the hypoallergenic dog

The Allergy Kit

The Hypoallergenic Dog


The truth about hypoallergenic dogs, breed-specific allergen, tips for finding your perfect dog, and recommended “reduced allergic reaction” breeds.

The pet allergy problem in the U.S. is considerable; about 10 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to animals, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. For those persons afflicted with asthma, the rate is even higher - approximately 25%. Allergic reactions to pets can range from bothersome (itchy or watery eyes) to downright dangerous, such as asthma attacks that constrict breathing.

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It is no wonder that so many people are searching for hypoallergenic dog information on the internet. The 10 - 25% of families that can not currently have a dog are searching for an answer; they would like a “best friend” for their home. But before we claim that there are breeds that offer a truly hypoallergenic dog, lets clarify that term. By “hypoallergenic” we mean breeds that result in a “reduced allergic reaction” among allergy sufferers; thus a smaller likelihood of causing allergy symptoms. Clearly, we do not mean “non-allergic,” because non-allergic breeds simply do not exist.

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dog allergen

Dog allergens are very small, sticky, and lightweight. Originating in a dog’s skin, saliva, and urine, the dander and saliva allergens are able to drift about your home, contaminating everything. All dog allergen is not the same, however, which is good news for allergy sufferers. Some pet allergens are breed-specific, so some breeds produce less than others. Examples of breeds that can produce less allergen are poodles, airedales, and schnauzers. These breeds shed their skin about every 21 days. Compare this to cocker spaniels, german shepards, and Irish setters, which shed their skin every three to four days and you can understand how some breeds allow you to “breathe easier,” thus they are considered to render a more hypollergenic dog.

I know what you’re thinking; “I just need to find a hairless dog and that will end my pet allergy!” Nope, that won’t do it. Although many people think "hairless" or short-haired dogs cause fewer problems for those with allergies, it is the dander (skin scales) that causes the most significant allergic reactions, not the length or amount of hair on the pet, according to the ACAAI. The fur, however, can present problems to the allergic individual. Dog fur can collect allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold and spread these allergens throughout your home.

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Rather than asking which dog breed is hypoallergenic, we would rather ask “which dog breed is hypoallergenic for you?” The fact is, every individual is different and each person has a unique allergic threshold; this makes it impossible to generalize about hypoallergenic dog breeds for the general population.

We suggest that if you are attracted to one of the recommended breeds below, find a breeder and spend some time at the breeder’s place of business. While there, remain cognizant of how you are feeling; are your usual allergic symptoms acting-up? This is the true pet allergy test; how you are feeling while visiting the breed you’re interested in!

If you are interested in a specific hypoallergenic dog, for AKC breeder information and referral, click here.

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hypoallergenic dog breeds

hypoallergenic dog labradoodle

A few years ago, the AKC allergy listed some dog breeds which they considered to be the most suitable for allergic people. We are not sure why this list is no longer present on their page, however we still find it to be a useful reference. We are presenting the list below, along with a few other “hypoallergenic dog" breeds we uncovered in our research:

• Poodle - The Poodle is an elegant, medium to large-sized dog, with a profuse, but well groomed and clipped, wiry curly coat

• Labradoodle - The Labradoodle's body is slightly heavier than that of a Poodle. The forelimbs are robust and muscular with ears set flat against the head and level with the eye. Excessive hair in the ear canal while the head is broad with well-defined eyebrows.

Click for more about the labradoodle as a hypoallergenic dog

• Bichon Frise - The Bichon Frise is a puffball of a dog with a loose curled coat. It is usually all white, cream, gray, or apricot

• Havenese - Smaller dog with dark eyes and long tail, covered with long silky hair. The profuse coat can be wavy or curly. A double-coated breed with soft hair on outer and undercoat. Adult coat reaches 6 to 8 inches, and has a pearly sheen. Some Havanese can be short haired

• Miniature Schnauzer - The Miniature Schnauzer is small, squarely-proportioned, has a long bushy beard, long head, and bushy mustache and eyebrows

• Kerry Blue Terrier - A well-built, muscular, medium-sized dog with terrier style and terrier character. This dog is born black but the coat changes color through various transitions

• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier - A medium-sized, squarely proportioned dog that is strong and gracefully. The head is rectangular, rather long, with a short, strong muzzle. Its jaws are able to seize and grip prey well, and it has large teeth

• Maltese - A hardy little dog with a silky white coat hanging straight to the ground on each side. The coat has no undercoat and should not be wavy or curly. The color is pure white or ivory

• Portugese Water Dog - A hardy, muscular, medium-sized dog. The coat can be shiny, thick, open curl, or tight curl. The non-shedding coat comes in black, white or brown, parti-color (white with dark spots), black or brown with white markings, or even silver fox or gray. The body is slightly longer than it is tall

• Italian Greyhound - An elegant, miniature Greyhound with a long head that thins gradually to a pointed muzzle. It has a dark nose, thin lips, deep brisket, arched back, and tucked-in abdomen

• Basenji - A small, unusual, elegant, athletic dog similar in size to a fox terrier. They have a smooth shiny coat that is copper colored, red, black or tan

• Chinese Crested - Hairless except for feet, head, and tail. They do not have the protective hair that other breeds have and therefore can get injured easily. These dogs are sweet, lively, and playful. They are affectionate with children

• Chihuahua - A tiny dog with an apple-shaped head and a short pointed muzzle. It has round, large, very dark eyes, sometimes ruby or luminous in color. Trademark large ears

• Mexican Hairless (Xoloitzcuintle) - Pronounced (show-low-its-queen-tlee), there are three varieties: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. It has a broad skull and a long muzzle with a black or flesh-colored nose

hypoallergenic dogs and pet allergy tips

By now you know that there is no canine that is truly a hypoallergenic dog. There are, however, things you can do that will help you minimize your pet allergy with the dog of your choice:

• Research the dog you are interested in and chose a dog from our list above that fits your lifestyle

• See if the breeder you’re dealing with has a return policy. This will allow you to spend time with a dog to truly assess its affect on your health

• Have your dog groomed as frequently as possible

• Bathe your dog as much as possible to remove allergens in its fur

• If you have asthma, keep medication on hand in case of an attack

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