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April 12, 2010 at 2:07 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

The Best Pets for Allergy Sufferers

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

While many people assume it's a dog or cat's fur which causes allergy symptoms, that's not exactly the case.  The real allergens are the protein in their saliva and the dander or dead skin cells they shed.  Therefore, a truly hypoallergenic pet must have no dander to shed or protein in their saliva. Unfortunately, this eliminates anything fuzzy.

A good choice for a person with severe allergies would be a reptilian pet, like a lizard.  However, if you're dead set on the soft and fuzzy sort of companion, there are some dogs and cats with a reputation for being less allergenic than others.  Here are some of the least allergenic breeds of dog and cats and the three best lizards for beginner reptile owners.

The Least Allergenic Dogs

poodle

Poodle

  • Temperament: Lively, Amiable, Playful, Eager to Please, Responsive, Smart, and Obedient.  
  • Good with Small Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes  
  • Upkeep: Poodles need a lot of time with their favorite people, as well as plenty of mental and physical exercise to keep them happy.  A short, yet challenging obedience session and walk should be part of their daily care.

Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Temperament: Multifaceted, Working/Sporting, Active, Playful, Well-Mannered, Protective, Clever, Independent, Stubborn. 
  • Good with Small Children: No 
  • Good with Other Pets: No 
  • Upkeep: Traditionally a hunting dog, the Kerry Blue Terrier needs plenty of exercise.  Long walks, vigorous play sessions, or time to explore off the leash should be part of their daily care.

Schnauzer

  • Temperament: Bold, Lively, Fun-Loving, Protective, Clever, Headstrong, Can be Mischievous.
  • Good with Small Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Upkeep: Without proper exercise, the Schnauzer can be quite mischievous.  A long walk, vigorous play, or time to explore off the leash every day will keep them happy.

Bichon Frise

  • Temperament: Perky, Bouncy, Playful, Happy-Go-Lucky, Friendly, Sensitive, Responsive, Affectionate.
  • Good with Small Children: Yes 
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Upkeep: Despite its small size, the Bichon is an active dog that does best with daily exercise.  A short walk, time to play out in the yard, or a vigorous indoor play will keep them happy and healthy.  A Bishon will also require frequent grooming to avoid matting, combing every other day, scissoring and trimming every two months.

Lhasa Apso

  • Temperament: Independent, Stubborn, Bold, Eager to Romp and Play, Happy to Relax by its Owner.
  • Good with Small Children: No
  • Good with Other Pets: No 
  • Upkeep: Though Lhasa Apsos are active dogs, due to their small size, their daily exercise needs can be met with just a short walk or a vigorous play session in the yard or home. Brushing and combing their long fine coat should also be part of their daily care.

The Least Allergenic Cats

siberian kitten

Cornish Rex

  • Temperament: Active, Inquisitive, Gazelle-like, Playful, Outgoing, Intelligent, Alert, Affectionate.
  • Good with Small Children: No
  • Good with Other Pets: No  
  • About: Very Active and Playful, some enjoy retrieving toys to be tossed again and again. They love to climb, leap, and run.

Devon Rex

  • Temperament: People-Oriented, Snuggly, Loyal, Devoted, Playful, Courageous, Intelligent, Curious. 
  • Good with Small Children: So-So 
  • Good with Other Pets: So-So 
  • About: Very Active and Playful, they may enjoy perching on your shoulder and retrieving toys.

Sphynx

  • Temperament: Monkey-Like, Dog-Like, Child-Like, Devoted, Loyal, Mischievous, Charming, Lovable. 
  • Good with Small Children: Yes  
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes 
  • About: Very Active and Playful, they have been known to perch on top of doorways and perform aerialist feats.

Siberian

  • Temperament: Affectionate, Playful, Fascinated By Water, Intelligent.  
  • Good for Small Children: Yes 
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes 
  • About: Fairly Active and Very Playful, they like water more than the average cat and have been known to drop their toys in their water dish to play with them.  Despite their size, they are also very agile and are excellent leapers.

Lizards: Hypo-Allergenic Pets

gecko

Leopard Gecko.

Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles available and a good choice for beginner reptile owners.  They have non-threatening, friendly look and personality and come in a variety of patterns and colors.  Their care requirements are simple even compared with other lizards.

Because they are nocturnal, they have no specific lighting requirements.  Though babies will need crickets, waxworms, or mealworms every day, adults will do fine with a meal once every other day.  Adults may even be left alone for a few days without a problem.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons are another excellent choice for a first pet lizard.  They have a calm, laid back, trusting personality and a look that makes them a great display animal.  As for care, they require access to UVB lighting and must live inside a climate-controlled environment (don't leave them outside).  As for diet, they are omnivorous requiring both fresh greens and insects daily.

Crested Gecko

The Crested Gecko is a lizard that is quickly gaining in popularity; largely because of their relatively simple care.  Unlike most lizards, Crested Geckos require no insects - just packaged, fruit-based powder mixed with water.  They also have no need for special heating or lighting.  Crested Geckos are available in a variety of colors and are easily handled and tamed.

Sources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hypoallergenic-dog

http://bestpetlizard.com/

http://animalplanet.com

Photo Credits: The Pack, Montag007, netdance

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3 Comments

  • I grew up with a Lhasa Apso - he was absolutely the sweetest dog I've ever known, and didn't bother my dad's or brother's allergies. We now have a maltese-poodle-shih tzu mix, and she has never bothered anyone's allergies either. In my experience, they're both great choices!

    I've never been able to have cats because of allergies in the family, but I'll have to look up some of those breeds :)

  • Awww... that's awesome. My mom actually developed pet dander allergies when she was pregnant with me ( I guess with all the hormone changes a pregnancy brings, it's more common than you would think!) so I couldn't have pets for a long time. It was finally decided that after years of shots (she really missed having pets too!) she could handle a small furry animal I considered either a chinchilla, rabbit or guinea pig.

    Well, rabbit ended up being cut out of the running. My dad discovered his allergy to them when we went to the pet store to see them and his eyes were so swollen we need to have my mom come and give us a ride home. Chinchillas were adorable, but I heard they could be aggressive so they were out of the running too.

    I landed on two Guinea Pigs - Cocoa and Spice (guinea pigs don't like to be alone). Loved them. Guinea pigs are so sweet and affectionate. They make cute squeaking noises and when they are really happy they close their eyes, make a noise that is similar to a cats purr and slowly shake their butts from side to side. It's ADORABLE. n.n

    By the time they passed away (normal guinea pig life span is about 5 years), the shots had actually made my mom able to handle cats again so we got siamese and cornish rex and now as an adult, I'm definitely a cat lady, but to those with allergies but still wanting a furry pet, I would recommend pet guinea pigs to anyone.

  • Might I recommend a miniature pig? Their skin and hair are almost like humans!
    Check out pighavenminiatures.com

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