Q. I am thinking of getting a puppy, but my husband has “sensitivities” to animals – itchy eyes, sneezing, etc. – not life-threatening, just annoying. I have heard there are dog breeds that are allergen-free. Can you tell me these breeds?
A. You may want to consider the Poodle (available in Toy, Miniature, and Standard sizes), Irish Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dog, and Afghan Hound. These are all active, energetic dogs with no-shedding to minimally shedding coats.
The trade off is that while you won’t find dog hair all over your furniture and carpets, that’s because these dogs have coats that grow and grow continuously, with dead hair staying on the dog’s body and matting or clumping with the live hair if it isn’t brushed out. These breeds typically require the regular services of a professional groomer about four to six times a year.
Many allergy sufferers have also fared well with Bichons Frises and Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, but individual experiences can vary. Visit breeders in their homes and see how your husband holds up. Or, if you have a friend who owns one of these breeds, ask to borrow one for the weekend.