Chapter 1
How To Know If A Dog Is A Good Choice Of A Pet

Myths About Shedding and Allergies

Some breeders or breed clubs claim that their breeds don't shed, are hypoallergenic, or only shed twice a year. In most cases, these 'facts' range from myth to misinformation. Only hairless breeds are almost entirely free from shedding. Wire-haired breeds and breeds with coats that are tightly intertwined, like a Poodle or Bichon Frise generally shed lightly, but people with shedding-related dog allergies may have trouble with even this level of shedding. Breeds without an undercoat are also usually better tolerated by those who are allergic to dog dander. Most other dogs shed an average amount, or shed heavily. In climate-controlled environments, which companion dogs typically enjoy, many if not most dogs shed to varying degrees throughout the year. Typically the only dogs that shed in fall and spring are dogs that live outdoors, and whose coats must accommodate seasonal changes in temperature. Indoor dogs may shed more heavily at these times of year, but generally shed somewhat all year long. Shedding and allergies can be a serious concern for a family. Only a few breeds are tolerable to people with severe dog allergies. When combined with other traits you also require, you may find that you're limited to only one or two breeds if you want to bring a dog into a home with someone who suffers from allergies. The so-called "hypoallergenic" dogs lose very little fur compared to other dogs, and typically have dander that allergy sufferers better tolerate. Allergy sufferers should spend some time with any dog being considered to find out if they have an adverse reaction to the animal. Hypoallergenic only refers to a dog that sheds less dander, or whose dander is generally well tolerated by those who are allergic to dogs. People who are allergic to something other than dog hair, skin, or dander, such as a dog's saliva, will find they receive no benefit from a supposedly hypoallergenic dog. Dog allergy sufferers who react to these other allergens may find that they cannot live with any dog - even one that is supposed to be hypoallergenic. From the perspective of cleanliness, shedding can leave fur throughout your home. This is especially true of the dogs that lose a great deal of fur either continuously or during periods of heavy seasonal shedding. If you don't want to devote time vacuuming dog fur or don't want to live in a home with an occasional wisp of fur on the furniture and your clothes, you should consider a low-shedding breed. But keep in mind many of these dogs require the additional expense of professional grooming. Finally, many people have the misconception that long-hair dogs shed more than short-hair dogs. This is without question inaccurate. There is little if any connection between the length of a dog's coat and the amount they shed. What is true is when a long-hair dog loses a hair there is more of that single hair to find than when a short-hair dog loses a hair.