The Hype on Hypoallergenic Dogs Is Just That, Study Warns

Similar levels of allergens found among 60 different breeds

MONDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- So-called hypoallergenic dogs are no less likely to make you sneeze than other dogs, a new study says.

It's widely believed that hypoallergenic dogs produce less dander and saliva and shed less fur, making them a healthier choice for people with allergies. But a team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found no scientific evidence that hypoallergenic dogs produce fewer allergens.

The researchers examined dust samples from 173 homes with 60 different breeds of dogs, including 11 breeds considered hypoallergenic. Samples were collected from the floor or carpet of the baby's bedroom one month after a newborn was brought home, and only from homes with just one dog.

Researchers then analyzed the dust samples for the dog allergen Can f 1. There were no significant differences in allergen levels between homes with hypoallergenic dogs and those with other dogs.

The study is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy.

"Based on previous allergy studies conducted here at Henry Ford, exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development. But the idea that you can buy a certain breed of dog and think it will cause less allergy problems for a person already dog-allergic is not borne out by our study," senior author Christine Cole Johnson, chair of the hospital's public health sciences department, said in a journal news release.

While the sample size did not allow the researchers to test specific breeds, they said parents should not choose a pet based on hypoallergenic classifications.

More information

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has more about pet allergies.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy, news release, July 7, 2011

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