According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as 3 in every 10 people in America have allergic reactions to dogs and cats. However, with more and more people looking to have a furry friend, it was inevitable that dog breeders would try to create an allergy-free dog breed. Such breeds are what are commonly referred to as hypoallergenic.
So, is the Labradoodle a hypoallergenic dog breed? No, it is not. In fact, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog breed. The term “hypoallergenic” was coined in the 1950s by the cosmetic industry to mean that a product was less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
However, there is still the possibility that they could trigger allergy symptoms. The defining characteristic of hypoallergenic dog breeds is that they shed much less than other breeds.
The Labradoodle was designed to be an allergy-friendly dog. However, due to the unpredictable nature of crossbreeding, there is no guarantee that your Labradoodle will be hypoallergenic—Additionally, the type of pet allergy you have also matters.
To help you gain more clarity on this issue, here is everything you need to know about Labradoodles and allergies.
Origins of the Labradoodle
The Labradoodle is an Australian designer breed that results from crossing a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle.
This Labradoodle was created with the needs of people with pet allergies in mind. As you may be well aware, Labradors are arguably the best service dog out there, thanks to their high intelligence and intense loyalty. The issue with Labs, however, is that they are incredibly heavy shedders. As such, this beautiful service dog is of no use to people with pet allergies.
In a bid to make the Labrador more allergy-friendly, Australia’s Royal Guide Dogs Association came with a brilliant idea; breeding Labradors with one of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds on the planet, the devastatingly cute Poodle. The Poodle sheds once every 3-4 weeks, as opposed to most breeds that shed almost every other day.
The result was an intelligent, sociable, and more allergy-friendly hybrid. Nonetheless, as mentioned, allergy-friendliness levels vary significantly among Labradoodles depending on the genes they inherit. This is because even pups from the same litter can differ considerably in the type of coat they sport, with some inheriting that of the Labrador and others of the Poodle.
How to Choose an Allergy-Friendly Labradoodle
Allergy-friendly Labradoodles are those whose coat takes after that of their Poodle parent. Fortunately, you can tell the more allergy-friendly ones based on their generation. In fact, Labradoodles can be classified according to generations. These include:
F1 Labradoodle (1st Generation)
This is a first-generation Labradoodle, and it is the result of crossing a Labrador with a Poodle. As such, F1 Labradoodle pups can sport two different coats, depending on which parent they take after the most. The first is a fleece coat with a soft feel, while the other is a flat coat with a wiry feel.
As such, both coats have a different rate of shedding. Despite their differences, none of either coat has been found to be allergy-friendly. Therefore, when looking for a Labradoodle, first ask whether it is an F1. If so, avoid it.
- You might also be interested in: 100+ Labradoodle Names: Ideas for Curly & Cute Dogs
F1B Labradoodle (2nd Generation)
An F1B Labradoodle results from breeding a first-generation Labradoodle with a Poodle. Doing this allows you to increase the Labradoodle’s allergy-friendliness since you will have increased the chances of the offspring inheriting a Poodle coat by 75%. Therefore, F1B Labradoodles are the best option for people who are severely allergic to pet dander.
Nonetheless, you need to confirm that your F1B Labradoodle was bred in this way, as some breeders will mate two first-generation Labradoodles and offer their offspring as 2nd generation Labradoodles.
F2 Labradoodle (3rd Generation)
The F2 Labradoodle results from either breeding two 2nd generation Labradoodles or a 2nd generation Labradoodle with a Poodle. Due to how dominant the Poodle’s genes are in this cross, 3rd generation Labradoodles are arguably the most allergy-friendly of them all. However, true 3rd generation Labradoodles tend to be extremely rare.
Living with a Labradoodle
Even the most allergy-friendly Labradoodle sheds more frequently than the Poodle does. As such, there is still a chance that you could suffer allergic reactions from your pet’s occasional dander.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of dander from both your pet, as well as your home. These include:
1. Regular Grooming
Regular grooming is one of the best ways of making your Labradoodle more hypoallergenic. It gets rid of dander, dust, and pollen, which are the main causes of the allergic reactions that some people have to pet hair.
What’s more, grooming also allows you to reduce the amount of shedding, as well-groomed pups do not leave as much hair and dander around.
Therefore, if possible, consider giving your Labradoodle a light brushing every day while brushing them thoroughly at least twice a week. Baths are also recommended since they allow you to clean your pup’s skin properly to remove any dander or old skin cells. Consider bathing your animal using anti-allergenic shampoo at least once a month.
However, since grooming will expose you to potential allergens, it would be a good idea to delegate that task to someone who does not suffer from pet allergies.
2. Install an Air Filter
Installing a HEPA filter in your home is an effective way of eliminating dirt, dust, and dander from the air. As such, even if your pet sheds, you will be less likely to have an allergic reaction since the filter will have removed much of the dander.
3. Consider Non-Carpeted Flooring
Carpets are an enemy when it comes to managing pet allergies because they easily trap hair and dander. Moreover, getting rid of stuck dander is almost impossible. Hardwood flooring is a great option to consider. This floor does not trap dander and is easy to clean. All you have to do is sweep or wipe the hair away.
4. Cover the Couch with a Blanket
The couch is another area that is incredibly hard to keep dander-free. Therefore, cover your pup’s favorite couch with a specific blanket so that they do not shed on your couch. Make sure to wash that blanket regularly to prevent dander buildup.
5. Restrict Access to Your Bedroom
Considering that you spend a third of your life in the bedroom, it is crucial to make that environment as allergen-free as possible. This will include restricting your pooch access to your bedroom.
Compared to breeds that are marketed as hypoallergenic, such as the Poodle, the Labradoodle is not in that category due to its Labrador heritage. However, Labradoodles do not shed much, making them an allergy-friendly breed. But make sure that you get either a second or third-generation pup.
Featured Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock
- Origins of the Labradoodle
- How to Choose an Allergy-Friendly Labradoodle
- Living with a Labradoodle