Hypoallergenic Dogs: “No Such Thing” says Recent Study

July 17, 2011

First, the caveats: as everyone should know by now, science does not consist of a single study. This one, by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, found no scientific evidence that allegedly “hypoallergenic” dogs produce fewer allergens than other breeds.

The study sampled 173 homes with 60 different breeds of dogs, including 11 breeds considered hypoallergenic: Beddington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Xoloitzcuintli.

What are people allergic to? It’s not the fur or hair that accumulates throughout the house, it’s the dander, or dried flakes of your dog’s skin. Specifically, the allergen is a protein, found in both canine saliva and urine, that sticks to these dander flakes. That’s what causes the stuffy-runny nose-achy-sneezing-coughing reaction in humans.

One of the theories is that dogs who shed less or have hair that must be cut produce less dander, hence the current popularity of the cross-breed Labradoodle. The takeaway is that you may be able to reduce the effect somewhat, there are no dogs that are 100% allergen-free.

For more information, read this post on The Week’s site: “The ‘myth’ of hypoallergenic dogs.”



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