shih tzu puppy sitting on a couch

Are you a dog lover who suffers from an allergy to dogs? It can be frustrating and disheartening to be allergic to an animal you love so much. It’s difficult to manage allergies to dogs if you live with a dog in your home, which may have led you to begin looking for a hypoallergenic dog. Shih Tzus are a popular dog breed for their cute looks and big personalities, but are they hypoallergenic? Read on for everything you need to know about keeping this beloved breed if you’re allergic to dogs.

Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic?

No, Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic. In fact, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, no matter what breeders, rescues, and the internet may try to tell you. Dog allergies are caused primarily by proteins in dog dander, which are the dead skin cells that naturally flake off, but they are also caused by proteins in urine and saliva. This means that if your dog has skin, a functioning urinary system, and salivary glands, then they aren’t hypoallergenic.

The less a dog sheds, the less irritating to your allergies it may be, which may have led to people believing that this breed is hypoallergenic. Although they’re a longhaired breed, they aren’t big shedders.

shih tzu outdoors
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Managing Dog Allergies at Home

The good news is that it’s not impossible for many allergy sufferers to find ways to comfortably live with a dog in their home. If you’re hoping to bring home a Shih Tzu, there are a few things you can do to manage the allergens your dog brings to your home.

Routine grooming, bathing, and brushing will decrease the amount of dander coming off of your dog, as well as washing off any urine or saliva on their coat. This may be difficult for you to do yourself if you’re allergic to dogs, though. While it may be beneficial, doing this yourself or having someone else do this in your home may leave behind dander that causes irritation for you. Taking your dog to a grooming salon can reduce the allergens on your dog without leaving them behind in your home.

You’ll need to be on top of cleaning in your home to reduce allergens from your dog. This means cleaning all linens that your dog comes into contact with, including human and animal bedding. You should also wash your dog’s toys regularly to reduce the saliva and dander that collects on them. Washing any clothes your dog comes into contact with will also help reduce allergens significantly.

The best tool you have at your disposal to reduce allergens that will irritate your allergies is simply to wash your hands. You should wash your hands anytime you come into contact with your dog, their items, or any linens that your dog has been in contact with. This means washing your hands after petting or holding your dog, handling their toys or food bowl, or after putting linens into the washing machine. Wash any part of your skin that your dog came into contact with right after the contact to reduce the likelihood of allergy issues.


While Shih Tzus are not a hypoallergenic dog breed, they may produce fewer allergens due to their lower shedding rate. However, there are still multiple considerations you should take within your home to reduce allergens. If you allow allergens to build up, you will be far more likely to experience allergy symptoms. Not every person is capable of living with an animal they are allergic to, no matter how vigilant they are with cleaning and maintaining the home.

Featured Image Credit: Pattarit S, Shutterstock