As this article is focused on the best hypoallergenic dogs great for families with kids, we need to look through the list of breeds that are the least allergenic and select from that group the best dogs for kids.
Besides the less allergenic quality you may prefer small, medium, or large dogs. You may also have specific breeds that you like the looks of more than another. But this should be low on your list of priorities when selecting the best dog for you child with allergies.
How Old Should a Child be Before Getting a Puppy or a Dog?
In general, a child should be at least 6 to 8 years before getting a puppy. Puppies require a lot more work, so you need to be willing to help your child care for the puppy. This means socializing her and training your child how to take care of the puppy.
Training is important at this young age for a puppy. So, you should investigate group training courses for children or even a private trainer if that is within your budget.
When You Get a Dog, You Will Most Likely End Up as the Primary Puppy Caregiver
What usually happens is Mom ends up taking care of the puppy. Unless your child is very unusual, this is likely to happen. No matter what your child’s age is, he or she is constantly changing. She might beg you for a dog and promise she will take care of the dog. However, it’s likely that her interests will change, and she will become more interested in social activities with friends. These social activities most likely won’t include the dog.
Even when your child gets older, their interests may become more distant from those that will involve the dog. This can be sad for a dog if she feels neglected after spending her early years with a loving companion. Then, suddenly, she is ignore–this is not good or fair to your dog.
This is where you come in. You need to be a willing participant in the care, training, and mental and physical activities.
Taking all of this into consideration, you should have a very large say in what dog you end up selecting.
All Dogs and Owners Benefit by Early Socialization
No matter what the dog breed or breed mix may be, all dogs will benefit from early socialization. This will also benefit the dog’s family members as well. This is because your puppy or dog will be more relaxed the more social situations you introduce her to.
It is now recommended that puppies as young as seven to eight weeks of age begin socialization classes. It’s also recommended that puppies receive at least one set of shots at least 7 days before the first class. It is also recommended that puppies receive one de-worming at least 7 days prior to the first class.
Puppy socialization classes are just the beginning of your puppy’s socialization. It is recommended that you expose your puppy to locations, experiences, people, animals, riding in a car, and just about everything you experience to ensure she will not be frightened or nervous when subjected to a wide variety of sounds, locations, people, and other experiences that come up.
Take Your Puppy with you Where ever you go
Take your puppy to stores that allow dogs and encourage people to approach her and pet her if they are comfortable with it. Be sure to get her used to other children besides your own. Kids always love to pet dogs so allow other children to pet and play with your puppy.
If your puppy tends to be on the shy side and is displaying some fear in some situations, just take it a little slower. Be sure not to overwhelm her with everything at once. It may take her a little time to get used to some things she is experiencing for the first time. Be sure to reward your puppy with treats that she loves so she will equate social experiences with something good – food!
However, don’t take your puppy to places where a lot of unknown dogs have been or are currently in such as a dog park. Wait until your puppy has been completely vaccinated and de-wormed before taking her to a dog park.
6 Best Choices of Dogs with Children in an Allergic Household
These 6 breeds are not in order of what is the best family dogs as we know there are individual preferences among dogs’ breeds for everyone. Also, some of the breeds may be considered too energetic for the lifestyle of the family so families with energetic lifestyles would consider these dogs among the best choices while others wouldn’t. It’s important to realize and accept your family’s lifestyle the way it is now not how you wish it would be in the future.
Low-Shedding Dog Breeds
Here are the dog breeds (there are 6 as I included mixed-breed dogs as adopting a mixed-breed choice can be an excellent choice for your family). All of these dogs shed very little to no hair at all. There are more of dogs that don’t shed, but some of the breeds are not great choices for families with kids.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Portuguese Water Dog
Mixed-Breed dogs (depending upon the mix)
The Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a small dog with males and females averaging from 9 to 11 inches in height. The average weight is 11 – 16 pounds for males and 10 – 15 pounds for females. The lifespan of a Bichon Frise can be 15 years or more.
They have a friendly, sociable, and playful temperament. However, as with most dogs, it is very important that they get socialized at a young age. This enables them to get along well with other people and kids they happen to encounter.
The Bichon requires regular exercise but can be happy playing in a small area. They have a normal level of energy and are playful, however being a small dog, they don’t need huge areas to get enough exercise.
Grooming Your Dog
The Bichon Frise has hair instead of fur. Without grooming, their hair will keep growing and get matted. So, it is important to brush them a couple of times per week to prevent their hair from matting. They also need regular visits to a groomer to keep their hair at a more manageable length.
