Oct 4 2013
First we tackled the myth of the tea-cup dog (the article is in the August 2012 archives), now I would like to look at the myth of the “hypo-allerginic” dog.
This prase seemed to really catch on a few years ago, at the same time as the “Laberdoodle” crase started to catch fire. The catch phrase of making a dog hypo-allergenic is simply a ploy, started by missleading dog breeders, to sell more dogs. In a 2011 published study in the The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy, it was conclusively found that the breed of dog in the home did not correspond at all to the amount of allergens found in that household. So, in other words, families living with “hypo-allergenic” dogs are living with the same amount of allergens that as the families with any other breed. This study was looking at pure bred dogs on the so-called “allergy-free” list.
“Doodle” mixes are another thing all together. I am not sure how it got started that a mix of 2 breeds will reliably produce a certain result. That is simply not the way genetics work. Crossbreeding is like picking a prize out of a grab bag, you just never know what you are going to get. I see so many descriptions of how a Doodle cross, in particular, will somehow get just the best of both breeds. I have seen so many online breeders tout that their crosses have allergy-free coats, are healthier, and have the “best temperaments of both breeds.” This is impossible to promise. The way genes express themselves is not always under a breeder’s control, and even less so when you are combining two different breeds. Just like any other mixed breed pups, you can get a variety of coats, sizes, and temperaments in the same litter. For example, a few summers ago we had a litter of dogs, the dad was a pure bred St Bernard, and mom was a pure bred Blue Tick hound ( I know, I know, poor momma!) let’s give this hybrid a trendy name like St Blue-nards. Do you think all the pups from this litter were uniform in coat, size, or temperament? No, that could not be further from the truth! 2 of them grew to look like slightly smaller St Bernards, 1 looks like a hound, and the others are somewhere in between. The temperaments are all over the board too, some bay like a hound and are very active, other laze the day away sleeping on the sofa. THIS is how mixed breed dogs work. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE mixed breed dogs! I don’t however, like people being mislead, spending hundreds, and sometimes even more, on a promise that is simply not true. I also don’t like the idea of producing MORE mixed breed dogs, on purpose, for a profit. If science has proven that Poodles produce the same amount of allergen as a Lab….why do we need to mix the two, give it a trendy name, and place a high price tag on it? Now I love a Doodle mix as much as the next guy, it’s not about that, it’s about another ploy to make money by irresponsible breeders. I have just seen so many people, who have purchased a dog on false pretences, only to release the dog to me, once it reaches young adult-hood, because it was “not what we were told it would be.”
There are plenty of things you can do to decrease the allergens your pet produces, as well as decrease them in your home, such as:
Feeding an anti-inflammatory diet, By reducing allergenic foods going into your pet you can reduce allergenic saliva coming out of your pet.
Washing your dog of often, and using a high-quality, anti-inflammatory shampoo
Washing bedding in hot water
Change air filters monthly
Remove surfaces that trap dander, like carpet, drapes, and rugs
In summary: Do your research, make an informed decision, and if you want a mixed breed…..ADOPT ONE FROM A RESCUE OR SHELTER!