- If you or a family member loves dogs but is allergic to them, you’ve probably at least considered that a “hypoallergenic” dog might make sense for you
- According to the science, there’s no truly hypoallergenic dog, however, there are certain breeds that are considered better for allergy sufferers than others
- Dog lovers with allergies can consider a less allergenic breed, or a female or neutered male dog if their sensitivity is to an allergen only intact males produce
- There are many things you can do minimize pet allergens in your home for the comfort of sensitive family members
If you have asthma or allergies to airborne irritants such as dust or pollen, you’re at higher than average risk for pet allergies as well. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 3 in 10 people with any allergy will also be allergic to cats and/or dogs.1
If you love dogs but know or suspect you have an allergy to them, chances are you’ve looked into the possibility of getting a “hypoallergenic” dog. As the story goes, these are breeds that trigger less sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and other allergic symptoms in sensitive people.
The reality is that the existence of hypoallergenic dogs is mostly a myth, and no one seems to know how it got started, since researchers have yet to uncover scientific evidence to prove the theory.
A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy concluded that the amount of dog allergens found in households with dogs does not vary depending on the breed. In other words, families with so called “hypoallergenic” dogs are living with the same level of allergens in their homes as people with non-hypoallergenic pets.
Study researchers measured the level of the most common dog allergen, Canis familiaris 1, or Can f 1, found in the homes of 173 families that owned one dog. Out of the 173 samples, only 10 had less than measurable amounts of Can f 1. No matter what type of dog was in the home, there was no significant difference in the level of allergens measured. The researchers concluded:
“There was no evidence for differential shedding of allergen by dogs grouped as hypoallergenic. Clinicians should advise patients that they cannot rely on breeds deemed to be ‘hypoallergenic’ to in fact disperse less allergen in their environment. Additional scientific investigation into dog-specific factors and whether hypoallergenic breeds truly exist is warranted.”2
AKC’s List of ‘Less-Allergenic’ Dog Breeds
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC):
“While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, it’s possible to find less-allergenic dog breeds that are better suited for allergy-sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat that produces less dander.
Dander, which clings to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in people. Even though dogs that are hypoallergenic don’t truly exist, many breeds make it possible to enjoy the companionship of a dog, even if you suffer from allergies.”3
The following are the best breeds for allergy sufferers, according to the AKC:
|Afghan hound||Lagotto romagnolo||American hairless terrier|
|Maltese||Bedlington terrier||Peruvian inca orchid (hairless)|
|Bichon frise||Poodle (all 3 sizes)||Chinese crested|
|Portuguese water dog||Coton de tulear||Soft-coated Wheaten terrier|
|Schnauzer (all 3 sizes)||Spanish water dog||Irish water spaniel|
|Xoloitzcuintli||Kerry blue terrier|