10 dog breeds most likely to suffer from an allergy

Our pups are like snowflakes – each one is unique. With quirky personalities all their own, we can always pick our dogs out from a crowd. When I adopted George, I knew his aloofness and lord-like personality would forever make me smile. Four years later, it turns out I wasn’t wrong!

Sadly, while this is part of what makes them so amazing, it can have some drawbacks, too. Dog allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities come in all shapes and sizes, and can impact our pups in many ways. Some dogs could happily chow down on a nice bit of lamb all day long, while George would be side eyeing me uncomfortably, passing his third gut-wrenching korma poo of the day.

Unlike us, dogs can’t just pop a Piriton for allergy relief, or find the willpower to run away from that pack of peanuts. They don’t understand that galloping through clovers makes them itch like crazy, or that they’re not supposed to eat the chicken they’ve been eyeing up all day – and not just because it’s for mum’s tea. So it’s our responsibility as pawrents to keep an eye on what they eat and what potential allergens they’re exposed to.

Once you understand how to spot an allergy (if you want a reminder, we have a whole blog on the topic), what else is there to consider?

Battle of the breeds

Your doggo’s breed will play a large part in their chances of developing an allergic reaction. While no two pups are the same, some breeds are predisposed to allergies. Interestingly, purebred dogs are more likely to have one than a mixed breed. 60% of Bulldogs, for example, have an allergy to chicken. 

That’s why we’ve put together a guide of the dog breeds most likely to suffer. If your pooch is on the list, it might be worth paying a little extra attention to where they’re shoving their perfect little snout.

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French Bulldogs 

As well as having to steer clear of drool-inducing chicken, French Bulldogs have one of the largest genetic predispositions to canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). With a whopping 22 skin problems unique to their breed, this means they’re more likely to suffer from contact (atopic) allergens such as grass, mite bites, feathers when zooming down the local pond, your new Zoflora, and many more. 

The most common sites for reaction are their toe beans, belly, skin folds, and ears – so take particular note of these areas. 

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Bull Terrier 

Bull Terriers are 21 times more likely to experience atopic dermatitis than all dog breeds combined. Specific environmental allergens to be wary of include pollen, dust, and mildew. But inhalants such as detergents and chemicals can also leave your pup feeling worse for wear.

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American Pit Bull Terrier 

American Pit Bull Terriers are often allergic to environmental allergens such as fleas, pollen, grass, and dust. Without a thick coat to protect them, quick exposure on a walk or while sniffing round the back of the TV stand (who dusts there?) is sometimes all it takes. 

There’s also some common food allergens they might experience – including beef, wheat, rice, and corn.



Unlike us, Boxer’s get no respite from their seasonal allergies, with trees, weeds, and pollen causing mayhem year-round. You know that room you can never be bothered to clean? Keep them out of there, too, as dust can also trigger a skin reaction.

When it comes to food, high grain content can spell disaster. Too much corn or wheat could leave your pup hating their life for a day or two – and by the smell of it, who could blame them?

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Bichon Frise

For a Bichon Frise, contact allergies to the likes of pollen, grass, and dust are no joke, sometimes leading them to scratch their skin raw (ouch). As a breed, they can also respond badly to flea bites, with ‘hot spots’ forming wherever they’ve been bitten – otherwise known as FAD (Flea Allergy Dermatitis). So you want to keep an eagle eye on their hygiene. Maybe consider taking them to the groomers more frequently just to be safe?


Cocker Spaniel

This is another breed who can relate to all of us hay fever sufferers out there, with pollen, dust, mildew, and mold commonly triggering reactions. Also known to leave this energetic breed in a slump are food and inhalant allergens. 

They have sensitive little tummies, which make common food allergens such as beef, grain, and soy a minefield to navigate. Materials to look out for around the house are wool, synthetics, plastic, copper, and sand – inhaling any of these could lead to one very unhappy doggo.

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Labrador Retriever

Being one of the most popular dog breeds out there doesn’t stop Labrador Retrievers from falling victim to some really common dog allergies. The inhalation of pollen, mold, or dust on a walk or in the house can quickly lead to excess licking, chewing, and itching. Similarly, tick and flea bites can trigger a significant skin reaction.

And, to complete the holy trinity, Labradors also commonly suffer from food allergies, with the protein in eggs, soy, chicken, and beef being some of the most common offenders.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

German Shepherds can be at a high-risk of skin allergies, particularly the short-haired variety. Dust or pollen are two of the most common culprits, but insect bites can also cause a flare up.

When it comes to food, allergies are often triggered by animal protein – including chicken and beef. As well as wheat, soy, eggs, and milk.

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Golden Retriever 

It can be difficult to spot allergic reactions in Golden Retrievers, what with their long, luscious coat. But, unfortunately, being out of sight won’t keep the annoying reactions off your pup’s mind. 

Pollen, dust, mold, grass, and insect bites are common environmental and inhalant allergies for this breed. Their common food allergens are soy, wheat, dairy, beef, and some poultry.

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And finally, we have the Maltese. Environmental allergens can be a nightmare for this breed, with house dust, mold, and insect bites leading to itching, rashes, hair loss, and other symptoms of CAD. They can also suffer from contact reactions to fabric and plastic – worth bearing in mind when picking out their beds and bowls.

When it comes to Maltese food allergies, all the usual culprits are worth bearing in mind – protein sources like eggs, soy, chicken, and beef, as well as dairy, milk, and corn.

Age of onset of dog allergies

No matter the breed, it’s worth mentioning that most dog allergies won’t start to appear until your doggo hits six months of age, with the vast majority of reactions occurring at ages one or two. This is the time to really start being more vigilant of where your pup is sniffing about, and any potential reactions that might crop up.

We love our pooches for all their idiosyncrasies and quirks. But with all the good, we must also accept the bad. Namely, the eye-watering korma poos, crusty bald spots, and trails of flaky skin. However, knowing your pup has a predisposition to certain allergies can help you act quicker in the case of reaction. After all, knowledge is power when it comes to helping them live their happiest, healthiest life.

If you suspect your dog might be suffering from food or non-food allergies, it’s better to get them tested sooner rather than later. Our non-invasive sensitivity tests are only £60 and take just a few hairs and five minutes of your time. Send it to us and we can have your results within 72 hours. Your pup can be back on top form in no time at all!