If you have a child who is allergic to dogs then you probably already know it can be hard to find a suitable dog as a pet. Sometimes it’s a case of lucking into a dog that your child seems to be able to tolerate. On the other hand, there are some breeds that are often good bets for people with allergies. In many cases dogs that have single coats, as opposed to double coats, and which produce less dander, seem to be better for people who have allergies. It doesn’t matter whether a dog has long or short hair, but whether a dog has an undercoat that matters more.
Dogs that have single coats and which are often considered good for allergy-sufferers include the Bedlington Terrier, the Bichon Frise, the Chinese Crested, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Maltese, the Poodle (all sizes), the Portuguese Water Dog, the Schnauzer (all sizes), the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and the Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog). These dogs also produce less dander than most other breeds.
Now, of the dogs from this list, which breeds would be best for kids?
- Bedlington Terriers typically get along very well with children and they can be a good choice as a pet for kids. The Bedlington is a terrier and some terriers are quite feisty, but the Bedlington is usually calmer than other terrier breeds and very good-natured. They make happy companions and they love to please. The Bedlington does require professional grooming to keep him looking neat and trim.
- The Bichon Frise can be an excellent dog for children. They are cheerful and happy dogs with good manners. They are sensitive and playful, too. They love to be with people and are very sociable and affectionate. They are also quite intelligent. They usually love children and get along with them very well. Bichons are quite small, standing only about 12 inches tall at the shoulder, and weighing up to 20 pounds, so you should teach your younger children to play gently with them. The Bichon Frise also requires regular clipping to keep his coat looking nice.
- The Chinese Crested does not weigh more than 10 pounds, so they may be too small for even the most careful of children. Likewise, the Maltese is a very small dog, weighing only about 7 pounds. For this reason, because of their very small sizes, these two breeds are not recommended for children.
- The Irish Water Spaniels make excellent family dogs and they are usually wonderful with children. This is an exuberant breed and the dogs are very active. They do best with an active family and with children who will spend a lot of time with them. They need a lot of exercise so if you have children who spend a lot of time outdoors, this breed is a good choice. They love swimming and any water-related activities. The Irish Water Spaniel is a large dog, standing up to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 65 pounds. The coat of the Irish Water Spaniel curls naturally. These dogs require little regular grooming. They do not need to be brushed very often. You can take a pair of scissors to trim the straggly ends of their hair to make them look tidier and comb out any tangles. Once they are wet again their hair will curl back up.
- The Kerry Blue Terrier is another breed from Ireland, and one that is fairly uncommon. The texture of their coat is similar to human hair and they do need professional grooming every few weeks to keep them looking nice. Kerries are very gentle with children and can make good family dogs. They are loyal and affectionate dogs. They can be very active dogs so it’s best if these dogs are paired with active children. The Kerry stands about 18-19 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh about 40 pounds.
- Poodles of all sizes are usually very good with children, although the Standard Poodle (the largest of the Poodles) is believed to be the best. Poodles are very smart and they love to please people. They are easy to train and the Standard Poodle is a very active dog that needs exercise. All three sizes of Poodle are very playful dogs. The Poodle makes an excellent family dog. Poodles do need regular grooming to look nice. You can have your dog get a simple puppy clip to keep things easy. The Toy Poodle is 10 inches tall; the Miniature Poodle is 10 to 15 inches tall; and the Standard Poodle is over 15 inches tall at the shoulder.
- The Portuguese Water Dog is very similar to the Irish Water Spaniel, and the two breeds may be related. The Portuguese Water Dog is also a great swimmer and loves water sports. They are very good with children and can be protective of them. They are a happy, active, intelligent breed. The Portuguese Water Dog is considered to be loving and independent. They are said to be easily trained. These dogs are usually professionally groomed. The current popular way to trim their coat is in a “retriever cut” which is to leave their coat about one inch long all over their body.
- Schnauzers, particularly Miniature Schnauzers, are good with children. All of the Schnauzers are lovely and friendly dogs, though they also make good watchdogs. All of the Schnauzers are loyal and devoted. The Miniature Schnauzer stands about 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 20 pounds. The Standard Schnauzer stands up to 18 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 45 pounds. The Giant Schnauzer stands up to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 80 pounds. Schnauzers also need professional grooming to keep their coats looking nice.
- The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is another breed from Ireland and they are thought to be related to the Kerry Blue Terrier. Wheatens make a great dog for kids and usually love children. The Wheaten is a very active, playful dog. They need lots of exercise they they usually do best with active children. They are very friendly and loving. They are also very intelligent and easy to train. They can be very protective of their families and they usually make good watchdogs. The Wheaten usually stands up to 19 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 45 pounds. Wheatens usually do best in places with cooler weather. Wheatens need to be brushed daily.
- The Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican Hairless Dog, also known as the Xolo, has many traits of a primitive dog. They are very intelligent, they have lots of energy, they are very curious, and they have strong hunting and canine social instincts. These traits are desirable in this ancient breed. However, these qualities do not necessarily make this breed a good choice for raising with your children.
These are the best dogs for kids with allergies. This doesn’t mean that you can just call up a breeder of one of these breeds and tell them to send you a dog. It doesn’t work that way. If you are interested in one of these breeds you and your child should arrange to meet with a breeder and one of their dogs in a non-doggy place so your child can see how he or she reacts to the dog. It’s important to choose a place where your child won’t be overwhelmed with dog dander from other dogs. If the breeder has dog dander on their clothes, you may need to ask them to stand back and let you bring the puppy or dog closer to your child. (Try not to be offensive and explain this to the breeder when you talk before the meeting.) Your child will need to meet any dog they are interested in on an individual basis to make sure the dog will work for them. Don’t be discouraged if the first dog or two you try doesn’t work for your child. You will find the right dog if you keep looking.