You love pets but seem to get a running nose or a sneeze every time you interact with a cat or a dog. Perhaps you’ve lost hope of owning a furry friend. It doesn’t have to be the case. There are many allergy-friendly pet breeds, breeds waiting for your companionship. With this in mind, you could be one step from owning a pet.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
It is a common belief that pet-allergies occur because of pet fur, yet this isn’t true. People who suffer from allergies have hypersensitive immune systems. The condition predisposes them to react to proteins found in cat or dog dander, saliva, and urine. The primary cause of these reactions is dander-dead skin flakes. They may also react to pollen and other allergens collected on the pet’s hair. In felines, the Fel D1 protein is a primary culprit for allergies. It gets on to fur during self-grooming and becomes airborne once dry. So in both dogs and cats, pet hair only carries substances that cause reactions. It doesn’t cause the reactions.
Are There Allergy-Free Breeds?
No animal breed is 100% allergy-free. Hypoallergenic breeds are a fallacy as all dogs and cats produce allergen proteins. These breeds shed little to no fur, which means less dander. The truth is this makes them allergy-friendly but not allergy-free. Pet owners with allergies should also consider other factors when selecting a pet. For example, the temperament of the dog and living conditions. They should also take precautionary measures such as routine washing of hands and grooming of pets to reduce allergies.
Best Pet Breeds
This breed has its origins in Canada and also goes by the name Canadian Hairless Cat. Contrary to the belief that they are hairless, they have tiny soft hair in certain areas that feel like a peach. Allergens cannot get trapped in their hair, making them ideal for people with allergies. They are outgoing, intelligent, playful, and love to cuddle. They are best suited for indoor spaces as they do not cope well with cold and direct sunlight. They need regular cleaning to prevent skin and ear infections.
The breed has its origins in the U.S.A. It is a crossbreed of an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat. It ranks high as an allergy-friendly pet because it produces fewer Fel D1 proteins than most breeds. Its rich marbled or spotted fur does not shed. They have lots of energy, are friendly, playful, and curious. They love to climb things and role-playing hunts, so you need outdoor space. If this is your chosen pet, get ready for ‘talking’. This breed is vocal and makes a lot of coo-like noises. Bengals love attention and will love you more as you brush their fur that needs little grooming.
- Cornish Rex
The breed originated from the County of Cornwall in England. It has a short, curly, soft coat that needs little maintenance. Unlike most felines that have three layers, the Cornish Rex only has one. They love to learn new tricks. Man’s best friend has nothing on the Rex because they can play fetch for hours on end. They are curious, playful, and need some outdoor space. They are prone to hair loss leading to baldness and often suffer from skin infections.
The breed got its name for its gait comparable to the colorful and graceful dancers in Bali. These felines spot a silky coat. They are vocal, playful, intelligent, and love to play fetch like the Cornish Rex.
- Siberian Cat
Originating in Russia, this fluffy, long-furred cat with a dense, water-resistant coat has much lower Fel D1 proteins than regular cats, making it allergy-friendly. They are sociable and make excellent companions. They are also intelligent, expert climbers and love to play with water. Siberians need outdoor space and regular grooming even though their fur doesn’t mat.
- Portuguese Water Dog
This dog is a native to Portugal. They helped push fish to nets and acted as messengers between land and water. In 2009, they came into the limelight when the then U.S First Family, The Obama’s, introduced their pet dog, Bo, to the world. Their coat ranges from tight curls to wavy and sheds seasonally. Portie’s are super-intelligent and eager to please. Get ready for daily grooming if you love this dog.
- Lagotto Romagno
The breed is native to Italy, where they retrieved waterfowl from marshlands. They have a short, rough-looking, curly double coat that’s waterproof. Lagotti is an easy-care pet. They crave interaction with people and physical stimulation through regular exercise. These doggies experience reduced shedding and need the occasional bath and brush. Their human-like hair needs regular trimming.
- American Hairless Terrier
According to the American Kennel Club, this breed is the only hairless breed native to the U.S. It comes in two varieties: hairless and coated. The hairless terrier is low-maintenance, requiring a quick brush once a week and protection from sunburn. They are smart, obedient, and trainable. They enjoy moderate exercise and cuddling with their owner.
- Chinese Crested
It’s not known where this breed originated. However, it’s thought that several generations of breeding of a hairless African dog by Chinese breeders resulted in the miniature version we have today. The Crested comes in two varieties: hairless and coated. The hairless variety has smooth, spotted pink skin with hair on the head, ankles, and tail. It also doesn’t have a dog-scent. They are attentive, lively, playful, and loyal to their human companions. They are prone to skin irritation and need protection from sunburn. Short walks and runs provide enough exercise for this small pooch.
- Bichon Frise
This adorable breed can trace its ancestry to the Canary Islands. They rarely shed, and when they do, it gets trapped in its white, velvety coat. This makes it ideal for potential pet-allergy owners. They are curious, confident, alert, and trainable. Bichons love to entertain and cope well with people and other dogs. Simple activities such as daily walks or playing outdoors suffice for exercise. The Bichon is high-maintenance. It needs brushing at least twice a week – preferably daily- to prevent matting. Their coats need trimming after every month.
- Bedlington Terrier
This breed has its roots in England. They spot a curly coat that’s a mixture of coarse and soft hair. This lamb look-alike is active, loves attention, alert, and protective of its owners. To keep this dog happy, take it out for long walks or a run or play with it. The hair needs brushing three times a week and trimming every two months.