Hypoallergenic Pets

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Hypoallergenic Pets

If just the sight of a cat or dog seems to make you wheeze, sneeze, or break out in a rash, rest assured, you're not alone. For the animal lovers who fall into this category, the idea of hypoallergenic pets might sound like a dream come true. But let's be clear about classifications of hypoallergenic pets.

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

Dog Breeds

Bedlington Terrier

Bichon Frise

Chinese Crested

Irish Water Spaniel




Portuguese Water Dog

Schnauzer(including Miniature, Standard or Giant)

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Xoloitcuintli (Mexican Hairless)

With cats, it's a little trickier since the allergen is transmitted through their saliva, and their shedding patterns and hair length don't necessarily dictate or diminish the frequency of their personal grooming. However, there are some breeds that produce less of the allergy-inducing Fel D1 protein, such as the Balinese, or those with shorter and less fur, such as the Devon Rex, that may prove to be better choices.

Regardless of the breed, with both cats and dogs, maintaining a regular grooming routine can help decrease the amount of dander in the fur, on the skin, or in the air, helping pet allergy suffers to perhaps breathe a little easier.

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