Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Really Help With Allergies?

Labradoodle in alpine meadow

Labradoodle, a breed thought to be hypoallergenic

Allergic dog owners may be barking up the wrong tree by buying pricey hypoallergenic dog breeds.

A new study has shown that hypoallergenic dogs, which shed less and have been thought to produce less nose-tickling dander, do not in fact cause fewer allergy problems than regular dogs.

“We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen,” said Dr. Christine Cole Johnson, author of the study.

The Hypoallergenic Hype

Hypoallergenic dogs have long been marketed as allergy-friendly companions that will cause fewer cases of sniffly noses and red eyes for their owners.

Even President Obama chose a Portuguese Water Dog, a breed that has been declared hypoallergenic, because daughter Malia has allergies.

To purchase one of these puppies, though, you need to pay up. The price of a hypoallergenic dog ranges from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the breed.

Is It Just Baloney?

Don’t lose hope in hypoallergenic. There are still a few benefits to having such a dog.

The real source of pet allergies is not the fur but a protein that sticks to flakes of the pet’s skin, known as dander. Because “hypoallergenic” dogs are breeds that naturally shed less, the allergy-aggravating dander that clings to the fur doesn’t get wafted into the air or onto the floor as often as it would with a dog that sheds frequently.

So even though you can’t truly call a dog “hypoallergenic,” some breeds may indeed cause fewer allergy symptoms, simply because they don’t shed as much. So go ahead and give your labradoodle a hug—he might still make you sneeze, but at least he won’t leave so much fur on your shirt.

Want to see some really pricey puppies? Check out the eleven most expensive dog breeds.

Dog owners, read about ways to save money on your new dog.

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  • Josh

    I’m sure there is plenty of good science and testing going on with these breeds, but for what it’s worth we have a hypoallergenic mini-Schnauzer and have never had any problems with allergies.  Anytime we visit other dogs, there are some allergy problems, so at least it seems to be working. 

  • Deb

    I have 2 goldendoodles( golden retriever-poodle) mix. The one doodle doesn’t shed and has curlier hair the other one sheds a lot more. The one that makes my eyes itch more is the one that doesn’t shed as much. Every time i brush her out i start itching. So it is true the dogs they say are non shedding and hypoallergenic  aren’t always that.

  • Kat

    There really are no hypoallergenic dogs. There are some that are low dander producing which people who are allergic can deal with it. I see people saying there mixed breed of a Golden & Poodle are hypoallergenic, but no they are NOT. And the people breeding them are dumb and liarers in most cases. They say don’t get the dog groomed till its older and they give them one of the most useless brushes to use for the hair. I am not saying all are that way, but most owners I have delt with have been told some of the most stupidest things to them about the dog. Goldendoodles, snoodles, maltipoos and so forth are nothing but MIXED breed dogs. Why people want to pay so much for a mixed breed just gets to me. They have more money than brains as far as I am concerened. Get a rescue, keep the dog brushed and groomed and the allergy problems will not be any worse than one of these dogs. I am allergic and I am a groomer and I sneeze and get just as bad from them as I do a chow, dobe, dane, shihtzu or whatever.

  • Jr474

    Good grief!  The point here is that “hypoallergenic” dogs shed less and therefore cause fewer problems for allergy sufferers!  This can be a significant issue for some people.  This article reminds me of an article I read once about the benefits of Vitamin C on cold symptoms.. it said that Vitamin C does NOT prevent or cure colds.. it just masks all the symptoms so you don’t realize you have a cold!  Well, duh!  Works for me!

  • Pattidog

    Oh my, more hype, goldendoodles, labradoodles, morkes, shorkies, etc., are not examples of breeds of dogs, they are examples of mixed breed dogs.  To be sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mixed breed dogs, but to deliberately cross two different breeds and promote the animals as “designer” or “hybrid” dogs and advertise them as something out of the ordinary has one goal…profit.  I’ve seen these dogs advertised for as much as $2,000.00 and i’ll be darned if people don’t end up paying that price!  A REPUTABLE breeder of goldens, poodles, Labradors, etc., will engage in a breeding program to IMPROVE that particular breed, not cross it with an entirely different breed.

