Dogs for Allergy Sufferers – Hypoallergenic Dogs?
As animal-lovers struggle to create a balance between their desire for a canine companion and their ever-present dog allergies, it is good to know that many breeds of low-allergy or hypoallergenic dogs exist.
Naturally Hypoallergenic Breeds
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), several breeds are recommended for those who suffer from allergies. Among the most popular are the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and all three varieties of Poodle. These are low-dander breeds and typically do not shed like many other breeds do, either continuously or seasonally.
For those who would rather have a medium to large-sized dog, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Portuguese Water Dog, and Giant Schnauzer are also on the list. Other sources include the Shih Tzu and the Whippet. Degree of reaction to any of these breeds varies according to many factors, including individual sensitivity.
Some sources indicate that hairless or semi-hairless breeds are low-allergy; however, these dogs can still produce dander, if not fur, which is often the more serious allergen. This makes them poorer candidates for those with dog allergies than the breeds listed above.
Dogs Bred to be Hypoallergenic
Without dog allergies, neither the Labradoodle nor the Goldendoodle would exist today. These designer dog breeds came into existence in an attempt to create the ideal guide or service dogs for people with disabilities and with dog allergies. Instead, the pioneering breeders may have created the perfect dog in terms of temperament, energy level, and overall health, although not all Doodles, as they are affectionately known, are truly non-shedding or hypoallergenic. Their coats come in three types, each having different allergenic properties. The wool coat type is the most sought after for reduced shedding and dander.
Other Factors and Considerations
Size: A large dog will often cause a more serious allergic reaction than a smaller one, due to increases surface area and increased dander. Not all small dogs are created equal, but for the most part, allergy suffers do find them more manageable than larger breeds.
Coat type: Dogs that have a naturally oily coat, like German Shepherd Dogs, may be more easily tolerated than dogs with a drier coat type. These dogs do shed considerable amounts of hair, in general; however, the oil reduces the amount of dander that leaves the dog’s skin and ends up in the air.
Diet: Early research suggests that dogs that are fed poorly or are feds products high in corn or grain tender to have issues with their skin, coats, or allergies of their own that also affect allergies in humans, due to increased dander and/or shedding. Quality dog foods can reduce this issue.
Overall, for allergy sufferers who want canine companionship in their lives, options exist that can allow for happy and comfortable coexistence. Choosing the right dog is the place to begin. After that, a good diet and regular grooming can also help make sure that dog and owner have the best lives possible together.