Hypoallergenic is a fairly new word. It was first recorded in a dictionary between 1950 and 1955. It means to reduce or minimize the possibility of an allergic response. The term was used in the cosmetic industry and it was used in the context of products containing few or no irritating substances.
In recent times it has been widely used to describe dog breeds which do not cause an allergic reaction in humans.
Many so-called designer dogs are promoted as being hypoallergenic. It is a trait commonly associated with poodles and breeds descended from poodles.
Whatever the exact meaning of the word, the question people want answered is whether there is any dog breed which will not provoke allergic reactions.
Are There Any Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?
This is a difficult question to answer because what may be considered hypoallergenic for most people will still cause an allergic reaction in some others.
The other problem is that there is a considerable variation within breeds. This makes it impossible to say that every dog within a breed will not cause problems.
Any substance that causes an allergic reaction is known as an allergen. They are usually harmless but in certain people they trigger a response which originates in the immune system and results in an allergic reaction. An example of an allergen is pollen. Most people have no reaction to pollen, but for the unfortunate minority it causes a problem.
Allergy To Dog Fur.
Some people are allergic to dog fur. The allergen is the fur itself. This means that a low-shedding dog is less likely to cause a problem. There are dog breeds which have almost no fur at all. These may be suitable for people with severe fur allergy.
Allergy To Dog Dander
Dander is skin which is shed from the body of animals which have hair, fur or feathers (including humans). Dandruff and dander are similar. Dandruff comes from the scalp and is generally a term used in connection with humans. Dander comes from the body.
All dogs produce dander. The animal’s saliva and urine contains the same protein that is present in dander and which causes an allergic reaction.
Regular grooming of the dog and vacuuming of the home can reduce the amount of dander present.
So, Is There Such A Thing As A Hypoallergenic Dog Breed?
There is no dog that is not capable of causing an allergic reaction for someone somewhere. However, if you consider that the definition of hypoallergenic contains the idea of minimizing the possibility of triggering an allergic reaction then some dogs could be considered hypoallergenic.
If you have suffered from pet induced allergic attacks and are still keen to get a dog, there are some things you can do to increase your chance of success.
A dog that sheds less will produce less allergens.
The size of the skin area and the amount of hair a dog carries is proportional to his size. It follows from this that a smaller dog will produce less allergens than a large dog.
Keeping your home as clean as possible will also reduce the chance of an allergic reaction. Carpets make great reservoirs of allergens. They are almost impossible to keep completely clean.
Restricting your dog to certain areas of your home will also be beneficial. Keep him out of your bedroom and off your bed.
Groom your dog regularly so that all the allergenic material is removed in one place instead of being allowed to drop all over the house.