Hypoallergenic dog breed

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Poodles are well known for their minimally shedding, single coat, and are popular parents for designer dogs marketed as 'allergy-friendly'.

A hypoallergenic dog breed is a dog breed (or crossbreed) that is purportedly more compatible with allergic people than are other breeds. However, prominent allergen researchers have determined that there is no basis to the claims that certain breeds are hypoallergenic[1][2] and, while allergen levels vary among individual dogs, the breed is not a significant factor.[3]

Another purported hypoallergenic dog breed, the West Highland White Terrier.

Scientific findings[edit]

Though some studies suggest the possible existence of hypoallergenic dog breeds, there is too much variability to conclude that such a breed exists.[2] According to researchers, claims about the existence of hypoallergenic dog breeds may have been fueled by unsubstantiated articles on the internet.[2][1] The significant allergens are proteins found in the dog's saliva and dander.[4][5]

Some studies have suggested that the production of the allergen, and therefore human allergenic reaction, varies by breed,[6][7][8][9] yet more recent scientific findings indicate that there are no significant differences between breeds in the generation of these allergens.[1][2][3] One study found hypoallergenic breeds to have significantly more allergen in their coats than non-hypoallergenic breeds and no differences in the allergen levels in the air or on the floor.[10]

Breeds that shed less are more likely to be hypoallergenic, since the dog's dander and saliva stick to the hair and are not released into the environment.[11] However, protein expression levels play a major role and amount of shedding alone does not determine degree of allergic reaction. "Even if you get a hairless dog, it's still going to produce the allergen," states Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.[12]

If a person is allergic, they may be best able to tolerate a specific dog, possibly of one of the hypoallergenic breeds. Dr. Thomas A. Platts-Mills, head of the Asthma and Allergic Disease Center at the University of Virginia, explained that there are cases in which a specific dog (not breed) might be better tolerated by a specific person, for unknown reasons. "We think there really are differences in protein production between dogs that may help one patient and not another," Dr. Platts-Mills said.[13] Other breeds have come under scrutiny and Emma Charles, DVM discusses whether or not any particular breed of dog can be ever classed as hypopallergic.[14]

All dogs shed, and all dogs produce dander and saliva in some degree.[15] As noted above, the amount of the allergenic protein present on the dander and in saliva varies by breed, but also by individual. The amount of the allergen can be reduced or eliminated in individual dogs by treatments such as bathing.[16][17] But for most breeds, when not regularly bathed, even a dog who sheds very little or has little dander can trigger a reaction in a sensitive person.[18]

Effect of size[edit]

Size may be a factor in determining hypoallergenicity. It is possible that the total body surface area of the dog is more indicative of reduced production of allergens than its breed.[19]

Smaller dogs will also leave fewer environmental pollutants containing dog dander and dog allergens (reduced fecal matter, urine and saliva). Dogs may leave behind urine, saliva and fecal matter as allergen sources.[20][21][22] Dogs with access to the outdoors may introduce outdoor allergens such as mold and pollen with larger animals tracking in more of these allergens.[23] It is well established that most individuals with dog allergy also suffer with additional environmental allergies.[24] Individuals with dog allergy may also be at increased risk for human protein hypersensitivity with cross-reactivity of dog dander allergen and human seminal fluid.[25][clarification needed]

Expert recommendations[edit]

Researchers have shown that frequently bathing dogs reduces the amount of allergen related protein on the fur or hair of the dog and the amount of airborne allergen.[17] Bathing a dog at least twice a week will minimize or even eliminate the reaction of an allergic person to a dog.[16]

Frequent cleaning and vacuuming of the home, using air filters, restricting the dog to certain rooms, and adopting a small dog that can easily be given frequent baths are all recommended by the Humane Society of the United States to control allergens.[26] Scientific research has repeatedly shown that good cleaning practices in the home remove allergens from the environment.[17][27][28][29]

Many allergists suggest that a dog should not be introduced to the environment of a dog allergic individual. While "allergy shots" can reduce many individuals' dog-allergic reactions, the most common approach remains avoidance.[30][31][32]

