Dogs in General

Wondering what is the best dog for allergy sufferers? There’s a new dog in town.

American Hairless Terrier


I think it must be one of the most frustrating allergies to have – even more so if you are a dog lover and actually want to own one! It’s maybe like going into a candy store as a kid and being told you’re not allowed any. I am lucky and don’t have this, but think it would possibly be one of my worst nightmares. So if you do, and have often wondered what is the best dog for allergy sufferers, it may be helpful to look at a new breed recently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).


A new dog in town – The American Hairless Terrier

One of the most common features of this newly recognized breed is – you guessed it – they are hairless. There are also some out there who have very short coats, however they do carry a “hairless” gene. So it depends on the type and severity of your allergy, as to whether either or only the hairless terrier would be suitable.

New American Dog Breeds

I have several friends with allergies to dog hair, and in their cases their allergies appeared worse with short-haired dogs, then with our mid-coated German Shepherd. We have speculated (over a few glasses of wine) that perhaps shorter hairs are harder to vacuum up, tend to get more ingrained into materials like carpet and clothes, and also get up your nose more easily! Whether that’s right or wrong, we don’t know as it most definitely wasn’t a scientific study! But it was an interesting conversation and something to ponder. For sufferers with very severe allergies, I would imagine that any dog hair is a no-no, so these hairless terriers may be a good option to try.

These dogs are described by the AKC as inquisitive and lively and as a result they can do well at canine sports, if that’s also something you are looking for in a dog. To quote club secretary Lynn Poston of Fontana, California

“They’re terrier-smart but somewhat calmer than some other terrier breeds. They’re very easy to live with because they’re very trainable.”


How did this breed come about?

The answer is really one of those rare, random foibles that happen every now and again in the animal kingdom. In Louisiana during the 1970’s a puppy was born without any hair, as part of a litter of middle sized Rat Terriers. The couple were surprised but it seems they viewed the phenomenon as something rather special, naming the female puppy Josephine. This event then went on to purposeful breeding to promote this hairless characteristic.

There is already a dedicated American Hairless Terrier Club club dedicated to this breed, where you can view additional information about these amazing dogs.


What constitutes a “breed” at the AMERICAN Kennel Club?

The AKC now has 189 recognized breeds, following the addition of this and one other new breed this month. One of the criteria for a dog breed to be recognized is that there need to be several hundred dogs of the breed across the nation.

The AFC also has some very good resources about selecting what type of dog you are most suited to, although I’m not sure that they take allergies into consideration! However, it may be fun to take a look at their Dog Breed Selector tool.

American Hairless Terrier


Try before you buy

There would be nothing more heart-breaking that bringing a new puppy or dog into your home, forming bonds and becoming attached, then having to re-home them because your allergy is still to much for you to be able to live with. For any allergy sufferers, I would highly recommend visiting a breeder and spending a decent amount of time with the type of dog you are interested in. That way you can have a better idea of whether it’s going to be a viable situation to bring such a dog into your own home. This would also apply if you have children with dog-related allergies. It really is a good idea to test out their allergies with particular dogs ahead of time.


Thanks for taking the time to read about this new breed, which I’m tempted to call the “hairless wonder”. If you have any thoughts or comments you’d like to share, please do so below.


7 thoughts on “Wondering what is the best dog for allergy sufferers? There’s a new dog in town.

  1. I am a dog sitter and I have many dogs in my home that leave hair and dander behind. I clean constantly because I have a mild allergy to dog hair. I currently have a Great Pyrenees rescue who sheds like crazy but keeping him brushed once or twice a week helps a lot. The breed I’m interested in is the Bolognese since they are mostly non-shedding and fairly hypoallergenic. Do you know if there are any Bolognese clubs that would re-home a Bolognese in the Mid-Atlantic area? Thanks for this grea information!

    1. Hi Lauren. It sounds like you are doing a grand job of giving rescue dogs a lovely home. The Bolognese dogs are a type of the Bichon breed, so I would suggest starting your search at a Bichon rescue center. This one is in Virginia: Virginia Bichon Rescue It would definitely be worth speaking to them, and specifying your interest in the Bolognese breed. They may have other connections they can direct you to also. Good luck on your search, Mara.

  2. How coincidental! My friend at work showed me a picture of an American Hairless Terrier just last week. We’re on different sides of the fence on the hairless issue. She thinks its adorable. I’m not sold yet. But I do have allergies. When we picked our dog we chose a miniature schnauzer and so far, so good, 5 years going strong! My two big questions about hairless dogs are…do they groom themselves? And do they require sunscreen?

    1. Hi Alyssa,

      I’m so glad it’s working out with your miniature Schnauzer – that’s great news, especially since you will be very attached by now! It’s a good question you have asked about hairless dogs – they do require care, but in a different way to a “hairy” dog. They don’t groom themselves and the lack of hair does mean their skin is more exposed. So with that comes a need to bathe them more frequently – the dead skin cells and grime aren’t carried away by hair as is the case with most dogs. They need to be watched more closely for any skin conditions and the additional bathing (1-2 times a week) does tend to strip some of the natural oils away. Therefore, moisturizers are needed and sunscreen. All shampoos, moisturizers and sunscreens should be hypoallergenic. And the lack of hair will also mean these dogs will need extra protection in the winter – jumper or coat – to help keep them warm. These were good questions you have asked!


  3. First thing I noticed about your site was the fabulous photo of the dog at the head of the screen. I like the way your promoting dog toys and that is a good niche to go into.
    My only advice would be that you need to add more photos down your home screen as when scrolling down it its just text after text after text so some images would be good to break it up a bit.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to look at my site and make the suggestion about my home page. Glad you liked the main image though.

      best wishes, Mara.

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