Many designer cross breeds are touted as hypoallergenic.
Allergy sufferers rejoice and those who love a clean home finally consider bringing a pooch into their dwelling. But do hypoallergenic dogs really exist? Or are they in fact just a marketing ploy?
Read on to find out more.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
Hypoallergenic simply means “relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction”
No-one is saying a reaction won’t occur, it’s just less likely when something is hypoallergenic.
Where the confusion often lies is because many people believe its animal fur or hair that causes an allergic reaction.
The actual cause is a protein that is found in the saliva and urine of the animal. So, unless you can stop a dog going potty or producing saliva, you will always run the risk of an allergic reaction.
Why Do People Suffer Allergic Reactions to Dogs?
The reason people will have a reaction from being around a dog or touching a dog is because the protein sticks to the dead skin/hair and is then shed into the environment or to whoever touches them.
A hypoallergenic dog should typically shed less than other dogs, so they release less dander (skin flakes) into the environment.
Curly coated breeds are often deemed hypoallergenic, not only because they shed less, but dander is easily trapped in their tight curls, so less likely to be released into the environment.
In short, those dogs labelled as hypoallergenic will still produce the reaction causing protein, it’s just less likely to be shed into the environment and therefore less likely to cause a reaction.
Are Designer Cross Breeds Hypoallergenic?
Ironically, many designer cross-breeds were first created to be hypoallergenic.
Whilst later generations may finally be able to state the breed sheds less hair and dander, first generations often cannot. This is extremely common in doodles.
Whilst the poodle is low shedding with a curly coat, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Australian Sheepdogs and Bernese Mountain Dogs all shed massively.
In first generation litters you can never be 100% sure of the puppies you will end up with, you could end up with more oodle than Lab or more Aussie than poo!
If you are seeking a low shedding Labradoodle who is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, you could easily end up with a wire-haired pooch who creates tumbleweeds of hair wherever they walk.
If there are allergy sufferers in the home, it is essential to research the pup you are considering bringing home.
Purebred Hypoallergenic Dogs
Whilst there are several designer dogs that are touted as hypoallergenic, there are a number of pure-breed dogs that are also less likely to cause a reaction:
Afghan Hound – whilst they do have high grooming requirements, the Afghan Hound is generally low shedding. High in energy, they are incredibly independent and aloof! A large pooch with a huge personality. Not for first time owners, these guys need a confident and experienced owner.
Bedlington Terrier – resembling a lamb, the Bedlington has a curly, woolly coat that rarely sheds. Placid and docile, the Bedlington has no clue it’s supposed to be a terrier! Loyal to their family, they just want to be involved in everything! Active as you’d expect but not mischievous or boisterous, they are perfect for families with children.
Bichon Frise – another curly coated pooch, they rarely shed but their hair does grow! Regular grooming is a must to keep their coat matt and knot free. A gentle and happy pooch, they will suit any lifestyle. Their small size also means they are suited to apartment or city living.
Whilst you may find a low shedding pooch who is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, all dogs produce the protein that will cause the reaction.
How you manage the environment can also help reduce the likelihood of a reaction, for example:
- Keep your pet out of your bedroom or off furniture you spend a lot of time in/on
- Bath your pooch weekly to reduce dander
- Choose hard-flooring as opposed to carpet so you can easily and regularly remove dander from around the home
- Use air purifiers or vacuums with HEPA filters
So, in answer to the question; hypoallergenic dogs do exist, in that they are relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
But all dogs have the potential to cause a reaction.
First generation designer cross-breeds have the associated unpredictability of the puppies produced – you can’t be 100% that your poodle-lab puppies will have the curly coat.
Later generations are however more predictable.
The important thing is to research the pup you are considering bringing home and remember, there are pure-breed dogs that are low shedding too!
Today’s blog was kindly written by guest auther, Robert Woods.