If you suffer from allergies to dogs, but still desire a canine companion, you may want to consider a Yorkie. While naming a dog “hypoallergenic” is actually a misnomer, Yorkies have been known to be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in those who are vulnerable compared to some other breeds of dogs.
Are yorkies hypoallergenic?
Do yorkies shed at all? No, Yorkies do not shed, which causes many people to believe that the breed is “hypoallergenic.” But there are no hypoallergenic dogs. It is important to understand that no breed of dog is proven to decrease allergic reactions, because the allergy is not to the dog’s hair or fur, but rather to the proteins inside the dander of the coat (and even the proteins in the dog’s saliva).
Dander is similar to human dandruff: it is the excess skin that is naturally shed from a dog’s body. And while dander is microscopic, it is a formidable foe to allergy sufferers because of its ability to enter mucus membranes, similar to how one would contract a cold or the flu.
As for dog saliva, a well-trained pup can be taught not to lick humans. It may not bother you, but your guests may feel otherwise—especially if they suffer from allergies! Believe it or not, over 10% of the population in the U.S. has allergies to pets. If you haven’t had an allergy test, now would be a great time to visit an allergist and get a list of everything you may be sensitive to: many people assume that they are only allergic to animals while it may be a whole host of things like molds or dust mites.
One of the big advantages to owning a Yorkie is that they have hair instead of fur: it is similar to human hair in that there is only one layer (compared to other breeds such as German Shepherds and Chows that have both an undercoat and top coat—which is usually referred to as “fur”). And while Yorkies do not shed like many of their canine counterparts, they lose hair just as humans do: particularly while being brushed or bathed.
If you own a Yorkie for companionship and not for professional showing, then you will probably want to forego the breed standard coat: which is floor length! Keeping your dog’s coat at this length requires heavy grooming to prevent tangles and matts. So if you prefer not to spend hours (or hundreds of dollars!) on grooming, consider a hairstyle that is short all over, like the puppy cut.
The benefit of having a short coat on your Yorkie may also prove beneficial to allergy sufferers: In addition to the dander from a dog’s coat, many people have allergic reactions to other allergens carried in the dog’s hair such as pollen or dust. Keeping a short coat will minimize the amount of allergens that are present. So unless you are planning a trip to the American Kennel Club anytime soon, speak with your groomer about a shorter hairdo.
Keeping environment allergen-free
Bathing your Yorkie is also important, not just for the health of your dog’s coat and skin, but also to wash away any additional dander or allergens. Bathing your Yorkie once week is usually sufficient (unless they have been running in the mud!). Be sure to use a shampoo that is specifically for dogs, which will help remove dander.
Another recommendation for allergy sufferers is to keep up with regular housecleaning to minimize the amount of dander shed from your dog’s coat. Carpet is notorious for trapping allergens in its fibers, along with fabric-upholstered furniture; curtains and bedding can also be an ideal place for dander to accumulate, so wash them regularly. Consider hard flooring like wood or tile, leather furniture, and a quality vacuum cleaner to keep allergens at bay.
Purchasing an air filter can also be a great way to remove dander and other allergens from the air in your home, especially filters that can be integrated into your home’s heating and cooling system. HEPA filters have been proven to remove dander from the air in your home. Another step that some pet owners take is to make their bedrooms a dog-free zone. Since we spend so much of our time asleep, it makes sense to ensure that those 8 hours are as restful as possible.
With Yorkies and every other breed of dog, keep in mind that older dogs tend to shed more dander than younger dogs; however, many experts believe that being exposed to dogs at an early age can help prevent allergies later in life. So if you bring a Yorkie into your home with young children, they may be less likely to develop a dog allergy than adults.
Top 16 best hypoallergenic dog breeds
Since Yorkies are a toy breed, and therefore small in size, they make an ideal choice for individuals with allergies. Simply put, there is just less dog, which means less dander and less saliva to go around! And since Yorkies aren’t overly fond of being outside (especially in poor weather), they are less likely to track in additional allergens from the outdoors.
If however, you still have allergy symptoms after brining your Yorkie home, ask your doctor about allergy shots or nasal sprays. Many dog lovers are able to control their allergies well enough to live happily with their furry friends, and most die-hard dog lovers agree that the benefits of owning a dog outweigh the inconvenience of allergies.
Yorkies are in the official AKC-approved list of hypoallergenic breeds. Here are other breeds that generally do well with people with allergies:
2. Chinese Crested
4. Italian Greyhound
6. Shih Tzu
7. Bedlington Terrier
9. Bichon Frisé
10. Irish Water Spaniel
11. Kerry Blue Terrier
13. Portuguese Water Dog
14. Soft Coated
15. Wheaten Terrier