You’ve no doubt read all about hypoallergenic dogs, how fantastic they are supposed to be if you have allergies. That they don’t shed, don’t have dander, and don’t cause your allergies to flare up. Unfortunately, this is just plain wrong on all counts. Hypoallergenic actually means to have a “decreased” tendency to cause allergies. It does not mean it eliminates allergy reactions, for “hypo” means LESS, not none.
The one thing people don’t seem to understand is that even hypoallergenic dogs produce allergens (dander), but because of the type of coat they have, they just produce LESS allergens. If you or anyone in your family happens to have severe allergies and/or asthma, they will still be affected by a hypoallergenic dog. So, just to repeat, there is no such thing as a NON-ALLERGENIC dog.
Let’s take a look at the kinds of dogs that produce LESS allergens that may be a good family pet for you. There are actually two coat types that produce less in the way of allergens: single-coated dogs and hairless dogs. Please note, that just because the dog is hairless does not mean it isn’t capable of still producing enough dander to bother a highly allergic individual.
Hairless breed dogs include the Xoloitzcuintle (what a mouthful for Mexican Hairless), the American Hairless Terrier, the Chinese Crested Hairless and the Peruvian Inca Orchid. You can check out any one of these breeds by hopping on the Internet and doing a search. Some of these dogs are very elegant and would be a joy to own.
Some single coated dog breeds include the Chinese Crested Powder Puff, Poodles of all sizes, Schnauzers of all sizes, the Portuguese Water Dog, Bichon Frise, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and other members of the terrier family. Other breeds that might work well for you would be Miniature Pinschers and Weimaraners. They both have a just about non-existent coat much like brushed fleece.
The other question then is what can you do about your allergies? There are a number of things you can do and here are a few of them. Yes, this is a lot of work, but once you have your dog and realize what joy and peace they bring, you won’t mind.
The first thing on your list is talk to an Allergist. Many of them understand your dilemma and can help you out with anti-histamine therapy for minor allergies. For the more severe allergies, you might want to try immunotherapy allergy shots. Use air filters. Remove carpeting, pet or not, it hangs on to everything in its fibers. Brush your dog daily, outdoors if you can.
Vacuum regularly to get the furballs the size of small cats out of the house. Wash all bedding the dog sleeps on – even yours, because we all KNOW where the dog really sleeps – in hot water.
Rinse your dog in warm water weekly. Don’t use shampoo, it adds to the allergen problem. This one thing alone can make a huge difference for you. About once a month wipe walls and floors with mild dish soap and water to remove dander build-up.