There is also some allergies to the gender of the dog. The fluids of one gender of dogs can cause an allergy while the other gender does not. For example, some people are only allergic to a prostate protein, which means they would be allergic to only male dogs.[33]

There have been recent[when?] studies suggesting early introduction of pets to home may reduce the likelihood of developing sensitization.[34] There are reports of individuals who will become less sensitive with continued exposure to a pet in the environment. But allergists[who?] warn that pet owners cannot rely on a breed being non-allergenic just because a particular allergic pet owner can tolerate a specific dog of that breed.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nicholas Bakalar (11 June 2011). "The Myth of the Allergy-Free Dog". NYT. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Kathleen Masterson (6 November 2008). "Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Exist? Maybe Not". Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Heutelbeck, Astrid R. R.; Schulz, Thomas; Bergmann, Karl-Christian; Hallier, Ernst (January 2008). "Environmental Exposure to Allergens of Different Dog Breeds and Relevance in Allergological Diagnostics". Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 71 (11): 751–8. doi:10.1080/15287390801985513. PMID 18569573. S2CID 37091773.
  4. ^ McLean AC, Glovsky MM, Hoffman DR, Ghekiere LM (October 1980). "Identification of allergens in dog dander extract. I. Clinical and immunological aspects of allergenicity activity". Annals of Allergy. 45 (4): 199–204. PMID 6158895.
  5. ^ St. Clair, Stacy (11 November 2008). "Allergist offers advice on Obama dog debate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  6. ^ Moore BS, Hyde JS (September 1980). "Breed-specific dog hypersensitivity in humans". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 66 (3): 198–203. doi:10.1016/0091-6749(80)90039-1. PMID 7410744.
  7. ^ Ramadour M, Guetat M, Guetat J, El Biaze M, Magnan A, Vervloet D (August 2005). "Dog factor differences in Can f 1 allergen production". Allergy. 60 (8): 1060–4. doi:10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00824.x. PMID 15969688. S2CID 8330890.
  8. ^ Lindgren S, Belin L, Dreborg S, Einarsson R, Påhlman I (August 1988). "Breed-specific dog-dandruff allergens". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 82 (2): 196–204. doi:10.1016/0091-6749(88)90999-2. PMID 2457041.
  9. ^ Blands J, Løwenstein H, Weeke B (June 1977). "Characterization of extract of dog hair and dandruff from six different dog breeds by quantitative immunoelectrophoresis. Identification of allergens by crossed radioimmunoelectrophoresis (CRIE)". Acta Allergologica. 32 (3): 147–69. doi:10.1111/j.1398-9995.1977.tb01346.x. PMID 70943. S2CID 39014958.
  10. ^ Vredegoor, D. W.; Willemse, T.; Chapman, M. D.; Heederik, D. J.; Krop, E. J. (2012). "Can f 1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: Lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 130 (4): 904–9.e7. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.05.013. hdl:1874/259846. PMID 22728082.
  11. ^ Bassett, Clifford W. (May 2002). "Pets and allergies: Minimizing the reaction". Asthma Magazine. 7 (3): 31–2. doi:10.1067/mas.2002.125044.
  12. ^ Gardner, Amanda (14 November 2008). "First Family Will Have Tough Time Finding Hypoallergenic Dog". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  13. ^ a b Grady, Denise (5 February 1997). "Nonallergenic Dog? Not Really". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  14. ^ Charles, DVM, Emma. "Are Hypoallergic Dogs Truly a Myth?". Veterinarian discussion of hypoallergenic dogs. Retrieved 10 November 2014. Can a dog ever truly be described as hypoallergenic?
  15. ^ Adelglass, Jeffrey. "Dog & Cat Allergy". Allergy Testing & Treatment Center. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2009. No dog is considered non-allergenic because all dogs produce dander, saliva, and urine which are the offending allergens
  16. ^ a b Hodson T, Custovic A, Simpson A, Chapman M, Woodcock A, Green R (April 1999). "Washing the dog reduces dog allergen levels, but the dog needs to be washed twice a week". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 103 (4): 581–5. doi:10.1016/S0091-6749(99)70227-7. PMID 10200004.
