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I wish to buy a dog (pup) for my granddaughter. She loves the black lab and my airedale. The problem is that her father (my son) is allergic to whatever dogs pass on. Can you recommend a dog or dogs which do not cause severe allergic reactions to adults? - Wayne

Dog allergies are caused by a protein found in the dog's dander and saliva. It, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with a long haired dog verses a short haired dog. All dogs shed dander and all dogs are capable of triggering an allergic reaction. However, there are a few dogs that are commonly considered "hypoallergenic" (and I hate to us that term): Poodles, Italian Greyhounds, Portuguese Water Dogs, Bichon Frise, Schnauzers, Whippets, Basenjis and Mexican Hairlesses. Again, none of these dogs are 100% allergy free. These just shed less dander some other dogs. Of those, I would recommend the Poodle, Water Dog and Bichon Frise for children.

I've read some articles that say the bigger the dog the bigger the allergy. I'm not sure how true that is! It does make sense, however. A big dog will produce more dander than a small dog because of size alone. I've also read that females are normally better than males for allergy prone people. Again, take that with a grain of salt.

Before you get a dog the allergic person(s) should visit a breeder who just breeds the specific breed you're considering. Any good breeder will understand your concerns. Spend about 30 minutes playing with the dogs and see if the child has an attack. If not, go home, don't play with any other dogs. If they still don't have an attack for the rest of the day, they may be ok with the dog.

For any dog, you can minimize allergic reactions. Try to keep the dog out of the person's bedroom and bed and off furniture. Keep the pet well groomed (easy for some of the dogs on the list) and teach your child to wash after playing with the dog. It's best not to have the pet on carpeting as carpets can trap pet dander and other nasties. You should mop your floor regularly. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters on your heating or air-conditioning unit can help catch airborne allergens. If you don't have a forced air system, you may want to install an air cleaner with a HEPA filter in your home.

Or maybe just consider getting her another kind of pet. There are lots of fun pets out there!

Here are some more articles which might help you out:
About Pet Allergies | Hypoallergenic Dogs

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Please note that due to the volume of requests I receive and the time it takes to answer some of the more complicated questions, I cannot answer every question received and I will not answer duplicate questions. However, I will try my best to get to all of them in a timely manner.

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