“The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the bonds of this earth will ever be” – Konrad Lorenz
With thirty thousand years of shared history, it’s no wonder that humans and canines became best friends. It’s a codependent relationship that has stood the test of time and will, in all likelihood, last for the rest of eternity.
But we’re not all fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the bond that has outlasted civilization and predates the written word, as the age-old problem of allergies can prevent even the most ardent would-be dog owner from spending any time in the company of a canine without breaking out in hives and collapsing in a catastrophic sneezing fit.
Or at least, that’s the way things used to be before a select group of breeders decided to step in and take charge in an attempt to minimize the chances of allergies determining whether or not someone could, or couldn’t own a dog.
And one of the most easily recognized designer breeds to have emerged from the ongoing quest to wipe out dog allergies once and for all, was the Schnoodle.
What Is A Schnoodle?
As its name suggests, a Schnoodle is a cross between a Poodle and a Schnauzer and was initially bred in an attempt to create a hypoallergenic best friend for those poor unfortunate souls plagued by allergies.
Although the Schnoodle, like all designer dogs, isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club, it does benefit from the inherent genetics of both of its ancestors, who are recognized by the Club as being low shedding breeds.
And it’s because of its origin, and despite its lack of recognition, the Schnoodle has become a favorite breed with dog-loving allergy sufferers everywhere.
Wait a minute… what does hypoallergenic mean?
Even though it sounds, and technically is, incredibly scientific, the world hypoallergenic was first used by the cosmetics industry in the aftermath of the Second World War.
It was, and is, a catch-all term that’s used to describe cosmetic products that are designed to be safe for everyone to use without having to worry that they’ll bring you out in blotches or cause any undue skin or respiratory problems or irritation.
The term was later co-opted and used by any brand looking to promote and push the fact that their latest products had been tested to distraction and were, as a result, safe to use. Finally this term was introduced to the pet breeding world to describe cats and dogs that were specifically bred not to shed their fur, or to shed such a low amount that it wouldn’t trigger any form of an allergic reaction.
What is a hypoallergenic dog?
Before you read any further, it would probably be prudent of us to point out that even though low-shedding breeds can reduce (and in some mild sufferers eliminate) the symptoms of dog allergies, and despite the best attempts of a legion of dog breeders, there is in fact no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.
It’s scientifically (and ethically), for the time being at least, impossible to create an allergy-free dog. But with a little breed specific know-how, and an understanding of what it is that causes the reaction, it is possible to reduce the chances of being bothered by said symptoms while in the company of a dog, like a Schnoodle, that’s bred to be hypoallergenic.
Traditionally, a hypoallergenic dog like a Schnoodle is one that’s been bred to be low-shedding, and because the dog doesn’t lose a lot of fur, or rid itself of a lot of hair, it reduces the amount of dander that a dog creates.
Dander? What’s that?
Dander is the tiny specs and flecks of dead skin that are attached to the fur and hair that animals shed, and ninety-nine times out a hundred is the problematic cause of an allergic reaction to an animal.
While it is possible to be allergic to animal fur, if someone is allergic to an animal, it’s far more likely that they’re actually allergic to the dander rather than the fur.
But the answer to both allergies is the same. Reduce the amount of fur that an animal sheds, and you’ll reduce the amount of dander that it produces.
Less fur means less dander and less dander means that there’s less chance of an animal allergy flaring up!
So does that mean that hypoallergenic dogs Like Schnoodles are safe for allergy sufferers?
If only life was that simple and straightforward. While hypoallergenic dogs (like Schnoodles) can be safe for anyone with a mild fur allergy, it isn’t just fur and hair that can trigger allergic reactions.
It’s also possible to be allergic to canine urine and feces, and the smallest amounts trapped in or by their fur can cause an allergic reaction.
The easiest way to determine the cause of an allergy is to be tested by a dermatologist or allergy specialist in order to discover the root cause of a dog allergy before deciding to shop for or adopt a Schnoodle. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and know the truth before giving a dog a new home.
Looking after a Schnoodle
There is an element of risk with Schnoodles, that they won’t actually inherit the low-shedding genes that their parents possess and that they might shed just like any other dog does.
That’s why it’s advisable to spend some time with the dog before taking it home, as a couple of hours in its company will be more than enough time to let you know whether or not it takes after its parents.
Even if a Schnoodle is hypoallergenic and low-shedding, which the vast majority are, just like all dogs, they still need to be regularly groomed and brushed in order to ensure that they remain healthy and in good physical condition.
The good news is that a well-groomed Schnoodle will be free of the loose fur and dander that could cause an allergic reaction.
The bad news is that if the person grooming the Schnoodle is allergic to dog fur and dander, they’ll need to take the appropriate measures to protect themselves before they start brushing their dog, which in most cases means wearing either a mask or gloves or both to protect themselves while grooming. But in these COVID times, we are well used to covering up and washing constantly.
And so finally… is a Schnoodle hypoallergenic?
The short answer is yes, and the longer answer is maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, it all depends on the dog.
While the chances are that it’s going to be low-shedding and follow in its parents’ genetic footsteps, the rare possibility that it won’t does exist, and the only way to know for sure is by doing what man has done for the last thirty thousand years.
Spending some time with your new best friend.