Hypoallergenic Dogs: Busting the Allergy-Free Fantasy

Why All Dogs Can Trigger Allergies

When it comes to choosing a dog, many people believe that hypoallergenic dogs are the best option for those with allergies. The truth is that there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. While some breeds may produce less allergens than others, there is no guarantee that they will not cause allergic reactions.

An animal’s fur is not the source of the allergen, although it can surely be an irritant to mucous membranes and airways. Allergies in humans are caused by a reaction to proteins found in a dog’s skin cells, urine, and saliva. These proteins are known as allergens and can cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and rashes. While some breeds may produce less of these allergens than others, no dog breed is completely allergen-free.

Pet dander and other pet allergens may linger in the air for a longer time than other allergens. -American Lung Association

Don’t believe the hype: “non-shedding” and “hypoallergenic” are marketing terms used by backyard breeders.

Marketing found on a BYB website.
Marketing found on a BYB website.

Rest Assured with these Facts:

  • Fact: all dogs shed; where there is hair that grows, there is hair that dies
  • Fact: “hair” and “fur” are chemically the same, scientifically speaking
  • Fact: all dogs have skin; skin cells shed and are an allergen
  • Fact: all dogs have saliva; saliva is an allergen
  • Fact: all dogs urinate; urine is an allergen

Many breeders who claim to sell hypoallergenic dogs are misleading buyers. The American Kennel Club does not recognize any breed as hypoallergenic, and breeders who claim otherwise may be more interested in making a profit than in the well-being of their dogs.

An example of marketing terms to avoid found on a BYB website.

There are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs – dog breeds, or mixed-breeds –. Some dogs have a predictable coat which produces less dander.

There is no breed that is consistently eczema-friendly. The concept of a hypoallergenic dog is not based on research. There are different allergens produced by different dogs and these ‘components’ can be tested for with your allergist.” -Dr. Anna Fishbein, associate professor of allergy and immunology at Northwestern University

A study published in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy found that there was no significant difference in allergen levels between so-called hypoallergenic dog breeds and non-hypoallergenic breeds. The study tested the levels of dog allergens in homes with both hypoallergenic and non-hypoallergenic breeds and found that both types of dogs produced similar levels of allergens.

Another study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that there was no significant difference in the levels of the major dog allergen, Can f 1, between different dog breeds. The study tested the levels of Can f 1 in the hair and coat of different breeds and found that all breeds produced similar levels of the allergen.

Contrary to popular opinion, there are no truly “hypoallergenic breeds” of dogs. Allergic dander in dogs is not affected by length of hair or fur, nor by the amount of shedding. -American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey

While some dogs are less likely to provoke allergies in people, there is no universal hypoallergenic dog breed. How hypoallergenic a dog may be is dependent upon the dog and the person and that allergic reactions can vary depending on the individual. What may cause a severe reaction in one person may not affect another person at all. Even if a dog breed is considered hypoallergenic, it does not guarantee that it will not cause an allergic reaction in some individuals as not all dogs produce the same proteins; some people may be allergic to a specific dog, but not a specific breed. This means that a person could react to one Poodle while living symptom-free with another Poodle.

While some dogs are less likely to provoke allergies in people, there is no universal hypoallergenic dog breed. This is dependent upon the dog and the person. If you have allergies it is important to do research and consult with a doctor before choosing a dog breed.

Synergistically Yours,


Sheepdog Riggs, Forever in Our hearts

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