With their unique, egg-shaped heads, interesting faces, and fun-loving personalities, Bull Terriers have a lot going for them. We totally get why someone would want to parent one of these lovely dogs, but, if you’re an allergy sufferer, one thing to take into account is that Bull Terriers are not hypoallergenic.
In this guide, we’ll explain more about what it means when a dog is labeled “hypoallergenic” and share some tips on living with a dog for allergy sufferers.
What Does Hypoallergenic Really Mean?
It’s often thought that dog hair is the culprit behind reactions in allergy sufferers, but this isn’t actually the case. The true cause of the reaction is allergies to proteins produced by the dog which are present in dander, (flakes of dead skin) that the dog sheds. These get stuck in the dog’s hair and end up scattered around your home. The proteins found in saliva, urine, and sweat can also set off your allergies. Can-f1 through to Can-f7 are the currently recognised canine allergens.1
Certain kinds of dogs, like Poodles, Irish Water Spaniels, and Schnauzers, are sometimes recommended for people with allergies because they shed less than other, heavier-shedding breeds, and are therefore theoretically less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
However, this doesn’t mean that a dog labeled as “hypoallergenic” won’t trigger an allergic reaction, because all dogs produce potentially allergenic proteins. This includes hairless dogs. All dogs shed, whether minimally or a lot.
Do Bull Terriers Shed a Lot?
No, Bull Terriers don’t shed as much as some famous heavy-shedding breeds, like Labrador Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Bull Terriers are only moderate shedders, meaning they shed year-round, but more heavily during shedding seasons, which is why they’re not considered to be hypoallergenic.
On the bright side, their very short, smooth coats are pretty easy to care for. Most Bull Terriers only need to be brushed once per week to help keep their skin and coats healthy, and they only need an occasional bath.
If you have a Bull Terrier but also live with allergies, you might want to consider bathing them once weekly with a mild, dog-friendly shampoo (never human shampoo) to reduce the number of allergens that get stuck in their hair and are distributed around your home.
Speak to your vet first to make sure this is okay, though, and to get recommendations on the right products to use. Too much bathing or using the wrong products can cause or exacerbate skin issues.
Living with a Dog as an Allergy Sufferer
If you have a dog but are experiencing allergy symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a life of itchiness, sneeziness, and general misery. As long as your allergy isn’t life-threatening in any way, there are ways to make dog parenting as an allergy sufferer work. In addition to bathing your dog regularly as mentioned above, here are some tips:
See an Allergist
It’s always a good idea to speak with an understanding allergist about your situation to get some tips on how to manage it and/or some medication recommendations. You might also want to get tested because if you haven’t been diagnosed yet, you might find that it’s not a pet allergy that’s causing your symptoms, but something else.
Clean Your Home Regularly
You’ll want to set about reducing allergens around your home by vacuuming regularly to get rid of as many as you can. Wipe down surfaces daily, too, or use a lint roller on them, and wash your dog’s bedding often.
Consider Hardwood Flooring
Carpets trap allergens, so consider getting hardwood flooring, if possible, as this is easier to keep clean and dander-free.
Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers with HEPA filters are great at capturing allergens like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites. You can even get HEPA filter vacuum cleaners, so you might want to consider switching your standard vacuum for one of these. Ensure that you change the filters on schedule.
Create Dog-Free Zones
We all know there’s nothing better than a cuddle with a dog in the morning, but, if you’re an allergy sufferer, consider keeping your dog off your bed, as allergens can quickly build up in all those fibers.
Have Someone Else Do the Brushing
All dogs need to be brushed, but the process can wreak havoc on your allergies. Instead of doing it yourself, delegate this task to someone else. Ideally, brushing will also be done outside.
So, Bull Terriers aren’t hypoallergenic, but they’re not massive shedders. Remember that no matter which dog breed you get, there’s always a chance that your allergies will be triggered by the dander, urine and saliva they produce. Therefore, it’s best to plan some allergy management strategies like those above and think about setting up a rendezvous with an allergist to talk through your options.