Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs

Although every dog is unique there are certain traits that are associated with smaller sized allergy friendly dogs such as the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Poodle or Shih Tzu, and these traits can be grouped into the categories that relate to attention, exercise, care and health.


Small dog breeds love to spend a lot of time with their owners and tend to be more demanding of their owner’s attention than larger sized dogs. They really enjoy companionship and being in the same room, laying near the feet or sitting on their owner’s lap. Remember though, never to let them sleep next to, or on your bed as this will exacerbate your dog allergy symptoms significantly.

The issue of an over-demanding dog can usually be prevented as long as the dog is trained properly from a puppy. As the dog grows older you will usually find that it becomes less demanding but it will still hate to be left alone for long periods of time.

Small size certainly does not equate to lower intelligence; in fact, many small dogs can be very sharp and alert which makes them the bane of potential burglars. They will soon bark to let you know of anyone in close vicinity to your property. In addition, historically, many small dogs were bred as working dogs to carry out a variety of task such as mice and rat catching. Therefore, you will have to keep your dog occupied with toys and games so that it does not become bored. To help prevent boredom or lethargy, aim to introduce a new toy from time to time.

No dog likes to be left alone on a regular basis for hours on end; this is especially so in the case of small dogs. However, this scenario is a particular problem in the modern world given the long hours people work. Even though some experts would suggest that such lifestyles advocate not owning a dog, some people choose to buy a pair of small dogs so that they can keep each other company.

A lonely dog will not eat, as instinct encourages it to conserve its food, and it will become increasingly stressed and depressed. Boredom can result in the dog becoming destructive whilst others cope by exhibiting repetitive actions, developing a nervous disposition or pining themselves into poor health. For social creatures such as a dog, regular isolation equates to solitary confinement for a human.

If you are away for more than a day or on vacation, you need have someone to ‘dog sit’ or at least check in on the dog every day to feed, water and take it for a walk. If this is not possible it will need to be boarded.


In general, a small size dog will lack the length of leg or energy reserves of a larger breed. Variations do exist between small breeds and although most enjoy playing, jumping and running in limited doses, Terrier breeds tend to have more resilience and durability.

If you are looking for a dog to run with on the beach or take for long walks, you may need to look elsewhere and consider a medium to large sized allergy friendly dog. However, for some people this trait represents a distinct advantage, given that small dogs do not require as much exercise as other breeds. A short walk will usually suffice; otherwise the dog will become increasingly agitated and over-exerted. Furthermore, a daily game of fetch is not only fun, but it will appeal to the dog’s instinct to seek and retrieve.

Care and Health

Some smaller allergy friendly breeds can be quite demanding of their owners. Not only do they need companionship, but they will also need to be bathed at least once a month and brushed daily in order to keep knots from developing in their coats.

The consequence of selective breeding over numerous generations coupled with the physical attribute of having a small frame, results in small dogs being susceptible to a variety of health issues, especially as they get older. They tend to have an increased risk of suffering from broken or fractured bones and arthritis, but also loss of eye sight, a reduced sense of smell and hair loss are fairly common. While these breeds’ life expectancy can be fourteen to eighteen years, the latter years may be blighted with increasing health issues.

In addition, small dogs are susceptible to hypothermia in cold weather especially if they lack an undercoat. Therefore, some owners use small dog sweaters to help protect their dog from the elements in colder seasons.

Types of Smaller Allergy Friendly Dogs

Many breeds in this category are referred to as Toy breeds or Miniature, due to their small or diminutive size. Whilst allergy friendly, such dogs may not be the most appropriate for families with very young children. Not only do they have small bodies but some consider them to be moody and territorial such that they may compete with children for your attention. However, no two dogs are alike so it’s quite possible to find docile and non-territorial puppies in these breeds that can be reared and develop into very well adjusted and even-tempered adults.

Unfortunately, some owners do not invest the time and energy in training such dogs properly and will pander to their every whim, simply because of their petite size. The owners in effect become enablers for poor or unacceptable dog behavior. A poorly trained dog, whether it’s small or large, is never a good family dog, especially around children.

