All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Allergic to Pets

I read your article faithfully in the Orange County Register. I am looking for some info on allergies and pets and hope that you might be able to help me. I am very allergic to cats & dogs but was told by family members that there are 4 breeds of dogs that I could have as they don't shed or have large amount of dander. The 4 breeds are: Maltese, bishon, lhapso apso and shitzu. Forgive my spelling on any of these! Have you heard of this before? Are there other breeds that I might be able to get? Are any of these breeds
better with small children than others? Do you have information on any of these breeds and any rescue organization. I'd like to adopt if I can.

Dear Christine,
The amount of fur a pet sheds is usually irrelevant to the occurrence of an allergic reaction. Even hairless breeds of dogs may cause allergies in sensitive folks. People with allergies to pets are responding to allergens from a pet’s urine, saliva or dander.

The American Kennel Club, though not promising allergy free conditions, recommends a number of dogs for allergy sufferers. They are: Basenji , Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Irish Water Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Chinese Crested, and the Xoloitzcuintli (aka, Mexican Hairless).

If you surf on over to their web site, you can get specific information about each of these dogs. Their web address is and there you will find explanations and descriptions about temperament, strengths, size, and everything you’d ever want to know about each breed.

If you are interested in adopting from a rescue organization, visit or From there you can navigate to a search for a specific breed.

You should probably consider fostering dogs before you adopt. By fostering, you are providing temporary homes for pets until a permanent home can be found. Fostering will allow you to find a dog that you are not allergic to and also one that makes a good family pet. When that special one comes along, you can switch your status from foster home to permanent family.

Most pet supply stores now stock special rinses for pets that control dander and other allergens. You may find that any breed will work for you and your situation if you use these products. They do require frequent use and grooming, but if you are willing to make the commitment to an animal, it is well worth it.

Finally, you may discover through fostering, that there are no breeds and no products that ease your symptoms around pets. If that is the case, it is better to discover this through a fostering situation rather than a permanent adoption. Too many pets owned by allergy sufferers are given up at shelters, only to be euthanized for lack of another home elsewhere.

Being allergic to animals when you love them is tough. My best advice to you is to really think things through before you adopt. A small dog can live 15 to 20 years. He deserves to have a permanent home for his whole life. Hopefully, it can be yours.

Best wishes.

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