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 Allergens, Dog Dander and Symptoms of Dog 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
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
- American Hairless Terrier
- Australian Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Border Terrier
- Brussels Griffon
- Cairn Terrier
- Cesky Terrier
- Chinese Crested Dog
- Coton de Tulear
- Dandie Dinmont Terrier
- Italian Greyhound
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Lakeland Terrier
- Lhasa Apso
- Lowchen (Little Lion Dog)
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Norfolk Terrier
- Norwich Terrier
- Scottish Terrier (Scottie)
- Sealyham Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Silky Terrier
- Toy Poodle
- West Highland White Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
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
- Hairless Khala
- Irish Terrier
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Miniature Poodle
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Polish Owczarek Nizinny/ Polish Lowland Sheepdog
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Spanish Water Dog
- Standard Schnauzer
- Tibetan Terrier
- Welsh Terrier
- Wirehaired Fox Terrier
- Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
- 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
- Afghan Hound
- Airedale Terrier
- Bergamasco shepherd
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Giant Schnauzer
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Portuguese Water Dog
- 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.
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 Inu – Shiba 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
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
- Choose a female dog. This is because male dogs produce more allergens
- Get an allergy free dog such as the Poodle, Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Basenji and the hypoallergenic Poodle mixes
- Bathe your dog regularly, and at least once per week
- Avoid grooming your dog if you have pet allergies. Instead, have another person do the washing and brushing for you
- Wash your dog’s beddings regularly, and at least once every week
- Maintain dog-free zones around your home. Most importantly, your bedroom should be out of bounds to dogs and cats
- Wash dog toys with warm water and soap regularly to reduce the amount of saliva on them
- Vacuum and dust around the home regularly to remove dander and shed pet hair and fur
- Dog allergens are easily airborne. Consequently, you should invest in a good air purifier such as a High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
- Avoid petting, hugging or kissing your pets
- Wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with a dog
- Encourage your dog to spend more time outdoors to remove dog allergens from the house
- 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.