Study: No such thing as hypoallergenic dogs

Unicorns, jackalopes and hypoallergenic dogs are all in the same category of mythical creatures, according to a new study.

Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital looked at whether dog breeds purported to be hypoallergenic (ie produce less dander and saliva and shed less fur) corresponded with lower dog allergen levels in the home, compared to homes with nonhypoallergenic dogs.

"We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen," said Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Fords Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study, in a Henry Ford Health System news release.

In the study, dust samples were collected from 173 homes with one dog and analyzed for the dog allergen Can f 1. Sixty dog breeds were involved in the study, 11 of which are considered hypoallergenic dogs, according to web-based claims the study used. Of the 173 homes, 163 (94.2%) had detectable levels of Can f 1, the study found.

"There was no evidence for differential shedding of allergen by dogs grouped as hypoallergenic," the researchers concluded. "Clinicians should advise patients that they cannot rely on breeds deemed to be ‘hypoallergenic’ to in fact disperse less allergen in their environment."

The full text of the study, "Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs," is available online from the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.

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