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AKC Breeds and Varieties Allow Allergy Sufferers to Consider Dog Ownership

(Wednesday, August 17, 2005)
-- Plus, Hairless Breeds: Nothing To Sneeze At --

While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many breeds which the American Kennel Club (AKC®) suggests people with allergies consider. Most of these breeds have non-shedding coats, which produce less dander. It's the dander not the hair which causes most pet allergies.

For those who can't do without the joy of a canine companion but want to keep their allergies at bay, the AKC suggests they consider the following breeds:
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Poodles (Toy, Miniature or Standard)
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Schnauzer (Miniature, Standard or Giant)
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli
"These breeds may be just what the doctor ordered for people with allergies," says Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. "There are a variety of sizes, energy levels and temperaments, yet all are well-established in their coat type. Dogs that are AKC registered have pedigrees reaching back often hundreds of years and so the characteristics that make them better companions for allergy suffers are fixed through decades of breeding for consistent type."

Many of these breeds have shown a rise in popularity over the last decade. The Chinese Crested moved from 73 (out of the 153 AKC breeds) to 57 while the Portuguese Water Dog jumped from 86 to 69. Poodles have remained in the top 10, the Miniature Schnauzer and Maltese in the top 25, and the Bichon Frise in the top 30.

"For those who really want to avoid a shedding pet, there are even hairless dogs like the AKC-registered Chinese Crested or the rare Xoloitzcuintli, which listed in AKC's Foundation Stock Service as a step towards full registration," says Peterson. "Dander is usually what triggers an allergic reaction to a dog, not the hair. It is important to know that while no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic -- even the hairless ones – there are options for allergy sufferers to consider."

"Both hairless breeds are great for those with allergies or asthma," says Amy Fernandez, a long-time breeder and President of the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. "The Chinese Crested is a social butterfly and wants to be around others which make them great with kids, while the loyal Xolo with his guardian instincts is the ideal one-person dog. Just because both breeds are hairless, their temperaments are not interchangeable."

Before you buy any dog, research the breed to make sure its needs fit your lifestyle. Fernandez recommends that you visit an owner with one dog of the breed you are interested in for several hours to test your sensitivity before you make the commitment of bringing a dog home. For more information on hypoallergenic breeds visit the AKC website.