The myth of the hypoallergenic dog debunked
Researchers involved in a new study published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology have found that the hypoallergenic dog does not actually exist, and that some breeds formerly believed to be allergen-free are prone to produce some of the worst ones.
Researchers at the University of Utrecht took samples from 200 dogs labeled as hypoallergenic to see if their dander was different than that found in breeds without the distinction. The report also examined the homes of dog owners to see if there was any difference in the presence of harmful triggers found in residences with and ones without supposedly allergen-free pets.
"The term hypoallergenic is a misnomer that is not evidence based," the scientists concluded in the report, adding that poodles and labradoodles, two of the most popular breeds of supposedly hypoallergenic dogs, actually produce very high levels of Can f 1, an allergen that triggers the symptoms of dog allergies.
The study showed that the presence of these allergens in homes of purported allergy-friendly dogs was less prevalent, but the reason why may not be because of canine genetics. People with dog allergies may simply be more diligent in cleaning their houses to prevent the onset of symptoms than people who are unaffected by the allergens.
Scientists also determined that the level of Can f 1 found in the air of houses with these certain breeds was almost the same as in the homes of dogs without the hypoallergenic label.
To combat the allergens produced by dogs, which according to some researchers affect one in five people in Western countries, pet-owners should take precautions by making sure the air in their homes is clean and breathable. Using HEPA air filters and vacuuming regularly can help those with allergies enjoy their time – in greater comfort – with man's best friend.