In today’s society, more and more people suffer with allergies. Many families can trace their allergic reactions to pet hair and dander. Yet, thankfully, a pet-related allergy doesn’t have to mean that you are doomed to spending life without a companion animal to love. While this is definitely not the case, there are some misconceptions about what makes a breed hypoallergenic or even if such a creature exists. What we do know is that certain breeds make better family pets for those who struggle with allergies. Is the Schnauzer one of those dogs? Is it possible that the Schnauzer is a hypoallergenic breed?
Common Misconceptions About Dogs and Allergies
Many people believe that it is the hair that is shed into the environment that triggers their allergic reaction. With this in mind, some families think that a dog who sheds a great deal is more likely to irritate sensitive allergies. The truth is people who suffer from pet-related allergies are not reacting to pet hair at all. The allergen to blame is pet dander. Dander is essentially dead skin particles mixed with protein-laden oils that are released via glands which slough off our pets into our living environment. Dogs who shed more frequently do introduce more dander into their living quarters via the dead hair and exposed skin as it prepares for new growth.
On the converse side of the equation is the fact that dogs who shed very little have a built in “barrier” of protection which traps dead skin cells and protein-based gland oils within their hair, limiting the amount of the allergen which is released into their surroundings. Fewer airborne particles leads to fewer allergy attacks, promoting the idea that breeds with low to no-shedding properties are hypoallergenic. Dander can also be transmitted via saliva and urine, so though eliminating extra pet hair from a home will help combat allergic reactions, it will not deter them entirely.
Hypoallergenic is a term which does not mean that a dog is not capable of provoking an allergy attack. In its simplest definition, hypoallergenic refers to a lessening of the frequency of an allergic reaction due to the specific properties unique to that particular dog breed.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 50 million people live with allergies on a daily basis. Of that 50 million, 10 million of those affected have a pet-related allergy. Since many of those people are pet lovers who long for the affection of a pet, the demand for hypoallergenic breeds is on the incline.
Though people can be allergic to the dander of both dogs and cats, research shows that more people react to cat dander than that from dogs. However, it is important to note that there is no such thing as a non-shedding dog. All dogs do shed; however, some breeds shed far less than others. These breeds make ideal companions for people with dander-based allergies.
The Schnauzer: Hypoallergenic or Not?
While no dog breed can definitively be said to one hundred percent hypoallergenic, the Schnauzer comes awfully close. Schnauzers are a breed that sheds very little. A dog that is well-known for its short, double coat, it is this extra layer of coat protection that gives the Schnauzer its reputation for being a breed that is less likely to trigger an allergic response in people.
What is a double coat?
Many breeds possess a double coat. This coat is comprised of two different parts: a soft undercoat and a top coat which is wirier to the touch. For working dogs, this double coat was essential to provide weather proofing from the outdoor elements. A cold, wet dog was less likely to feel motivated to work. The undercoat offered an extra layer of protection to keep the dog warm and dry during bouts of inclement weather. But as an added bonus for the allergy prone, this combination of coats also helps to trap allergens, reducing the risk of an allergic response in dander sensitive family members.
Schnauzers, much like any other breed, will require some regular grooming to maintain the correct coat texture which is essential to limiting allergic reactions to pet dander. Regular brushing will help to reduce the amount of hair shed into your home environment.
Since dander can be transmitted through saliva and urine as well, the Schnauzer ranks high on the list of potentially hypoallergenic dogs because it is a dog with a low penchant for drooling. However, allergy sufferers will want to be certain that they prevent their Schnauzer from excess licking of their face or body as this could also trigger an immune response to dander.
But buying a breed that is low shedding like the Schnauzer is only part of the battle against allergies. Experts also recommend purchasing a HEPA filtration system to help trap hair and allergens. HEPA vacuum cleaners also make light work of removing any dander that is shed into your home.
Is the Schnauzer really a hypoallergenic breed?
As much as any breed can be, yes, the Schnauzer is considered to be hypoallergenic. If you are allergy sufferer who really wants to share your home with a dog, consider adding a Schnauzer to your family. Available in three different sizes, you’re sure to find one that is the perfect fit for you!