Study: Hypoallergenic dogs not less allergic than other dogs

Contrary to popular belief, so-called hypoallergenic dogs do not have lower household allergen levels than other dogs.

That's the conclusion of a study by Henry Ford Hospital researchers who sought to evaluate whether hypoallergenic dogs have a lower dog in the home than other dogs. Hypoallergenic dogs are believed to produce less dander and saliva and shed less fur.

The findings are to be published online this month in the American Journal of Rhinology and .

"We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen," says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study.

"Based on previous allergy studies conducted here at Henry Ford, exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development. But the idea that you can buy a certain breed of dog and think it will cause less allergy problems for a person already dog-allergic is not borne out by our study."

This is believed to be the first time researchers measured environmental allergen associated with hypoallergenic dogs. Previous studies analyzed from only a handful of dogs in a small number of breeds.

Henry Ford researchers analyzed collected from 173 homes one month after a newborn was brought home. The dust samples were collected from the carpet or floor in the baby's bedroom and analyzed for the dog allergen Can f 1. Only homes with one dog were involved in the study. Sixty dog breeds were involved in the study, 11 of which are considered hypoallergenic dogs.

Based on public web site claims of hypoallergenic breeds, dogs were classified as hypoallergenic using one of four "schemes" based on their breed for comparing allergen levels. Scheme A compared purebred hypoallergenic dogs to purebred non-hypoallergenic dogs; Scheme B compared purebred and mixed breed dogs with at least one hypoallergenic parent to purebred non-hypoallergenic dogs; Scheme C compared purebred and mixed breed dogs with at least one hypoallergenic parent to purebred and mixed breed dogs with no known hypoallergenic component; Scheme D compared only purebred dogs identified as hypoallergenic by the American Kennel Club to all other dogs.

Researchers found that the four schemes yielded no significant differences in allergen levels between hypoallergenic dogs and non-hypoallergenic dogs. In homes where the dog was not allowed in the baby's bedroom, the allergen level for hypoallergenic dogs was slightly higher compared to allergen levels of non-hypoallergenic dogs.

While researchers acknowledged limitations in their study – the amount of time the dog spent in the baby's bedroom was not recorded and the size of its sample did not allow looking at specific breeds – they say parents should not rely on classified as hypoallergenic.

More information: The study will be available at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ocean/ajra

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Canine genome is studied in Britain

Jul 12, 2005

Some dog breeds are more susceptible to particular diseases than others and British scientists want to identify their genetic predisposition.

Dog 'laugh' silences other dogs

Dec 05, 2005

Washington state researchers report discovering what might be the sound of dog laughter. The scientists say the long, loud pant they recorded has a calming or soothing effect on the behavior of other dogs, ABC News reported.

How do you make the perfect sled dog?

Jul 21, 2010

Over the last few hundred years, Alaskan sled dogs have been bred to haul cargo over Arctic terrain and, more recently, for racing. Now, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Genetics have identi ...

Computer savvy canines

Nov 28, 2007

Like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts. Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown for the first time that dogs can classify complex color photographs and ...

Human-dog communication -- breed as important as species

Jul 24, 2009

Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision. A series of tests, ...

Recommended for you

Hospital acquisitions leading to increased patient costs

8 hours ago

The trend of hospitals consolidating medical groups and physician practices in an effort to improve the coordination of patient care is backfiring and increasing the cost of patient care, according to a new study led by the ...

User comments