Having allergies while also being a dog lover can be tough, especially if you live in a smaller space where those allergens are more apt to cause you or your loved ones issues.
But you don’t have to let your allergies keep you or your family from owning the dog of your dreams.
You probably already know that there are countless breeds and mixes available that are considered hypoallergenic. But if you’re also looking for small hypoallergenic dogs for smaller spaces, your list to choose from just shrunk.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Today, we’re introducing you to 12 small hypoallergenic dogs you probably didn’t know about.
But before we begin, let’s take a closer look at the term “hypoallergenic”, and why it may not mean exactly what you think.
The Controversy Behind The Term “Hypoallergenic”
The term “hypoallergenic” leads many to believe that some dogs don’t shed at all.
According to a study published in 2018 by the Allergy Asthma Immunology Research Foundation, it is estimated that at least 10% to 20% of the world’s population struggles with pet allergies to dogs and cats.
When you consider this, it’s easy to see why small hypoallergenic dogs have become so popular. But what is a hypoallergenic dog, and is there really such a thing?
In layman’s terms, if something is considered “hypoallergenic”, it means that it is much less likely to cause allergies in people with sensitivities.
When it comes to dogs, most allergies are caused by the dandar dogs produce that attaches itself to their fur. According to the American Lung Association, Pet dander is a combination of small particles of dead skin, dried saliva, and even microscopic particles of dried urine and feces that become attached to an animal’s fur or feathers.
If you have a dog, that dog’s dander is easily and consistently dispersed into his environment as he moves. It will be dispersed more heavily if the dog in question is a serious shedder.
Dander also can become detached from the fur when a dog shakes or runs, causing the particles to become airborne and get into the eyes, nose and mouth of people nearby.
This can lead to some annoying and even dangerous symptoms to those who struggle with allergies.
Allergies are never fun, even when they’re mild. A pet allergy can lead to a variety of symptoms from a runny nose to an itchy throat, to even swollen eyes and cold-like symptoms. Some allergy attacks linked to pet allergies are more severe, and can lead to asthma flare ups that can be life threatening.
If you’re struggling with allergies but still want to invest in a dog, the good news is that you do have options. The bad news is that hypoallergenic dogs are not technically 100% hypoallergenic.
And that’s where the controversy comes in.
All dogs shed to some degree, it’s just that some dogs shed more or less than others. Dogs with dense, double coats tend to shed heaviest, and their coats tend to produce more allergy inducing dandar as well. These dogs are the breeds and mixes that typically cause allergy problems in those who are sensitive.
Other dogs, those that are considered hypoallergenic, are dogs that tend to shed less and even produce less allergy inducing dander. So, while they may not be 100% hypoallergenic, they can cause less allergy flare ups and live well in homes alongside those who struggle with allergies.
The Pros and Cons of Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
Small dogs can make wonderful companions, but they are not right for every owner or household.
Are you thinking about committing to one of our below small hypoallergenic dogs? If so, there are some factors experts recommend you consider first.
If you have severe allergies, it may be a good idea to speak with a doctor before opting to invest in a dog, even if that dog is considered hypoallergenic. If your symptoms are severe and life threatening but you still are set on raising a dog, you might even consider speaking with an allergist who can guide you on the best type of small hypoallergenic dogs for your condition.
There are also pros and cons to owning small hypoallergenic dogs that go outside of allergies. Take a look.
Pros of Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
- Small dogs are ideal for apartment living and smaller spaces
- Small hypoallergenic dogs may shed less and produce less allergy inducing dander
- Small dogs are more compact and easier to travel with
- They are often less expensive to care for and maintain
- Small hypoallergenic dogs may require less grooming maintenance
- Small hypoallergenic dogs tend to become very bonded to their family members
Cons of Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
- Smaller dogs can be more difficult to housetrain than larger dogs
- Some small hypoallergenic dogs require more grooming maintenance than others
- Small dogs can be more easily prone to injury than larger dogs and mixes
- Small hypoallergenic dogs may still shed and cause allergy symptoms
- Some small hypoallergenic dogs are considered more hypoallergenic than others
- First generation crossbreed dogs may or may not be hypoallergenic
- Some small dogs can be more prone to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors
What To Consider Before Considering Investing In Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
Before you decide if one of the below small hypoallergenic dogs is right for you, it’s important to do your research. Not only is it important that your dog is hypoallergenic, but it is also important that your dog fits into your unique lifestyle, home and family.
If there are young children in the home, be sure to pick out a dog that is going to get along well with youngsters and that is friendly, patient and calm. It’s also a good idea to teach young children how to properly and safely interact with the family dog to ensure everyone is getting along happily.
