The Myth of the Allergy-Free Dog - NYTimes.com
Dog lovers with a pet allergy have a big problem when it comes to having a dog in the home. But the usual solution — getting a breed known to be hypoallergenic — may not be a safe bet. In fact, there may be no such thing as a low-allergy or allergy-free dog, according to a new report. The study found that the quantities of dog allergens in homes with supposedly hypoallergenic breeds are no different from those in homes with dogs widely considered non-hypoallergenic.
It is not even clear how a hypoallergenic breed earns the title. There is no single “official” list of them. Various breeds, often dogs that shed little hair, appear on lists posted on the Internet, and the American Kennel Club suggests 11 “hypoallergenic canine candidates,” including poodles, soft-coated wheaten terriers, schnauzers and the Portuguese water dog, made famous two years ago when the Obama family adopted one.
“I have no idea where this whole concept came from,” said Christine Cole Johnson, the senior author of the study, to be published online in The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy. “It’s been around for a long time, and maybe people associated it with shedding. I think it’s just a legend.”