If you’re a hunter that suffers from allergies but doesn’t want to miss out on the benefits of owning a hunting dog, the good news is there are 9 hypoallergenic hunting dogs that may suit your needs.
Now it’s true that you can possibly train any dog to hunt, but some dogs are just bred to do a job and have it in their blood.
Currently, I have two hunting dogs, a GSP and a Chessie. The difference between them is night and day. They clearly excel at the things they were bred for.
The Chessie takes like a duck to water while the GSP covers upland like a machine.
So with that being said, let’s go over the best hypoallergenic hunting dogs.
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Curly Coated Retriever
- Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
- Wirehaired Vizla
- Portuguese Waterdog
- Airedale Terrier
What Are Hypoallergenic Dogs
The first thing we must cover is what does hypoallergenic means. The term hypoallergenic means “below average” or “slightly” allergenic.
This means that even if you find the perfect hypoallergenic gundog, it can still produce allergens.
However, most dogs are coined with the term hypoallergenic if they don’t have a certain protein gene that causes allergic reactions, are without hair, or because of their coat type.
Hypoallergenic vs. Non Shedding
As we’ve discussed above, the main cause for allergies from a dog is down to specific proteins.
These proteins can be found in saliva and dander. So after a long hunt, when your dog licks himself, the saliva will stick to the hair, causing you a reaction when he shed’s.
Dander lies on the dog’s coat and skin and is spread when the dog shakes or again when he sheds.
Some breeds are considered hypoallergenic because they are non-shedding or shed less.
However, dogs can be hypoallergenic for other reasons, such as not producing specific proteins that may cause a reaction. So, even if you’re dog sheds, it may not cause you any problems if you are not allergic to the proteins it produces.
Best Hypoallergenic Hunting Dogs
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is a solid choice for anyone looking for a hypoallergenic duck hunting dog.
This spaniel was bred to be a dual-purpose hunting dog and excels at both retrieving and upland.
When the Irish Water Spaniel was introduced to the American market back in the 1870s it quickly became a favorite to duck hunters up and down the country.
These fantastic dogs are not as popular today due to the influx of labradors, but don’t let that stop you from owning one if you truly want an excellent all-around gundog.
Do be warned, these dogs are high-energy, and if not exercised properly, they will put their excellent nose to use and go find mischief.
You don’t see many people hunting over a Poodle these days. However, the Standard Poodle breed has been retrieving ducks for over 400 years and will likely continue to do so for another 400 to come.
This Hypoallergenic breed is excellent for the home, with its low shedding coat and delightful temperament.
The Poodle is another great example of an all-rounder. He’s capable of flushing upland birds or retrieving from water.
Although he might not take to the water as fast as a Chessie, with a little patience, he will grow fond of it.
Don’t be put off by other people’s ideas of what a poodle should be.
These dogs were bred to be hunters, and they excel at it. They are enjoyable dogs to be around and always aim to please their owner.
If you do seek out a Poodle for hunting, be sure of its hunting lines and stay away from show lines if possible.
Don’t let the name fool you. This is not a made-up breed like a labradoodle.
The Pudelpointer is yet another versatile breed in our list of hypoallergenic dogs. These dogs were bred for one thing, and they do it well, hunting.
They will show their pointing instinct from an early age, making them an excellent choice for upland hunters. If your preference is waterfowling, the Pudelpointer has a strong desire to swim and a protective coat.
These dogs are level-headed with a calm nature about them. If you want an excellent all-around dog with solid hunting lines, I strongly encourage you to look into this breed.
Like Benelli, Beretta, or Fabarm, the Lagotto Romagnolo is another great Italian creation to serve the hunting industry.
This breed is as rare as the truffles it hunts, and if you’re lucky enough to own one, you will have an outstanding hunting companion.
They have an excellent nose that aids them in their truffle hunting, but where they really excel for hunting is in the water.
The Lagotto Romagnolo originates from medieval times where it was produced to be a retriever.
Although most of them now spend their time as specialized truffle hunters, they still make an excellent companion in the marsh.