  17. ^ a b c Green, R.; Custovic, A.; Smith, A.; Chaoman, M. D.; Woodcock, A. (January 1996). "479 Avoidance of dog allergen f 1 with the dog in situ: Washing the dog and use of a HEPA air filter". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 97: 302. doi:10.1016/S0091-6749(96)80697-X.
  18. ^ "Pet allergy: Causes". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  19. ^ Salo PM, Arbes SJ, Crockett PW, Thorne PS, Cohn RD, Zeldin DC (March 2008). "Exposure to multiple indoor allergens in US homes and its relationship to asthma". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 121 (3): 678–684.e2. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2007.12.1164. PMC 2376121. PMID 18255132.
  20. ^ Wright AL (October 2008). "Early dog exposure: potential pathways to allergic disease". Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 38 (10): 1568–71. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03057.x. PMID 18647316. S2CID 39886046.
  21. ^ Park JH, Spiegelman DL, Gold DR, Burge HA, Milton DK (August 2001). "Predictors of airborne endotoxin in the home". Environmental Health Perspectives. 109 (8): 859–64. doi:10.2307/3454831. JSTOR 3454831. PMC 1240416. PMID 11564624.
  22. ^ Randall A, Hillier A, Cole LK, Kwochka KW, Needham G, Wassom DL (December 2003). "Quantitation of house dust mites and house dust mite allergens in the microenvironment of dogs". American Journal of Veterinary Research. 64 (12): 1580–8. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2003.64.1580. PMID 14672439.
  23. ^ Custovic A, Simpson BM, Simpson A, et al. (February 2003). "Current mite, cat, and dog allergen exposure, pet ownership, and sensitization to inhalant allergens in adults". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 111 (2): 402–7. doi:10.1067/mai.2003.55. PMID 12589363.
  24. ^ Abraham CM, Ownby DR, Peterson EL, et al. (May 2007). "The relationship between seroatopy and symptoms of either allergic rhinitis or asthma". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 119 (5): 1099–104. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2007.01.024. PMID 17416408.
  25. ^ Basagaña M, Bartolomé B, Pastor C, et al. (January 2008). "Allergy to human seminal fluid: cross-reactivity with dog dander". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 121 (1): 233–9. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2007.10.008. PMID 18061650.
  26. ^ "Allergies to Pets". Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  27. ^ Simpson, A.; Simpson, B.; Craven, M.; Custovic, A.; Woodcock, A. (February 2003). "The long-term effect of environmental control measures on mite, cat, and dog allergen levels". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 111 (2): S132–3. doi:10.1016/S0091-6749(03)80414-1.
  28. ^ Arlian LG, Neal JS, Morgan MS, Rapp CM, Clobes AL (October 2001). "Distribution and removal of cat, dog and mite allergens on smooth surfaces in homes with and without pets". Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 87 (4): 296–302. doi:10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62243-0. PMID 11686421.
  29. ^ Custovic, A.; Green, R.; Pickering, C. A. C.; Smith, A.; Chapman, M. D.; Woodcock, A. (January 1996). "478 Major dog allergen can f 1: Distribution in homes, airborne levels and particle sizing". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 97 (1 Part 3): 302. doi:10.1016/S0091-6749(96)80696-8.
  30. ^ "Allergic to Your Pet? Learn about Dog and Cat Allergies". www.aafa.org. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  31. ^ "Allergies - Prevention". nhs.uk. 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  32. ^ Australia, Healthdirect (2021-07-23). "Cat and dog allergy". www.healthdirect.gov.au. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  33. ^ "Allergy Tests: Now You Can Find Out if You're Allergic to a Male or Female Dog". Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2020-02-06. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  34. ^ Munir AK, Kjellman NI, Björkstén B (August 1997). "Exposure to indoor allergens in early infancy and sensitization". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 100 (2): 177–81. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0091-6749(97)70221-5. PMID 9275137.

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