The short answer: no.
A study published in the July 2011 issue of the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy by a team of researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found absolutely no evidence so-called hypoallergenic breeds of dogs are any less likely to aggravate your allergies.
Many people think hypoallergenic dogs produce less dander and saliva and shed less fur (which sounds great, right?), making them a great choice for pet-lovers who have allergies. The problem is, research doesn’t support that assertion.
Researchers collected dust samples from 173 homes featuring 60 different breeds of dogs, including 11 breeds often considered hypoallergenic. All of the samples were taken from the floor in a newborn baby’s bedroom one month after the baby came home from the hospital. All of the homes where samples were collected had only one dog.
Analysis of the dust samples revealed statistically equal levels of the dog allergen Canis familiaris 1 (Can f 1) in all of the homes, whether the dog was “hypoallergenic” or not.
“Based on previous allergy studies conducted here at Henry Ford, exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development. But the idea that you can buy a certain breed of dog and think it will cause less allergy problems for a person already dog-allergic is not borne out by our study,” the study’s senior author Christine Cole Johnson said in a press release.
The bottom line appears to be that if you’re allergic to dogs, you’re probably going to have similar reactions to virtually any breed.
If you’re an animal lover with allergies, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation offers the following tips for keeping the dander down:
- Keep pets out of the bedroom. You spend one-third to one-half of your time there, so keeping allergens out is key.
- Consider cutting out the carpet. Animal allergens are sticky, so it will stick to furniture, carpet and even the walls. Clean aggressively and consider getting rid of carpet in favor of hard flooring. If you must have carpeting, choose one with a low pile and steam clean them on a regular basis.
- Wear a dust mask to vacuum. Vacuum cleaners stir up allengens that have settled into the carpet. Mask up for the task so you don’t inhale them.
- Cover bedroom vents. Forced-air heating and air conditioning can spread allergens through the house. Cover the vents in your bedroom with a dense filtering material like cheesecloth.
- Bathe Fido often. Washing your pet every week can reduce the amount of allergens in the air (although you may find it doesn’t do much for your symptoms).
- Delegate pet care tasks. If someone in your family isn’t sensitive to pet allergens, have him or her be responsible for brushing your pet (outside) and cleaning out the litter box.