Before children, it would have been so easy to get a dog. We would have headed over to the local pound, browsed the puppies and dogs that were desperate to find new homes, and we would have chosen a dog because it was cute. Or cuddly. Or just seemed the most anxious to get the hell out of there. And everyone would have been happy.
Then we had children. When you buy a dog with children, the first thing you need to do to be diligent is find a dog that will be good around children. Perhaps leaping into that Irish Wolfhound puppy that will very quickly grow into a 120 pound dog isn’t such a great idea when you have a 12 month old baby learning to walk. Or snatching up that absolutely adorable chihuahua should be given a second thought if you’ve got a houseful of rambunctious school aged kids.
But if you now have to not only find a dog that works well with children, but ALSO is hypoallergenic, you’ve got quite the hunt!
To begin with, beware anyone who tells you their dogs are hypoallergenic. On our hunt for an allergy friendly puppy for our allergy affected daughter Granuaile, we met with several very kind breeders. They all allowed us to bring Granuaile to them, let her run and play with the puppies AND the adult dogs, and they provided us with a ton of information to help us in making our choice.
Our findings indicated that the Irish Water Spaniel, listed in many places online as hypoallergenic, caused Granuaile to sneeze like crazy and brought on the water works with her eyes. The Portuguese Water Dog also provoked a minor reaction – not nearly as intense, but sneezing nonetheless.
We met with the breeder of a very new breed to the US – a Lagotto Romagnolo (an Italian truffle hunting dog), and she told us that it’s not just dander to be concerned with, as some poodle breeders will tell you, but it’s also the proteins in the saliva and urine. Even if you could keep your child from petting the dog, you probably can’t keep the dog from licking your child.
We also found that most breeds with hypoallergenic qualities were small – even toy – dogs. Add in the macho husband who feels a bit foolish walking around Little Puppy Frou-Frou, and it’s not an easy road to puppy bliss.
In the end, after a year of meeting with breeders and having Granuaile sniff, pet, kiss, and cuddle puppies, we opted for the Havanese – or the Havana Silk Dog. It’s the breed she had the most minimal reaction to (none), and the one we all seemed to fall in love with. Even Macho Dad has developed quite an affinity for our little Harper.
Do your research, meet the dogs, and beware of some of the dog blends (Goldendoodles or Labradoodles). Anyone with Punnett Square capabilities can see why that may not be your best option.