8 of the Worst Dog Breeds for Allergies

No dog is truly hypoallergenic, but some are more likely to trigger a reaction

Chocolate Labrador Retriever with paws up on a fence

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Certain breeds are referred to as being 'hypoallergenic'. They're often recommended if you, or a member of your household, suffers from allergies.

Regardless of the breed you get, however, there's no guarantee that they won't set off a person's allergies.

Most people assume that the less hairy a dog is, the less likely they are to set off allergies. It's not usually the hair that causes a problem, but rather their dander.

Dander is the dead skin that flakes from the body, and all dogs produce this. Dander clings to dog hairs, so dogs that naturally shed a lot leave more dander around the house.

Breeds that are prone to drooling could also be more likely to cause a problem as they will spread more saliva around the house.

Although they're not necessarily the worst dog breeds for allergies, the eight popular breeds listed below have a higher likelihood of causing a problem for people with pet allergies.

  • 01 of 08

    Basset Hound

    Basset Hound standing on a porch

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    Basset Hounds are generally sweet, lovable and mild-mannered, with a characterful stubborn streak. They are one of the most popular of the Hound group, but not necessarily a good choice for people with allergies.

    Bassets, with their generous jowls and skin folds, are known for being champion droolers. This means their saliva is more likely to find it's way onto your skin, soft furnishings and other items in the home. This increased exposure means it is more likely to trigger a reaction.

    Despite having a short coat, Bassets also shed a lot. More hair around the home generally means more dander.

    Breed Overview

    Height: less than 15 inches

    Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short legs; long, droopy ears; loose skin; large paws and powerful legs; wrinkled brow; short, smooth coat; coat color includes combinations of black, white, brown, tan, lemon, mahogany, and red

  • 02 of 08

    Doberman Pinscher

    Doberman Pischer Profile shot in front of a blurry meadow

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    If your a big dog lover and looking for a smart and trainable protector, you might think the Doberman will be the perfect choice if you suffer from allergies. They only have a thin, single coat after all.

    This breed, however, can frequently trigger a flare-up. Their shedding is moderate rather than excessive, but they're big dogs, and this means more hair and dander.

    Also, Dobs themselves are more prone to allergies and skin sensitivities than your average breed. Skin problems often lead to dry and flaky skin, and this results in larger amounts of dander being deposited around the house.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 24 to 28 inches

    Weight: 65 to 100 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, deep-chested, sturdy and muscular breed; short, smooth coat in black, red, blue, or fawn with rust markings

  • 03 of 08

    German Shepherd

    Long-haired German Shepherd lying on grass

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    German Shepherds are one of the most enduringly popular dog breeds. They're smart, eager to please, devoted and brave.

    They're also known for being one of the most excessive shedders. Whether you get a long or a short-haired GSD, expect their hairs to get everywhere, especially during their bi-annual coat blow.

    A big dog that sheds masses of hair, inevitably results in a lot of dander being released into the environment. This, unsurprisingly, means they will commonly trigger bad allergic reactions.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, athletic build with a double coat, comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat with tan and black or red and black coloring

  • 04 of 08

    Siberian Husky

    Husky head shot standing in a garden with trees in background

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    Huskies are another incredibly popular breed. Strikingly beautiful, athletic and friendly, they are well-suited to very active households.

    Not so much, however, if the household has an allergy sufferer. Huskies, like the GSD, are known for depositing masses of hair around the home. Their thick, double coat was designed to keep them warm in their native arctic homelands, and they often top the list of excessive shedders.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 20 to 23 inches

    Weight: 45 to 60 pounds (male); 35 to 50 pounds (female)

    Physical Characteristics: Thick double coat that comes in a variety of colors including combinations of black, gray, white and tan

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Labrador Retriever

    Black Labrador Retriever sitting in dried grass

    Faba-Photograhpy / Getty Images

    The Labrador Retriever has topped the AKC's list of most popular breeds for many years in a row. It's no surprise, really. These dogs can make wonderful family pets.

