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After thousands of years of domestication from their wolf ancestors, the modern domesticated dog comes in all sorts of sizes, colors, personalities, and coat styles.
Every dog owner has a preference for looks, energy level, small versus large, and lifestyle that determines the choice of breed of dog they choose for their family. And for 10-20% of people, they also have to consider dog allergies when choosing a dog that fits their lifestyle.
So if you are allergic to dogs, what kind of large breeds should you be looking at?
Dogs that are labeled hypoallergenic are simply less likely to trigger allergies. These breeds shed less and produce less dander, which makes them good candidates for pet owners who have mild dog allergies. There are many hypoallergenic options for people who prefer a large breed dog, including hunting dogs, water dogs, and herders.
However, people who have dog allergies are not always just allergic to their fur and dander, but to their saliva. Even hairless dogs shed skin dander and have saliva. But some breeds are going to affect your allergies worse than others and it could depend on their size, hair type, or the amount they shed.
Great Danes and short-haired Chihuahuas share similar fur, but because of their large size a Great Dane will shed more than a Chihuahua causing worse allergies. Meanwhile, a hairless chihuahua is going to be more hypoallergenic than a long-haired chihuahua.
Let’s explore the large hypoallergenic dogs and figure out which ones might best suit your lifestyle. Remember, the one that is your favorite in terms of looks might not be the best for your allergies.
12 Large Breeds That Are Hypoallergenic
While there are many breeds, both large and small, that are considered hypoallergenic, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, and people with severe allergies might never be able to have a canine companion.
Nonetheless, if you are determined to have a large hypoallergenic dog in your life, we have put together a list of 12 great breeds to choose from. Hopefully, you can find the perfect large hypoallergenic dog to fit your lifestyle and keep your allergies to a minimum.
1. Standard Poodle
Pun unintended, but this breed seems to be the standard when it comes to the hypoallergenic dog.
The Standard Poodle is so iconic that they have been mixed with a plethora of other non-hypoallergenic dogs to try to create the perfect canine for families with allergies.
The most popular doodle breeding recently has been Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. However, the original Standard poodle was not bred as a family dog, but as a water dog, probably in Germany.
Standard poodles come in several sizes, but we are focusing on large breeds, and the Standard Poodle ranges from 40 lbs to 70 lbs. Poodles always make a splash at conformation shows with their flashy, hypoallergenic, coats.
Smart and energetic, these dogs were originally used for water-fowl retrieving, and the Standard Poodle loves the water. Their curly coats make staying warm and drying off after a good swim easier.
The tight curls make them hypoallergenic because they shed less and have less dander that can trigger allergies. However, their lovely coats require maintenance with daily brushing and regular grooming. Otherwise, your poodle’s hypoallergenic coats can mat, requiring a full shave.
2. Portuguese Water Dog
Weighing up to 60 lbs, this large Portuguese dog is also a water dog like the poodle. Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to help fishermen and you can still see the kind of work they do in Water Dog Working Trials.
According to the AKC, “Porties” are athletic, eager to please, and trainable and are popular in a multitude of dog sports, from rally to agility.
They have a similar coat to the Standard poodle with slow-growing tight curls. This was ideal for work as a fishermen’s companion, where they retrieved and rounded up nets, buoys, and other equipment out of the water.
Their hypoallergenic coat keeps them warm and insulated in the cold water, and also helped them dry faster once back aboard the boat or ashore.
Like poodles, Porties will need regular grooming or their hair easily becomes matted. Unless they show dogs, most owners keep their hair trimmed short so their brushing needs are minimal.
3. Irish Water Spaniel
Another curly-coated breed that loves to swim, the Irish Water Spaniel is one of the oldest spaniel breeds in the world, dating back almost 1,000 years. They usually weigh around 50-60 pounds and are not only great waterfowl retrievers but also make excellent hunting dogs on land.
Between their curly hair and their funny and boisterous personalities, Irish Water Spaniels are often called the clowns of the spaniel group. They are smart and eager to please, but still need to be properly socialized as they tend to be a bit reserved with strangers.
Irish Water Spaniels have a curly double coat that is low shedding and does not need to be clipped as much as a Standard Poodle or Portuguese Water Dog.
They are a great large hypoallergenic family dog who needs to be brushed a few times a week to keep their coat healthy. Their face and tail naturally have shorter hair and some Irish Water Spaniels owners keep their faces trimmed back so it does not look too shaggy.
4. Giant Schnauzer
The breed standard of the Giant Schnauzer describes these big canines as a “bold and valiant figure of a dog.” And they certainly strike a pose at up to 95 lbs. Between their beard, eyebrows, and size, they almost resemble an ancient sage who is about to give you advice.
