Do you, like many people, dream of a dog as a new member of the family? The four-legged companion in everyday life is considered man’s best friend. He is loyal, intelligent and playful. You can do a lot together with him. But what do you do if you are allergic to dogs?
In our guide, you can find out how to deal with the diagnosis of “dog allergy” and which pedigree dogs might be suitable for you as a pet.
How does a dog allergy develop?
Many people suffer from an animal allergy. Together with cat allergy, dog allergy is one of the most common allergies to animals. However, it is not the dog’s hair that triggers the allergy, as is usually assumed, but the allergens that are found on the hair.
Allergens are animal proteins from the dog’s saliva, urine and skin. For example, when the dog licks its fur, the proteins from the saliva get on the fur and stick there. Or the allergens bind to dust and float through the air before settling on floors or upholstery. The allergens are absorbed through the mucous membranes or airways and eventually trigger the allergic reaction in allergy sufferers.
An allergic reaction is possible even without direct contact with a dog. Sometimes, residues in the air of a room or secretions adhering to a dog owner are already enough to cause sneezing fits or shortness of breath in an allergy sufferer.
Dog allergy – what are the symptoms?
Dogs can cause various physical reactions in allergy sufferers. Eye irritation and respiratory distress are among the most common symptoms. How strongly the individual reacts varies from allergy sufferer to allergy sufferer.
The following symptoms are typical of a dog allergy:
Allergic rhinitis Redness, swelling and itching of the skin Sneezing or coughing Scratching of the throat Concentration problems Burning, watering eyes Breathing problems and allergic asthma
Are there allergen-free dog breeds?
Let’s get this straight right off the bat: No, there is no such thing as an allergen-free dog.
In recent studies, no clear breed-specific differences were found: all dogs have the same allergens, but in different amounts. However, it is typical for allergies that even small amounts of antigens are sufficient to trigger allergic symptoms in the allergy sufferer.
The allergy potentials of the individual dog breeds vary. Dogs that are less likely to trigger allergies are called hypoallergenic dogs. “Hypoallergenic” means that they are excreted with less allergenic substances or are barely allergenic at all.
For example, the Labradoodle, a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador or Golden Retriever, does not change coats, has no undercoat and sheds few hairs. It distributes fewer allergens and is therefore of interest to allergy sufferers.
Which dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic?
Among the dog breeds that are said to release allergens less strongly in their environment and to which allergy sufferers therefore usually react less are:
The Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Havanese and Labradoodle.
These dog breeds shed little hair and are usually not subject to seasonal coat changes. While this is not the only important factor in triggering allergies, it does contribute to the fact that the secretions secreted are not distributed as much around the dog. These often stick to the hair and remain on furniture or clothing.
Reactions of allergy sufferers to individual dogs can generally vary greatly – even within one breed. As an allergy sufferer, you may react to a brief visit from your neighbor’s dog with immediate eye watering and sneezing attacks, while you may show no signs of allergy when spending hours with your best friend’s dog.
Whether in the shelter with the presumably already adult dog or at the breeder with the puppy: Before buying the dog, spend a long time intensively with the future family member. Play with him, take him on your lap and cuddle him. Your body will show you whether it can cope with the allergens of the four-legged friend, at least for the time being. If you are allergic, you will have to “try” other dogs.
Five dog breeds with low allergy potential
Your new companion must please you. His characteristics should suit you and meet your expectations. In the following, we will introduce you to the five “hypoallergenic” dog breeds mentioned above in more detail. With them, the risk of triggering an allergy is comparatively low.
NOTE: No matter which dog breed you choose: In any case, think about the initial dog equipment for your new roommate in good time. Nothing must be missing for his well-being when he has moved in with you.
The poodle is probably the best known dog breed for allergy sufferers. Many sufferers report that they can live well with a Poodle despite their allergy tendencies.
The German Kennel Club (VDH) describes the Poodle as “beautiful, healthy, and capable.” Dogs of this breed are also considered self-confident, intelligent and willing to work. You can do dog sports well with them. Also, the Poodle is best suited as a family dog, as it loves to play and is fond of children.
A Poodle usually lives between 10 and 15 years and is between 24 and 60 cm tall. The color of its coat is white, black, brown, apricot, silver, black-and-tan or harlequin. The dense, curly coat is quite high maintenance. Most Poodle owners regularly visit a groomer, who trims back the dog’s hair with dog clippers.
Those who are merely looking for a lap dog should opt for another breed. Such an existence would be too boring for the charming four-legged friend. A Poodle is affectionate and people-oriented and needs a lot of affection.
2 Portuguese Water Dog (Cão de Agua português)
The Portuguese Water Dog loses hardly any hair. He has no undercoat. Loose hair usually gets caught in his curly coat. The characteristics of its coat make it a suitable dog for allergy sufferers.
This dog breed has a life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years. Males grow up to 57 cm tall, while females usually remain slightly smaller. Their coat is either solid or multi-colored. Solid colored Portuguese Water Dogs are white, black or brown. Multicolored ones are black or brown mixed with white.
Portuguese Water Dogs have a lively character and are considered bold. Their owners especially appreciate their spirited, alert and intelligent nature. The four-legged friends are especially suitable for enterprising people who often go for walks and hikes. Being persistent and tireless, they love such challenges. Portuguese Water Dogs are loyal and protective of their owners like a lion.