Remember, many of the small hypoallergenic dogs on our list below were bred specifically for companionship. This means that they might be more prone to suffering from separation anxiety that can lead to depression and destructive behaviors if they are left home alone too often.
Make sure the dog you get is well-equipped for your type of schedule, and ensure that both you and the dog are a good fit for one another.
Last, be sure you get your dog from a reputable source. Remember that mixed dogs (like mini Goldendoodles, for example) are not always going to be hypoallergenic. This is especially true if you get a first or second generation puppy whose coat hasn’t yet been determined.
Research is your friend, these days, especially when it comes to looking into hypoallergenic dogs. So, without further ado, let’s get started looking at some of our favorite small hypoallergenic dogs we bet you didn’t know existed.
1. The Chinese Crested Dog
The Chinese Crested dog is an obvious choice for a hypoallergenic dog as he grows very little hair.
Height: 11 to 13 Inches
Weight: 8 to 12 Pounds
Temperament: Affectionate, Spirited, Playful
Best Suited For: Active Families, Singles, Seniors, Retirees, Those With Flexible Schedules
Lifespan: 13 to 18 Years
Though his name suggests otherwise, the Chinese Crested Dog does not actually hail from China. Instead, these interesting looking dogs are believed to have originated in South Africa.
It’s difficult to miss a Chinese Crested Dog on the street, especially if you come across a hairless version. The breed actually comes in two varieties, including hairless and the Powderpuff. Both are small hypoallergenic dogs and they are born into the same litter.
Chinese Crested Dogs make fabulous companions for a variety of owners. They are friendly, playful, alert and adoring, and do well with gentle children and in smaller spaces. Though relatively quiet, Chinese Crested dogs are known to alert bark, which also makes them great watch dogs.
However, their exposed skin can make them susceptible to a variety of skin issues like sunburn, so owners will need to take special care to ensure their dog is protected when outside.
2. The Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear is still considered quite rare, but he’s slowly building a name for himself.
Height: 9 to 11 Inches
Weight: 8 to 15 Pounds
Temperament: Friendly, Charming, Cheerful, Clever
Best Suited For: Families, Seniors, Singles, Retirees, Those With A Flexible Schedule
Lifespan: 15 to 19 Years
The Coton de Tulear may not be the most well known dog on our list of small hypoallergenic dog breeds, but that doesn’t make him any less of a star. This little white companion dog hails from Madagascar, and is so beloved by enthusiasts that the dog is sometimes referred to as if he is a furry little human.
While small, Coton de Tulear dogs are considered robust. They can do well in homes with gentle children and other pets, and get along well in households with owners that have a flexible schedule.
Remember, these small hypoallergenic dogs are companion dogs at heart, and will stick by their people like glue during every waking second. If left alone too long or too often, the Coton de Tulear may become depressed, stressed and destructive.
3. The Basenji
The Basenji doesn’t look like your typical hypoallergenic dog, and yet here he is!
Height: 16 yo 17 Inches
Weight: 22 to 24 Pounds
Temperament: Independent, Intelligent, Self-Assured, Athletic
Best Suited For: Active and Experienced Dog Owners
Lifespan: 13 to 14 Years
The Basenji is a unique dog on our list of small hypoallergenic dog breeds for a few different reasons. First, this dog doesn’t look like the typical small hypoallergenic dogs you might be used to seeing. His coat is smooth and straight, much like coats of dogs that do shed and produce a good amount of dander.
But alas, the Basenji is considered a hypoallergenic dog thanks to his fastidious and feline-like grooming habits, as well as his very short coat.
The Basenji is also unique in that he doesn’t bark. Also known as Africa’s Barkless Dog, the Basenji is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds and even spent some of his early history as a semi-wild dog in the African wilderness.
Today, Basenjis are considered whip smart, athletic and self-confident. They do best with active owners who are able to spend time with them and commit to exercise, training, and socialization.
4. The Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier is a lesser known terrier type that is compact, playful and hypoallergenic.
Height: 15 to 17.5 Inches
Weight: 17 to 23 Pounds
Temperament: Devoted, Playful, Charming
Best Suited For: Active Families, Singles and Couples
Lifespan: 11 to 16 Years
The Bedlington Terrier is described by the American Kennel Club as an “English Gentleman”. This unique looking dog is one of our small dog breeds that’s a bit larger in size and is therefore ideal for homes with children and other pets.
However, likely related to the Whippet, the Bedlington Terrier is also delicately built, and can be prone to injury if handled too roughly. Still, he is a playful, charming, and cuddly companion that gets along well with children and other pets.
He has a strong prey drive and a good, spirited Terrier temperament, so he’ll do well with active and patient owners who are able and willing to commit to his exercise and training needs.