Unlike many super-sized dogs, the Giant Schnauzer has a lot of energy and needs regular exercise and training. They were originally an all-around working breed and have done everything from police dog work to herding! They love to work and do well in many kinds of dog sports and competitions.
Their curly, low shedding coat makes Giant Schnauzers a good choice for people who are looking for large hypoallergenic dogs. They will still require regular brushing and trimming.
If you like the look of the Giant Schnauzer but do not have room for such a large dog, Schnauzers also come in standard and mini sizes!
Airedales, or “The King Of Terriers,” are the largest of the terrier group, standing up to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing around 40-50 pounds. Even though they tower above their small cousins, the Airedale still has the same stubborn and determined traits that all terriers share.
If you are looking for an even larger Airedale, you can sometimes find a variation of the breed called a Roosevelt Terrier in North America, which can weigh up to 120 pounds.
Like most terriers, Airedales were bred to be independent working dogs in Britain, usually for hunting. A well-trained Airedale can work around livestock but are still notoriously stubborn. Though with patient training, they can be successful at many dogs sports like agility and protection.
Airedale’s short wiry coat does not need as much grooming or maintenance as a Standard Poodle. However, if you are allergic to dogs, you will still need to regularly brush your Airedale since they do have an undercoat. The undercoat will need to be stripped using a serrated comb or they might start matting.
6. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
This all-around Irish farm dog is a happy, outgoing breed that still has the signature terrier stubborn streak. The sturdy Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers can weigh up to 40 lbs with a soft, silky coat and have been called “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”
The Wheaten Terrier has a high prey drive, should have a fenced-in yard, and joins the list of these other 15 dog breeds who are terrible off-leash. They have a medium to high energy level and need daily exercise.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers have a unique silky coat that sheds very little, making them hypoallergenic. However, like many hypoallergenic dogs, they need almost daily brushing to remove any dead hair, dirt, and to prevent matting. They also need occasional trimming and grooming.
7. Bouvier Des Flandres
The name of this large Belgium hypoallergenic dog translates to “Cowherder of Flanders.” Weighing over 100 lbs, the Bouvier Des Flandres was originally used as a herder but is strong and versatile enough as a working dog that they have pulled carts and worked as police dogs.
They might have gone extinct at the turn of the 20th century if they had not been revived as military dogs during World War I.
While not completely non-shedding, the Bouvier Des Flandres’ curly and wiry double coat sheds only a little making them a great hypoallergenic dog. They do need regular grooming since the fur they do shed will get caught in their double coat and create mats if not brushed out.
They will also need to be trimmed regularly either by a groomer, or many Bouvier Des Flandres owners learn how to do it themselves.
8. Bergamasco Shepherd
The Bergamasco Shepherd is an incredibly rare low-shedding breed that has a unique coat that looks like it dreads instead of shedding. Their hair grows long and felts to form ringlets, much like the goats and sheep they were bred to herd. They are a smart, patient, and protective breed from Italy.
Once a Bergamasco Shepherd has reached adulthood, their coat is hypoallergenic and hardly needs any maintenance. They do not shed and do not need to be brushed.
While it looks like they are covered in mats and are in desperate need of grooming, they should never be shaved. Their coat helps regulate their body heat, both in heat and freezing temperatures.
Male Bergamasco Shepherds can weigh almost 90 pounds, and their coat was essential for protection from the cold while living and working with livestock in the Italian Alps. If you can find one of these rare dogs, they would be a great choice as a hypoallergenic companion.
9. Lagotto Romagnolo
Another rare Italian breed, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a 30-40 pound dog bred to hunt truffles. Despite being on the smaller side of large, they are rugged dogs bred for their endurance as water dogs, but now to track truffles in Italian forests.
If you were able to find one of these hypoallergenic dogs and do not regularly go mushroom hunting, they would be a natural at scent games.
Despite the teddy bear looks, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a working dog used to spending a lot of time outdoors with their owners. They are smart dogs who need regular exercise and mental stimulation.
Hypoallergenic Lagotto Romagnolos have a low-shedding curly double coat that is fairly silky. The silkiness means they mat easily so should be regularly brushed and trimmed.
Weighing in at up to 40 pounds, this larger Arctic Spitz breed from Siberia is a classic with its beautiful pure white coat.
Samoyeds have a lot of hair and were a multipurpose work dog of the Samoyed people, doing everything from herding, protection, and (like their Siberian Husky cousins) sled pulling.
They also have a stubborn streak, like this Samoyed who has decided they will not be pulling a sled.
Samoyeds are smart working dogs, but like a lot of Spitz breeds they can be stubborn, playful, and mischievous. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation, otherwise they will find ways to entertain themselves like suddenly getting into the trash.
