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Dog Advice
Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds: Do They Exist?
May 10, 2016 at 6:26 am 0

Do you suffer from allergies?

Achoo! Red eyes, sniffling and an uncontrollable urge to sneeze. Sound like you? It sounds like me. Allergies are terrible. Fortunately, I feel like mine have gotten less severe as I've gotten older and really only affect me in the fall or when someone freshly cuts their grass. 

For some people, their best friend is what causes them to feel congested and sneezy. So what causes allergies then? Is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? What can you do to help if your dog makes you sneeze?  These are some of the questions we're going to answer today. 

Boston Terrier

image from vetstreet.com


What causes allergies?

Despite what many people think, it's not actually the hair of your dog that's causing you to sneeze. According to WebMD, it's typically it's the dander (flakes of dead skin) as well as the saliva and urine that tickle your oversensitive immune system.

As someone who lives with two very hairy and heavy shedding malamute mixes, I can attest to this. I often get comments along the lines of "I could never live with a dog who sheds so much because I'd be sneezing constantly". I tell these people that I never sneeze because of my dogs — even during their heavy shedding seasons. I explain how it's the dander, not the hair that causes allergies.


Do hypoallergenic dogs exist?

There's actually no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Some dogs can cause fewer allergy symptoms than others, but that depends on both the breed and the person with the allergies. 

Many non or low shedding dogs are sold as being hypoallergenic, but as we mentioned above, the hair of the dog isn't what causes your allergies in the first place. 

Bullmastiff

image from barkingbad.ca

How to prevent allergens

DogTime.com gives some simple tips for how you can live with a dog in your home, even if you suffer from allergies:

  • Establish a dog-free zone in your home, such as a bedroom, and install a HEPA filter to help with allergens floating in the air

  • Keep curtains and rugs to a minimum and vacuum frequently

  • Giving your dog a weekly bath can reduce allergens in her fur by up to 84%

  • Get yourself allergy shots from your doctor, these can help to reduce symptoms you're experiencing


Non-shedding and low-shedding breeds

So you have allergies, but you still want to have a dog. I can definitely sympathize. Here's a list of 25 non-shedding and low-shedding dogs from PetBreeds which should cause you to react less. You can also consider buying a smaller dog as their smaller size means they will produce less dander and therefore should affect your allergies less. 

  • Chinese Shar-Pei

  • Airedale Terrier

  • Portuguese Water Dog

  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

  • Bullmastiff

  • Bichon Frise

  • Papillon

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • West Highland White Terrier

  • Vizsla

  • Maltese

  • English Springer Spaniel

  • Brittany

    brittany spaniel

    image from purebreeddog.ca

     

  • Mastiff

  • Chihuahua

  • Boston Terrier

  • Shih Tzu

  • Miniature Schnauzer

  • Doberman Pinscher

  • German Shorthaired Pointer

  • French Bulldog

  • Havanese

  • Boxer

  • Poodle

  • Yorkshire Terrier

As with anything, make sure you do your research first. Shedding hair is just one aspect of a dog breed. Get to know the dog entirely before you make a decision. You want a dog that suits your personality and lifestyle too. Just having a dog that doesn't shed shouldn't be all that you make your decision based on. 

Do you live with allergies and have a dog? What do you do to cope? Is there a breed I missed that you think should be added to this list? Share your advice or suggestions in the comments below.


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Dog Advice
What’s the Best Dog Breed?
February 8, 2016 at 11:03 am 4

What's the best breed for you?

If there’s one question I get asked most, it’s “What’s the best dog breed?” That question has about 340 answers depending on who you’re asking. What you should be asking instead is “What’s the best dog breed for me?”

We’re all different and picking the right dog breed for you shouldn’t be about which breed is the most popular at a certain time (especially because that breed was featured in a movie). There are lots of things to consider before you go looking for a dog. If you do a quick Google search, you'll find lots of things you should consider before buying a dog. I've put together a short list of some things that might not cross your mind and may make you regret your decision because they weren’t taken into consideration beforehand.