5. The Miniature Schnauzer
A much smaller version of his Giant Schnauzer counterpart, the Mini Schnauzer makes a devoted, affectionate family companion.
Height: 12 to 14 Inches
Weight: 11 to 20 Pounds
Temperament: Friendly, Devoted, Trainable, Intelligent
Best Suited For: Families, Singles, Couples, Seniors and Retirees
Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years
The Schnauzer is a dog that comes in a few coat colors and sizes, but for this list of small hypoallergenic dog breeds, we are focusing on the Miniature Schnauzer.
Small, compact, and highly trainable, the Miniature Schnauzer brings all the charm of his standard sized counterpart without so much of the maintenance. This dog is eager to please and quick to learn, and he gets along well in homes with children and other pets.
The mini Schnauzer does have a high prey drive, however, so owners should be aware of this when taking their little dog out and about for walks.
6. The Chipoo
The Chipoo is a mix between the Toy or Miniature Poodle and the Purebred Chihuahua.
Height: 5 to 15 Inches
Weight: 5 to 20 Pounds
Temperament: Independent, Intelligent, Spunky, Affectionate
Best Suited For: Singles, Seniors, Couples, Reiterates, Families With Older Children
Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years
The Chipoo is a mixed breed dog that is relatively new to the scene. This is one of our small hypoallergenic dogs that may or may not be fully hypoallergenic, depending on his generation.
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic chipoo, we recommend going through a breeder and looking for a crossbreed that is at least three generations in. You also have the option of going through a rescue and adopting an adult Chipoo whose coat has already been established.
A mix between the Toy or Miniature Poodle and the Chihuahua, Chipoos are intelligent, athletic and loving dogs that do well in apartment settings They become very bonded with their family but are also somewhat independent. They do well in homes with adults or families with older children, though some Chipoos may not tolerate youngsters very well.
For this reason, it’s best to monitor children around your Chipoo at all times to avoid potential nips.
7. The Cairn Terrier
The Cairn Terrier was made famous by Warner Bros adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in 1939.
Height: 9.5 to 10 Inches
Weight: 13 to 14 Pounds
Temperament: Charming, Happy, Active, Intelligent
Best Suited For: Active Families, Singles, Couples, Active Seniors or Retirees
Lifespan: 13 to 15 Years
You may recognize the Cairn Terrier as starring alongside Judy Garland in the Warner Bros adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz. It was said that Judy Garland herself was so fond of the Toto actor (really named Terry) that she wanted to keep him for herself in real life!
Considering this clever, friendly and funny little Scottish dog’s temperament, it’s no wonder. Cairn Terriers are famously intelligent, though they can also be stubborn and terrier-like all at the same time. These small hypoallergenic dogs have a propensity for digging, which is no surprise considering they were originally bred as digging dogs designed to dig prey out of holes and dens.
Compact, fearless, and sweet-natured, the busy little Cairn Terrier does well in active families with older, gentle children. They will get along with other pets, but they require some routine training and exercise, as well as socialization at an early age.
8. The Miniature Labradoodle
The Mini Labradoodle brings all the love and playfulness of a standard Labradoodle in a much smaller package.
Height: 14 to 16 Inches
Weight: 15 to 25 Pounds
Temperament: Playful, Family-Oriented, Active, Intelligent
Best Suited For: Families, First Time Dog Owners, Active Dog Owners
Lifespan: 12 to 14 Years
The Labradoodle is one of the world’s most popular crossbreeds to date, so it’s exciting to learn that a mini version of him exists that we can add to our list of small hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The mini Labradoodle is just like the standard Labradoodle, although he is a cross between Miniature Poodles as opposed to Standard Poodles, as well as smaller Labrador Retrievers. There is some controversy surrounding the breeding of mini Labradoodles, especially if breeders are not careful or are breeding runts or dogs with dwarfism to maintain a smaller puppy.
A healthy mini Labradoodle can be an excellent addition to a home with children and other pets. Labradoodles are intelligent, friendly, family-oriented and playful. Without proper exercise, however, they can become bored and destructive.
9. The Maltipoo
The Maltipoo is considered a designer dog and is a cross between the Toy or Miniature Poodle and the Maltese.
Height: 8 to 14 Inches
Weight: 5 to 20 Pounds
Temperament: Sweet, Friendly, Intelligent, Affectionate
Best Suited For: People With Flexible Schedules, Seniors, Retirees, Singles, Couples
Lifespan: 10 to 15 Years
The Maltipoo is another of our small hypoallergenic dogs that is not a purebred. This dog is a mix between the Miniature or Toy Poodle and the Maltese. Since both Poodles and Maltese dogs are considered hypoallergenic, your Maltipoo is going to be considered hypoallergenic as well.
