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Low-allergen, kid-friendly breeds.

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Low-allergen, kid-friendly breeds.
  • My best friend called me a few minutes ago, and said his sister wants a dog. Her 5 year old is pretty allergic to dogs, so some golden/poodle mix breeder has convinced her to buy one of them, because they're "100% hypoallergenic" (yeah right!), and "great with kids."

    I'm kinda worried the 5 year old is going to be allergic to all dogs, but who knows. I'm also worried this is an impulse thing, but I don't know the sister or her family, so I can't really make that judgement.

    In any case, I'm trying to find if any breeds really suit them. I'm thinking terriers are a bad idea, even though I know several of them are "hypoallergenic." I think they need a "beginner's" type dog. I mean, my friend and his sisters had dogs growing up, they had a GSD for 16 years or something insane like that, plus a boxer mix after her, and probably dogs before the GSD, but I get the feeling a good "first-time-owner" type breed would be best, especially since they have kids.

    I'm gonna try to point them towards rescue if I can, but not knowing the sister, I don't know how she feels about that. I'm definitely trying to steer them away from designer dogs, and my friend has known me long enough to at least sort of feel the same way (he definitely knows I won't be suggesting any poodle mixes from breeders, lol). But let's say they find a suitable poodle mix in rescue, would a golden/poodle or lab/poodle be a decent bet with the allergies and kids?

    They live about an hour south of Lexington, KY. Anyone know of any good shelters or rescues near there?

    Also, she apparently has ruled out purebred poodles because she thinks they're hyper, and I honestly don't know poodles well enough to argue, so.. are they? Are they good with kids (if properly socialized and such, obviously)?

  • I have a breed in mind. What about the Irish Water Spaniel?


  • I think first they need to test their daughter around several of the 'hypoallergenic' breeds.  Some breeds are great for most people, but may still not work for others with allergies.  My first thought was actually bichon when reading the description, provided the daughter isn't allergic to them.

     If they really are sold on going with a doodle, make sure to tell them about health testing, and find a breeder that's not just breeding F1 crosses.  It's important especially in doodles to find an HONEST breeder who is trying to do the right thing.  They need to be warned about different coat types and I would be wary of a breeder that advertised all doodles as 'hypoallergenic' because it's just not true.  that said, I know people who are very happy with their doodles and they don't shed.  I also know people who ended up with doodles that do shed though.  In a mixed breed I think you need to be doubly aware. 


  • I live in lexington...what city are they in and i'll see what i can find out as far as rescues and shelters go

  • They're in... Crab Orchard, I think?

    I suggested Bichons, but I think they want a bigger dog. I'm suggesting poodles... Seems like they can definitely be good with kids. I'm also suggesting checking shelters and rescues for poodle mixes, and taking Mackenzie to meet the dog, maybe a few times, before they take it home..see if she has an allergic reaction. Because obviously it's an individual dog thing. And from what I've been reading, someone can be fine around a puppy, but be allergic to them when they grow up. Something about a difference in puppy skin? Hm.. So it seems like a puppy might not be the best bet anyway.

    I'm gonna call Jared in a bit and see if he knows how his sister feels about rescuing, and also about the puppy vs. adult thing. In the meantime, any more breed suggestions would be welcome. Thanks guys!

  • I have some family in crab orchard...i'll see what i can find out regarding shelters in the area...

    As far as breeds go i wonder about airdales or soft coated wheatens? I know airdales are quite energetic, but i've heard that they're great with kids.

  • I'm a bit surprised they think a Poodle/Retriever mix would be less high energy than a purebred poodle.  I've met some wonderful larger miniature and standard poodles.  I'm not big on high activity dogs, and I'd seriously consider either of those. (in fact, our next smaller dog will likely be a miniature poodle from a shelter)


    Perhaps they could visit a dog show so they can introduce their daughter to some varoius breeds to see how her allergies fare, as well as get an idea about their activity needs.

  •  If she thinks Poodles are hyper, she should meet a few young Goldens and Labs. JUST as active, if not more so. The crosses seem to be MORE high strung, at least in my area, than the poorly bred parents! It's ridiculous...


    If she wants a larger dog that's low allergen, and good with kids, I'd suggest looking for a calmer, adult dog. Honestly? Big, boingy puppies are a bit scary. I know a really NICE Standard Poo that's looking for a home, because he boings on the 7 yr old kid. Maybe contact some good breeders that have or know adult dogs who cannot be bred for whatever reason, but would make great pets. The dog would be socialized, housetrained, and possibly even raised around children. 


