4 Dogs You Can Own (Even If You Have Asthma)

4 Dogs You Can Own (Even If You Have Asthma)

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise. Getty Images

Many people with asthma love dogs, whether they make their asthma and allergies worse or not. While there is no scientific proof of a hypoallergenic pet except for maybe  iguanas, snakes, turtles, hermit crabs and other pets with scales, some breeds of dogs are purported to be better for your asthma and allergies.

While I have never seen any proof from credible medical sources that purchasing a particular breed of dog will lessen allergy or asthma symptoms, the internet is full of such claims. However, dogs listed here are listed as “hypoallergenic” on the American Kennel Club’s  (AKC) website. While the website correctly states no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, the AKC describes the predictable, non-shedding coat as having value because it produces less dander. The AKC also correctly advises washing your pet, its bed, and keeping up with grooming as beneficial to your allergies. The AKC cites all of the following as the best breeds for allergy sufferers.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise. Getty Images

This dog’s name means “curly lap dog” in French and is very good with small children. While these dogs do not shed hair their coats do continually grow so will require extensive grooming. If you do not do this not only will these white dogs not look good, but poor grooming may allow them to carry around more dander around your home.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier. Getty Images

Like the Bichon Frise this dog breed does not shed its coat, but it also needs weekly grooming for it not to impact your asthma. Additionally, a number of websites indicate that bimonthly professional grooming is necessary.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog. Henry Horenstein/The Image Blank/Getty Images

This is the breed of dog the Obamas eventually brought into their family. It has been used in the past to herd fish into nets and act a courier from ship to ship. According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PDWCA), their main allergy benefit is that they are single coated. This breed of dog like Poodles, Bichon Frises, and many terriers do not have an undercoat that sheds. The PDWCA states that the undercoat shedding is what causes allergies for many people.

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested. Gandee Vasan/Stone/Getty Images

Known as a toy dog, this small dog sheds very little hair. There is a “hairless” version that only have hair on the head and feet with a smooth skin in-between. The “powder puff” version has a soft coat over the entire body. The lack of hair in the hairless dogs actually increases this dogs risk of allergic skin reactions and sunburn.

Dogs For Your Asthma

Multiple Dogs
Hypoallergenic Dogs.

 With 62% of U.S. households having 2 or more dogs and more than 26 million people with asthma, it's not surprising that people are interested in dogs that might lessen impact and potentially lead to improved asthma control.

If you really need a hypoallergenic pet, you may want to consider some other options such as fish, iguanas, snakes, turtles, or hermit crabs. 

If you are set on a furry pet that may wake you or your neighbors up at all times of the day/ night with barking, needs to be taken outside for a walk to do their business, and may potentially ruin your house or apartment from chewing or leaving their business everywhere, there are a number of things you may want to consider before spending a ton of money on a hypoallergenic dog.

There are also a number of steps you can take in case you need to lower your pet's allergy burden:

  • Get your pet neutered.
  • Bathe your pet once or twice a week.
  • Wipe down your pet with a wet cloth or baby wipes every day.
  • Keep the pet out of the bedroom.
  • Consider a HEPA filter or vacuum cleaner.

Learn More About Your Asthma

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Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds. American Kennel Club.

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