I want to get a dog, but my kids have allergies. I have heard that poodles are good for people with allergies. Is there a list of breeds that are okay? What about a Jack Russell Terrier? Would that be an acceptable breed?
Congratulations on your decision to get a dog. They can be wonderful companions, especially for your children. While the allergy issue is certainly a big consideration when choosing a breed, you also need to consider temperament and physical traits when looking at different breeds.
Poodles and Bichons and some of the terriers do rank high on the list of "hypo-allergenic" dogs, but allergies can be very individualized. A breed that may trigger life-threatening reactions in one person may only cause a few sniffles in another individual. If your kids are allergic to dander and not hair, a poodle may not work at all.
Allergies are not only determined by the type of dog and the person’s tolerance, but can be moderated by exposure (keeping the dog out of the children’s bedrooms), frequency of bathing and grooming, etc. Discuss control measures with your children’s physician. Then make a list of breeds that you might be interested in owning. You would probably want to avoid long, heavy-coated breeds that require a lot of grooming unless you are willing to do the grooming yourself or have it done professionally.
Visit a dog show and talk to breeders and people that own the breeds that you are interested in. If possible, have the children pet or play with one breed per show and see how their allergies are. If you can narrow it down to a few different breeds, you may be able to "borrow" a dog from a breeder for a few days to see how your children react to it in the home. This may take a while, but will be worth it in the long run to your children and a new dog.