Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs

The stereotype image of an allergy friendly dog being a tiny lapdog, that is a bit dim and prone to excessive barking due to suffering from having a ‘Napolean complex’, is very mistaken. Although the majority of allergy friendly breeds tend to be on the smaller side, there are still plenty that are considerably larger. Not only that, but the cozy, overprotected lapdog image certainly does not apply to many breeds that are energetic and playful, obedient, very intelligent and excel as hunting and sporting dogs.

The appearance and breed specific traits we see today have not arisen by chance but through a process of selective breeding over numerous generations often dating back many centuries. For example, in today’s world, dogs such as the Afghan Hound, Australian Terrier, Basenji, German Shorthaired Pointer, Kelly Blue Terrier, Poodle and Portuguese Water Dog have become well-loved household pets and show dogs. However, they were traditionally, and in certain places are still, used as hunting, sporting or working dogs for a variety of tasks. Therefore, although these types of dogs can exist perfectly fine in a typical home of today, it should be remembered that they invariably enjoy exercise as it’s ‘in their blood’ to be involved in a hunt or working; be it catching rats or going on long hunts in the forest.

Depending on the specific breed, the array of activities undertaken by this category has included tracking and hunting small and large game such as rabbits or deer, controlling disease-carrying vermin, hunting foxes and wolves and even assisting fishing expeditions. The majority of these breeds of dog have a short coat composed of soft, thin human-like hair that shed less frequently and require being brushed a couple of times a week to help prevent matting.

The following gives a brief look at a selection of hunting, sporting or working allergy friendly dogs:

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Afghan Hound

Height: 24-29 in (61-73.7 cm)     Weight: 45-60 lb (20.4-27.2 kg)

The Afghan Hound may not look like an allergy friendly dog. However, its long hair is similar to human hair which means that it does not shed so often resulting in fewer allergy problems. Although very attractive when well-groomed and pleasant natured, it is a breed that is known to be rather independently minded. Anyone who wishes to have an easily trainable dog that obeys commands consistently may find this breed to be a challenge. 

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Australian Terrier

Height: 10-11 in (25.4- 27.9 cm)     Weight: 13-15 lb (5.9-6.8 kg)

Bred originally as a ‘ratter’, the Australian Terrier is especially good at catching mice and rats. However, in today’s world it finds its place more typically in the home environment where it makes a good pet for those seeking a small but friendly dog that enjoys being around people. Though a long haired, low shedding breed, most owners usually keep the coat cut short and close to the body.

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Basenji

Height: 16 -17 in (40.6- 43.2 cm)     Weight: 22-24 lb (10-10.9 kg)

Being of African descent, the Basenji has a distinct cat-like temperament and behavior. It’s a good choice for anyone living in an apartment because aside from an occasional yelp, this short haired, minimal shedding allergy friendly dog is known for its quietness and lack of barking. However, although trainable to a degree, its innate very inquisitive nature contributes to it not always being cooperative and willing to obey its owner’s commands.

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - German Shorthaired Pointer

Height: 23-25 in (58.4-63.5 cm)     Weight: 55-70 lb (24.9-31.8 kg)

Although still used as a hunting dog today, the alert, energetic and quick reacting German Shorthaired Pointer is still considered a good, friendly and faithful family dog. Its long and lean profile is a result of it being a cross between an English and German Pointer. It is a low maintenance, short haired, low shedding allergy friendly dog that is easily brushed and requires only occasional grooming and bathing.

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Kerry Blue Terrier

Height: 18-19 in (45.7-48.3 cm)     Weight: 30-40 lb (13.6-18.1 kg)

The larger relative to the Australian Terrier is the Kerry Blue Terrier which has a distinctive almost square shaped head and a flatter chest. It derives its name from the blue sheen that can develop in its coat as an adult. The typical low shedding, soft and curly gray or black coat requires weekly brushing and regular bi-monthly grooming so as to prevent matting. However, the lack of an undercoat makes it susceptible to cold weather. Though historically used for hunting it is now more commonly found in the role of a working dog and is a breed that enjoys daily exercise and constant companionship.

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Poodle

Height: 11-15+ in (27.9-38.1+ cm)     Weight: 8-70 lb (3.6-31.6 kg)

The Poodle is a breed that varies considerably in both size and weight and is commonly categorized into 3 groups – Toy, Miniature and Standard. The diversity in physicality observed in this breed is a quality that makes the Poodle suitable for a wide spectrum of owners. From the lapdog to the active sporting dog, the Poodle is a friendly and relatively quiet breed that can be trained very well. A possible downside to owning a Poodle, though more commonly observed in the smaller varieties, is that they can be prone to a variety of ailments, especially later in life.

 Allergy Friendly Hunting, Sporting and Working Dogs - Portuguese Water Dog

Height: 17-23 in (43.2-58.4 cm)     Weight: 35-60 lb (15.9-27.2 kg)

As the name implies, the Portuguese Water Dog has a natural affinity for water and was traditionally used to assist fishing expeditions. Their low shedding allergy friendly coat has a curly or wavy appearance and can range from white to black in color. The coats are usually cut evenly (Retriever Cut) or only towards the hind legs (Lion Cut), and grooming is usually carried out bi-monthly. They are a friendly breed that enjoy human companionship and love to be entertained, kept busy and given daily exercise. In fact, it is this breed that is Barack Obama’s “first dog”.


Interactive Weight and Height Chart

  • Values listed in the chart below represent a minimum and maximum range for a given breed in:
    Imperial (in and Ib) and Metric (cm and kg)
  • Figures are approximate and guidelines may vary between Kennel Clubs and various breed specific organizations
  • Males are typically taller and heavier than females by 10+%
  • Poodle size and weight varies considerably depending on their respective category e.g.
    Height at withers (ridge between the highest point of the shoulder blades)
    Toy              Up to 10 inches (25.4 cm)
    Miniature   10 – 15 inches (25.4 – 38.1 cm)
    Standard     15+ in (38.1+ cm)
AFGHAN HOUND242945606173.720.427.2
AUSTRALIAN TERRIER1011131525.427.95.96.8
GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER2325557058.463.524.931.8
KERRY BLUE TERRIER1819304045.748.313.618.1
PORTUGUESE WATER DOG1723356043.258.415.927.2
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