Hypoallergenic Dogs: Real or Myth? Recent studies shed light on the controversial and ubiquitous topic of allergy-friendly dogs.
D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.
Leprechauns, unicorns ... and hypoallergenic dogs? Are they all just fantasy? Say it ain’t so, Bo! Unfortunately, the Presidential Portuguese Water Dog selected for his supposed non-allergy-producing properties, might be an imposter. That’s according to a new study that throws doubt on the idea that some breeds produce less allergens than others.
Researchers collected dust samples from 173 homes with a variety of 60 different dog breeds. Eleven of those breeds (Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Xoloitzcuintli) were identified as hypoallergenic (that is, less likely to elicit allergic reactions) in American Kennel Club and other popular breed references. However, compared to the other dogs in the study, these dogs produced just as much of the major dog allergen called Can f1 (more about that later). This result disagrees with the popular notion of which dogs are safe for allergy sufferers and which cause allergies. The study can be found online at www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ocean/ajra (Nicholas, et al. “Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs.” American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy. 2011; 25: 252-256).
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