Is there such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog and if so, does a Cavapoo fall into the allergy-friendly four-legged category?
Are Cavapoos hypoallergenic? On average Cavapoos do not shed much hair at all, so are considered to be hypoallergenic. However dog allergies are actually caused by the dander from your dogs shed skin cells and dried saliva and not the fur itself, therefore the quantity of allergens varies by Cavapoo.
Nowadays, most owners choose to keep their dogs indoors, and although our furry friends bring a lot of joy into our lives, they also bring a lot of mess – including a mass of hair!
And, with around 15% of the American population and 30% of the UK population suffering from allergies to pets, it is no wonder that we are looking for breeds that are better suited to allergy sufferers.
So, would a Cavapoo be a good choice for dog lovers who are allergy-prone?
Are Cavapoos good for allergy sufferers?
Originally breeds such as Airedale Terriers, Schnauzers and Poodles were considered to be hypoallergenic, meaning that they could be tolerated by people who were allergic to dogs. And, because the Cavapoo is a crossbreed between a Poodle and a King Charles Spaniel, it made sense to class this breed as allergy-friendly too.
What people do not realize, however, is that the allergic reaction caused by all dogs is provoked by dander that comes from flakes of dead skin and dried saliva and not the fur itself. Therefore, even the quantity of allergens produced by a dog will vary, even if they are exactly the same breed.
Our Cavapoo Rosie is an F1, which means that she has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mum and a Poodle dad, giving her a DNA that is 50/50. An F1b Cavapoo, however, is the result of an F1 Cavapoo mating with a Poodle. Therefore, its DNA is (25% Cavalier and 75% Poodle). F1b Cavapoos are often preferred by allergy sufferers as they are less likely to shed having inherited more of the Poodle coat. To find out more on the differences in generations, read our blog on the differences between F1, F1b and F1bb Cavapoos.
Cavapoos do have low-shedding coats and as the dander clings to the hair, it may be possible to enjoy the companionship of this breed of dog, even if you suffer from allergies.
But beware, as there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any breed (or crossbreed) can be classed as allergy-free, and it would therefore be irresponsible for a Cavapoo breeder to claim or put the word “hypoallergenic” in their ad.
What makes a dog hypoallergenic?
The major dog allergen, Can f 1, is responsible for allergies in most people who are allergic to dogs and suffer reactions to dog dander such as sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, rashes and even hives.
Those breeds that have traditionally been known as “Hypoallergenic” are thought to have a lower concentration of Can f 1, and therefore cause less (and depending on the individual sometimes none at all) symptoms in people with known dog allergies.
However, a study undertaken by the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy (2011) found that there were no significant differences between allergens in homes with “hypoallergenic” breeds and other breeds of dogs – putting allergy sufferers longing for canine companions into a bit of a dilemma. The methodology involved looking at dust samples from each dog breed and captured the number of dogs in the home, the dogs neutered status and the length of time the dog spent indoors daily.
There are other theories surrounding why certain breeds of dogs provoke more or less of a reaction in sensitive individuals. One of them is surrounding size. As big dogs produce more dander and saliva it makes sense that Labradors and Golden Retrievers can cause those with allergies to flare.
Sadly for some, these studies only conclude that for those who are particularly sensitive, a dog (even a Cavapoo), whether classed as hypoallergenic or not, will be completely out of the question.
How to prevent dog allergies
Another study (published in the Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology), not only backed up previous claims that there was no evidence for the classification of certain dog breeds as being “hypoallergenic” but went a step further to say that home environment also plays a part.
The JACI claimed that those homes with carpeting had higher levels of Can f 1 than those with hard flooring. So just what can we do to make the homes we share with our beloved pooches more comfortable for dog allergy suffers?
Thanks to modern technology and advances in medicine, you no longer have to suffer in silence. If you own a Cavapoo and want to help manage you or your family’s allergies, then why not try the following:
- Make sure you wash your dog’s bed regularly
- Keep up with your grooming routines
- Bathe your dog often
- Encourage your Cavapoo to sleep in a crate and not on your bed
- Dust with a damp cloth
- Use air filters
- Invest in a pet hair vacuum cleaner or one that has an inbuilt HEPA filter
Treatments for dog allergies vary, depending on the symptoms, but steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines and eye drops can all help sufferers.
When do Cavapoos lose their puppy coat?
I was grooming our 5-month-old Cavapoo the other day, and I noticed for the first time that our brush had a light dusting of fur entangled within it!
What I was not unaware of until recently, however, was that Cavapoos have a puppy coat that is entirely different from their adult coat. This is often why owners exclaim that their dogs have changed color with age.
A Cavapoos puppy coat is soft and fluffy, whilst their adult coat is noticeably coarser. At around 6 months of age they start to shed their fur, and whilst it is unlikely that you will see evidence of it spread around your house, you may notice it when grooming. In fact, as explained above, your dog’s DNA and generation will have a profound effect on the type of coat your Cavapoo has.
Do Cavapoos shed their adult coats?
Adult Cavapoos do shed their coats, but there are a number of factors that will determine by how much.
- Time of year. The most common reason that you may notice your Cavapoo losing more of its fur relates to the season. In the Spring, your dog will start getting rid of the excess fluff in preparation for summer.
- Diet. The famous saying “you are what you eat” applies to dogs too. Your Cavapoo will need at least 20-25% protein in their diet. The essential amino acids that your dog gets from protein helps to contribute to healthy hair and skin, as well as muscle development and tissue repair.
- Bathing. Cavapoos love to dig, run through muddy puddles and spend time gallivanting outdoors which can result in mucky paws! But washing your Cavapoo too often or using the wrong type of shampoo can cause skin conditions which can result in heavy coat shedding.
If you do suffer from a dog allergy, do not be fooled into purchasing a Cavapoo just because this breed has a reputation for being hypoallergenic. All dogs are made from different DNA and we would advise you to contact a recommended Cavapoo breeder beforehand. Spend time getting to know this wonderful breed and see if any of the dogs provoke a reaction.