One of these hypoallergenic breeds might help reduce your allergic reactions.
Have you been longing to add a cat or dog to your home but thought your allergies prevented you from joining the ranks of happy pet owners? While no animal is completely free of allergens, several cat and dog breeds are considered “hypoallergenic,” meaning they have fewer allergens than other breeds, making them less likely to cause allergic reactions in people.
Take a look at the sampling of hypoallergenic breeds described below; talk to your doctor about the severity of your allergies; and then consider adding one of these adorable breeds to your home. Please note: These lists are not all inclusive—many other breeds enjoy reputations as hypoallergenic pets.
Airedale Terrier: The largest of all the terrier breeds, the Airedale Terrier can reach 23 inches in height and can weigh from about 50 to 65 pounds. The dog’s coat has two layers: a dense, wiry topcoat and a short, soft undercoat. The fur does not shed excessively, which helps contribute to the breed’s hypoallergenic reputation. This is a high energy dog who thrives when he has a job to do—otherwise, he might give himself the job of digging up your vegetable garden.
Bichon Frise: This small, fluffy white dog makes a friendly, playful companion while enjoying a reputation as a breed that causes fewer allergic reactions. The distinctive coat does not shed as much as those of other breeds, though they do require regular grooming. When full grown, the Bichon Frise stands about 10 inches tall and weighs 7 to 12 pounds.
Poodle: This affectionate, clever, elegant canine has won the hearts of dog lovers for hundreds of years. The distinctive curly coat—which can be professionally groomed into a work of art or clipped close for easier care—is known for its non-shedding qualities. Still, owners will need to groom them frequently to prevent the coat from matting. The breed comes in three sizes: toy (10 inches tall, 6 to 9 pounds), miniature (11 to 15 inches tall, 15 to 17 pounds) and standard (15 to 22 inches tall, 45 to 70 pounds).
Colorpoint Shorthair: A cross between a Siamese and an American Shorthair, the Cat Fanciers Association considers the Colorpoint Shorthair to be a distinct breed. It shares the Siamese’s long, lithe body but comes in a rainbow of coat colors and patterns. The cat’s short, fine coat (courtesy of the American Shorthair) requires minimal grooming—just comb it every few weeks to remove dead hair. Because the coat is so short, it sheds less than those of longer haired breeds, making it less likely to cause allergic reactions in its human companions.
Cornish Rex/Devon Rex: With their super short, curly coats, the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex enjoy reputations as being two of the more hypoallergenic breeds in the cat world. And while both breeds have long, slim bodies, the Devon Rex has a more impish look to its wedge-shaped head and slightly stockier body, while the Cornish Rex maintains a longer, leaner look from head to tail. Both breeds come in many colors and patterns.
Sphynx: This instantly recognizable breed is known for its lack of coat, which many people associate with a lack of allergens altogether. And while the Sphynx certainly seems to produce fewer allergic reactions in humans who are prone to allergies, he is not completely allergen free. Still, the sweet, snuggly Sphynx may make an ideal pet for someone with mild to moderate allergies.
About the Author: Stacy N. Hackett is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years’ experience in the pet industry. She is the former editor of Pet Product News and a former staff editor with Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Critters USA and Ferrets USA. To learn more about her work, visit stacynhackett.vpweb.com.