4 Dogs You Can Own If You Have Asthma

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.

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 held in a woman's lap

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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 standing in the grass

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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 dogs lying in the grass

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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 undercoat shedding is what causes allergies for many people.

Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dog in the grass
Sylvain Cordier / Getty Images

Known as a toy dog, this small dog sheds very little hair. There is a “hairless” version that only has 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

Portuguese water dog with a toddler

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 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 the 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 friend, 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/spayed.
  • 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​
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  1. American Kennel Club. Hypoallergenic Dogs.

  2. Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Inc. Frequently Asked Questions about Portuguese Water Dogs.

  3. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Pet Allergens. Updated May 30, 2019.