The Hypoallergenic Dog: An Urban Legend?
Ah, the urban legend. A story that you heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that is just plausible enough to be believed. We have all heard them, and we have all fallen for one or two at some point. No one knows exactly where the myth of the “hypoallergenic” dog got started, but it is a highly perpetuated tale.
The most common dog allergen, Canis familiaris 1, has been shown to be found in the same amounts in all homes housing a single dog, regardless of that dog’s breed. That means that people who own “hypoallergenic” dogs have the same amount of allergen in their homes as those who own other breeds.
Breeds that create less dander
The American Kennel Club does suggest certain breeds for people with allergies. These include the Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, the Chinese Crested, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Maltese, the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and the Xoloitzcuintli.
Why these? These breeds have a predictable and non-shedding coat type, which produce less dander. This may result in less irritation for some allergy sufferers. Also, keeping the dog’s skin in good shape since dry skin leads to itching, scratching and more dander.
The truth about the hypo-allergenic dog
The truth is that individual dogs, due to their genetics or behaviors, are just going to produce more allergens than others. The amount of allergen produced does not necessarily follow breed lines and there is no way to predict which dogs may be a problem. So before you commit to caring for a supposed “allergy free” dog, make sure that it is truly going to be able to remain a member of your family for a long time to come. Do a trial period with an adult dog from the rescue or shelter so that you can find the right dog for your allergies.