    They say that Schnauzers are one of the low allergy breeds, but their hair bothers me as much as Cocker Spaniel hair. It's prickly! They're fantastic dogs, but prickly, LOL. They come in Standard and Giant sizes, but they are a working breed. They need lots of stimulation. Any "hypoallergenic" breed is going to be a lot of skin/coat care. To help with the human allergies, you have to feed the best possible food, supplement with fish oil and vit e (because a dry skinned dog sheds worse, flakes, and has more dander), and keep the dog clean. 

  • I think regardless of what breed they might end up with, if the child is really allergic, frequent professional (as in, outside of the house) grooming is going to be essential.  My son, who really is, medically, allergic to the flipping planet (except birch pollen - lol!), did very well growing up with an airedale terrier.  HOWEVER, it was religiously groomed by professionals every 6 to 8 weeks.  I think that made a huge difference with regards to the amount of fur and dander that was in the house even though they are low shedders.  An older (3+) airedale might be a good choice, they are very good family dogs, but if the mom thinks poodles are hyper, terrier types might not be a good choice due to their energy levels.  There are adult airedales available through rescue if she's interested after doing some research on the breed and maybe meeting a couple.  Males are more affectionate than the females and I think a better choice for a family.  They're not as persnickity as the females and tend to have great comical senses of humor where kids are concerned. 

  • Though they can be hard to find, the Portuguese Water Dog would be a good choice.  They are great with kids, active; but not hyper---an all- around great family pet.

  • tzu_mom

    Though they can be hard to find, the Portuguese Water Dog would be a good choice.  They are great with kids, active; but not hyper---an all- around great family pet.


    You beat me to it.  I vote for the Porty, too.  Medium sized, not nuts like the Poodles, Doodles, and Wheatens are as puppies, yet most are playful enough for kids to have fun with, and they are generally non-aggressive with other dogs (obviously, they still need to be socialized).  Plus, if they buy from a reputable Porty breeder, they can send the dog back if the kid can't tolerate it (NO dog is completely hypoallergenic, so the issue is whether the kid can tolerate this particular hair coat).  Doodles can get more of a Lab or Golden type coat than a Poodle coat sometimes, and some of the other breeds are not the best for young kids. 

    (P.S. I know a breeder in Massachusetts - if you need the info, just PM)

  • If I absolutely had to - I'd go to something like this first:  Poo-mix Rescue.  Some way cool dogs here, already evaluated for allergenic potential, personality, quirks, foibles, activity level, and some already started training in manners and so forth.  I've got a real soft spot for "hairy breeds" and would totally be into Beardies, Spanish Water Dogs, Poodles, etc, if I didn't have real serious work to do with the sheep.  I still might end up with a Beardie mix some day   I have a friend who has one whose pup I'd be first in line to purchase - amazing dog and marvelous personality.

    I digress

    I'm boggled by the number of dogs JUST in the "doodle" section of that web site.  Just for the fun of it, I went to Petfinder and checked out my little corner of the world.  Wow. 

  • Sorry, I can't help when it comes to low-allergen breeds. But I can offer advice managing dogs and allergies. 

    Your friend's best bet would be to foster for a rescue. Bathe the dog as soon as she gets him/her home. Even if the 5 year old is only mildly allergic, she can expect a reaction for the first few days. It's a lot of work to have a dog and a child with allergies, but it can be done. The child's room has to be dog free. She may also want to make sure the dog can be trained to stay off the furniture. Air cleaners will be her best friend.

    My youngest has allergies, he's 16 now. I wouldn't have tried it when he was 5 though.


  • For purebred, I was thinking Portuguese Water Dog.  I know several people with several, theirs are more from a "show" type breeder so they are not as energetic and demanding as the sporty ones.  All the ones I know have very pleasant temperaments and seem manageable for a family situation.

  • The Portugese Water Dogs I have met and spent some time around were very high energy dogs.  They were from show lines.  Just goes to show that sometimes these darn dogs don't seem to read their own breed descriptions. LOL  Seems like great advice to meet some of the breeds they are interested in and go from there. 

    I refuse to look at that poo-mix site linked.  I could easily fall in love.