Allergy-Free Dogs Are a Myth, Study Finds

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Until recently, it has been a widespread thought that there is such a thing as hypoallergenic dogs that are better suited to people and households that have to be concerned about allergies, but a recent study proves that to be a myth.  It was believed that certain dogs have lower allergen levels than other dogs, placing them into a category of hypoallergenic.

It would truly be an exciting day to learn that allergy sufferers have only to adopt one of those breeds; however that is simply not the case.  The term hypoallergenic refers to certain breeds of dogs that have been thought to shed less, as well as produce less dander and saliva.  A few of the popular breeds that are included in this category are Maltese, standard and toy Poodles, a variety of Terriers, and the Italian Greyhound.  The main characteristic that applies to each of these breeds is that they are all short-haired.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital (HFH) in Detroit conducted a study that proved hypo-allergenic dogs are just a myth, that in fact they do not have lower household allergen levels than other dogs.  The study measured allergen levels in the houses of 173 dog owners, just one month after a newborn baby was brought into the home.  The researchers measured the levels of the dog allergen Can f 1 that was collected in the form of dust samples from the floor, mainly carpets, of each of the 173 homes.  Overall, sixty dog breeds were analyzed, with 11 of them considered hypoallergenic breeds.

“We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen,” said Christine Cole Johnson, chair of HFH’s Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study.  “Based on previous allergy studies conducted here at Henry Ford, exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development,” Cole Johnson added.  “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.”

Overall, this research indicates that the quantities of dog allergens in homes with supposedly hypoallergenic breeds are no different from those in homes with dogs widely considered non-hypoallergenic.  Unfortunately this means that if you are a dog lover in search of an allergy-free breed, you will still be at risk of exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction.  Do keep in mind however, that adopting a short-haired breed should at least reduce the allergy affects you may experience.

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