Previous work by my lab and others suggested there was no such things as a hypoallergenic dog breed, but to look at this more systematically we tested the amount of Can f1 protein (major allergenic dog protein) in 8 dogs from 4 breeds a total of 6 times in a year (roughly every other month).
We tested Chihuahauas, Shiba Inus, and two breeds commonly thought to be hypoallergenic- Portuguese Water Dogs (the dog the Obama family chose) and Labradoodles.
Each dog had measureable Can f1 protein on every test. Since Can F1 is a secretory protein we chose a very simple method of saliva collection.
Samples were analyzed using the ELISA technique which is very sensitive and able to measure tiny amounts of protein.
Interestingly, over the course of the year nearly every dog had a spike in production—but it was at different times of the year. The breed that spiked the highest and most frequent were the Portuguese Water Dogs.
There was a small percentage of dogs (~1%) across all breeds which had consistently low levels.
So if you feel your dog causes you no problems you might be one of the lucky few who have dogs which produce small amounts of proteins. Over time though the levels in a house, or in a community (school, movie theatre, bus) will build up and will most likely cause more symptoms in more sensitive people.
Sometimes the symptoms of dog sensitivity seem to be like dust-mite sensitivity—you sneeze when you get a blast in the face, but otherwise, exposure sets you up for chronic sinus infections, ear infections, or asthma requiring daily medications.
Dust mite covers will not help; but having a calm dog may well. When research funding is available, we plan to look further into this possibility. Random salivary samples from >200 Leader Dogs (previously known as seeing eye dogs), which were almost all Labradors showed much lower Can f1 levels than household pets. That DOES NOT mean that Labradors are OK– we tested many Labrador pet dogs which showed the same pattern as all the other pet dogs tested. We are raising private funding through our sister website: allergictopets.com. There you can purchase an herbal formulation which is given to the pet, and which has demonstrated a marked decrease in Can f1 secretion in all dogs tested.
Thank you to all the participants of the study—you were all great, cooperative, and very serious in your approach to this work.
Thank you all for your continued support of future work.
Betty Petrak, M.D.