My fiance and I want to get a new dog. He is allergic to cats but hasn’t shown signs of a dog allergy. Should we be cautious about getting a particular breed, and what are the best breeds for people with allergies?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
Many people who are allergic to cats are not necessarily allergic to dogs, so it's possible that your fiance falls into that group. The culprits are usually proteins found in the animals' saliva, which dries, turns into dander and can become airborne. Since these proteins differ between cats and dogs, and cats lick themselves clean more often, cats tend to cause more allergic reactions in humans.
Dog fur, however, can also retain such dander and may itself be an allergen to certain people. It can additionally serve as an irritant trap -- like an un-vacuumed carpet -- holding pollen, mold spores, dust and more. No matter the breed of dog you choose, it's important to bathe it once a month to keep such problems in check. If you clean your new dog too much, that can deplete healthy oils from its skin and fur.
President Obama and his family faced a similar problem when trying to select a pet for their daughters, since Malia suffers from asthma. They chose Bo, the Portuguese water dog, because this breed produces little dander and doesn't shed often.
According to the American Kennel Club, the following dog breeds are also recommended for allergy-prone individuals who are still interested in owning a dog: Bedlington terrier, bichon frise, Chinese crested, Irish water spaniel, Kerry blue terrier, Maltese, poodle, schnauzer, soft-coated wheaten terrier and Xoloitzcuintli (aka Mexican Hairless Dog).