How much do you know about hypoallergenic dogs? Of course, you know that allergy sufferers love these pets mostly because they can often befriend them without going into a sneezing and wheezing fit. But what else comes to mind when you think about these dogs? If all that pops into your head are the pictures of famous hypoallergenic dogs like Bo and Sunny Obama, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Unless you or someone you love suffers from allergies, it is unlikely that you’ve sought to learn more about these wonderful animals. We’re about to help you change that, though!
Certain breeds like the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog have become quite popular in recent years due to anecdotal reports that these animals are more easily tolerated by allergy sufferers than other breeds. Hypoallergenic dogs aren’t only great companion pets for people who struggle with allergy symptoms, though. Also, do you or someone you know own a Maltese? A Poodle? A Terrier? The truth is that you probably already know a hypoallergenic dog, but just aren’t aware of it.
What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic?
That’s a great question and the perfect place to start our exploration of hypoallergenic pets. Animals within a breed that is known to shed less fur than other common breeds are classified as hypoallergenic. Due to their lack of shedding, less fur is released into the environment. Where the fur of common breeds tends to become airborne after it is shed — eventually settling into carpeting, fabrics and on other surfaces that humans come in contact with — hypoallergenic dogs do not spread allergens in these same ways.
Typically, it is not a dog’s actual fur that triggers allergy symptoms, though. Instead, it is the dander attached to a pet’s fur that is the culprit. Dander is mostly comprised of saliva and urine and trace amounts of these proteins are found on an animal’s fur and skin. When allergy sufferers come in contact with these proteins, symptoms are triggered.
Now that we know what’s behind some dogs being classified as hypoallergenic, let’s spend a little time exploring some of the coolest facts that our Fetch! Pet Care team has learned about these unique animals:
1. Hypoallergenic Dogs Don’t Actually Exist
At least in the literal sense. See, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic and even those who are classified as such will still carry dander and may even release some of it into the environment. While many people report experiencing fewer allergy symptoms when a hypoallergenic dog is near, science tells us that “hypoallergenic” actually just means less allergenic in comparison to other breeds. And at least one study concluded that allergens were actually more present in the fur and environment of some hypoallergenic dogs than in other breeds. It is worth noting, however, that this study was not blind and that some of the answers supplied may have relied on the selective recall of its human participants.
2. Hypoallergenic Dogs Can Still Be Fluffy and Cute
Beloved for their lack of shedding, some may think that hypoallergenic dogs are not as furry or fluffy as other common breeds. In some cases, nothing could be further from the truth, though. In fact, some of the most notoriously hairy dogs fall within this category. The AKC published a list of hypoallergenic dog breeds, which includes super furry pets like the Bichon Frise, the Portuguese Water Dog and the Maltese. While all dogs are special — including those with no fur at all — people suffering from allergies do not have to sacrifice fuzzy-wuzzy cuteness in order to have a fur-ever companion!
3. Hypoallergenic Dogs Are Not New Breeds
Many hypoallergenic breeds were only labeled as such after people began noticing that they didn’t affect allergy sufferers. The breeds themselves, however, have been around for quite some time. Examples include the Poodle, the Afghan Hound, the Miniature Schnauzer and the Standard Schnauzer. None of these breeds were deliberately bred to be hypoallergenic and each existed long before the classification became popular.
4. Some Hypoallergenic Dogs May Fool You
Not intentionally, of course, but every hypoallergenic dog isn’t as he appears. Poodles are a good example of a breed where some are hypoallergenic and others not so much. Allergist and Immunologist, Dr. Clifford Bassett, made this clear in a 2008 NPR interview. Much like how some humans perspire more than others, apparently, some dogs are naturally very low allergen producers while others of the same breed can produce a lot more.
5. Hypoallergenic Dogs Can Be Found in Shelters
Now that we’ve covered breeds and explored a few facts about hypoallergenic dogs, you should know that they aren’t as rare as you may have thought. There’s no need to even spend a small fortune on buying one of these animals. Dogs who do not shed much can be found in shelters all over America and are anxiously awaiting to be adopted into a new home. By simply taking the time to visit your local shelters, you can eventually find a hypoallergenic dog to call your own.
How to Make Your Dog (Almost) Hypoallergenic
While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, you now know quite a bit more about those who wear this label. Even if your furball sheds all over the house, though, there are things that you can do to bring it closer to the hypoallergenic category, such as:
- Bathe your dog weekly
- Do not allow your dog to climb on your bed or couch
- Limit your dog’s access to rooms that you spend a lot of time in
You can also do things to reduce the amount of dander found in your home’s environment. If you or someone in your family is allergic to your dog, try vacuuming daily (including furnishings) or completely ditching carpeted flooring altogether. Also, try using an air filter to reduce the amount of fur or dander floating around in the air.
What do you think about hypoallergenic dogs? Do you suffer from allergies and have questions about these pets? Is your dog a hypoallergenic breed? We’re leaving the comments section open and look forward to hearing what’s on your mind.