For dog lovers with dog allergies, even being in the same room as a pup can cause sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses, and their skin to break out in hives.
This reaction is why hypoallergenic dogs are so in demand; it allows people who love dogs have them without getting sick. One of the breeds commonly listed as hypoallergenic is the Samoyed, a medium-sized dog with a dense white coat.
However, while they are commonly grouped in as a dog suited for pet allergy sufferers (similarly to the poodle), experts dispute Samoyeds' status as hypoallergenic. In fact, only hairless animals can be completely hypoallergenic.
What Causes Allergies to Dogs?
When people are allergic to dogs, they are usually allergic to the dander (flakes of dead skin), drool, or oil the dog produces, which is released into the air as they move but especially as a dog sheds. Most breeds produce a good amount of dander, which stimulates allergic reactions.
Some dogs, such as Samoyeds, produce less dander than others.
However, that does not mean that Samoyed dogs are necessarily hypoallergenic. While these hypoallergenic dog breeds produce less dander, they still produce some. For people who are sensitive to dander, they will still have an allergic reaction.
In addition, the thick, long double-coats (which include a top coat and an undercoat) of the Samoyed breed can cause allergies in other ways. Samoyed dogs shed their outer coat intensely twice a year, causing tumbleweeds of hair to build up. The hair fibers in the air can induce allergies. The thick coat can also collect dust and other allergens that stimulate allergic reactions.
Verdict: Are Samoyeds Hypoallergenic?
While daily brushing, grooming, and bathing a Samoyed can help keep them clean, it's impossible to eliminate all of the dander or dust from their coats. Therefore, while some people allergic to dogs will be comfortable around Samoyeds, more sensitive individuals will still find their allergies stirred up.
In fact, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog; there are only dogs that cause less of a reaction. For some people, there are no breeds that would work in their home without making them feel ill. If you have allergies and are considering purchasing or adopting a particular kind of dog, make sure you spend plenty of time with the breed and the particular animal so you get an idea of how it triggers an allergic reaction.
You may find that traditionally hypoallergenic dogs, such as Samoyeds, are anything but.
If you are interested in a Samoyed puppy, visit the Samoyed Club of America, recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), to find responsible breeders near you.
Check with a reputable breeder about possible health problems when inquiring about the Samoyed breed. According to the AKC,
"Samoyeds are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye and cardiac disorders."
Samoyeds are prone to a long list of serious eye problems including progressive retinal atrophy.
Do you have a hypoallergenic best friend? Tell us on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!
All photos by Kat Tretina. This post was originally published on February 26, 2019.