Ah, the trouble of being a dog lover who is full of allergies. It’s not a fair world as it is, but especially if your body literally repels you away from owning a lovely fur baby.
Whether you have allergies or another family member does, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a great dog that is ideal for families. Many small hypoallergenic dogs can make wonderful additions to your family, and it means you can cuddle them without sneezing and itching profusely.
We love dogs, and we think everyone should get a chance to love them too – regardless of if you have allergies or not. Here are the 12 best small hypoallergenic dogs that will make a brilliant pet!
Hypoallergenic Dogs Explained
Before we get into the best hypoallergenic dogs, let’s look into what these dogs actually are. A hypoallergenic dog is a dog that either has a low-shedding coat or lower levels of pet dander compared to other dogs (sometimes both). Pet dander is the small flecks of skin dropped by animals, which is similar to human dandruff.
Not all hypoallergenic dogs are the same. Some will shed more than others, but they are still considered hypoallergenic. If your allergies are severe, you should avoid the ones that shed, because there is more transmission of dander.
The Best Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
Just a quick note – make sure to always check with your doctor to see if your allergies will be okay with a hypoallergenic dog. You can’t return a dog to its original home if your allergies are too bad, as a dog is for life.
1. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies are remarkably friendly and affectionate little dogs. They shed little fur, which makes them an ideal companion for someone with allergies. They can be wonderful with children, but they can get slightly domineering and excited!
Yorkshire terriers are very intelligent and loyal, so they really will listen to everything you say to them. They are also yappy little things as they produce a large bark for such a small mouth. Speaking of their small mouths, Yorkies can be prone to teeth problems due to their tiny jaws and teeth that food can get stuck into.
Yorkshire Terriers are very small dogs that usually weigh up to 3.2Kg and can reach 9” in height when they are fully grown. They can live between 13 to 16 years.
2. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is possibly one of the cutest dogs on our list (don’t tell the others). Their distinctive curly and bouncy, cloud-like coat is shed-free, meaning people with allergies can have their very own real-life teddy bear without sniffling and itching.
These dogs are incredibly affectionate and gentle, especially with children. The Bichon Frise is a great companion for both humans and other pets, so nothing is stopping you from getting two or three of these little dogs…
They are small and lovable creatures that can grow to 11” tall and 5Kg heavy. They can live up to 13 years.
3. Chinese Crested
Chinese Crested dogs are sort of the dog equivalent to Sphynx cats, in that they can be born with or without hair. Most of the time, their bodies are hairless except for their heads and feet that sprout fluffy hair that doesn’t shed. They are certainly unique.
These dogs are gentle, affectionate, and great lap partners. They are great for families with young children, singles, and elderly people who just want a loving and cuddly companion. They are fairly quiet until someone comes to the door, which makes them a wonderful guard dog.
Chinese Crested dogs can weigh up to 5.4Kg and reach 13” tall. They live between 12 to 14 years.
4. Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are probably the biggest dogs on our list, but they’re still classed as a small hypoallergenic dog. They can reach 17.5” in height and weigh up to 10.4Kg.
These dogs always look posher than they actually are. Their coat type is curly and they stand out for their unique head shape. They are fairly spindly and delicate dogs that are prone to injury if played with roughly, so they are best suited for quiet families with children who know how to play with a dog carefully.
Bedlington Terriers are spirited, loyal, and playful dogs that love a good cuddle. They can live between 14 to 16 years.
5. Toy Poodle
Toy Poodles are the smallest of the three main Poodle breeds. Their coat is full of fluffy, tight curls that do not shed, which is ideal for owners with allergies.
These dogs are seriously cute and remarkably intelligent. They’re no princess when it comes to mud, so you can treat them like an actual dog despite the stereotypes around Poodles. Toy Poodles are very friendly and playful with children, and are gentle with elderly people too.
Toy Poodles can grow to 9” in height and 2.7Kg in weight, so they are very, very small. They can live up to 15 years.
6. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are notoriously lazy dogs. They are true home dogs that love to cuddle up next to their humans, begging for the occasional cuddle (or to be left alone sometimes). They truly love their sleep, which makes them ideal for an elderly couple or a single occupant who works during the day.