These little dogs need human companionship to be happy. They want to be a part of whatever their family is up to. Don’t get a Bichon if you plan to leave her alone all day. They are likely to get separation anxiety if left alone daily for day after day.
If you must leave your dog alone all day every day, then none of the breeds mentioned in this article are good choices for you. If you can come up with some alternatives to leaving your dog alone such as letting her spend her day at doggie daycare, that could work.
The Bichon is also very trainable as they are bright little dogs. They can learn Obedience training as well as agility. Even though they are small, they are quite capable of demonstrating their athletic ability.
The Miniature Poodle
The miniature poodle is a small dog of height from 10 to 15 inches and weight from 15 to 20 pounds. Poodles, like the Bichon Friese, have hair instead of fur. This means that they will need regular hair cuts to keep their hair from growing too long and becoming matted.
The average lifespan of a miniature poodle is 15 years, ranging from 14 to 17 years.
There are a variety of hairstyles that you can select for your poodle. However, if she’s not going to be a show dog then most people just get their pet a “sporting clip”. The sporting clip is a well-groomed look with your poodle’s hair cut short without topknots and other decorative features.
The Miniature Poodles’ hair comes in a variety of colors including white, apricot, black, grey, brown, and silver. They shed very little and are about as hypoallergenic as a dog can be.
The temperament of the miniature poodle makes them a great choice for an active family with energetic children. However, poodles are not the kind of dog that you just dump in your backyard and ignore.
Don’t get a Poodle if she will be left alone all day. Poodles don’t do well left on their own and may develop separation anxiety. Someone should be at home with your dog all day and be able to play with her and exercise her and give her attention.
Include Your Poodle in Family Activities
Poodles need to be a part of whatever is going on in the household. They are very intelligent and easily trained. They have a natural desire to please which makes them a great choice for families with children.
Poodles are excellent at obedience training and dog agility. They are also great at learning tricks which could be a lot of fun for kids to be involved in.
Poodles also require a lot of exercise, so don’t get a poodle unless you are willing to provide your poodle with at least 2 fifteen-minute walks per day, or trips to the dog park, or another form of exercise. Poodles love water so swimming is great for them.
It would be great for kids to get involved with the obedience training of your poodle. This will increase the bond between the child and the dog. In addition, taking responsibility for the dog’s training would be a great accomplishment for a young person.
The Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is also an excellent choice for a family with children. In fact, the larger size of the Standard Poodle makes her a more patient dog with children than even the miniature poodle would be. Standard Poodles have a height of over 15 inches and a weight between 40 and 60 pounds.
The average lifespan of a standard poodle is 12 years. However, some live longer to age 13 or 14, while some may live to be only 10.
If you just want to keep your poodle’s hair cut short, you will just need to have her groomed every 6 weeks. Keeping her hair short will make grooming much less work and expense.
The standard poodle also will require sufficient exercise, like the miniature poodle. They are also very intelligent and great at obedience skills. They are also very good at agility like their miniature counterparts.
The toy poodle should not really be considered for a family with children as they are too small and more tightly wound than the larger poodle sizes. They would not be good for young children.
The Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is another hypoallergenic dog that is great for active families with kids. Like poodles, they are great in water, very intelligent and easy to train. They also require a lot of activity and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored.
They are a medium-sized dog with the females reaching a height from 17 to 21 inches for the females, and 20 to 23 inches for the males. The females usually weigh between 35 to 50 pounds with the males reaching weights from 40 to 60 pounds. Their lifespan is usually from 11 to 13 years.
Portuguese Water Dogs require at least an hour per day of physical activity so be prepared to devote plenty of time and energy to your dog if you plan to get a Portuguese Water Dog. They are also very athletic and great at all types of dog sports and competitions such as obedience, agility, flyball, and all water sports such as dock diving.
These dogs are also great at learning tricks, and it would be great to involve your kids in the training of your dog for various tricks and sports. The more activities and sports your dog can learn the more opportunities you will have to provide her with a variety of different activities.
These dogs will also require as much early socialization as possible. The more socialization they get the better they will behave and the less fear they will experience throughout their lives.
The Portuguese Water Dog also makes a great service or therapy dog. They are great with people and other pets and have a low prey drive. However, they can be a little bit too gregarious for toddlers.
Grooming Your Portuguese Water Dog
These dogs, like poodles, require a fair amount of grooming. They also have hair that will just keep growing if left unattended. They should get hair cuts every six weeks and brushed every other day.
