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Are Terriers Hypoallergenic? Allergy Advice & FAQ

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Skye Terrier Eyes_shutterstock_Akifyeva S hypoallergenic

If you suffer from dog allergies or are sensitive to their fur or dander but love dogs, then you have certainly looked at hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Although no breed is truly hypoallergenic, some shed less than others, and it is usually these low-shedding breeds that people refer to when they talk about hypoallergenic breeds. In this sense, a lot of terrier breeds are low-shedding animals, and so are often described as being hypoallergenic.

Unfortunately, the topic isn’t as cut and dry as one would hope. Different people with dog allergies may be allergic to different proteins, which means that they may be more or less allergic to certain breeds. Let’s take a closer look.

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About Dog Allergies

A dog allergy is an allergic reaction to one or more proteins that are produced by dogs. One of the proteins that we are commonly allergic to is Can f 5.1 This is made in the dog’s prostate and when he urinates, it passes into his fur and skin.

The microscopic protein is then dispersed in the air when the dog moves around, shakes, runs, or walks around the room. The protein can be carried on clothing which is why it is possible to have an allergic reaction to dogs even in places where there are no dogs.

woman with dog allergy
Image Credit: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

Do Terriers Shed?

Because the Can f 5 protein is transported through the hair of a dog, it is common for people with allergies to suffer most when a dog sheds and loses its hair. As the hair falls off, the protein is released into the air, while some of the protein remains on the hair and is picked up as you sit on the hair or even walk past it. As such, allergy sufferers usually benefit from having a dog that sheds less.

Terriers are a group of dog breeds that shed minimally. In particular, wiry and coarse-haired terriers lose less hair than other breeds so they are ideal for owners that dislike having to get the hoover out and for those with allergies.

Can You Build Immunity to Dog Allergies?

Some people report building immunity to their dog allergies. Some owners may also grow out of their allergy. However, you should not bank on this if you have an allergy and are considered a pet pooch. Not only is it not guaranteed, but it is rare. It is more likely that you will continue with the symptoms of allergy, and you may find that the cumulative effect of daily exposure causes the symptoms to worsen.

irish soft coated wheaten terrier puppy
Image Credit: SubertT, Shutterstock

Can You Still Have a Dog If You’re Allergic?

There are ways to lead a healthy life and have a happy relationship with your pet, even if you suffer from dog allergies. First of all, if you have a serious allergy and suffer potentially life-threatening reactions, you should avoid getting a dog at all because it will be almost impossible to avoid the proteins that you are allergic to.

However, if you suffer from a mild allergy and want to further reduce the impact, you can groom and brush your dog regularly. This helps remove the hair and catches it in your brush so that you can dispose of it. It also enables you to vacuum straight after, so that you can get the hairs and remove these and the accompanying Can f 5 protein from the environment around you.

Do not let your dog sleep on your bed with you, no matter how much you appreciate the companionship. You spend one-third of your life in bed and tend to breathe more heavily when you’re asleep. If your dog is on the bed, you will snore the protein into your throat and lungs while you’re asleep.

Do Air Purifiers Help with Pet Allergies?

The protein molecules that cause your allergy are microscopic. Dusting and vacuuming can remove some of the ones that rest on surfaces like floors and furniture, but even the act of cleaning may agitate them and lift them into the environment, where they can be ingested and get into your chest and lungs.

  • Air purifiers, and especially those that contain HEPA filters will remove the larger particles, usually hair and dander that might still contain some of the protein.
  • An ionizer attempts to capture the allergen particles by attaching an electric charge to them, but these work in a very restricted area around the device itself.
  • Carbon air filters can remove dog odors, but not protein particles.
  • Some specialist filters have been developed to destroy even the smallest protein filters, although these are more difficult to get hold of and cost more than standard HEPA filters.
Air purifier with cat
Image Credit: Mariia Boiko, Shutterstock

What Dog to Get If You Are Allergic?

Various dog breeds are considered suitable for those with allergies, including:

  • Afghan Hound – It comes as a surprise to a lot of people that the Afghan Hound is considered a good breed for allergy sufferers. It has long and luscious-looking locks but it sheds very little and as long as you stay on top of the grooming, the Afghan can make a good pet for those with allergies.
  • Kerry Blue Terrier – The Kerry Blue Terrier is named for the county of his birth, having originated from Kerry in Ireland, and for the blue color of his coat. He is alert and energetic, a great companion for families, and he is sporty and loyal.
  • Poodle – The Poodle is thought of as being one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. They can be trained for most tasks and roles, come in a variety of sizes, and are one of the most popular breeds you can adopt. They are athletic and another breed that can offer some relief from dog allergies.
  • Schnauzer – Like the Poodle, the Schnauzer comes in a good variety of sizes ranging from Miniature to Giant. The breed is brave and remains an excellent working dog today, and they are considered a very clever and intelligent breed.
  • Yorkshire Terrier – The Yorkie is one of the better-known and more popular terrier breeds and is one of the smallest breeds. It makes a great companion who is bossy and can be a little impudent but is also loving and caring, making the breed a great choice as a pet.
woman having an allergy to a Cocker Spaniel dog
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Conclusion – Are Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Terriers are low-shedding dogs, especially wire-haired breeds, so while they are not fully hypoallergenic, they are one of the better breeds for people who suffer from dog allergies. Yorkies and Kerry Blues are two of the more popular choices, but if hypoallergenic is your main priority, don’t overlook other breeds like the Poodle or even the Afghan Hound.

Most people with allergies can live with a dog, but it may require some lifestyle changes and some rules to teach your new dog.

Featured Image Credit: Akifyeva S, Shutterstock

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