Their hair is shed-free and needs little grooming, but they will require regular haircuts to prevent knotting. These dogs can reach around 11” tall and 7Kg in weight, making them an ideal lap dog. They can live anywhere between 10 to 16 years.
Basenjis don’t look like the other dogs on our list because of their short hair. However, these dogs are experts in self-grooming, which means they take care of any shedding for you. Because of their unique grooming habits, it’s only recommended that people with mild allergies own these dogs.
These dogs are perfect for families who want an energetic and playful pup. They descend from hunting dogs, so they are always ready for a fun walkies in the woods or on the beach. What’s more, these dogs are very sociable and hardly ever bark.
Basenjis grow to 16” tall and weigh up to 10Kg. They live between 12 to 15 years on average.
8. Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers are notorious for their distinctive permanently grumpy face, but that’s far from the truth about their personality. These are extroverted dogs who love to socialize with humans and other dogs, plus their intelligence makes them excellent for training.
They might be noisy little dogs with a chatty personality that makes them bark at people to say hello, but they can be trained easily. Their hair also doesn’t shed.
Miniature Schnauzers can reach 14” tall and weigh up to 9.1Kg. They live between 12 to 15 years.
Chipoos are a hybrid breed between Chihuahuas and Miniature or Toy Poodles. Depending on the generation of the parents, these dogs will have varying levels of hypoallergenic coats. It’s important to do your research on the coat of the Chihuahua parent and to consider your allergy levels.
The Chipoo dog is an affectionate and independent little dog that is intelligent and athletic – the perfect mix of its parents. However, they’re not great around young kids who might irritate them, so they are better off in families with older children or none at all.
These dogs grow to 15” tall and weigh up to 9Kg, and can live between 12 to 15 years.
10. Miniature Labradoodle
Miniature Labradoodles are one of the most popular hybrid breeds in the world, and this is partly because of their non-shedding hypoallergenic coat. It’s mostly because of their adorable looks and incredible nature.
These dogs look like teddy bears and will make anyone melt within seconds – even cat people. They are incredibly intelligent and filled with nothing but love, making them the perfect family-oriented dog. Because they love exercise and play, they can get bored if their needs aren’t tended to.
Miniature Labradoodles can reach 17” in height and 11.33Kg in weight, and live up to 14 years.
Not all long-haired dogs will have a coat that sheds! Havanese dogs offer a lovely, full coat of fluffy hair that doesn’t shed and is hypoallergenic, which is both convenient and looks so cute.
These dogs are the perfect balance between energetic and lazy. When they want to play and walk, they will be great little adventurers. When they want to cuddle up with their human, they are gentle and calm and will relax happily. They are ideal for all households, whether you have kids or not.
These fluffy dogs reach 5.8Kg in weight and 11.5” tall. They tend to live up to 14 years.
12. Cairn Terrier
There’s no better way to relive your childhood than to get a replica of Toto from The Wizard of Oz. The best part? These dogs are hypoallergenic!
Cairn Terriers pack a lot of personality. They are funny, clever, and very friendly dogs who have a sweet-natured personality. They can also have a knack for being stubborn, but that’s all in the fun of owning a dog. They’re not too energetic, which makes them ideal for families in apartments.
These charming dogs reach 10” in height and 6.3Kg in weight. They can live between 13 to 15 years.
Pros and Cons of Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
There’s more to small hypoallergenic dogs than their ideal coat for people with allergies. Here’s our list of pros and cons!
- Ideal for small spaces
- Easy to travel with
- Minimal to no shedding and low levels of pet dander
- Small dogs are intelligent and friendly
- Affordable to maintain and buy
- Some require minimal grooming
- Small dogs can be yappy
- Some are less hypoallergenic than others
- Prone to separation anxiety
- Prone to injury
- Some require regular grooming
Small hypoallergenic dogs are wonderful companions for many reasons. When you’re looking to buy a hypoallergenic dog, make sure to ask about their parent’s coat and skin. First-generation hybrid dogs won’t necessarily be as hypoallergenic as you might think, which is why they might only be suitable for those with mild allergies.
As always, if you struggle with allergies, make sure you talk to your doctor before buying a dog so you can come up with a plan to be the best dog parent ever – without the sneezing, itching, and runny eyes!