  • happy poodle owner

    My husband used to suffer with allergies, specifically traceable to our mixed breed adopted dog Ginger.  She was a beautiful Lab/St Bernard mix and shed huge balls of fur which would float in the air.  After she died, (and we had finally vacuumed up all her hair) my husband’s allergy symptons disappeared.  Now we have a purebred standard red poodle.  Her hair grows and grows and must be professionally groomed, but she does not shed all over the house. (Some hair comes out during daily brushing.  The small amount of hair sticks to the comb or brush and does not drop all over the house.)  My husband is not allergic to her at all.  Why not just get a poodle, the smartest dog in the world (they come in three sizes and many colors), and get a truly hypoallergenic dog?  You are rolling the dice when you mix a poodle with any other dog . . . you can’t be certain that the mixed breed dog will retain the hypoallergenic traits of the poodle.

    • pup owner

      I have a standard poodle as well. Smarter than I am, sweet, fun, AND I don’t care what the article says, hypoallergenic. I have no allergy problems with her at all (and I do with other dogs and especially cats; love cats but can’t have one).

    • pup owner

      I have a standard poodle as well. Smarter than I am, sweet, fun, AND I don’t care what the article says, hypoallergenic. I have no allergy problems with her at all (and I do with other dogs and especially cats; love cats but can’t have one).

  • Cittyk77

    Please stop mentioning Labradoodles as a breed of dog. It is not a breed of anything. It is a mutt.  

    • Kat

      YAY just as I say! They are nothing but mix breeds. I don’t say mutt because a mutt is unknown origin so they are mixes but not a breed as people think and NOT worth the money people are getting for them and other mixes!!!!

    • Mimster9

      I’m sorry was this article talking about pure breds?  I missed that part. Can you point it out?  I’m pretty sure it was talking about hypoallergenic dogs and whether they really exist.  So you have a pure bred dog, good for you.  The fact that you have to make others feel their dog is of lesser or inferior quality than yours by calling it a mutt makes me think your dog is making up for qualities you lack.  Get a life jerk.

      • allisonfaye

        I KNOW! I see this is an old post but it amazes me how upset people get about mixing a dog breed. As if we don’t have enough political things to argue about. Every single person who posts seems to have an agenda. They say don’t buy from a breeder mixing breeds because they are just a ‘backyard breeder and want to make money’. Since when is making a few pup plies and a few $$ evil? If they are irresponsible about it, that’s a different story. They who have the whole PETA people who think only get a dog from a shelter. Is it sad that there a lots of dogs in the shelter? Very much so. Most of those dogs are medium to large and of unknown genetic history. I am not saying don’t do that. But there are negatives to that, too. My daughter has had allergic reactions to many large dogs so I though maybe a Maltese or a morkie. So what if they are show quality? If she isn’t allergic, what’s the harm? Although I think she is allergic.

  • Brendan Murphy

    I have severe allergic reactions to dogs and cats along with asthma.  I can not, since I was about 4 years old go to my friends houses with golden retrievers or even bulldogs without having my eyes swell up, itch, turn red, and my lungs squeeze up and begin weezing. 

    I got my dog about 5 years ago, she is a Golden Doodle — Retreiver and Poodle.  Her hair is more on the Poodle end and she still bothers me at times–right when she gets cut and when she get’s matted and really really needs to be professionally groomed.  I can’t bathe her myself or I will have reactions severely. 

    Hope that helps.

  •!spring/c22sl Joseph

    Amen. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog! As someone who is very allergic to dogs, I get just as allergic around a “hypoallergenic” dogs as other dogs. It irritates me how this myth of hypoallergenic dogs is perpetuated as it causes people with allergies to suffer. In fact, I just spent Christmas at my parents house and my sister has a poodle that she brought, but I said that it needed to stay outside, but she let it in every now and justified it because it’s “hypoallergenic.” However, it just about ruined my Christmas break as I had difficulty breathing the entire week. After I got home I felt resolved to develop a zero tolerance policy with dogs. But seriously, please don’t ever put someone through that and justify it because it’s “hypoallergenic.”