regular grooming of their silky hair.
Bedlington Terrier – The Bedlington Terrier has an appearance that reminds you of a lamb. His soft, curly, wooly coat does require regular grooming. His activity level is less demanding but he does enjoy a daily walk and play activity.
Irish Water Spaniel – The Irish Water Spaniel is a happy go lucky dog that requires an active lifestyle. This double-coated dog will need to be brushed regularly to keep his coat mat-free.
Spanish Water Dog – The Spanish Water Dog is a highly active dog and will need a family that has an active lifestyle. If hiking, boating or running is a part of your life, this non-shedding dog will fit right into your family. The breed tends to have a naturally protective nature. The Spanish Water Dog does not require as much grooming as some of the other hypoallergenic dog breeds but should be shaved yearly.
Kerry Blue Terrier – The Kerry Blue Terrier is an active dog who loves to have fun with his family. His coat will require regular brushing and grooming.
The Crossbred Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for Kids
Crossbreeding of various dogs with the poodle has become quite popular in recent years. This is mainly due to the desire to create a more allergy-free breed. As with all dogs, you will not be getting a completely allergy-free dog, but it brings you closer to achieving it. It should be noted that the second generation of these dogs is where the lessening of allergens kick in. Both of these breeds are considered great hypoallergenic dogs for kids. Generally, crossbred dogs tend to be more-free of health concerns due to the diluting of any health issues of a singular breed. However, the dog is still susceptible to the health concerns of each breed he is mixed with.
- Labradoodle – The Labradoodle when bred with a poodle can produce offspring that are considered to be hypoallergenic. With this dog, you have the sweet, kid-friendly nature of the Lab, combined with the non-shedding characteristic of the poodle. This dog will also need regular grooming and brushing to prevent matting, especially if they have inherited the curly coat of the poodle parent.
- Goldendoodle – What could be more adorable than the combination of the sweet golden retriever and a poodle? Not much! Goldens are also usually gentle-natured and very loyal to their kid. Again, regular grooming is necessary to keep that gorgeous coat mat-free.
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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as 3 in 10 allergic people in the United States have an allergic reaction to dogs and cats. The hair itself is not the culprit but the saliva, dander, pollens, and dust that cling to it. This is why it is important to bathe and groom your dog on a regular basis. Between grooming, use grooming wipes to gently remove allergens from your dog’s coat.
Helping Your Child Live With Allergies to Dogs
- Carefully research and select from the best hypoallergenic dogs for kids. If possible, have your child spend some time with the dog before committing to adopting it.
- Regularly groom your dog to remove allergens and keep the hair mat-free. Many non-shedding dogs are double-coated. The hair does shed but instead of dropping loose, it mats under the top layer. Use a brush meant for the purpose of removing the undercoat. I like the Pet Grooming Tool with the Two-sided Undercoat Rake.
- Develop a housecleaning routine to minimize allergens.
Reducing allergy symptoms from your dog in your home:
-Place a HEPA filter in your bedroom and the room where you spend most of your time. This will remove allergens from air as they enter through heating or cooling vents, doors, windows etc.
-Keeping your home clean and as dust free as possible will also help reduce allergens. Vacuum regularly and consider getting a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove dust, hair and dander from carpets as well as furniture surfaces.
-Keep pets off of upholstered furniture and mattresses if possible or get slipcovers which are washable for the purposes of cleaning.
-Bathe your dog weekly with hypoallergenic shampoo (and use antihistamine treatments) in order to keep them free of excess oils, dirt and bacteria that can trigger allergies in people around your home; this is especially important when it’s time for allergy season!
Give the idea of dog ownership careful thought before deciding to add a dog to your family. A dog should be a lifetime commitment once he becomes yours. It is very stressful and hurtful for the dog to be brought into a family, only to be given away if problems arise. If you know someone that owns one of the breeds considered hypoallergenic, ask if you can bring your child for several short visits. Allow your child to interact and play with the dog to see if any allergy symptoms appear. Sort of a test drive. Spend as much time as you can with the non-shedding or less allergen type of dogs to get a good idea of what works with your child.
Although some allergic children may not be able to live with a dog, many can with the proper preparation and care. With careful selection and care, your child with an allergy to dogs may soon be romping and playing with his new best friend with less or no allergy symptoms.This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won't cost you a penny more) Click here for my full disclosure policy.