The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is one of the most lovable breeds around. They are sweet, easy to care for, playful, affectionate, and adorable. Besides these obvious reasons, many would-be owners are bringing home Yorkies due to their claimed hypoallergenic qualities. But is this true? Are Yorkies truly hypoallergenic?
The truth is that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but there are a few breeds that are much easier for allergy sufferers to have at home, and Yorkies are one of them. It is estimated that 10-20% of the population suffers from allergic reactions to dogs and cats — some estimates are as high as 30% — and that number is growing. If you are one of these people, a Yorkie may be the right breed for you.
In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what it means for a dog to be hypoallergenic, what makes Yorkies great for owners with allergies, and how you can minimize allergic reactions to pets. Let’s get started!
What makes us allergic to dogs?
Dog allergies are a complicated issue, and no breed of dog is truly hypoallergenic. Dogs secrete proteins — specifically, can f1 and can f2 — that end up in their saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin), and certain people have a sensitivity to this usually harmless protein. This means that contrary to popular belief, it is not the dog’s fur that they are allergic to, but rather their dander, urine, and saliva. This means that both short-haired and long-haired breeds can cause an allergic reaction, as opposed to the popularly held belief that long-haired dogs are the problem.
It gets complicated, though, as different breeds have differing amounts of dander and different coats, and this makes some allergy sufferers more allergic to some breeds than others. In fact, two dogs of the same breed may even give off different amounts of dander, making the whole situation very confusing! This dander can stay airborne for long periods of time and will inevitably end up on carpet, furniture, and clothing.
Typically, people with dog allergies have sensitive immune systems, and their bodies overreact to this dander, causing sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose, all of which are the body’s attempt to rid itself of this allergen.
Are Yorkies hypoallergenic?
While there is no guarantee that Yorkies will not cause a reaction in allergy sufferers, they are far less likely to. Yorkies have fine, human-like hair as opposed to fur, so they produce far less dander — and thus, potential allergens — than other dog breeds. This also means that they shed very little, further reducing the chance of allergens. Yorkies are also small animals and have less hair than other dogs. They don’t have an undercoat either, reducing shedding and therefore, reducing dander.
While drool and saliva can also cause allergic reactions, this is not really something to worry about, as it is only when these proteins dry out and become airborne that they can cause an issue. Try washing your dog’s toys regularly to prevent a build-up of saliva, and don’t let them lick you (as difficult as that may be!)
All these reasons are why many people consider Yorkies to be hypoallergenic or at least, far less likely to cause allergies than other breeds.
How to minimize allergic reactions
While you are far less likely to suffer from allergy symptoms when living with a Yorkie, since they are not truly hypoallergenic, there is still a possibility that they’ll cause reactions in allergy sufferers. This is why we highly recommend spending time with a Yorkie before bringing one home. Once you do decide to bring home a puppy, there are ways that you can minimize any reactions that you may have:
While no dogs are truly 100% hypoallergenic, Yorkies are about as close as it gets, making them an ideal pet if you are an allergy sufferer. They have human-like hair as opposed to fur, are small and shed little, and are not prone to drooling. All these reasons make them an ideal choice for owners who suffer from allergies!
Featured Image Credit: Josch13, Pixabay