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Hypoallergenic Dogs, Myth or Truth?

The hypoallergenic label is usually associated with breeds that tend to shed less or hardly at all, which in theory sounds right...right? Sure, if the actual culprit behind the allergies was pets' fur. In reality, for dogs, the guilty party is a secretion transmitted through their skin glands that keeps their fur nice and smooth. With cats, allergens are in their saliva and get transferred to the fur by the tongue through licking. In both cases, when the animals shed dead skin cells -- known as dander -- the allergens become the core part of it. While particles of this dander may rest in the fur, the allergen itself does not actually originate within the hair follicles.

So unless someone genetically engineers an animal with allergen-free saliva and secretions, the concept of getting a truly 100 percent hypoallergenic pet will continue to be nothing more than a nice idea. However, allergic reactions may be minimized somewhat with dogs that shed less, because they theoretically release less dander into the air. Here are a few breeds that fall into that category, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC):

Dog Breeds

  • Bedlington Terrier

  • Bichon Frise

  • Chinese Crested

  • Irish Water Spaniel

  • Terrier

  • Maltese

  • Poodle

  • Portuguese Water Dog

  • Schnauzer(including Miniature, Standard or Giant)

  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

  • Xoloitcuintli (Mexican Hairless)

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