    Smart, loyal and biddable, Labs slot in well to most homes that can offer them enough company and exercise. Sadly, however, they are known for frequently triggering human allergies.

    Their double coat may be relatively short, but it's dense and sheds profusely. They're also known for often suffering from dry, flaky skin.

    It's thought, however, that dogs that swim frequently may have lower allergen concentrations in their hair. So, if your water-loving Lab enjoys a daily swim in the lake or the sea, flare-ups may be less common.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21 to 24 inches

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium to large-sized sturdy, athletic build; smooth, water-resistant coats; otter-like tail; a clean-cut head with a broad skull and powerful jaws; and friendly eyes

  • 06 of 08


    Pekingese head shot in front of blurred green outdoor background

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    Pekingese fans love them for their affectionate, loyal and spirited personalities.

    It's not just their long shedding coat that can present a problem for allergies sufferers, however. The breed is known for being rather stubborn, and mastering house training can sometimes be a challenge.

    Dander and saliva aren't the only things that can trigger allergies. Urine is also an allergen. If your Peke is marking around the house, this could increase the chances of a flare-up happening.

    A good enzymatic stain and odor remover will be important to help neutralize any traces of urine left.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 9 inches

    Weight: Up to 14 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Compact, stocky toy dog with a flat face and a long, thick double coat that requires regular maintenance; most recognizable by lion-like manes; coats can come in gold, sable, or red, but can also be grey, black, tan, and cream

  • 07 of 08


    Black Pug lying on garden grass

    Samantha French / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The popular Pug may be small and short-coated, but that doesn't mean they won't trigger an allergy. With their wrinkled, flat snout they can be prone to gathering a lot of slobber around their jowls. Plus, their coat sheds year-round.

    Pugs can also be prone to having sensitive skin themselves. Their skin folds can contribute to the development of bacterial infections. While these are being treated, if your Pug is uncomfortable, they are more likely to run themselves against soft furnishings and carpets.

    The breed is also susceptible to allergies. This can result in dry skin, and more dander will be shed as a result.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Weight: 14 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Compact, but sturdy and active dog with a round head, wrinkly face, short nose, and curly tail; short, smooth coats that typically come in fawn or black

  • 08 of 08

    Saint Bernard

    Saint Bernard head shot with a grey, snowy background

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    The Saint Bernard may be known as the nanny dog because of their gentle and loyal temperament, but they can be a triple whammy when it comes to the potential for triggering allergies.

    First off, they're a giant breed—the bigger the dog, the more dander that's produced. Secondly, this breed sheds - a lot! The dander will stick to the shed hairs, and these will circulate around the home.

    Thirdly, when it comes to slobbering, few dogs will beat the Saint Bernard in this department. Saliva can get everywhere with this breed, and this isn't good news for allergy sufferers.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 28 to 30 inches (males), 26 to 28 inches (female)

    Weight: 140 to 180 pounds (male), 120 to 140 pounds (female)

    Physical Characteristics: Short and smooth or long and silky coat; colors include white with red, brown or brindle markings; a black "mask" is typically seen

As established, whatever breed of dog you get, there's always a chance they could trigger an individual's allergies. Selecting a breed that doesn't shed as much and isn't a champion drooler could help minimize any issues.

There are also other steps you can take to help minimize any possible irritation. Regular grooming, investing in a good vacuum cleaner, frequently washing bedding, and not encouraging your dog up onto the sofa or your bed are all good practices.

If your dog has dry, flaky skin, this will increase the amount of dander around the household, and it won't be comfortable for your dog. Feeding a high-quality diet, not overbathing your dog, and using a good shampoo when you do can help to promote a healthy skin and coat.

If your dog has persistent dry or irritated skin, you should always seek advice from your vet to establish if there is an underlying cause that needs treatment.