If you’re looking for a fun-loving dog and like to exercise in your free time, the Portuguese Water Dog is the perfect dog breed for you. It is important that you give your animal companion enough challenge.
- the Schnauzer
The coat of the Schnauzer consists of soft undercoat and dense, hard topcoat. In the undercoat, many loose hairs accumulate over time. Therefore, it is important to groom the coat by brushing it regularly and removing the loose hairs. If you groom your Schnauzer regularly, it will hardly lose any hair.
Schnauzers have the colors black, black-silver, white or pepper salt. Typical for the breed are the bushy brows and the soft luxuriant beard. Schnauzers are strong, athletic quadrupeds. Because of their square build and thin tail, Schnauzers have a very striking appearance.
Schnauzers live to be about 12 to 15 years old. There are breed varieties of Giant Schnauzer, Schnauzer and Miniature Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer grows up to 70 cm tall and weighs up to 52 kilos.
Schnauzers are considered smart and lovable creatures that are very active and enjoy playing. Owners especially appreciate the bright nature and kind-hearted nature. Due to its sociable, pleasant character, it is an ideal companion. Since Schnauzers are alert, resilient and self-confident, they are also ideal as sport or service dogs.
Havanese are small, happy dogs. They usually have no undercoat and shed little hair. They are also not affected by the seasonal coat change. You must take good care of the dog’s plump and soft coat. You should brush it daily to keep it silky and well-groomed.
A Havanese has a life expectancy of about 9 to 15 years. He grows between 23 and 27 cm tall. Its coat is beige, brown, gray, anthracite or white.
The Havanese’s lovable and happy nature makes him an ideal companion and family dog. He is considered trusting, docile and alert. The Havanese likes to be the center of attention and feels especially comfortable around people. He likes to cuddle.
If you are looking for a cute and fun-loving dog, you will find a Hava
A Labradoodle is a so-called hybrid dog. It is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. An initial goal of this cross was to breed a people-friendly and docile guide dog for blind allergy sufferers.
Labradoodles enjoy playing, are smart like a Poodle and docile like a Labrador. A Labradoodle is loving, confident, loyal and lively. They also enrich everyday life for non-allergic people, especially if there are children in the household. They also love to frolic in the water. Many dog lovers refer to the Labradoodle as the ideal dog breed because it combines many positive characteristics.
NOTE: To date, the Labradoodle is not recognized as an independent breed
Tabular summary of the characteristics of the breeds listed above.
|Height:||Large poodle: 45 to 60 cm|
Small poodle: 35 to 45 cm
Dwarf poodle: 28 to 35 cm
Toy poodle: 24 to 28 cm
|Colors:||White, Black, Brown, Apricot, Silver,|
|Character:||Particularly pleasant social dog: intelligent, loyal, able to learn and train.|
|Special Features/Use:||Regular grooming required; suitable for agility, social, guide and medical dogs.|
|Life expectancy:||Approx. 10 to 15 years|
|2. portuguese water dog|
|Height:||Male: 50 to 57 cm|
Bitch: 43 to 52 cm
|Colors:||White, black, brown or mixed black or brown with white|
|Character:||Intelligent, alert, temperamental, headstrong, indefatigable|
|Special Features/Use:||Excellent swimmer; companion dog, especially suitable as a water dog, retrieving dog|
|Life expectancy:||Approx. 12 to 15 years|
|Height:||Giant schnauzer: 60 to 70 cm|
Schnauzer: 45 to 50 cm
Miniature schnauzer: 30 to 35 cm
|Colors:||Giant Schnauzer, Schnauzer: Pure black, Pepper salt|
Miniature Schnauzer: Pure black, Pepper salt, Black silver, Pure white
|Character:||Smart, fearless, persistent and alert|
|Usage:||Excellent family, guard and companion dog|
|Life expectancy:||Giant Schnauzer: approx. 8 to 12 years|
Schnauzer: approx. 12 to 14 years
Miniature Schnauzer: approx. 12 to 15 years
|Height:||23 to 27 cm|
|Colors:||White, Beige, Brown, Gray, Anthracite|
|Character:||Docile, alert, adaptable and affectionate|
|Special Features/Use:||Coat should be brushed daily, tie up of head hair necessary;|
Social and companion dog
|Life expectancy:||Approx. 13 to 15 years|
|Height:||Approx. 38 to 63 cm, depending on doodle type (standard, medium or mini).|
|Colors:||Mainly black, cream or brown to copper color|
|Character:||Smart, teachable, lively, loyal, playful, loves varied challenges|
|Special Features/Use:||Not recognized as a dog breed by dog breeders’ umbrella organizations; family dog.|
|Life expectancy:||11 to 15 years|
What measures reduce the allergen load in everyday life?
In order for the allergic reactions against the dog to be weaker, simple measures will help you as an allergy sufferer. These include:
Clean your apartment frequently
Clean upholstered furniture regularly
Ensure “dog-free” rooms (for example: bedrooms)
Wash dog regularly with mild coat care shampoo
Wash dog sleeping places such as dog bed and dog blanket regularly
Change own clothes daily
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