Hypoallergenic dog breeds - a myth?

Allergivänliga hundraser - en myt?

That certain dog breeds would be particularly hypoallergenic is not true. Research shows that allergy sensitivity differs more between individual dogs than between entire breeds.

There are many theories about which dog breeds are hypoallergenic and would therefore suit an allergy sufferer better. But unfortunately hypoallergenic dog breeds seem to be a myth. Several international scientific studies show that allergen levels, i.e. how allergenic a dog is, differ much more between individual dogs than between breeds. An allergy sufferer can therefore have a dog at home without noticing their allergy, but have an allergic reaction when he/she meets the neighbour's dog, even though both dogs are of the same breed.

Research on hypoallergenic dog breeds

In 2012, an extensive Dutch research study was published in the prestigious allergy journal Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology , which investigated the thesis that certain dog breeds would be particularly hypoallergenic. In the study, a large number of dogs of different breeds were tested, including labrador, poodle and Spanish water dog, as well as a control group with dogs of different breeds and mixed breeds. A total of 356 dogs were tested.

The researchers measured the amount of Can f 1, the most common dog allergen, in hair and fur, as well as in the dogs' home environments (on the floor and in the air). It was found that the differences between the breeds were small - instead, the allergen levels differed significantly between different dog individuals within the same breed. These research results led to the conclusion that there is no evidence that certain dog breeds are particularly hypoallergenic.

Information for this simplified graph is taken from the Dutch research study (Vredegoor et al, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, volume 130, 2012) and shows the presence of the dog allergen Can f 1 - both on the dog and in the home. The wider the figure, the more dogs in the study had the same level of Can f 1. What can be clearly deduced is that the variation within the different breeds is large, some dogs had high levels of Can f 1 while other dogs, within the same breed, had a lot low levels. It is also clear that the dogs leave a clear impression on the environment and that this also differs considerably within all breeds.

The research only covers one allergen

It is therefore possible, based on research in the field, to state that hypoallergenic dog breeds are a myth. Although some differences between races can be discerned, the great variation is at the individual level. However, it should be remembered that dog allergy research has so far mainly focused on one of the six dog allergens, and that more knowledge can be gained by measuring the other allergens as well.

In the tests carried out by the Dutch study, only the levels of Can f 1 were measured. Although Can f 1 is considered to be the allergen that most dog allergy sufferers react to, there are thus five other allergens (Can f 2- Can f 6). It is therefore important that research continues so that all dog allergens can be investigated and thus give us as complete a picture of dog allergy as possible.