The Portuguese Water Dog comes in two different coat types. One has more loose, wavy hair while the other is more tightly curled hair.
The least time and expense consuming way of grooming them is to give them what is called a retriever cut. This requires a short hair cut the same length all over the body except for the last one-third of the tail. This is referred to as a “flag” tail and is traditionally left at a longer length. However, it must be regularly brushed and combed to prevent matting.
This type of hair cut only requires regular visits to the groomer every 6 to 10 weeks, and brushing and bathing in between visits to the groomer.
The other type of cut is called the “lion cut”. This cut has their hindquarters closely shaved (except for the flag-tail), all the way up to the base of the ribcage. The muzzle is also trimmed short. The remainder of the hair is left long. This is a traditional cut that was given to them from their early days when they were used to herd fish into fishermen’s nets.
The purpose of the cut was to keep the back legs free for swimming and propelling the dog along in the water, while the long hair was meant for keeping the vital organs protected. However, this type of cut requires a lot of maintenance to keep the longer hair from getting matted.
The Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with a height of 18 to 19.5 inches for males and 17.5 to 19 inches for females. They usually weigh from 33 to 40 pounds. This is also a very intelligent and active breed that loves the outdoors.
They shed very little and make great pets for active families with kids, even with allergies. Like all dogs they will benefit greatly from early socialization and ongoing training. To keep their coats in great shape, it is best to brush them every 2 or 3 days to avoid matting and remove dead hair, and to have them groomed every 6 weeks. This will keep the shedding and chance of allergies at a very low level.
They do require a lot of attention and a variety of fun “jobs” to do. Have a wide variety of interactive dog toys to play with them. Be sure to give them plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent them from getting bored. A bored Kerry Blue Terrier will get into mischief and can become destructive.
It is best to be proactive to prevent boredom from happening. These dogs will love to play with your children and be great companions for them. These dogs are also easy to train so it would be a great experience for your children to be involved in training them.
Early Socialization is Essential
The Kerry Blue can have issues with other dogs unless they are raised with them or socialized sufficiently to not be leery of them. In addition, they can also be wary of strangers, so here again early socialization getting them used to all genders, ages, bikes, skateboards, motorcycles, all modes of transportation so they will not fear kids on skateboards or bikes or be freaked out by motorcycles.
One common problem that I have noticed with all the dogs I have had no matter what the breed, is that they are afraid of certain gardening tools. Especially loud ones such as leaf blowers. So, if you do gardening yourself or have a gardener that comes around regularly is would be a great idea to get your puppy or dog used to the gardener and his tools.
They can also bark a lot, however if you are paying plenty of attention to your dog and giving her plenty of exercise then she will likely cuddle up with you or your children on the couch in the evening.
To give them plenty of variety, they can learn plenty of dog sports such as agility, obedience, and tricks, as well as barn hunt.
To find a mixed-breed dog that is hypoallergenic you need to look for a mixture between two hypoallergenic dog breeds. Or you can look for a cross between a hypoallergenic dog and a non-hypoallergenic dog, with much more of the lineage of the hypoallergenic dog than the non-hypoallergenic.
For example, the cockapoo is a very popular mixed breed dog. The cockapoo is a mix between a standard poodle and a cocker spaniel. The cocker spaniel is between 9 and 18 inches tall and can weigh up to 24 pounds.
The cocker spaniel is a long-coated dog that sheds moderately. You will want to get a mix that has more standard poodle in her than cocker spaniel to achieve less shedding.
The result is a great little dog that is smart, easily trainable, and great with children. The only negative part of this will be the grooming. The combination of the poodle’s tight curly coat and the long and double-coated Cocker Spaniel will not be easy to groom.
If you wait too long between grooming your cockapoo, you could end up with a combination of a difficult to groom matted coat from the poodle. When you add in the longer and double coated fur of the cocker spaniel you could have a real matted, knotted mess on your hands.
The way to avoid this difficult grooming experience is to keep up with the grooming and brush her daily to keep the matting out and don’t allow the fur to get too long. Take her to the groomer every 6 to 8 weeks.
To find more of these great hypoallergenic mixed-breeds, I refer you to this article.
I hope this article was helpful in selecting the best dog for your family. Additional grooming and baths will also help reduce any remaining dander or hair that might be shed.
If you have an allergic child that wants a dog very badly and you don’t know what to do, please feel free to comment below. Please include any questions you might have or suggestions for others.