Allergy-asthma, does that mean a life without dogs? Unfortunately it can , but it doesn't always have to be that way!






There is no dog breed that is truly non-allergenic (not allergy causing) because all dogs produce dander (shed skin cells), saliva, and urine. You can be allergic to the dog dander, dog saliva, or even dog urine. Urine is less of a problem since dogs usually potty outside. Pet hair itself is not an allergen, but it can collect dander, dust, and pollen. The word hypo-allergenic (less allergy causing) is typically used with skin care products that tend to be less irritating to sensitive skin.

People with pet allergies have supersensitive immune systems that react to harmless proteins (allergens) in the pet's dander, saliva or urine. These allergy-producing proteins can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and serious asthma attacks. This can happen within 5-30 minutes or occur much later as a delayed reaction. Based on pet allergy sufferers' testimonials, it is possible to be allergic to all dogs or only to certain breeds.

Some dog breeds supposedly produce less dander than others, and many people who are mildly allergic to dogs can tolerate some of these "low dander" dog breeds with proper environmental controls (see below). Sometimes people call these "low dander" dog breeds hypo-allergenic, low allergy, or allergy friendly.

Be careful though, as there are no guarantees! People's pet allergies vary greatly. Severe pet allergy sufferers may not tolerate any dogs at all, even with the best environmental controls.




If it is your child that is allergic to dogs, think twice before getting a dog. Is it really worth it to put your child through possibly severe allergic reactions just to have a dog? It will also be heartbreaking for your child to give up his or her beloved pet if it comes to that. And many times it does!

The ideal choice, of course, is to have no dog. If you decide to risk your health and get a dog anyway, your first step is to study the "low dander" dog breeds and find the ones that would fit in your family and lifestyle

Visit the breeder's home and tell the breeder about your allergies. Ask a lot of questions and stay as long as you can. Hug and kiss the dogs, rub your nose into their fur, and breath the air in the room where they live. Let the dogs lick your bare skin, especially on your neck (if you are brave) and inside your arms where the skin is more sensitive. You want to test your allergic reaction both to the dander and saliva. This will help you to evaluate your current allergic reaction to that particular breed.

Choose a breeder that only breeds that one breed of dog. You don't want to visit a house that has mixed allergens from several dog breeds. Visit only one breeder per day or even per week. Visiting several breeders on the same day could give you inconclusive results of your allergic reaction. For example, you could have a delayed reaction to your first visit when visiting the second breeder and not actually reacting to the dogs in the second house.

Maybe you can even borrow a dog of the breed you are considering for a few days or weeks. Remember, though, that sometimes allergies to animals can take two years or more to develop!





If you are interested in a rare dog breed with no breeders in your area, you can do a remote allergy trial with a t-shirt or pillow case. Of course, this test not as good as visiting a breeder in person, but it's a good starting point. If you do react to the dander in the shirt, then that breed is obviously not suitable for you. If you have no allergic reaction to the dog dander or saliva, you could investigate this breed further by doing an allergy trial in person.


One shirt method - After approval from the breeder, just mail your t-shirt to the breeder and have him/her "danderize" it. When you get the t-shirt back, wear it so that the "danderized" side is against your skin.


Two shirt method - Some breeders prefer the two shirt method. It's more of a "blind" allergy test. Send two different t-shirts to the breeder, at your cost both ways. The breeder will "danderize" one of the shirts by allowing his or her dogs to lie on it. Next, the breeder will put the shirts in separate plastic ziploc bags and mail them back to you. Without you knowing which shirt has dog dander on it, you will then wear these shirts on separate days to see if you will have any allergic reaction. After wearing both shirts, you can ask the breeder which shirt had dander on it and confirm your test results.

Pillow case method - You can also do a remote allergy trial using a pillow case instead of a t-shirt. Or, for a more specific allergy trial with dander and saliva, send the breeder two pillowcases. One will be "danderized" by using it as a dogs' sleeping blanket for a while. If you are very brave, the breeder can smear dogs' saliva with a q-tip on the second pillow case. You could also use tissue or a handkerchief instead of a pillow case and then put it on or near your pillow when sleeping. I do not know how reliable this dried saliva testing is, but this technique is used by some dog breeders.




The adults in our family are suffering of both allergy and asthma. Before we decided to try and get a Xolo, we visited a breeder to "try it out". The test went well, and we were all very excited.

Yes, occasionally we have to take some more medicin, but the joy and happiness that our dogs bring is worth so much more. (You don't need to have the dogs in the bed even if it ends up that way many times!)