Pet Portrait Artist Julie Palmer

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Hypoallergenic Dogs: Myth Or Reality


Dogs. They come in all shapes and sizes. They appear in all variations of the different breeds. They are wonderful companions, loyal friends and a beauty to behold. Unfortunately, some people have been forced to forgo the pleasures of dog ownership. They have allergies.

Today, some claim there is a solution to this problem. They say there is a breed or type of dog designed to eliminate this problem. This is the hypoallergenic dog. These dogs are promoted as free from problem-causing allergens. By owning a hypoallergenic dog, allergy sufferers can now become part of the dog world without sneezing and sporting itchy and runny eyes.

Yet, how true is this claim? Do the promoters of these dogs have any validity? Is there really a dog completely free of allergens? This article explores both the myths and the realities of hypoallergenic dogs.

The Causal Factors of Canine-Related Allergies

Allergens can be found in a dog’s saliva. They are also in the animal’s urine. The major causal factor of allergens in a dog, however, is its dander. It is the dander, not the hair of the dog that causes a person’s allergic reaction.

Dander is simply dried flakes of skin. They fall off the dog with or without the hair. You cannot totally eliminate dander. A dog who is a shedder will have dander - even a hairless dog can have it. It is an irrefutable and unchanging characteristic of a dog’s physical characteristics and system. To tout a dog as being hypoallergenic because of its hair type or low shedding ability becomes misleading in view of this reality.

A Hairy Issue

In promoting hypoallergenic dogs as a solution to people with dog-related allergies emphasis is placed on the type of hair. Hypoallergenic dogs are said not to shed or to shed very little. Admittedly, there are certain breeds of dogs who are light shedders. Those less likely to create hair-related problems are

• wire-haired or curly-coated dogs - The reason for their low shedding is the growth pattern of the hair. It has a rather long growth cycle. This means the hair takes longer to grow before it sheds off the dog. In contrast, many short-haired dogs have a quick hair growth cycle. The short hairs grow quickly to the specified length then fall off. Many short-haired dogs shed all-year round.

• hairless breeds - These include the Chinese Crested. Nevertheless, they still can produce dander. It is skin not hair that counts.

In reality, there is no such thing as a non-shedding dog. Just because they do not leave short or long hairs on your furniture and clothing, does not mean they do not shed. All Dogs Shed.

Specific Special Hypoallergenic Breeds

There are several dogs whose breeders claim them to be hypoallergenic. In general, these are designer dogs. They are crossbreeds. They are not purebreds nor, except in the case of the Labradoodle, are their breeders attempting to obtain this status. One of the most popular types of this designer dog is the poodle cross. These include

• Goldendoodle – Golden Retriever and Poodle

• Labradoodle - Labrador Retriever and Poodle

• Cockapoos - Cocker Spaniel and Poodle

• Schnoodles – Schnauzer and Poodle

• Yorkipoos – Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle

• Maltipoos – Maltese Terrier and Poodle

• Shepadoodle – German Shepherd and Poodle


If you decide to purchase a dog, you might want to consider all the facts. Moreover, you should really check and see which parent the doodle takes after. If its coat throws to the poodle, you may actually (though it is not guaranteed) have a low-shedding if not hypoallergenic dog.

Article written by Anthoney Jones of Oh My Dog Supplies, check out our complete assortment of designer dog carriers online.


All images are copyright 2001 to 2018 Julie Palmer. Portrait images must not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the copyright holder.

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