A true dog lover will put up with some sneezing and itching to be with a canine pal, but choosing the right canine pal can make things easier. No dog is absolutely hypoallergenic, but some dog breeds or types should not even be on an allergy sufferer's list of potential partners.
Dogs That Drool
Drooling is caused by the shape of a dog's mouth and is common in some breeds and types because the lips on the sides of the mouth are loose and fleshy. They do not form a seal as the lips in humans and other breeds of dogs.This is said to make for a "soft" mouth in a hunting dog, a gentle grip that does not damage retrieved game. It is also thought to help gather in scent particles and present them to the noses of tracking dogs. Slobbering or, to put it more delicately, a "wet mouth," can provoke allergy symptoms in people sensitive to proteins in the dog's saliva.
Some known heavy droolers are boxers, great danes, bassets and bloodhounds, bulldogs and French bulldogs, Saint Bernards. Combinations of these breeds may also be prone to drooling.
High Dander Dogs
Some dogs shed a lot -- not fur, but skin -- and the microscopic dead skin cells floating around in the home environment are potential allergens. Normal skin cell turnover in dogs is about three weeks, but can be shortened to three to four days by a skin condition called seborrhea. This condition can be genetic, but it can also be caused by such things as inadequate nutrition, parasites, hormone imbalance or environmental factors. Larger dogs will naturally produce a greater quantity of skin flakes than smaller dogs. Dogs used for hunting, especially those who go into the water, will have a higher skin cell turnover because of the drying effects of weather and immersion. Short-haired dogs will release more dander than long-haired or double-coated dogs because in long-haired dogs the cells are captured by the longer or thicker coat while the short fur in short-haired dogs does not work the same way.
Some high-dander dogs are German shepherd dogs, Doberman pinschers, basset hounds, hunting spaniels, such as the cocker and the springer spaniels and short-haired dachshunds.
Dogs With Allergies
Dogs have allergies, too, and these can trigger human allergic responses. Airborne or dietary allergies in dogs frequently manifest in skin reactions, such as rashes, patchy hair loss called "hot spots" and yeast or bacterial infections in ears and skin folds causing inflammation and unpleasant smells.
The most allergy-prone breeds include the Pekingese, shih tzu, Lhasa apso, American Staffordshire bull terrier, German shepherd dogs and poodles. Combinations of these breeds may also be troublesome.
Dogs with long, floppy ears, such as poodles and basset hounds, are more prone to yeasty ear infections which produces a heavy odor because of the anaerobic nature of their anatomy. There is no way for air and light to circulate within the ear as in dogs with erect or button ears, providing a perfect environment for candida and bacteria.
Puppies are brand new dogs and therefore don't have any old skin cells to shed, so they may not trigger dander allergy for several weeks. On the other hand, they do have saliva and just love to kiss, and this can be a problem for the sensitive. So while you may be able to tolerate a puppy of any breed, keep in mind that once the puppy grows up, you may have to deal with allergies.
- black dog image by Stefan Andronache from Fotolia.com