Hypoallergenic Dogs
(Fantasy or Fur Real)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 | 


A Word From Dr. Joyce Ashamalla

Hypoallergenic Dogs

Many people suffer from allergies and animals often play a role in bringing on these unpleasant reactions. Cats are often first in mind when it comes to allergy offenders, but dogs can also be a huge problem for people.  With up to 47% of American households co-habituating with a canine companion, there has been a lot of information in the media in recent years regarding ways to combat or manage allergies attributed to dogs. A common perception regarding a solution is to own a hypoallergenic breed. In this blog, we will discuss these kinds of dogs, why they are less harmful to your allergies and what other steps you can take to minimize these unpleasant reactions to your four legged companion.

What is A Hypoallergenic Dog?

The honest answer to this question is that there is really no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.  However, it is a fact that there are some dog breeds that cause far fewer allergic reactions in people. To understand this topic even better, it’s important to know what causes people to be allergic to dogs in the first place. Many think (incorrectly) that it’s the coat of a dog that causes allergies, but it’s actually a protein that is found in the animal’s saliva or urine. This protein sticks to the dander (dry, dead skin) of the animal, which is transported into the environment when the dog sheds. People can also be allergic to the dander itself as well.  Another misconception is that hypoallergenic dogs do not shed. All dogs shed their coats, it’s just that some breeds shed very little or much less than other types of dogs. 

Dogs That Don’t Shed (or lower shedding dogs)  

Here’s a partial list of both small and large dog breeds that either don’t shed, or do so much less than other breeds of dogs.

Small Dogs That Don’t Shed:

  • • Toy Poodle

  • • West Highland Terrier

  • • Yorkshire Terrier

  • • Shih Tzu

  • • Scottish Terrier

  • • Maltese

  • • Bichon Frise

  • • Miniature Schnauzer

Large Dogs That Don’t Shed:

  • • Labradoodle

  • • Portuguese Water Dog

  • • Schnauzer

  • • Airedale Terrier

  • • Irish Water Spaniel

  • • Standard Poodle

Managing Your Dog Allergies

Having established the fact that certain hypoallergenic dog breeds are much less likely to cause an allergic reaction in their owners, there are some other strategies that can really help people manage their dog induced, allergic conditions.  

  • Carpet vs. Hardwood Flooring – Carpeting has a way of trapping dander. It’s much easier to keep a room free from fur if it has a wood or tile floor surface. If you can’t get rid of your carpeting, be sure to keep the area well vacuumed.

  • Filter, Filter, Filter – HEPA filters are designed to remove airborne allergens from the air like pollen and pet dander.  By eliminating these pollutants from your environment, the air quality is greatly improved and the chance of having an allergic reaction is much less.

  • Keep Your Bedroom Pooch Free – Since most people spend a lot of time in their bedrooms sleeping 6-8 hours per night, keeping your dog out of that particular living space greatly reduces your long term exposure to dander while at home. 

  • Grooming – Regular grooming (like brushing outside) can go a long way in reducing the amount of dander in the home.

In the end, it’s very important to remember that despite claims to the contrary, there is really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. It’s much more accurate to describe these breeds as lower allergen animals. Even these types of dogs lose fur, which can release dander into your breathing space. However, there are a lot of hypoallergenic dog breeds to choose from that do not shed, or do so very little compared to dogs that seem to leave piles of fur everywhere they go. By choosing a lower shedding/allergen dog and starting a routine of keeping your environment as free from dander as possible, you will have taken some really helpful steps in controlling your allergy issues.