You’re walking through the park and a cute puppy bounds over to you, happily wagging his tail and looking for a belly rub.
You bend down to give him a good scratch and mid-asking his owner how old this adorable little pooch is … ATCHOO!
The likelihood is you know you have an allergy to dogs, but they’re just too sweet to pass by and you couldn’t resist a cuddle.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, you’re likely a huge dog lover and have resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll never be able to own a pet because you’d constantly be scratching your eyes and sneezing.
However, you might be in luck. There are certain dog breeds which are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction — They are known as hypoallergenic dogs.
There are plenty of myths surrounding these allegedly non-allergy triggering dogs which we’re going to take a look at throughout this article.
Myth #1: A Hypoallergenic Dog Means They Won’t Trigger an Allergic Reaction
The first time you hear about hypoallergenic dogs, you’ll probably be lead to believe that this miracle dog definitely won’t trigger an allergic reaction.
This simply isn’t true. There isn’t one single dog breed that is guaranteed not to trigger an allergy in someone who has an immune system that identifies certain allergens as harmful.
The very definition of ‘hypoallergenic’ actually means that something is ‘relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.’
Therefore when someone tells you a hypoallergenic dog won’t cause you to have an allergic reaction, what they should tell you is, a hypoallergenic dog is ‘relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.’
Myth #2: I’m Allergic to Dog Hair
Most people who suffer with dog allergies assume that they are allergic to the dog’s hair.
The hair definitely plays a part in triggering an allergic reaction; however it’s not the actual hair itself which triggers a reaction.
People who are allergic to dogs are actually allergic to the proteins in the dog’s dander (dead skin), urine and salvia.
Therefore, the more hair a dog sheds, the more dander you are exposed to and the more likely a dog is to cause a reaction.
Myth #3: Hypoallergenic Dogs Don’t Shed Hair
Another highly believed misconception is that hypoallergenic dogs don’t shed their fur, which is why they’re less likely to cause allergies.
The truth is, all dogs shed their fur.
The difference is some dogs shed less than others, again, exposing their owner to less dander which is the main allergen carrier.
Myth #4: All Poodle Mixes are Hypoallergenic
Poodles are one of the favorite and most well-known hypoallergenic dogs. Their curly, tightly packed fur not only sheds less often than other dogs coats, but it also gets trapped in the fur too.
Their hair grows continuously and falls out every 21 days rather than every 2 or 3 days as most other breeds do. Due to the tight curls in their coat, when the hair does fall out it usually stays trapped rather than falling onto the floor, which means the owner is exposed to less dander than other breeds.
This coat is a dream come true for most allergy suffers so it’s widely believed that if you breed a Poodle with another dog, the offspring will also be hypoallergenic.
Unfortunately this isn’t true. Some breeds shed their hair much more frequently and produce more dander, so if the Poodle is crossed with a breed like this and the puppies favor the other parents genes, it’s unlikely they will be hypoallergenic.
An example of a Poodle cross which is unlikely to be hypoallergenic is the Pomapoo, a cross between a Pomeranian and a Toy Poodle.
Myth #5: All Short Haired Dogs are Hypoallergenic
You might be led to believe that short haired dogs are less likely to cause allergic reactions.
Hopefully by now, you’ll see the length of the coat has little to do with whether the dog will be hypoallergenic or not.
Some long haired dogs are hypoallergenic, and some short haired dogs are. It really comes down to how much they shed, and how much dander they produce.
Since the proteins which trigger allergies are also found in the saliva, it’s possible to have a dog with short hair who sheds very little, but who slobbers a lot and therefore isn’t considered hypoallergenic.
The Myths Busted
If you take anything away from this article, it’s that there is no single guaranteed hypoallergenic dog breed.
There are however, some breeds which are less likely to instigate reactions than others, based on the amount of hair they shed and the dander they produce.
So if you are an allergy sufferer, try to choose one of these dogs and make sure you spend a good amount of time with them to test out the allergies, before you commit to offering them a forever home.