As the UK’s number one resource for dog owners we are commonly asked what is the best hypoallergenic dog in the UK?
As part of our research for this list we polled 15,000 current and former UK dog owners. We asked all of them a set of questions to establish how dogs that shed affect owners who have allergies.
All of these UK residents involved in this study are a broad range of demographic and have owned or currently still own a full range of different dog breeds.
The responses were anonymous and calculated without prejudice.
This survey was taken in January 2021.
Dog Allergies In The UK
Of the 15,000 people we surveyed we found that circa 10% (1,511) experienced allergic reactions to dogs. These allergies ranged from skin irritations to sneezing and/or eye irritations.
Whilst this number appears high on the face of it, in comparison to other allergies it is relatively low.
For example, 40% (6008) reported they experienced allergies to pollen, 35% (5280) confirmed allergies related to dust and 20% (2998) said they were allergic to cats.
Allergies After Getting A Hypoallergenic Dog
Of the 15,000 people surveyed above, 6,000 of them confirmed that they went from having a regular dog breed at some point to buying a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Of these 6,000 who chose a non-shedding or low shedding dog breed, we asked if their symptoms were now under control or still an issue.
32% (1,921) of those owners confirmed their symptoms were still an issue while 68% (4,079) said their allergies had either reduced or disappeared completely.
This highlights a very important point. Hypoallergenic dog breeds are unfortunately not a one size fits all. Just because you have chosen a dog breed that is advertised as hypoallergenic doesn’t mean you will be now allergy free.
On the positive side though, it does confirm that some breeds are better than others and it is possible to own a dog whether you have allergies or not.
The operative point here being that you choose the right hypoallergenic dog breed.
What are Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Hypoallergenic dog breeds are dog breeds that do not shed or shed less than other dog breeds.
UK residents who report allergies relating to dogs have found that hypoallergenic dog breeds either see their symptoms disappear or reduce significantly.
This is because hypoallergenic dog breeds as a general rule not only shed less of their coat, they also produce less allergy inducing particles such as dander.
While this is true there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog breed. Every dog will produce at least a small amount of allergy inducing particles. This is true whether through shedding or any other form.
More importantly to note is that some dogs will produce such a low amount that it may go unnoticed by your allergies.
Hypoallergenic dog breeds are great for allergies but they also serve another function. The lesser shedding of their coats means you can rest assured that your house wont be covered in fur.
Any of you that have owned a Siberian Husky for example will know exactly what we mean. The lint rollers really earn their keep in these households which wont be the case for the dogs on our list below.
The 20 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Below we have listed in order the top rated hypoallergenic dog breeds. This list has been compiled by our survey above to show which breeds have worked for UK dog owners.
Whilst it is required that you have interactions with these breeds depending on your specific allergies, the UK dog owners surveyed found overall that this order summed up the best chances to alleviate allergies.
The dog breeds have been graded purely on their allergy reducing effectiveness and traits are not considered outside of grooming and shedding.
20. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are an Irish farm dog breed common in the UK.
This intelligent and energetic dog is not only a great family dog breed, it is also used as a therapy dog due to its obedience and easy training.
For people with allergies the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier may have the answers. Despite having a beautiful lengthy coat the dog breed is known to shed much less than other dogs with similar length coats.
This lower shedding has allowed UK dog owners to enjoy the beautiful breed allergy free in many cases and at a reduced rate in most other cases.
19. Tibetan Terrier
The Tibetan Terrier is the first dog breed on our list that proves a longer coat doesn’t mean more allergies.
This small energetic breed is probably best known for being used by monks as companions. The dog breed is incredibly loyal and protective making them great companions.
When it comes down to hypoallergenic, the Tibetan Terrier ranks highly. It’s longer stringy coat sheds minimally in comparison to many other breeds with it being once a year on average.
Whilst this breed does shed less than the average overall, it’s coat will still require regular grooming.
Keeping a Tibetan Terrier’s coat in check as often as possible will also aide your allergies and they are a great choice as a hypoallergenic dog breed in the UK.
18. Irish Water Spaniel
The second Irish dog breed to make the UK list is the well loved Irish Water Spaniel.
This mid sized dog breed is well known for it’s energy and easiness to train. The Irish Water Spaniel is a hunting companion around the world with loyalty that is second to none.
The curly coat of the Irish Water spaniel is both great to look at and hypoallergenic in nature. Shedding is rare despite daily grooming needs which puts this dog breed into our list as one of the best UK hypoallergenic dog breeds.
17. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested dog breed is one of the few to make this list that will probably shock nobody.
Generally seen sporting a long fringe and a tightly shaved body, the Chinese Crested is just destined to be a hypoallergenic breed favourite.
As if that wasn’t enough, the dog breed is also playful, small and relatively easy to train. It’s cute too just in case you needed more reasons to adopt.
The Chinese Crested is yet another great choice for anyone looking for a small companion who doesn’t shed too often.
16. Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terriers or Irish Terriers as they are sometimes known, come into the hypoallergenic list as strong contenders. So strong in fact that it is perhaps a little surprising that they only rank 16th.
With energy levels as high as any other dog breed and an eagerness to train matching that of a German Shepherd, the Kerry Blue is a breed that is always eager to please it’s human.
The coat hair of this terrier is short with texture similar to us. Their coat doesn’t shed and it’s short nature means grooming is also not needed as much as non hypoallergenic dog breeds.
15. Cairn Terrier
Originating in Scotland, the Cairn Terrier was previously bred to chase out rats. The short tough fighter perhaps personifies it’s home in Scotland and makes for a handy sidekick.
With a waterproof short and wiry coat, the Cairn Terrier is perfect for anyone looking for a hypoallergenic dog breed who is ready to work.
Their temperament and social needs are both charming and welcomed whatever the size of the family who adopts it.
14. Airedale Terrier
Yet another dog from the Terrier dog breed family comes the largest of the group, the Airedale Terrier.
Incredibly playful, intelligent and active, the Airedale Terrier is everything we love about Terriers in general. While this specific breed is the largest of the Terrier breed group, they still remain on the smaller side of dog breeds in general.
Their coats are classed as hypoallergenic and the shedding is rated as low.
While this is true, they are known to shed their coats twice a year. But any attentive dog owner who grooms often will see this as a non-issue for allergies they may have.
13. Border Terrier
Perhaps a more controversial choice of the terrier breed is the Border Terrier.
Playful, full of energy and good around young children would be just a handful of reasons why it’s high on that list.
It’s coat is hypoallergenic but it is very important to note that this only stays the case if regular grooming is followed.
If you are a novice dog owner then this may not be the choice for you as the grooming commitment is significant. If you do put the effort in though, the results are great for anyone with dog allergies.
The infamous German farm dog breed known as the Schnauzer come into our list at number 12.
Known as a companion dog with the capability and desire to guard and protect. Used by German police forces and working on farms across the World, this breed is versatile and reliable.
When it comes down to their coats they also have significant advantage over other breeds. The breed tends to shed twice a year and are not a big offender of fur around the house.
As always, reliable and consistent grooming see’s them as the 12th best hypoallergenic dog breed in the UK.
11. Yorkshire Terrier
The ‘biggest small dog’ breed out there is the Yorkshire Terrier.
This title doesn’t quite match the stature of this breed since they are very small in size. But don’t try and tell this dog that though, the breed is notorious for not quite realising how small they actually are.
Fearless and adventurous, the Yorkshire Terrier may think it is bigger than any other dog in front of it. It’s this charm that adds to the desirability of the dog breed especially in Britain.
Their coats are firmly placed in the hypoallergenic category due to its texture and the fact that it sheds it’s coat very rarely throughout the year.
A firm favourite that has seen an increase in ownership over the last 5 years is the Labradoodle.
A cross breed combining the Labrador who is ranked the 2nd most popular dog breed in the UK and the iconic working dog breed, the poodle. It is no mystery that this was likely to be a success combining two iconic breeds together.
Taking the traits of energy, playfulness and intelligence from both breeds, this dog is quickly becoming a favourite both domestically in the UK and with our cousins across the pond in the USA.
With all initial cross breeding, it obviously cannot be predicted which genetic traits the dog will get from which blood line.
It is perhaps a little fortunate then that the breed inherited the coat of the Poodle over the Labrador which in turn made it very hypoallergenic.
This cross breeding issue is specifically important if you are looking to buy a Labradoodle mainly for hypoallergenic reasons.
1st generation Labaradoodles (where one parent is a Labrador) can see a mixed bag of features, particularly with the dogs coat being unpredictable.
On the other hand, 2nd generation Labradoodles (where both parents are Labradoodles) tend to inherit a coat that is more Poodle than Labrador making it very hypoallergenic.
Be sure to check with your breeder before buying just to be sure.
9. Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier, shares the same traits as the Terriers above that preceded it on this list.
