When I was a kid growing up in the 1970's, my grandparents had a Cockapoo named Sammy. He followed my grandmother around everywhere and loved to play tug-of-war with socks. In my mind those Cockapoos from the 70's were the first "Doodles," with Poodle crosses gaining even more popularity since the first purposefully created Labradoodle back in 1989. Wally Conron, the man who spent over 2 years creating that first Labradoodle, did so because he wanted to create a dog that could serve as a guide dog for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to Labradors. He has since publicly said he regrets having (unwittingly) created this craze where for-profit-breeding has led to a preponderance of health and temperament issues in Doodles. Add to this the confusion prospective owners go through trying to figure out what is meant by "F1, F1B, F2, or F3" when looking at litters of Doodle puppies. Just to make sure we are all on the same page, let's break that down:
A Golden Retriever x Poodle breeding will result in F1 Goldendoodle puppies
Breeding one of those F1 Goldendoodles to a Poodle again results in an F1B Goldendoodle puppy litter
Breeding two F1 Goldendoodles results in a litter of F2 Goldendoodles
And finally, breeding two F2 Goldendoodles will result in a litter of F3 Goldendoodle puppies. And so on. I recently met an F5 Sheepadoodle!
Whether you want to think of these Doodle-dogs as purposefully bred mutts, expensive designer dogs, or up and coming dog breeds in their own right, is up to you and not my point here. What I want to get at is this notion that these are your only options if you have family members with allergies, or simply do not want to deal with a shedding dog. One caveat though: many of these Doodles are not actually hypoallergenic, as they are often advertised. It takes several generations to get to enough of those genes coding for hair versus fur to arrive at the point where shedding is minimal or non-existent. And truly there are no hypoallergenic dog breeds. What many people who think that they are allergic to dog fur are actually allergic to are the things that stick to a dog's coat. These external allergens can stick to haired dogs too, meaning that how you care for your dog's coat is the most important factor in allergen control. Now, if it's just a preference for a haired dog rather than one with fur, then you have many other options than you may have first thought. And the added bonus of researching a purposefully bred, purebred dogs is that the breeder should be able to supply you with the results of genetic testing, and be able to give you references to other owners of the dogs they've created. Each of these breeds has a distinct temperament and personality (in addition to their haired coat!) that you can feel confident will be present in the dog you purchase as those characteristics have been bred over hundreds of generations to a breed standard.
So, without further ado, here is an alphabetical list of dog breeds to consider if you are looking for a breed that has hair rather than fur. Just for fun, I've listed a few breed characteristics (based on my observations) for you as well:
1. Afghan Hound--a big, elegant, aloof dog
2. American Hairless Terrier: Friendly with everyone, has a reputation for being good with kids.
3. Bedlington Terrier: Looks like a sheep and has fairly low exercise requirements compared to other terriers on this list.
4. Bichon Frise: Happy-go-lucky and often a good candidate for pet therapy.
5. Chinese Crested: Great little watchdogs, but they don't do well if left alone. Not usually a good choice for homes with young kids.
6. Coton De Tulear: Sturdy little dogs who have a reputation for being good with other dogs and good with kids.
7. Giant Schnauzer: Super-smart and loyal, but they can be very territorial. These dogs need a lot of exercise, both mental and physical.
8. Irish Water Spaniel: These dogs are goofy and will bring a smile to your face. They are very energetic though and must have lots of room to run in order to be content and not stir-crazy.
9. Kerry Blue Terrier: Equally as energetic and active as a Giant Schnauzer but with a gentler disposition.
10. Lagotto Romagnolo: Often mistaken for mini-labradoodles, these 30 lb. bundles of energy and enthusiasm need their exercise out of the way first thing, and then will spend the rest of the day cuddling on your lap.
11. Maltese: While notoriously difficult to housetrain, they make up for this with their playful yet fearless dispositions.
12. Miniature Schnauzer: Same watchdog tendencies as the Giant version, but a bit more cheerful and engaging. Less likely to terrify your neighbors than the Giant Schnauzer!
13. Peruvian Inca Orchid: These dogs are hairless and come in three sizes. All have a tendency to be protective and territorial with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
14. Poodle: You know this one. Comes in three recognized sizes and are the smart, energetic base dog breed for many of those designer dogs you've seen going for thousands of dollars.
15. Portuguese Water Dog: "Porties" make great family dogs as long as that family is action-driven and not sedentary!
16. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier: Good with kids. Especially kids who like to run. A lot.
17. Spanish Water Dog: High energy like the Portuguese Water dog. BUT. These dogs are more protective and territorial.
18. Standard Schnauzer: Of the three Schnauzers on this list, the Standards tend to be more sociable and affectionate, better with kids and older folks.
19. Yorkshire Terrier: Like the Maltese, these little dogs are notoriously difficult to housetrain. They are also pretty feisty and can be bossy with their owners.
20. Xoloitcuintli (Mexican Hairless): These dogs come in three sizes and two varieties, one with hair and one without. The hairless version will need sunblock (and appropriate weather coverings). These are calm, rather aloof dogs with a moderate exercise requirement.
There you have it! Twenty options for a haired breed dog that isn't a Doodle. Keep in mind that you will still need to do your research to find a reputable breeder and get on a wait list for a puppy or older dog being re-homed after a show career. Dog shows are a great place to network with breeders, particularly if they are "benched shows," meaning dog shows where the dogs being shown in the ring are also on display for observers to meet and talk to the breeders/handlers about those dogs.
You know I have collies and collies are, most definitely, a furred breed. My dogs shed all the time all over everything. I groom them weekly, sometimes twice weekly when they are blowing their coats, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I control allergens by wiping them down with pet wipes and using waterless shampoo when necessary. My couch has an attractive, washable cover, so that I can share my favorite reading spot with them. I am fortunate that no one in my family is truly allergic to dogs. I'd hate to have to give up those human family members ;)
As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.