Maltipoo dogs can be quite small, and they can be prone to injury if played with too roughly by children or other pets. However, they are patient, sweet and affectionate, and get along well in homes with gentle children and smaller animals.
The Maltipoo dog does become very attached to his family, however, and can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for too long during the day. A bred companion dog, Malitpoos are small hypoallergenic dogs that are best suited for retirees, singles, couples, or families with a flexible schedule.
10. The Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a compact truffle dog hailing from Italy.
Height: 16 to 18 Inches
Weight: 24 to 35 Pounds
Temperament: Easy Going, Affectionate, Eager to Please
Best Suited For: First Time Dog Owners, Families, Singles, Seniors and Retirees
Lifespan: 15 to 17 Years
Also known as Lagottos, the Lagotto Romagnolo is not only irresistibly adorable, but he also plays a major role in supplying us with one of Italy’s finest delicacies – truffles!
The Truffle Dog Of Italy is designed for endurance and work, though he looks much more like a sweet and snuggly teddy bear than an intelligent and focused digger.
Trained to follow his nose, the Lagotto is highly clever. He is eager to please and easy to train, and does well in a variety of households and family styles so long as his needs are met. This is also one of our larger dogs on this list of small hypoallergenic dog breeds, but he’s so low maintenance owners will scarcely notice.
11. The Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is likely more well known than some of the other small hypoallergenic dogs on our list.
Height: 9.5 to 11.5 Inches
Weight: 12 to 18 Pounds
Temperament: Playful, Cheerful, Inquisitive, Affectionate
Best Suited For: Active Families, Singles, Couples, Seniors and Retirees
Lifespan: 14 to 15 Years
The Bichon Frise is a family favorite for a multitude of reasons. His white coat makes him look more like a walking cloud than a dog, and his funny little personality is incredibly infectious. Bichon Frise dogs make wonderful additions to apartments and to homes of those who suffer from allergies.
These small hypoallergenic dogs also do well with children and other pets. They are known as joyful comedians and will not only bring life to your home, but laughter as well.
12. The Toy Poodle
The Toy Poodle is a small, hypoallergenic dog known for his incredible intelligence.
Height: Under 10 Inches
Weight: 4 to 6 Pounds
Temperament: Intelligent, Athletic, Playful, Friendly, Family Oriented
Best Suited For: Active Families With Older Children, Singles, Seniors and Retirees
Lifespan: 12 to 18 Years
Toy Poodles are very small hypoallergenic dogs that are bred down from their standard and Miniature sized Poodle counterparts. While these dogs are naturally active, athletic and highly intelligent, they are also quite fragile.
Still, toy Poodles are known for their brains and their beauty. They also won’t mind getting their paws dirty now and again on outings.
Because they are so intune with their family, Toy Poodles do well in homes with active seniors or retirees. They enjoy being outside but also love lounging around and cuddling.
They also make great additions to homes and families with older, more gentle children and homes with other small pets. However, it should be noted that Toy Poodles are small hypoallergenic dogs with a high prey drive, so make sure you walk your Toy Poodle on a leash and harness when out and about.
How To Go About Finding Small Hypoallergenic Dogs In Your Area
Picking a healthy puppy or rescue begins with making sure you go through the right source.
As we previously mentioned in the beginning of this article, it’s imperative that you go through reputable sources when looking to obtain one of the above small hypoallergenic dogs above.
A reputable source is going to either be a breeder or a shelter that has done their proper vetting and that goes the extra mile to ensure dogs are healthy.
If you’re looking into getting small hypoallergenic dogs through a breeder, pick breeders that have a history with the breed or mix you’re interested in.
Most reputable breeders should be able to provide you with paperwork proving their puppies have been health screened and cleared of any serious health issues. Some breeders will also provide you with paperwork proving pedigree.
Avoid backyard breeders or unqualified or unlicensed breeders selling puppies for astronomical prices or prices that seem too good to be true. Going through a source that has not implemented good breeding practices could quickly land you with a sick puppy.
If you’re going through a shelter, pick a shelter you trust. There are plenty of benefits of rescuing a dog through a shelter, including price. Many shelter dogs cost a fraction of those bought through breeders.
Plus, shelters will often provide owners with a free initial vet exam and even have their dogs undergo some behavioral testing before sending them home with you.
Last, be sure to keep us posted on the small hypoallergenic dogs you are most interested in. We would love to hear from you and hear your feedback on the above breeds and mixes!
Let us know what you think about these small hypoallergenic dogs in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.