ARE LABRADOODLES CONSIDERED HYPO-ALLERGENIC?
The origin of the Labradoodle began with an experiment. In 1988, Wally Cochran of the Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria, produced the first litter of Labradoodles. Cochran was inspired by a blind woman from Hawaii who suffered from severe dog allergies, but desperately required a hypoallergenic guide dog. Of the first litter produced, three of the eight puppies were confirmed to be low allergy. Labradoodles are not hypoallergenic however some Labradoodles are considered allergy friendly. Let me explain.
“There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed, although some individual dogs may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Many people think that pet allergies are caused by a dog’s or cat’s fur, but the real source of pet allergies is often a protein that’s in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from your pet’s skin.”
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D. for the Mayo Clinic
What is the cause of the allergic response?
If you suffer from asthma or allergies, the first thing to consider is whether your allergy is hair based or a result of the protein that sticks to the saliva, dander and/or is present in the urine of a dog. Besides dander or saliva, you may also be allergic to what a dog naturally brings in from the outside; grass, dust, and pollen on their coat versus the dog itself. In the case of saliva or outside allergens, all dogs will increase your allergy symptoms.
Is it the protein or the hair?
Protein allergies are tricky. We highly recommend that any allergy sufferer spend time with a range of puppies/dogs under different conditions. Space out the visits in order to experiment with what causes a reaction and what does not. For example, on one visit, allow the puppy or dog to lick. On a separate occasion, just pat the coat and on another occasion, scratch the body to release the dander.
It will also be important that the family get to spend time with their puppy prior to final purchase to ensure they are a good fit. Keep in mind, it is common for an allergic response not to occur immediately so give yourself a day or so to monitor any adverse reactions.
If your allergy is hair based, an allergy friendly, multi-generational Australian Labradoodles may be a good fit for you! We recommend a wool coat for allergy sufferers however if the condition is mild, a multi-generational, fleece coat that is low shedding may also be a suitable coat type. Don’t be misled by common claims that all Labradoodles will have non-shedding or allergy friendly coats regardless of generation. This is simply not true.More information on coat types can be found here.
Allergy Friendly Coat Types
The coat of an individual Labradoodle is the attribute that most determines the degree that the coat will be allergy-friendly. The three coat types are:
Wool: Similar to that of the Poodle. This coat requires regular grooming and is the most allergy-friendly type of coat.
Fleece: Fleece coats are easy to maintain. They are low shedding. MAY be suitable for mild allergies and asthma sufferers.
Hair: This coat can range from straight to curly or wavy. It can vary from shedding a lot to shedding very little. This coat is not likely to be allergy-friendly.
The Generational Gap
Beware of the bold claim that ALL LABRADOODLES ARE HYPO-ALLERGENIC. Most labradoodles that are F1, F1b or F2 (click HERE to learn more about the different generations of Labradoodles) are not considered low-shedding and carry the risk of aggravating your allergies
When buying a puppy, always do your research! Find a breeder that is knowledgeable about the breed they are producing and that is happy to share that expertise with you. Learn as much as you can about your own allergic and or asthmatic triggers. Perhaps you can undergo allergy testing. Another suggestion is to go through a process of testing the potential adverse stimulants by systematically exposing yourself to fleece coats, wool coats, the saliva and the dander. Ask questions of your breeder, related to coat type and generational lines of potential puppies. A puppy that has been back-crossed to a poodle or has a predominance of poodle in favour of the Labrador is more likely to have a wool coat and therefore be more suitable. At Burrinjuck Labradoodles, we welcome families to interact with our dogs PRIOR to adoption and also recommend families spend time with their selected puppy at around 6 weeks. It is important that we understand the profile of any family member who may suffer from allergies so we can guide and support the best decision for your circumstances.