The golden retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds not just in America, but also in other parts of the world. Hence, one of the main questions in the minds of canine enthusiasts is: are golden retrievers hypoallergenic?
Although golden retrievers are wonderful pets, they are not hypoallergenic. They are among those dog breeds that shed very often. This is why they are not a suitable choice for allergy sufferers.
However, you must realize that no dog is completely hypoallergenic. Some dog breeds are less hypoallergenic as compared to others. Quite sadly, the playful, energetic and adorable golden retriever is not one of these breeds.
Dog Allergy Misconceptions
Several myths are associated with hypoallergenic dogs. One popular fallacy is that there is such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. This is not true. Although certain dog breeds cause fewer allergy symptoms as compared to others, this does not mean that they will not irritate allergy symptoms at all. They will cause allergies but to a less extent than the others.
The second misconception is that the dogs’ fur or hair is responsible for allergies. This again is not true. People are allergic to dander, not dog hair or fur. For those who don’t know, the tiny bits of skin that your dog sheds is called dander. It is this dander that is responsible for allergies, not fur or hair.
There is a reason why many people falsely believe that they are allergic to dog fur or hair, especially those breeds that shed frequently. This is because dogs that shed more fur or hair also happen to shed more dander. However, dander is not as visible as fur or hair, which leads many to believe that their allergies are due to excessive fur or hair shedding. The problem with dander is that these particles are airborne and can spread throughout your home, thereby causing or aggravating allergy symptoms.
You might be disappointed to learn that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog breed. However, some dog breeds are less problematic than others. They can, in fact, be suitable pets for those with allergy symptoms. Even if you are moderately or strongly allergic to dogs, you can still be the owner of less allergenic dog breeds and suffer from little to no irritation.
Smaller dog breeds happen to be more hypoallergenic since they do not shed as frequently as the larger ones. Poodles, Maltese Shih Tzu, Coton De Tulear and Bichon Frise are included in the list of the more hypoallergenic dog species.
But if you are very strongly allergic to dogs and worry that your allergy symptoms may flare up even if you are close to a small dog, then you can always go for hairless dog breeds. The Peruvian Inca Orchid, American Hairless Terrier, Xoloitzcuintli and Chinese crested are loyal and well-behaved hairless dog breeds.
Unfortunately, the most popular dog breeds like golden retrievers are not hypoallergenic. This also includes other popular varieties like bulldogs, German shepherds and labrador retrievers. But if you are mildly allergic to dogs, then you will be glad to know that you can still own one of these dog breeds without suffering from allergic symptoms each day.
There are certain steps that you can take to reduce the incidence of allergies from golden retrievers and other dog breeds.
How to Reduce Dog Allergies
Of course, the most obvious way to reduce dog allergies is to own a more hypoallergenic dog breed. Besides this, you can take several other steps to lower your irritation to dogs.
You can install high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) vent filters and air purifiers to reduce the concentration of airborne allergens. Not only will this help reduce the amount of dander floating in the air, it will also minimize other allergens as well, thereby making the air safer to breathe.
You should also try to keep your pet out of your room and other areas to prevent the buildup of dander. This will reduce the chances of irritation.
You should also bathe your dog once a week to ensure that its coat contains a low level of dander. This hygiene practice will help reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
One of the best ways to reduce the incidence of allergic symptoms is to have no carpets at your home. Carpets can accumulate dander, dust and other allergenic particles, which can exacerbate your allergy symptoms. In case you already have a carpet, then you should vacuum it regularly and shampoo it on fixed intervals to prevent the buildup of allergens.
Another trick is to keep the dog out of the house for a few hours each day in order to reduce the amount of dander that will accumulate in your home.
You can follow these steps to mitigate your allergy symptoms if you are sure that you want to own a golden retriever and you have a mild dog allergy. But if you are strongly allergic to dogs, then you should probably own other hypoallergenic and equally lovable breeds without aggravating your allergy symptoms.
Determine Your Level of Allergy
The only way to be certain that you will not suffer from severe allergy is to spend some time with your dog and see its effect on your allergy condition.
While searching for the most suitable hypoallergenic canine pet, you should be completely honest with your assessment. Instead of relying on wishful thinking, you should be more objective in your approach and try spending time with a golden retriever to understand your reaction to this breed.
If the allergy symptoms prove too much, it will be heartbreaking for you to give up your pet. It will be even more distressing for your hapless canine that will have no idea why it is being abandoned.
It is quite sad that many dogs are brought home enthusiastically only to be returned to pet shelters when it is found that they are allergenic. So rather than thinking about what you want, you should prioritize the welfare of your canine first.
Other Hypoallergenic Dogs
As explained above, there are certain dog breeds that are more hypoallergenic than others. Besides small dogs and canines with no hair, the following types of dogs may also produce fewer allergy symptoms:
- dogs with very short hair
- dogs with hair similar to humans
- dogs who shed infrequently
One crucial reason why small dogs are more hypoallergenic is that they have less skin and hair to shed compared to larger dog breeds. This implies that the accumulation of dander in your home will be less with a smaller dog, which is what leads to allergies and irritation. These dogs are, therefore, a better option for those who are allergic to dogs.
You might want to consider owning a toy breed since not only are they the smallest breed that you will find, they are also very docile and exotic.
For the same reasons mentioned above, dogs with very short hair are also more suitable candidates. That’s because they will shed less hair and dander, which will lead to less irritation. Some of the finest breeds in this category include short haired chihuahuas, Basenjis, greyhounds, boxers, Mexican hairless and whippets.
You must also keep in mind that at times, these breeds may pose a higher allergy risk since the dandruff is more accessible due to their short hair. Again, the only way to be certain that you will not suffer from allergies to these species is to spend time with them and see how you react.
Another variety of dog breeds that will interest you is that with human-like hair. These dogs have silky hair that tends to shed infrequently. As a result, they also produce less dander. Breeds with such hair include Skye terriers, silky terriers, Havanese, bichon Frise, Maltese and Yorkshire terriers. Crossbreeds of these canines may also lead shed minimally, for instance, the Cavachon, which is a bichon frise and cavalier King Charles spaniel mix.
Last, in this list of hypoallergenic dogs are those with nonshedding hair. You might think that you may not suffer any allergies from these breeds but the fact is that some people cannot tolerate these dogs. Canines that do not shed release less allergen in the air as long as their coat is kept clipped and clean. If not, they will accumulate a lot of dander, which can cause severe allergies.
You might also want to keep in mind that you can be more allergic to either puppies or adults. People are often less allergic to golden retriever puppies, so beware.
Our Final Thoughts
Golden retrievers are, unfortunately, not hypoallergenic. But, you can make use of the steps outlined above to reduce the severity of your symptoms or even select more hypoallergenic dog breeds if that is necessary.