 

Size and exercise

If you have a new year’s resolution that you want to get more active, get a gym membership you can flake out on but don’t select an active dog breed in hopes that you’ll suddenly become a star athlete. If you don’t run marathons now, getting a dog with a high energy level will not make you a more active person. Maybe initially it’ll help get your ass off the couch, but that won’t last for long. Many people choose to give up their dog because they don’t have the time to provide the daily exercise that their dog needs. Don’t make this mistake, it’ll be sad for both of you.

cute dog with rainbow sweatbands

image from 3milliondogs.com

In my opinion size is important, but not everything. There are plenty of small dogs who need lots of exercise and alternatively there are plenty of dogs that are perfect for the lazy dog owner. For me, personality is more important than size. Admittedly, I tend to prefer bigger dogs, but there are lots of little dogs I’ve met that have completely stolen my heart. You might find that size isn’t as important a factor as you initially thought, especially when you consider the other traits that dog may have.

 

Where do you live?

Do you live in a house or apartment? Are you in the country or somewhere in the urban jungle? Where you live can play an important factor on the dog breed that’s best for you.

Some dogs are bred to bark and for a lot of people that’s completely fine. They either put up with it, learn to ignore it or just don't mind it. Excessive barking drives me nuts! My dogs howl (a lot) but they don’t bark. If someone walks in front of the house or knocks on the door, I’ll be lucky if they even lift their head from their pillow. I’m sure that there are people who hear my dogs howl and wonder how anyone could live with two dogs like that.

Big dog in house

image from wallpaperawesome.com

In any case, living in an apartment is pretty much out of the question for me. I live in a house with (thankfully) very friendly neighbours that I can hear talking to the girls through the fence after the girls howl a “Good morning” when they see them outside.

Usually they’re howling because they’re hungry, want to go for a walk or just pissed off and need to air their grievances. I think it’s funny and endearing, but you might absolutely hate it. The amount and type of noise your dog might make is something you should consider before trying to find your new best friend.

 

Hair or drool?

Malamutes shed like crazy. Every time I take them for a walk someone is bound to ask if they shed at all. I always sarcastically answer “No. I’ve never seen hair anywhere in my house.” In reality, I had to buy a Shop-Vac because my regular vacuum couldn’t handle all of the hair these two shed.

Siberian Husky shedding fur

image from siberian-huskies101.com

Even though I find hair in my house, on my clothes and even sometimes in my food, it doesn’t bother me. Regular grooming and house cleaning keeps the shedding under control. For the record, I now totally understand why my parents always insisted on poodle crosses when we were growing up.

Some dogs drool and while that might be fine for some dog owners, that’s where I personally draw the line. I’m okay with finding hair in weird places but I couldn’t handle finding random patches of drool in my house – yeck! So before you think about getting a Siberian Husky or Saint Bernard puppy, be real with yourself and what you can live with.

 

High achiever or loveable goofball?

Many people forget about the mental stimulation a dog needs. Owners will be dumbfounded why their house is being destroyed by a dog they exercise a lot. Sometimes the reason can be that your dog is just plain bored.

If you love a dog that you can teach tricks easily to and you feel will understand you, you might want to consider a smart dog breed. Keep in mind that these dogs will need more mental stimulation than a not-so-smart breed, but for the right owner, that can be absolutely perfect.

I feel like I've got a great mix in my house and I'll be honest it was purely by chance. Dakota was from a farm in Alberta when I lived there in my early 20's. Casey was a rescue who had a long story before she ended up in my home. They shed a lot, they can be noisy but I love them each dearly. I couldn't have found a better pair of friends if I tried.

Before you go searching for a dog for your family, be honest with yourself. Take some time, talk to breeders, other dog owners and find one that’s just right for you. Having a dog is a lifetime commitment, not a hobby or a fad. Best of luck in finding your new best friend!

What makes you love your dog? Did you own that breed in the past? What criteria did you consider before getting the dog you have now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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