There are over thirty terrier breeds, each with different coat types. Therefore, there isn’t just one answer to the question of whether terriers are hypoallergenic.
Most terriers are not considered hypoallergenic, but some such as the Yorkshire Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, and Kerry Blue Terrier are hypoallergenic. This means they rarely shed, but they may still trigger your allergy symptoms with their dander, saliva, and urine.
Other terriers have wiry coats. These breeds also don’t shed a lot if groomed properly, which can still be helpful for those with fur allergies.
Yet more terriers have short, soft coats that shed heavily. These breeds aren’t generally recommended for those with fur allergies.
Please remember that no dog is truly hypoallergenic and you’ll very likely still face symptoms around so-called hypoallergenic breeds.
In this article, we’ll discuss hypoallergenic dogs, whether terriers are hypoallergenic, and some tips for those who’d like to adopt a terrier despite their dog allergies.
Hypoallergenic Dogs: Do They Exist?
It turns out, “hypoallergenic” is mostly a marketing term when it comes to dogs. This is super important to know if you have dog allergies!
Some people do have fewer symptoms around hypoallergenic dogs because they’re allergic to dog fur, and only fur. However, you can also be allergic to dog dander, saliva, and urine.
There are also six proteins that cause dog allergies, most of which every dog has no matter their breed.
With this knowledge, we know there are no truly hypoallergenic dog breeds. The true advantage of these breeds is that they shed very little–but, they need daily grooming maintenance and haircuts every four to six weeks. You’re often trading one inconvenience for another.
To know what exactly is causing your dog allergies, you might want to see an allergist. Then, you can better make a decision regarding which (if any) dog you can live with reasonably.
For instance, some people are allergic to a protein that only exists in unneutered male dogs. Others are allergic to dog dander and will react similarly to every dog, hypoallergenic or not.
After this, it’s still important to spend time around the dog you wish to adopt and ensure you can live with them for their lifetime. After all, no one wants to have to return their newly-adopted pup if things don’t work out!
Are Terriers Hypoallergenic?
Most terriers are not considered hypoallergenic, but many of them shed little if their coats are properly cared for.
Many terrier breeds have wiry coats. This coat type requires special care and a grooming technique called hand-stripping.
The process involves pulling out dead fur by hand, and should be done by a professional dog groomer with experience grooming terriers. Typically, it’s recommended to hand-strip your terrier once every three to six months, with some breeds needing it more frequently.
Because the fur is trapped in the coat, you won’t find it around the house as often and it won’t be flying through the air triggering your symptoms.
Wiry terriers with clipped coats will lose their wiry texture and often change coat color as well. These dogs will also shed more frequently.
Short-haired terriers with smooth coats will also shed frequently. Terriers with long, human-like coats shed the least and are considered hypoallergenic–but many people still have allergy symptoms around them.
Which Terriers are Hypoallergenic?
There are over thirty terrier breeds. Many of them have the wiry coats we discussed above, but some have longer, human-like coats that shed even less frequently. These are the coats that are considered hypoallergenic.
Below are just a few hypoallergenic terriers:
- Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies): These small terriers have silky, human-like coats that shed very little. They’re spunky, affectionate, and outgoing.
- Bedlington Terriers: These terriers have curly coats similar to Poodles. They’re small-mid sized dogs who are loyal, protective, and smart.
- Kerry Blue Terriers: Kerry Blues have soft, wavy blue coats. They’re medium dogs, weighing 33-40 pounds. They’re affectionate, protective, and active.
- American Hairless Terriers: A unique breed, American Hairless Terriers don’t shed at all because they don’t have fur! This is a pro for fur allergy sufferers, but might actually trigger your dog dander allergies more easily. When you pet them, you’ll be exposed directly to the skin and dander.
These pups are affectionate, energetic, and sweet. They’re also quite small, weighing just 12-16 pounds.
Always spend time with the dog you’d like before adoption to ensure they don’t trigger your allergies. Remember, even hypoallergenic dogs often trigger symptoms.
Is It Possible to own a Non-Hypoallergenic Terrier if you have Dog Allergies?
Terriers are some of the lower-shedding dog breeds so long as their coats are cared for right. This can help people with fur allergies or an irritant response to dog fur.
However, it’s likely you’ll still have allergy symptoms if you adopt a terrier. Whether you can adopt one depends on the severity of your allergies, what exactly your allergies are triggered by, and what symptoms you’re willing to live with.
If you’re willing to live with some symptoms and don’t have severe allergies, below are some extra tips for adopting a terrier.
Before Adopting Your Terrier
- See a doctor or try over-the-counter medications. Most people have already tried this route–as someone with allergies myself, I know it’s obvious! But if you haven’t already, seeing an allergist or trying a new medication might help lessen your symptoms. Allergists can also help you to know the cause of your allergies and if there are dogs who won’t trigger them at all.
- Spend time around your terrier before committing to adoption. See how your allergies fare around the dog or breed you want to adopt. I suggest letting them lick you, ruffling through their fur, and touching your face frequently. These are things that will happen at home, so it’s good to know how your allergies will react.
After Adopting Your Terrier
- Use furniture covers. Even old blankets on the couch will keep fur and dander from building up on the surface. You can remove the covers before you sit, and wash them regularly.
- Give your terrier their own bed, or their own place on yours. Sleeping with your terrier on your pillow will likely trigger your allergies. Having them sleep at the end of the bed, over the comforter or their own blanket, may not. Alternatively, keep your terrier out of the bed altogether and give them their own comfy space to sleep.
- Avoid touching your face after petting your terrier. This basically brings the allergens right to your sinuses.
- Wash your hands frequently. Especially before touching your face or after things known to set off your allergies, such as grooming or if your terrier licks your hands.
- Keep a clean house. Regularly vacuuming the furniture and floors, washing throw blankets, mopping, and more can help reduce the allergens in your home.
- Run an air purifier. Air purifiers remove allergens from the air. You can either keep small ones in the places you spend the most time, like your bedroom at night, or purchase a larger one to filter the air in your entire home.
- Groom your terrier often. Frequent brushing and regular trips to the groomer will keep them from shedding as much around the house, and can also help reduce shed dander.
I hope this information has helped you to decide whether or not to adopt a terrier. Keep in mind that everyone’s allergies are different, and different terrier breeds might also trigger your allergies differently.
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