That highly prized nose of theirs won’t lose any birds.
Curly Coated Retriever
It’s not sure how the Curly Coated Retriever came about; what is sure is they have a natural ability for both upland and water.
Although some lines are now being diluted with show lines, if you manage to get your hands on a good hunting line pup, you will have a solid gundog.
These are not the easiest dogs to train and will require someone with experience. They take a specific balance to get their best from training. You cannot be too hard or too soft.
While from the outset it may seem like a daunting challenge getting a Curly, once you have found the right one and have it professionally trained, you will have a sure thing by your side that won’t let you down.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
This hypoallergenic hunting breed is a true champion of gundogs. The harsh low shedding coat is not only great for allergy suffers but also acts as a coat of armor for the dog.
This is one of the most amazing breeds to hunt over, and their sheer determination will astound you.
While it’s true they may not be the fastest or a far-ranging breed, there is one thing for certain, they get the job done.
Think of them as that solid old reliable vehicle, something you can always count on. This is the Griff, you can rely on him, and he will complete any task you give him.
We need to note that they’re not the friendliest when it comes to other dogs or other animals.
This breed has been gaining recognition in North America for the past decade, and it still continues to grow.
If you want a sturdy hunting dog like the GWP but with the drive and docile temperament of a Vizla, then this is the perfect dog for you.
This is a good breed for someone who is new to gundogs, they have a lot of energy but not too much, and they are easy to train.
They like to hunt close, have a solid point, and are happy retrieving; what more could you ask for in a gundog?
This is not a breed you will come across in the marsh too often, but it should be.
This ancient breed was bred to be hard workers on ships where fishermen used them for herding fish into nets and retrieving supplies from the water.
It’s not likely that they would make the greatest upland dog, but if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic duck hunting dog, then they’re certainly worth considering.
With their endless amount of energy and their ability to swim all day, I think the Portuguese Waterdog would be a great companion in the marsh.
The Airedale Terrier has been described as a three-in-one dog. He is capable of hunting fur, feather, and waterfowling.
While they used to be known as fur dogs, they quickly became noted for their retrieving ability.
Their impressive hypoallergenic coat protects them from the cold water while retrieving ducks.
This breed wants nothing more than to please and is quite easy to train.
Low-Shedding Hunting Dogs
American Water Spaniel
Although the American Water Spaniel isn’t a hypoallergenic dog, it is an infrequent shedder.
This is a solid true, and tested waterfowling dog. Like most spaniels, he is also an excellent flusher upland.
This breed is most commonly found around Wisconsin and is even their state dog.
Their size makes them perfect for a boat dog, while their hardiness allows them to endure frigid water—an outstanding duck dog in any respect.
If you’re looking for a low shedding dog that hunts something other than birds, the Redbone Coonhound ticks that box.
They are a rare breed and are phenomenal coon dogs. Although they excel at coons, they have been used for hunting all sorts of North American animals, such as deer, cougar, bear, boar, etc.
Do be aware that they can be a handful for inexperienced owners due to their short attention span.
How To Reduce Allergens From Your Hunting Dog
There is always a risk of developing allergies, even from hypoallergenic dogs. As we’ve mentioned, dander and shed hair are the primary problem for allergy suffers.
The best way to reduce the risk of being affected by your dog is to reduce the amount of dander and shed hair.
To do this, we have a few tips.
Bathe your dog regularly.
Frequent bathing of your dog will help wash loose hairs away, and remove dander that sticks to the skin.
Brush you’re dog frequently.
Don’t wait for your dog to lose hair by shaking or rubbing against objects in the house. As you take your dog out for a walk, a quick brushing will remove the majority of loose hairs.
Clean dog’s bedding.
This is where the majority of the dander will be. As the dog gets in and out of bed, it’s spreading dander around, increasing your chances of being in contact with it.
Change air filters
The air filters in your home are a great line of defense against allergies from pets. It’s best practice to change them regularly. Also, it’s worth considering using a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner.