Dog & Cat Allergens, Dander and Symptoms of Pet Allergies

Dog allergens are the proteins that are produced by dogs and which trigger allergic reactions in people who have pet allergies. There are many dog allergens that are present in their saliva, urine, skin, dander, feces and blood.

Dogs and cats are the most prevalent pets. As a result, dog and cat allergies are common. 10 to 20% of people worldwide have dog and cat allergies. However, dogs account for 8 – 10% of all pet allergies.

There are over 29 known dog allergens. However, the five main allergens are Can f 1, Can f 2, and Can f 3, Can f4 and Can f 5. These allergens are widely distributed in homes, including households that don’t own pets.

Can f 1 (Canis familiaris allergen 1) and Can f 2 (Canis familiaris allergen 2) are present in a dog’s saliva, dander and skin. These two are the major dog allergens. Can f 3 is present in serum, Can f 4 in skin, hair and dander while Can f 5 is present in urine.

Dog & Cat Allergens, Dander and Symptoms of Pet Allergies

Pet allergens are easily circulated in air. This explains why households that don’t own cats or dogs still have low levels of cat and dog allergens.

Some dog breeds, such as the Basenji, lick and groom themselves. This causes allergens that are in the saliva to stick to the animal’s fur.

More allergens are secreted via glands in the skin and through urine. Consequently, one of the easiest ways to avoid pet allergens is to avoid contact with these animals – and to wash hands immediately after coming into contact with a dog or cat.

Dog Allergens: What is Dog Dander?

Dogs and cats regularly shed their old skin and replace it with new skin. This process enables animals to maintain a healthy skin. Dog dander refers to these tiny flecks of skin.

Some dander are microscopic. But all dander are buoyant (easily airborne) and remain on surfaces, furniture and carpets for months even after a pet is no longer present in a home.

Low Allergy Dogs: List of Least Allergenic Dogs

Dog allergens are caused by several dog proteins

The major dog allergens, Can f 1 and Can f 2 are present in a dog’s saliva

The good news for people who suffer from dog allergens is that there are many dogs that have low levels of the various dog proteins responsible for the reactions. These are the hypoallergenic dogs. They are also called allergy free dogs and come in all sizes, colors and temperaments.

Here is the list of least allergenic dogs in alphabetical order:

Small allergy free dogs

  1. Affenpinscher
  2. American Hairless Terrier
  3. Australian Terrier
  4. Bedlington Terrier
  5. Bichon Frise
  6. Bolognese
  7. Border Terrier
  8. Brussels Griffon
  9. Cairn Terrier
  10. Cesky Terrier
  11. Chinese Crested Dog
  12. Coton de Tulear
  13. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  14. Havanese
  15. Italian Greyhound
  16. Lagotto Romagnolo
  17. Lakeland Terrier
  18. Lhasa Apso
  19. Lowchen (Little Lion Dog)
  20. Maltese
  21. Mi-Ki
  22. Miniature Schnauzer
  23. Norfolk Terrier
  24. Norwich Terrier
  25. Scottish Terrier (Scottie)
  26. Sealyham Terrier
  27. Shih Tzu
  28. Silky Terrier
  29. Toy Poodle
  30. West Highland White Terrier
  31. Yorkshire Terrier

Small dog breeds live longer than big dogs. In addition, small dogs tend to be more aggressive. This is because they suffer often from the small dog syndrome.

But these small allergy free breeds are energetic, playful and most are intelligent. Small allergy free dogs are also cheaper to keep since they need less food and many have lower grooming needs.

Medium-sized allergy free dogs

  1. Barbet
  2. Basenji
  3. Hairless Khala
  4. Irish Terrier
  5. Kerry Blue Terrier
  6. Miniature Poodle
  7. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  8. Polish Owczarek Nizinny/ Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  9. Puli
  10. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  11. Spanish Water Dog
  12. Standard Schnauzer
  13. Tibetan Terrier
  14. Welsh Terrier
  15. Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  16. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  17. Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo/ Mexican Hairless Dog)

Many of these medium sized hypoallergenic dogs can sometimes fit in the small and big categories. Most of the medium-sized allergy free dogs are content with both indoor and outdoor living. They have a lot of energy and you can expect these breeds to be less aggressive than small breeds.

Big and large allergy free dogs

  1. Afghan Hound
  2. Airedale Terrier
  3. Bergamasco shepherd
  4. Bouvier des Flandres
  5. Giant Schnauzer
  6. Irish Water Spaniel
  7. Portuguese Water Dog
  8. Samoyed
  9. Standard Poodle

Large dogs are often referred to as gentle giants. They know they have the size and therefore do not try to act big, like small dogs do. They are great with kids and have the muscle to do outdoor guard duties. But you will notice that most allergy-free dogs come in small and toy sizes.

Most Allergenic Dogs

Here are the top 20 most allergenic dogs. These breeds produce a lot of dog allergens in saliva, dander, urine and serum.

All dogs drool. Dogs drool when panting, and when they are anxious or stressed, sick and when they are anticipating receiving a treat.

French Mastiff dogs drool a lot

French Mastiff are one of the dog breeds that drool the most

But some of these breeds drool a lot – remember that most dog allergens are present in their saliva. As a result, people who have pet allergies should avoid them at all costs – or interact with them cautiously.

Dog Allergens: Dogs that Drool the Most

  • Saint Bernard/ St. Bernard – the large working dog from Italy drools a lot
  • Bulldog – this muscular, medium-sized breed is friendly and courageous but drools a lot
  • Bloodhound – this large dog has an excellent scent tracking skill but produces a lot of saliva
  • Newfoundland – a large, working dog from Canada. Newfoundland dogs drool a lot
  • Bernese Mountain Dog – a cross between this large drooling dog and the Poodle results in the hypoallergenic Bernedoodle
  • Bordeaux Mastiff (French Mastiff/ Dogue de Bordeaux) – French Mastiff are courageous and devoted dogs who, unfortunately for allergy sufferers, drool a lot
  • Bullmastiff – powerful, protective and devoted to their work. But Bullmastiffs drool a lot
  • Neapolitan Mastiff (Mastino Napoletano) – this large Italian guard dog is obedient and fearless. But they drool a lot

Dog Allergens: Dogs that Shed the Most

  • Alaskan Husky – these require regular grooming to remove old hair. The dogs shed heavily once or twice in a year
  • Rottweiler – Rottweiler were a favorite breed for German butchers. They are fearless, obedient and devoted – but shed heavily in spring and fall
  • Alaskan Malamute – this breed has a lot of strength and stamina to pull sledges. But you can expect them to shed heavily twice every year.
  • Shiba InuShiba Inu shed heavily at the onset of warmer seasons
  • Akita Inu – this Japanese Spitz dog is bigger than the Shiba Inu but sheds heavily as well
  • Chow Chow – are one of the ancient dog breeds. They have a dense double coat and shed heavily
  • German Shepherd – A German Shepherd is renowned for intelligence and courage. But they shed a lot
  • American Eskimo Dog – these dogs have a white and fluffy double coat that is shed constantly
  • Pekingese – this Chinese toy dog is a good companion dog. But Pekingese shed a lot
  • Siberian Husky – this medium-sized, fluffy dog breed has a thick, beautiful coat that is shed heavily when the weather changes
  • Labrador Retriever – the medium-sized breed is popular but not hypoallergenic
  • Leonberger – this German dog is huge and is one of the dog breeds that shed the most

Symptoms of dog allergies: Signs of being allergic to dogs

The 5 most common symptoms of dog allergies are:

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing and wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath
  • A blocked or runny nose and facial pain due to nasal congestion
  • Itches, hives and rashes on the skin

Note that dogs with allergies also experience some of these symptoms that are relieved using CBD oil for dogs.

Sneezing, blocked/ runny nose and sore throat occurs when dog allergens reach our nasal passages. Contact with pet dander may result in hives and rashes on the skin.

How to Reduce Dog Allergens and Allergies

Keep dog outdoors to reduce dog allergens in the house

Encourage your dog to spend more time outdoors in order to reduce dog allergens in the house. Your pet will be healthier too!

  1. Choose a female dog. This is because male dogs produce more allergens
  2. Get an allergy free dog such as the Poodle, Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Basenji and the hypoallergenic Poodle mixes
  3. Bathe your dog regularly, and at least once per week
  4. Avoid grooming your dog if you have pet allergies. Instead, have another person do the washing and brushing for you
  5. Wash your dog’s beddings regularly, and at least once every week
  6. Maintain dog-free zones around your home. Most importantly, your bedroom should be out of bounds to dogs and cats
  7. Wash dog toys with warm water and soap regularly to reduce the amount of saliva on them
  8. Vacuum and dust around the home regularly to remove dander and shed pet hair and fur
  9. Dog allergens are easily airborne. Consequently, you should invest in a good air purifier such as a High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  10. Avoid petting, hugging or kissing your pets
  11. Wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with a dog
  12. Encourage your dog to spend more time outdoors to remove dog allergens from the house
  13. Visit your doctor who may prescribe allergy shots, antihistamines, nasal sprays and bronchodilators that make breathing easier and relieve the other allergy symptoms

There are Cat Allergens as Well

Cats produce cat allergens. The most common cat allergen is Fel d 1. Best hypoallergenic cat breeds for people with allergies include the hairless Sphynx, Peterbald, Russian Blue, Cornish Rex, Bengal cats and the British Shorthair.

Many people experience an allergic reaction within 15 to 20 minutes after coming into contact with cat or dog allergens. In addition, one dog will cause allergic reactions of varying intensities to different people.

It is therefore good to note that what works for one person may not work for another. Luckily for the 10 – 20% people who suffer from allergies, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that are good for people with pet allergies.

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Harrison M, author, editor and owner at

Harrison M, Owner and editor of Allergy-Free Dogs & Cats

Hypoallergenic dog breeds are good for people who have animal allergies, although no dog breed is 100% allergy-free. Harry is a calm person and during his free time you might catch him riding his bike, playing football with his son, watching movies or just chilling. | Twitter | VK | LinkedIn