The Hypoallergenic Dog Myth

When the Obamas recently announced they were searching for a dog to have in the White House, they noted that one of the criteria was that it would need to be hypoallergenic, since Malia is allergic to dogs. The media quickly raised the possibility of a White House poodle, since poodles are supposedly a hypoallergenic breed.

Skeptics have quickly pointed out that the idea of a hypoallergenic dog breed is a myth. Individuals dogs may produce less of the protein that causes the allergic reaction (and this protein can be found in the dander, urine, saliva, and fur of dogs). However, there is no dog breed as a whole that produces less of the protein. And if someone is very allergic to dogs, they're going to react to all dogs.

So, assuming that Malia's allergies are relatively mild and manageable, instead of focusing on certain breeds, the Obamas should test individual dogs for their compatibility with Malia. However, it is true they should avoid long-haired dogs because such dogs trap more allergens in their fur, in the same way that a shag carpet traps more allergens than a hardwood floor.

Links: Yahoo! News video, How Stuff Works. (Thanks, Big Gary!)

Animals Health/Medicine

Posted on Mon Nov 17, 2008


Or, of course, they could get fish, the world's best pet.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  11:18 AM
...or the sea scorpion model
Posted by darren  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  12:12 PM
Perhaps a dogfish, Big Gary?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  12:33 PM
Yes, a dogfish!

It's kind of a big fish for an aquarium, but hey, the White House has a swimming pool.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  12:41 PM
a catfish might have less dander...
Posted by darren  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  01:33 PM
I guess also it depends if people are allergic to the FUR/DANDER or the SALIVA. My sister, for instance, is allergic to cat saliva and devellops a rash when a cat scratches or licks her, but she can still own cats because the dander doesn't bother her. With dogs its much more difficult to avoid their saliva as they are more likely to nuzzle and lick on a regular basis. I assume Obama's daughter is allergic to the dander?
Posted by Eolra  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  10:17 PM
Finally! No one ever believes me when I say I'm allergic to hypoallergenic dogs. As Eolra says, I'm allergic to the saliva. One lick from a little poodle and I break out in hives. I'm actually less allergic to big/long haired dogs. No idea why, but with a little terrier I'll be sneezing within a minute, but with a big dog it could take over an hour.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Nov 19, 2008  at  01:00 PM
Bald dog maybe?
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  on  Thu Nov 20, 2008  at  12:01 PM
screw the cats and dogs....I only lick toads
Posted by bama  on  Fri Nov 21, 2008  at  09:43 AM
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