Think your best bet is a short-haired dog? Surprise! You'll find that both short- and long-haired breeds populate the American Kennel Club's (AKC) list of dogs that do well with people with allergies.
That's because it's not the dog's hair, per se, that causes allergies, it's the saliva, skin, or other proteins. Allergens (particularly saliva proteins) can latch on to the hair, so less shedding in general -- rather than the length of the hair -- may be helpful.
Bedlington terriers have curly, wooly coats with an extra mop on the top of the head, and weigh 17 to 23 pounds.
Known as "powder puff" dogs, bichon frises have a soft, silky undercoat and a more coarse and curly outer coat.
These dogs weigh about 10 to 18 pounds.
In general, dog allergens are microscopic particles that can hitch a ride on other air pollutants, including cigarette smoke and particulate matter generated by traffic.
Cutting down on indoor air pollution can help stop the circulation of symptom-triggering allergens in your home, experts say.
This pup sheds little to no hair, which again can lower -- but not eliminate -- allergens in the home.
One member of the breed, Sam, had the dubious distinction of being voted the unofficial world's ugliest dog for three years in a row.
Chinese crested dogs come in two versions -- hairless, which have hair on the head, feet, and tail; and powder puff, which have a soft coat over the entire body.
These dogs weigh 10-13 pounds.
Devon Rex Cat
In general, kittens shed more allergens than cats. Although the levels seem to drop at 6 to 12 months of age, "they still cause allergies," says Dr. James Seltzer, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Irish Water Spaniel
These dogs have a curly coat and can weigh 45 to 65 pounds.
The AKC says they "require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat."
"If you do the grooming outside the house, you're not going to stir up as much allergens."
Kerry Blue Terrier
These dogs have a soft, dense coat and weigh 33 to 40 pounds.
Dr. Sublett notes that if "you're allergic to one dog, you're allergic to all dogs."
There's "not really any guarantee that an animal will be hypoallergenic," he says.
Labradoodles are created by crossing a poodle and a Labrador retriever. The original intent was to produce a seeing-eye dog that was also hypoallergenic.
"There is no way to guarantee a litter will produce puppies with equal poodle coats, making the high prices unjustifiable and the claims of these dogs being ideal misleading at best," according to the organization.
These dogs are small -- generally 4 to 6 pounds -- and are covered with long silky fur that should be brushed daily.
While grooming a dog outside the home can help reduce allergens inside, it can also help to "take a damp washcloth and wipe the animal down," says Dr. Sublett.
A simple daily wipe-down with a slightly soapy cloth can remove allergens as well as commercial sprays or other products that are sold as a way to reduce allergens, he says.
Poodles come in three sizes -- toy, miniature, and standard. How to choose?
"Clearly a smaller dog should shed less total dog allergen than a larger dog," says Dr. Seltzer, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and an allergist-immunologist at the Fallon Clinic in Worcester, Mass.
Portuguese Water Dog
The most famous Portuguese water dog, Bo, is currently residing in the White House.
The perception that you can side-step allergies by "something as simple as getting a shorter-haired animal or even a hairless animal is just not accurate," says Dr. Sublett.
And spending a few hours with an animal won't tell you if it will pose future problems, he says. Daily exposure can trigger a new allergy or "keep the fire stoked" on chronic problems.
Like poodles, schnauzers come in three sizes -- miniature, standard, or giant.
Frequent baths, regular grooming outside the house, and having easy-to-clean wood floors instead of allergen-trapping rugs may help.
"At the same time, you shouldn't deceive yourself that you can completely remove your exposure," says Dr. Sublett.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
This dog has a long silky coat and weighs about 30 to 40 pounds.
One factor to keep in mind: Dogs with longer hair may pick up other allergens, such as pollen, when outdoors.
"You may get more symptoms as a result of having a long-haired dog than a short-haired dog," says Dr. Seltzer.
These cats can be hairless or just have hair on the nose, tail, and toes. However, they still produce dander -- the skin and saliva proteins that are powerful allergens.
In general, cat allergens tend to be more potent than dog allergens, for those who are sensitized.
The good news? Allergy shots -- routine injections of allergens that can result in tolerance over time -- are more likely to be successful for those allergic to cats than those who are allergic to dogs, says Dr. Seltzer.
"Allergy shots for cat can be effective in as many as 65% of people," he says. "But it does take a year or two often to start working."
Like the hairless cat, a hairless dog like the Xoloitzcuintli will still produce skin dander. (It also comes in a coated version.)
Like the poodle and schnauzer, this ancient breed comes in three sizes -- toy, miniature, and standard.