If your child is begging for a puppy, but he or someone else in the family is allergic, all is not necessarily lost. While there's no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, certain breeds don't cause as much of a reaction in allergic individuals. Maybe allergies aren't a problem, but you don't want dog hair all over the house. You also need to find a breed that's good with kids and doesn't shed. Such dogs do exist.
While toy and miniature poodles might be too delicate for kids -- and don't really have the temperament for youngsters -- a standard poodle fills the bill. Very smart and easy to train, the standard poodle makes a good addition to the active family. While a family pet doesn't have to look like a show dog, the poodle needs regular visits to the groomer for clipping. A standard is any poodle over 15 inches high at maturity. The breed standard is the same for all three types of poodles, differentiated only by size. Poodles appear in a variety of colors, including black, white, gray, brown, cream and apricot.
Portuguese Water Dog
If you have a pool, or enjoy going to the beach, you've got an extra bonus with this water loving canine. The Portuguese water dog is not just a good companion for kids, but he also plays well with four-footed friends, including felines. He's a big dog, maturing between 17 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 35 and 60 pounds, so is a better choice for older kids rather than very small children. Like the poodle, his wavy or curly coat doesn't shed, but he does require regular grooming to avoid becoming a mop. Coat colors include brown or black or those shades mixed with white.
If you're out walking your Bedlington terrier, passersby might do a double take. You appear to be walking a lamb. Although he's a terrier, he's far less bold than the typical earth dog. At maturity, Bedlingtons stand between 15 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 17 to 23 pounds. His coat requires weekly brushing to prevent mats, and he needs the services of a professional groomer -- maintaining his look is not for the amateur. Bedlingtons are an exceptionally long-lived breed. Not only are they good companions for kids, but they're exceptional watchdogs.
The Poodle Crosses
For decades, breeders have crossed poodles with other breeds to create nonshedding hybrid canines. Although not purebred, many of these crosses have become well-established, and make good choices for families looking for a playmate who doesn't leave hair in his wake. The Labrador retriever has held the top spot in number of American Kennel Club registrations for years, but this good family pet sheds like crazy. Enter the Labradoodle, a poodle-Lab cross and a smart dog with good temperament. If you prefer a golden retriever cross, there's the goldendoodle. Smaller crosses include the cockapoo, a cross with the cocker spaniel and an excellent family pet. The schnoodle, a poodle and miniature schnauzer cross, is another fine choice for families.