Animal Science Blog

Animal Science

The Animal Science Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about scientific and technological topics related to pets, livestock, and other animals. See how cutting-edge advances help - or hinder - species around the world.

Previous in Blog: Your Pet – Forever – for $100,000   Next in Blog: Midwest Floods Shrink the Food Supply

Allergy-Free Pets? Almost!

Posted June 18, 2008 12:01 AM by SavvyExacta

When you hear the term "hypoallergenic pet", do you picture a breed created in a lab or cleanroom? Think again. These breeds of dogs and cats are usually just regular breeds that are more suitable for owners who suffer from allergies.

Why are hypoallergenic pets so great? They shed less hair and produce less dander than the average animal. That's good news for the 10% of the U.S. population with animal allergies, many of whom would still like to enjoy having a pet.

Hypoallergenic Dogs

The list of hypoallergenic dog breeds is fairly long. I wasn't surprised to see the American hairless terrier there (what's there to be allergic to?), but what about the wiry Airedale terrier or the long and silky Yorkshire terrier? What makes these pets easier to breathe around than cocker spaniels or Irish setters?

Apparently, it's not just a pet's fur that causes an allergic reaction. The problem is caused mainly by dander (loose skin cells), but saliva is also an offender. Hypoallergenic pets still produce a small amount of dander; however, they cause fewer people to experience allergy symptoms. Some hypoallergenic dogs actually produce fewer dander allergens because they shed skin cells less often. For example, the Airedale sheds its skin cells every 21 days as opposed to the Irish setter, which sheds every three to four days.

These days, it's becoming more common to hear about mixed breeds like the "labradoodle" or "maltipoo". Mixed breeds like these, especially when they contain poodle DNA, have the ability to be hypoallergenic. But the possibility becomes more likely after the third generation of breeding.

Hypoallergenic Cats

As with dogs, there is a list of cat breeds that are known to be less offensive to allergy sufferers. As many cats tend to be mixed breeds or of unknown origin, their level on the hypoallergenic scale can be hard to judge.

Lifestyle Pets, a self-described "unique company" that works "in the various disciplines of animal life sciences", has created three breeds of hypoallergenic cats that are billed as "the only scientifically-proven cats that help those individuals with feline allergies". These cats are called the ALLERCA GD, CHAKAN GD, and ASHERA GD. Science will cost you – anywhere from $5,950 for the "standard" cat to $31,000 for the one that resembles a leopard.

Think you could make big bucks by buying a pair for breeding and selling their offspring? Think again. Lifestyle Pets has a mandatory spay/neuter policy before delivering kittens to customers. This company really has thought of everything. Lifestyle Pets also offers hypoallergenic dogs starting at $15,000 and family protection dogs (trained German Shepherds) from $85,000 to $120,000. These canine protectors are not hypoallergenic (unfortunately) but maybe you could ditch the surveillance system!



Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
United States - Member - Popular Science - Evolution - Aren't we still evolving?

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 194

Re: Allergy-Free Pets? Almost!

06/19/2008 12:58 PM

When I first heard of the LifeStyle Pets cats a while back I thought that they had been genetically engineered, but upon closer reading it turns out that they're just selectively bred. Like you point out certain cat breeds tend to be more hypoallergenic than others and in some cases this is related to the saliva. Apparently there is a protein in the saliva which is what most people are allergic to. When the cats groom themselves they transfer the saliva to their fur and then eventually shed that fur. LifeStyle pets determined what protein this is and selectively bred cats to not have the gene that produces this allergen. Cats without this gene do occur naturally without having to pay for them, but it's hit or miss!


Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 6
In reply to #1

Re: Allergy-Free Pets? Almost!

06/07/2012 7:16 AM

Hello friend,

Anybody has any Idea, How Test to my Dog and knows about being Food Allergies or not. And what type of pet food ingredients is that tend to be problematic for my dog. I am also looking for pet meds and vitamins pills to my dog.

Reply to Blog Entry 2 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: Your Pet – Forever – for $100,000   Next in Blog: Midwest Floods Shrink the Food Supply