With the iconic double fluffy coat that allows them to survive the bitter winters of the Siberian Arctic, it is easy to imagine all the vacuuming with one of these smiling sled dogs in your house. So how did they end up on this list of large hypoallergenic dogs?
Well, Samoyeds only blow their coat twice a year and produce little dander. Their unique, almost hypoallergenic coat is very cleanable. When they get dirty (and they love mud!) the dirt blows or dries out easily!
11. Afghan Hound
Afghan Hounds are beautiful large sighthounds hailing from the mountains of Afghanistan. Also known as the “Persian Greyhound” they are shaped like the English cousin but have long silky hair, and are fast dogs making them great competitors in modern-day lure coursing.
Owners of Afghan hounds report that with their high prey drive and stubbornness, these dogs can be difficult to train. They are aloof and dignified but still enjoy having fun and love playing, even getting the occasional zoomies that many sighthounds are known for.
Afghan Hounds have striking, thick, and silky straight fur, and their looks just scream sophistication. With all that luscious fur, it might be surprising to learn that they are a large hypoallergenic breed.
While their long coat does require daily upkeep and brushing, they shed and create much less dander than dogs with similar style coats.
Since they were bred as hunting companions in the mountains of Afghanistan, they needed to keep their thick coats to survive harsh, frigid winters.
12. Honorable Mention: Doodles
A “doodle” is a catch-all term for a poodle cross. The original Doodle was a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, bred in Australia.
Labradoodles and Goldendoodles seem to be the most popular nowadays, but people who breed doodles cross everything from spaniels to giant Bernese Mountain Dogs (or Bernadoodles).
I have even seen Prydoodles, which is a cross of the high-shedding Great Pyrenees with the hypoallergenic Standard Poodle. Doodles come in a variety of sizes and it is easy to find large mixes.
The rising popularity of the Doodle seems to reflect a quest to find the perfect personality with a unique hypoallergenic dog. For example, if you love the personality of herding dogs, but are desperately allergic to an Australian Shepherd’s long shedding fur, you might be interested in an Aussiedoodle.
Doodle mixes (both large and small) often shed less than other dogs, but are not always as hypoallergenic as the Standard Poodle or some of the other large hypoallergenic breeds we have explored.
They can have long silky hair, curly hair, wiry hair, or straight short fur. Some doodles even have a combination of different fur types, which creates high-maintenance grooming needs.
They need daily brushing and regular appointments with a professional groomer. The genetics that goes into crossing a Poodle with another breed does not guarantee a hypoallergenic dog, your Doodle might still shed and produce a lot of dander, even if they do have a curly Poodle Coat.
Owning A Large Hypoallergenic Dog
While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, finding a dog that sheds less is a good start to trying to live with a dog if you suffer from allergies.
The AKC has some good advice for surviving dog ownership while having dog allergies:
- “Allergy proof your house” by having fewer surfaces that dog fur or dander can stick to. This includes carpets, rugs, and curtains.
- “Keep your house clean” by vacuuming and sweeping often. You should also wash places your dog comes into contact with often, including blankets, beds, and furniture. Many people who suffer from dog allergies benefit from an air filter.
- “Keep up on your dog’s grooming” by brushing them daily and regularly taking them to a professional groomer. Except for the Bergamasco Shepherd discussed in this article, all of these large hypoallergenic dogs need their coat maintained so they do not mat or get dirt and debris stuck in their fur. Grooming also keeps allergens like hair and dander to a minimum. Some of these large hypoallergenic breeds are going to require more maintenance than others.
- “Talk to your doctor.” There are so many different kinds of allergy medicine and even allergy shots that your doctor can recommend to you to help you survive living with your dream dog.
Most importantly, spend time with several different kinds of dogs to determine which ones trigger your allergies the most.
Some people do great with Samoyeds but still sneeze around Poodles. Some people even find their allergies become less severe the more time they spend around certain large breeds, especially if paired with treatments like allergy shots.
While there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, if you or someone in your family suffers from dog allergies, there is a good chance you can find a large breed hypoallergenic dog that fits into your household.
Furthermore, as a dog owner who has allergies, you might have to be more conscious of cleaning, the kind of furniture you have, and keeping on top of grooming your dogs.
Different breeds of dogs come with their unique responsibilities, and large hypoallergenic breeds are no exception. Hypoallergenic breeds often have higher grooming requirements than other dogs, needing daily brushing and regular professional grooming.
Keep in mind most of these large hypoallergenic dogs are high-energy working dogs and need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
You might want to research other hypoallergenic dogs if you want a dog that loves to sleep in and does not need to run a marathon every day.
If you do not feel like you have the lifestyle for one of these large hypoallergenic dogs, please consider one of the many small and medium hypoallergenic dogs.