Dear AKC: I would like to get a dog, however my mom is allergic to the dander, so I am trying to find a breed that is more “hypoallergenic” so she doesn't have a reaction when she visits. I know that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but after looking through the AKC's website, I'm seeing a lot of small breeds that come up as being hypoallergenic. Are there any larger dogs, more specifically hunting-type dogs that would be less likely to cause an allergic reaction? — Searching for Sneeze-Free Breeds
Dear Hunting: I see you've done your homework on the AKC web site and found the information on the hypoallergenic breeds. My two choices for larger hunting/working dogs from the list would be the Standard Poodle and the Portuguese Water Dog.
Portuguese Water Dog
This breed from the Working Group was nearly extinct in the 1970s. Originally he once worked with fisherman along Portugal's coast herding fish into the nets and retrieving lost tackle. These hardy dogs also swam from ship to ship, or ship to shore as a courier.
According to the breed description it's a “calm, intelligent breed of fine temperament, rugged and robust, with a pro-fuse non-allergenic, non-shedding, waterproof coat and webbed feet, he is an ideal outdoor dog, capable of limitless work.” Go to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America web site to find an event or breeder in your area to learn more about this fascinating breed including all the wonderful water work they excel at.
Another favorite of mine off this list would be the Standard Poodle. The Standard variety of this breed (the other varieties being the Miniature and Toy) is more than 15 inches tall at the top of the shoulders. Most Standards I know are between 21 and 27 inches tall, so you will get a good-sized dog with the Standard.
At the Poodle Club of America web site, there is a fabulous picture of the most recent dogs that passed their AKC hunt tests at the National Specialty, which goes to show you what a great hunting dog the Poodle is. Hunting Tests evaluate a dog's hunting abilities and Standard Poodles are eligible for AKC retriever hunting tests.
I'm sure between these two breeds you will find an active companion for you and a dog your Mom can breathe easy about.