Asthma and pets poster with kitten

If you have asthma or other allergies, you may be wondering if you can have a pet in your home without it being a health hazard. While many breeds do shed and can trigger an asthma attack or other allergic reactions, there are a few breeds that seem to cause fewer problems.

One mistake many people make is choosing a dog breed that has very short fur. It’s important to understand that it’s not really the fur that causes the allergies or breathing problems, but the dander that the dog has in its skin, urine and saliva. This is why simply coming into contact with the dog can trigger a reaction.


The good news is, it may be possible to have a hypoallergenic dog. Research is ongoing, but many pet owners report good results with certain breeds. Below, we highlight a handful of them.

5 Dog Breeds for People With Asthma (and Other Allergies)

Yorkshire terrier (Yorkie)

1. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies have very little fur, and you can cut their hair very short so that you don’t have to worry about brushing their hair every so often. These tiny dogs are great for families with younger kids, and they can tolerate the more extensive grooming sessions. Some Yorkie owners do like to grow their dogs’ hair out, but you can keep your dog’s hair short and neat with regular trims if you prefer to make them look dainty all the time.

Miniature poodle funny

2. Poodles

Miniature poodles are great for people who live in small spaces and have asthma or other allergies. Poodles actually grow hair — unlike most dogs, who grow fur. These dogs are easy to train and have very short hair. This is another dog breed that will barely shed, so you can have them stay indoors and never have to worry much about cleaning up stray hair around the home.

Coton de Tulear cute puppy

3. Coton de Tulear

This breed is another good match for young kids. The affectionate and loyal Coton de Tulear has a fluffy coat but can live up to its characteristic as a hypoallergenic dog. You’ll need to brush the fur daily to keep it looking fluffy and neat. This dog is playful and can be the perfect fit for both small and large families.

Miniature schnauzer

4. Miniature Schnauzer

This is actually a cross-breed between a poodle and a schnauzer, and is another very playful and energetic breed. The miniature schnauzer is a great match for people with allergies because like the poodle, it sheds little. Schnauzers are very alert and will require a lot of attention, so make sure you have the time to take care of this pet. Regular grooming will keep its coat shiny, and you can keep the hair very short all year round.

Shih Tzu

5. Shih Tzu

The shih tzu is one of the friendliest dog breeds around — and another wonderful match for families with younger children. It’s a fairly small dog and has a lot of energy. Many children find shih tzus endearing because they sport accessorized fashions when flaunting their long locks. These dogs do have longer fur, so you will need to brush it daily to keep it healthy and shiny. A good match for young families and apartment or condo dwellers, the shih tzu does not need a lot of space to run around because it’s more of a lap dog.

Additional Resources

 * * *

This featured contribution was written by Krisca Te. You can find her engaged in dog training, actively participating in local dog show events.

Photos (from top to bottom): Aranami, chadmiller, L’eau Bleue, JodiWilcome, easy mo drew, brad montgomery/Flickr

In this article

Leave a Comment

  • Lynne C

    I thought all dogs with hair instead of fur were hypoallergenic? I had no idea it was just certain breeds.

    • David Deleon Baker

      Hey Lynne, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list, just a selection. Labradoodles come to mind too.

      By the way, some researchers say the “hypoallergenic label” is a myth (see the Time Magazine article referenced above). But we do hear from pet owners that dogs with hair rather from fur are easier on allergies, if not a complete “cure.”

  • Carolyn B

    We have a 5 year old Shih Tzu and wish we had always had Shih Tzu’s in the family. She is the sweetest dog, never cries, loves everybody she meets and is pretty rugged for a smaller dog! We do get her groomed every 5-6 weeks and keep her hair somewhat short. She still looks like a puppy! Shih Tzu’s eyes are large and protrude so they can be prone to injury.

    • Pets Adviser

      Carolyn, that photo of the shih tzu is probably our favorite one here. (Don’t tell anyone…)

  • Barbara E.

    We have a 10 year old Bolognese (still a puppy in our eyes). She is groomed every 6 weeks and we also keep her coat short, just long ears and a fluffy tail. Chloe is hypoallergenic. With a hypoallergenic dog you just have to be committed to the constant grooming that is required but I think that it is totally worth it

  • Shazza

    Nice article! The photo of the poodle in goggles made me snicker.

  • Cheryl Chervitz

    I am very allergic to dog dander, but my Boston’s don’t seem to bother me too much. I wouldn’t get rid of them even if I was suffering badly though. I do bathe them regularly, and brush them everyday.

  • Deborah J Austin

    Good information to know…I have Doxies, and they don’t seem to shed much.. :)

  • Cissy Wray

    My Maltese does not shed. Great for allergies!

  • Fashion design course

    Each person has a unique allergic threshold. There are dogs that are
    more suitable for people with allergies. Solutions to lessen or avoid
    allergy symptoms and make your life with dogs more bearable are offered.