Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Dog Breeds For People Who Have Allergies
For many people, dogs are loyal companions and considered a member of the family. For them, life without a dog is meaningless. But what do you do if your love for dogs and your allergies do not mix?
Allergies are associated with the dander produced by the dog and not the dog himself nor the dog hair. Dander is the dry skin that flakes off, floats through the air and induces the classics signs of allergy. There is no breed that is 100% allergy free as they all produce dander, even the hairless breeds such as the Chinese Crested or the rare Xoloitzcuintli.
Thankfully, for all those dog-loving but allergic people, there are a few dog breeds that don't develop as much dander as others and subsequently are less likely to induce sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes.
The American Kennel Club (AKC ®), largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, developed a list of breeds they believe are associated with less dander. They include:
Bedlington Terrier. With the look of a lamb, this terrier is a wonderful companion. Most often seen with a blue haircoat, this breed sheds little, resulting in less dander and easier breathing for the allergy sufferer.
Bichon Frise. The bichon is not only a great lapdog, but the curly-coated white breed produces little dander, making the dog a wonderful companion for people with allergies. To keep him looking great, the bichon needs periodic trips to the groomer.
Chinese Crested. This breed is slowly gaining popularity. Not completely bald, the Chinese crested has some puffs of hair on the head and may have a very spotted skin. Despite his weird appearance, the Chinese crested is a great family pet.
Irish Water Spaniel. Even though he may look like the clown of the spaniel family, the Irish water spaniel is the tallest spaniel and a great water dog. The coat of the Irish water spaniel is his most distinguishing characteristic.
Kerry Blue Terrier. The hair coat of the Kerry blue is silky soft and dense. The coat can be curly or wavy but should not be wiry or harsh. The Kerry blue does require frequent grooming
Maltese. As the name suggests, the small Maltese originated on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. This diminutive breed looks fragile but is quite resilient. The long flowing white coat needs daily care but sheds little and produces small amounts of dander.
Poodle. The standard, miniature and toy poodle make excellent pets. These dogs crave human companionship and, for the allergy sufferer, produce little dander. The breed does require attentive grooming to keep his coat in tip-top shape.
Portuguese Water Dog. Bred to help the fishermen of Portugal, this breed is as happy on land as he is in the water. Another dog that produces little dander and doesn't shed much, the Portuguese water dog is a faithful and active companion.
Schnauzer. (Miniature, Standard or Giant) The most common coat color is salt and pepper but black is also available. In order to keep their coat clean and tangle free, frequent grooming and clipping is necessary.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. A medium sized terrier, the wheaten seems to love life and human companionship. The color is any shade of wheaten. The soft coated wheaten has a soft wavy hair coat in any shade of wheaten.
Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican Hairless. Comes in 3 sizes and in two varieties: hairless and coated. The colors are: black, bronze and grey.
Thinking of bringing a pet into your home? If you are unsure as to whether your family members have allergies, have them spend time in the home of pet-owning friends before bringing home a dog or cat. "If a family member does in fact have allergies, it doesn't necessarily mean you cannot have a pet," says Dr. Hansen. "If you suspect that you or a member of your family has allergies, take them to a specialist who will determine the exact cause of your symptoms and help alleviate your symptoms." Medications and immunotherapy (de-sensitizing shots) can often allow you and your companion animal to remain together happily ever after.