The following gives a brief look at a selection of smaller sized dogs that are said to exhibit allergy friendly traits:

 Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Bichon Frise

Height: 9-12 in (22.9-30.5 cm)     Weight: 10-20 lb (4.5-9.1 kg)

The Bichon Frise has an undercoat but its consistency means that it tends to hold minimal dander and hair. These dogs are small and usually have a very happy disposition. They will need to be groomed in order to maintain their signature ‘marshmallow’ appearance. Unfortunately, such dogs are prone to health problems with age.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Coton de Tulear

Height: 8.5-12 in (21.6-30.5 cm)     Weight: 3.5-6 lb (1.6-2.7 kg)

The Coton de Tulear is the official national dog of Madagaskar and is derived from the Bichon family. Although their white coat tends to shed more than their Havanese relatives’, if brushed weekly, the breed is still considered allergy friendly. They are intelligent, playful and enjoy exercise and being around people. Although prone to becoming stressed if away from their owners for any period of time, they tend to have a healthy disposition with an expected lifespan of fourteen to eighteen years.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Havanese

Height: 8.5-11.5 in (21.6-29.2 cm)     Weight: 7-13 lb (3.2-5.9 kg)

The Havanese originate from the extinct Spanish Bichon Tenerife and are part of the Bichon family. They are easy to groom and their appearance of being playful and friendly is matched by their temperament, which makes them good around children and other dogs. Unlike some other Toy breeds, they tend not to be overly demanding and can be controlled well by a stern talking to from their owners. Despite having a relatively sturdy and robust frame, they can suffer various ailments including cataracts and hip dysplasia. It is for this reason that anyone interested in this breed would be well advised to buy from good stock via a reputable breeder.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Poodle

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

Poodles are curly haired, do not have an undercoat and do not shed. They generally enjoy the company of people, but some types are not child friendly. Poodles are usually categorized into 3 size categories – Toy, Miniature and Standard – although the FCI includes an additional category termed Medium (between Miniature and Standard). The more diminutive Poodles, as is common with many smaller pure breed dogs, can suffer health problems as they age, including arthritis and loss of eye sight.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Shih Tzu

Height: 7.9-11 in (20-28 cm)     Weight: 8.8-16 lb (4-7.3 kg)

If you fancy owning a small dog with the appearance of a traditional oriental lion, then a Shih Tzu might appeal to you. Its large dark eyes are accentuated by a short muzzle and a noticeable underbite. Regular grooming and brushing is required to maintain its fast growing long silky hair, and the color of the coat can range from white through to black. Although this breed can live up to sixteen years of age, it can be affected by a variety of health issues. These may include breathing and thyroid problems, as well as Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) which affects the pads between the vertebrae of the spinal column resulting in symptoms of pain through to possible paralysis.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Bedlington Terrier

Height: 15.5-16.5 in (39.4-41.9 cm)     Weight: 17-23 lb (7.7-10.4 kg)

Terriers are single-coated breeds (no undercoat) with a short outer coat. Though common pets nowadays, they were originally bred to be small and fast hunting dogs that could search out their prey. Their general smallish size and lack of an undercoat means that allergen dispersal is minimal if they are groomed on a regular basis. The Bedlington Terrier is a small, energetic dog that makes a good choice for anyone living in a smaller property or apartment. A healthy, tangle-free coat can be achieved by brushing several times a week and grooming approximately 4 times a year.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Silky Terrier

Height: 9-10 in (22.9-25.4 cm)     Weight: 9-11 lb (4.1-5 kg)

The Silky Terrier was developed in the late 19th century through crossing a Yorkshire Terrier and an Australian Terrier. It was not fully recognized as the Australian Silky Terrier and a breed in its own right until 1955. These dogs have terrier qualities such as possessing a very sharp alertness and enjoying activities. Silky Terriers do not shed and their name in part derives from their very soft and smooth quality long hair which takes a lot of care to keep in good condition. If you plan to have them around other dogs or children it is important to train this breed well, as their innate nature is to become somewhat aggressive when provoked or teased.

Smaller Sized Allergy Friendly Dogs - Yorkshire Terrier

Height: 8-9 in (20.3-22.9 cm)     Weight: 4-7 lb (1.8-3.2 kg)

The Yorkshire Terrier or ‘Yorkie’ derives its name from the ‘broken-haired’ Scotch Terrier that was common to Yorkshire in the late nineteenth century. This originated from the cross breeding of terriers brought south from Scotland by migrating weavers and was bred to hunt mice and rats. They are surprisingly tough for their size (especially the larger Standard size Yorkie) and are playful though territorial, intelligent and can be well trained making a loyal, affectionate and attention loving pet. Their low shedding, low dander coat is silky, glossy, long and fine in texture and they lack an undercoat. Though black and tan in color as a puppy, adult Yorkies go on to develop a steel blue body color. This popular and at times fashionable indoor loving pet requires little but frequent maintenance of their ears, eyes and teeth. Yorkies can develop health problems as they age such as hair loss, urinary infections and cataracts.


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)
BICHON FRISE912102022.930.54.59.1
COTON de TULEAR8.5123.56 21.630.51.62.7
POODLE11158 702838.13.631.6
SHIH TZU7.9118.816202847.3
BEDLINGTON TERRIER15.516.5172339.441.97.710.4
SILKY TERRIER9109 1122.925.44.15
YORKSHIRE TERRIER8947 20.322.91.83.2
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