The myth of the allergy-free dog

Dog lovers living amongst people who are allergic to dogs is often very difficult. You may think that bringing home a hypoallergenic dog is the answer to your problem. But according to a report by American researchers, they may be no such thing as a low allergy or allergy free dog. It was found that there was not much of a difference in the quantity of dog allergens found in the homes of hypoallergenic dogs and in those that are considered non-hypoallergenic.

It is not clear how certain breeds classify as hypoallergenic breeds. Various breeds, especially those that shed less hair have made it to the list of hypoallergenic candidates by the American Kennel Club, that includes Poodles, soft coated Terriers and Schnauzers.

Christine Cole Johnson, the author of the study published online in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy states that the concept of the hypoallergenic dog has been around for a very long time and people usually associate them with hair shedding. Johnson thinks the idea of a hypoallergenic dog is just a legend.

There are breeds that shed less hair and dander as compared with others. But according to the study, it does not make much of a difference to people allergic to dogs.

This particular study aimed to find whether the breeds classified under hypoallergenic are actually shedding less of the major dog allergen, known as the Canis familiaris 1 or Can F1. The scientists collected dust samples from 173 single dog houses and discovered that 163 of them produced quite a significant level of Can F1.

To sum it all, there is no conclusive evidence that suggests that certain breeds produce less allergen than others. Allergists suggests that it is the individual dog who have a few variations in their genetics and behaviour that produce more allergens than others. A breed classification cannot accurately predict the susceptibility to allergy.

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