Nature rewarded me with a love for dogs and an allergy for cats. Had it been the other way around, I might not be writing this article right now. Yet, although I steer clear of cats – for mostly this reason- I would find it unbearable if I were allergic to dogs. Yet some people are not so lucky, since they are allergic to dogs as well. For those dog lovers out there who suffer from allergies, upon high-fiving a doggy-paw, there really is a cure. A cure? Well…..apart from the anti-histamine tablets and nose-drops to alleviate post-nasal drip, the trick really lies in finding the right dog – and more correctly, the right dog breed – for you.
What are the reactions that cause humans to suffer from allergies? The allergic response is triggered when our immune system reacts to a perceived threat. Some people have a bad reaction to dander (flaky dead skin cells), saliva or secretion from the sebaceous glands of their dogs. Allergy sufferers can also react to the dust, pollen and dirt that gets caught up and spread around by their dogs.
So what is a hypoallergenic dog breed? Well, hypoallergenic dog breeds, are those breeds that are considered the most suitable for those who suffer from allergies. Although they do produce some dander, the amount is so small that very few people experience allergy symptoms when in contact with these breeds. Hypoallergenic dog breeds are usually single-coated, non-shedding (or low-shedding), generally smaller dogs, those dogs that retain the dander due to their curly coat, or are naked!
A list below shows those breeds that are best suited for allergy sufferers. If you have your sights set on another breed, then the best test to determine whether your allergies will be affected, is to spend 20 minutes in a closed off and confined area with the dog. Cars tend to work well for this. This is a simple test which can save the owner from heartbreak in the future.
However, do bear in mind, that no dog is completely 100% hypoallergenic. The ones below only have a much lower dander producing and shedding activity than the other 100 or so breeds and are thus recommended.