Is it true that hypoallergenic pets don't cause allergy symptoms?

Lawrence T. Chiaramonte, MD
Allergy & Immunology
The idea that a breed can be "hypoallergenic" received a great deal of publicity when then President-elect Barack Obama listed his daughter Malia's allergies as one criterion the family would consider in choosing the White House dog. The family eventually settled on a Portuguese water dog, a breed that has a reputation for being hypoallergenic, primarily because they do not shed. The same is true for poodles.

However, cats and dogs that are advertised as "hypoallergenic" are probably a myth since the allergens of all mammals of the same species are similar. The pet's type of hair, fur length, or sex does not make it more or less allergenic. If genome researchers ever succeed in breeding a truly non-allergenic cat, they will surely make a fortune.
Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide

More About this Book

Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide

Asthma and allergies are at epidemic proportions. It doesn't have to be that way. Two experienced pediatric allergists tell everything a conscientious parent needs to know about these conditions,...

Continue Learning about Respiratory Allergies

Clean Your Fan to Prevent Allergies
Clean Your Fan to Prevent Allergies
Katy Perry (106,000,000+) and Justin Beiber (104,000,000) have the most Twitter fans, more even than President Obama. But when a recent site-cleaning ...
Read More
How can I lessen allergic reactions to pets?
Dr. Tanya R. Altmann, MDDr. Tanya R. Altmann, MD
If a child is allergic to a pet, the recommendation is usually to get rid of the pet. However, in th...
More Answers
What causes respiratory allergies?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Sometimes, antibodies from the immune system identify a particular substance, or allergen, as danger...
More Answers
How can I prevent a pet allergy in my child?
Dr. Paul M. Ehrlich, MDDr. Paul M. Ehrlich, MD
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said that infants raised in homes with two ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.