Best and Worst Dog Breeds for People with Allergies

What do you do when you love dogs, but you or a family member is allergic? You do what the Obamas did when they adopted Bo and Sunny for their allergic daughters: Get one of a number of dog breeds touted as hypoallergenic. They’re described as the best pets for people with dog allergies because they tend to shed less than other breeds.

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as pet allergies, is one of the most common chronic diseases, with more than 600 million people affected worldwide. More than 200 million of them also suffer from related asthma, and experts say both conditions are underdiagnosed and undertreated (probably by people who would rather live with itching, sneezing, and wheezing than give up their beloved pets!).

Most people are not actually allergic to dog fur. Rather, they’re allergic to pet dander (flakes on the dog’s skin) or pet saliva. Fur does have something to do with it, though: Sometimes other indoor allergens like dust, or outdoor allergens like pollen, can build up on a dog’s coat and trigger allergy symptoms.

In addition, health experts contend that the health benefits of some breeds of hypoallergenic hounds are overhyped. So if you’re on the hunt for a pup that won’t leave you watery-eyed, you’ll need to do your research and perhaps an in-home test-drive to make sure your new pup doesn’t trigger an attack. Don’t go straight for the breeds with less fur, and don’t count out shaggy pups, either.