Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?

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Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?

Question

Are there any hypoallergenic dog breeds?

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Answer

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed, although some breeds may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Many people think that pet allergies are caused by a dog's or cat's fur, but the real source of pet allergies is often a protein that's in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from your pet's skin.

Some dog breeds, such as the soft-coated wheaten terrier, or mixed breeds such as the goldendoodle, are marketed as hypoallergenic dogs because they don't shed fur or they shed very little. Because these dogs don't shed, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their fur doesn't get released into the air or onto the floor as much as it would with a shedding dog. While you may have fewer allergy symptoms with a so-called hypoallergenic dog than with a shedding dog, no dog breed is hypoallergenic. There's some research suggesting that female dogs and Labrador retrievers might put off lower amounts of dog allergens.

If you're allergic to dogs, but still want to have one, there are some things you can do to reduce your allergy symptoms:

  • Choose a smaller dog, which will shed less dander than will a larger dog.
  • Keep your pet out of your bedroom and other rooms you spend a lot of time in.
  • Keep your pet outside, if weather permits.
  • Bathe your pet weekly to remove dander from its coat.
  • Choose carpet-free flooring, or shampoo your carpet regularly.
  • Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifier and vent filters to help reduce airborne pet allergens.
Last Updated: 2010-12-09
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