Are Dogs Really Hypoallergenic? Truths vs Myths

A topic that has been debated since the dawn of the doodle. Do hypoallergenic dogs really exist?

In recent years, several breeds have gained the “hypoallergenic” label. If you become congested or start to sneeze anytime you’re near a dog, you’re not alone. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) reports that almost 10 million people in the US, and about 20% of the world population, are allergic to their pets.

doodle, hypoallergenic dogs

So it’s no surprise that this label has grown in popularity and people are looking for the best hypoallergenic dogs. But, if you allergy sufferers have been pinning all your hopes on one of these dogs being the perfect solution, don’t get too excited—this term is not as accurate as it sounds.

True Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds Don’t Exist

Although some individual dogs that don’t shed may indeed elicit fewer allergy symptoms than others, studies suggest that there is no specific hypoallergenic breed that are truly the best hypoallergenic dogs.

Dr. Tania Elliott is an allergist and a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She explains that “somewhere along the line, the fact that a dog didn’t shed became synonymous with the word hypoallergenic. While some people can be allergic to dog hair, others may be allergic to the dander (skin cells) and even their saliva.”

People with allergies tend to gravitate toward dogs that don’t shed. Even mild allergy sufferers or those with pet sensitivity believe that dogs that don’t shed will emit less dander. But let’s dive into that science a bit more.

Science on “Hypoallergenic Dogs”

In 2011 the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy published a study that found no major differences in the levels of the primary dog allergen, Canis familiaris (Can f 1), in homes with dogs labeled as hypoallergenic compared with those that weren’t. While the study authors state that there is a need for more research to confirm these findings, the results threw a wrench in most allergy sufferers’ plans.

shedding dogs, dog's coat

The results of a further study in 2012 actually found low-shedding Poodles had some of the highest levels of Can f 1 present in their coat samples. Surprisingly, Labradors Retrievers, often regarded as a breed more likely to trigger allergies because of their excessive shedding, had significantly lower allergen levels. This study also found no major difference in the amount of Can f 1 found in the air of homes with “hypoallergenic” and other dog breeds.



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