Hypoallergenic Dogs Overhyped?

A study finds that homes with dogs billed as hypoallergenic harbor just as many allergens as those housing other breeds.

By | September 6, 2011

Don't look at me. I thought I was hypoallergenic too!FLICKR, ANTONIO RUBIO

Many allergy sufferers who still crave canine companionship turn to so-called hypoallergenic dog breeds, such as Portuguese water dogs, poodles, and Malteses. But homes in which those breeds live may harbor just as many allergens as houses where fuzzier breeds curl up at the foot of the bed, according to a recent study of residences in and around Detroit. Researchers from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and The Georgia Health Sciences University found detectable levels of the common dog allergen Canis familiaris 1 (Can f 1) in about 94 percent of the 173 homes they tested. The levels of Can f 1 were not statistically different between houses inhabited by hypoallergenic dogs and those harboring other breeds.

"Based on our study, and also based on some previous studies of dogs, there doesn't seem to be a hypoallergenic breed of dog," senior author Christine Cole Johnson told the US Department of Health And Human Service's HealthBeat blog, adding that the severity of allergic reactions likely depend more on the individual dog and its owner. The study was published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy.

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