A highly energetic breed who loves nothing more than long walks or playing with the family. ‘Scotties’ have become an iconic breed who have even secured a playing piece in the board game Monopoly.
They do require some significant grooming but if done correctly this breed can be very hypoallergenic. They shed a below average amount in general and their small stature ensures that their coat is smaller than most in volume.
Ask a Havanese dog owner how the breed compares to any other dog breed and most will tell you they are far superior in every way.
They are very loving and extremely playful whenever required. They make great companions and require less exercise than the average dog breed.
To add to this they rank very well on how little they shed and despite the need for quite a lot of grooming, the results create a very hypoallergenic dog breed.
7. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise dog breed are another breed with a lot of happy owners in the UK.
The breed itself has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade reaching all corners of the World in popularity.
Much like the Terriers on this list, the Bichon Frise will require diligent owners who groom regularly. The other similarity will be that this grooming pays off in dividends and the breed sheds way below the average amount in comparison to other dogs.
Bichon Frise are a great companion hypoallergenic dog breed owned throughout the UK.
The Komondor at first glance may look like a dog allergy nuclear bomb due to its mass of hair.
Well that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Komondor dog breed is well known for it’s lack of shedding and it’s hypoallergenic features.
Much like other hypoallergenic dog breeds, the Komondor does require a much higher than average grooming regime. Regular grooming though will really pay off with the majority of people with dog allergies opting for this breed in their home.
Add on the intelligence of the breed and it’s desire to go on long walks and you can really see the appeal for this dog breed.
5. West Highland White Terrier
Not quite the final terrier on this top 20 is of course the ‘Westie’.
West Highland Terriers are synonymous in the UK and the chances are you have seen at least one in the last few months.
They are short in stature and large in spirit with a keen appetite for playing.
Whilst they like other breeds do have a double coat that sheds, UK Dog Owner members have found that their allergies are rare when around this particular breed.
Keeping on top of grooming and ensuring that there is no neglect when it comes to maintenance of the ‘Westie’ has seen great results across the UK.
Forever alert and always looking for leadership, the Basenji is a hypoallergenic dog breed with attitude.
Originally bred in Africa to assist in hunting, the breed has made it’s way to the UK over the past 15 years. The Basenji is famous for it’s almost complete lack of barking and it’s high intelligence.
Although they are seen as hard to train, if you are looking for a hypoallergenic breed then the low shedding and low requirement of grooming might make the Basenji a perfect choice.
3. Maltese Terrier
The final and highest ranking Terrier on the list is the gorgeous Maltese Terrier.
Known for their beautiful white coats and their small stature, Maltese Terriers are hugely popular Worldwide.
They boast the usual playful and energetic nature of other Terrier breeds along with love that will snuggle the night with it’s owner.
Maltese Terriers are also number 3 on this list for a reason. The breed notoriously doesn’t shed and it’s grooming needs are way below the average.
When it comes to hypoallergenic dog breeds the Maltese is a serious contender for the number one title.
2. Shih Tzu
When it comes to a loving nature, not many breeds can even come close to the Shih Tzu dog breed.
The breed is very popular in the United Kingdom and owners across the World will attest to their playfulness and good nature.
Shih Tzu’s boast a coat that sheds a minimal amount with the majority of the shedding happening during grooming sessions.
This makes them great hypoallergenic dogs and a top choice for UK dog owners who have limited space and allergies.
The number one hypoallergenic dog breed comes into the list in the form of the Poodle
This energetic working dog breed is tried and tested over generations with it’s roots dating all the way back to 15th century. This breed is still used throughout the World today as both a companion and a working dog.
Their high intelligence and keen work ethic make them ideal for the more energetic dog owner. They are incredibly loyal and come in various sizes and cross breeds.
As with the Labradoodle in the list above, poodles boast a non shedding coat. They do require a larger commitment on the grooming side but if you are looking for an energetic hypoallergenic dog breed then look no further.
The poodle for us and our readers is the number 1 hypoallergenic dog breed in the UK for 2021.
We hope you enjoyed our list and agree with the results of the survey we conducted.
As with any medical issues, it is important to consult a medical professional if you suffer from allergies or reactions before making the choice of purchasing a dog.
If at all possible it would be a good idea to spend time with a breed you are thinking of buying to see how your allergies react in it’s vicinity.
Where this isn’t possible try to visit the breeder you have chosen to spend some extensive time either in the dog breed’s home or with direct interaction.
Much like other allergies it can be trial and error in finding a solution. Be sure to do everything you can to be sure before making a life commitment with a new puppy.