Achoo! You love dogs, perhaps cats too, but you typically break out in hives or you sneeze repeatedly when you try to play with a friend’s pet. You like the looks of a French Bulldog, and you have researched what it’s like to own a Frenchie.
But, considering your allergies, is the French Bulldog the right dog for you? Is the French Bulldog hypoallergenic?
What Do We Mean by the Term “Hypoallergenic?”
Generally, most people think the term “hypoallergenic” means a dog won’t cause its owner (or anyone who happens to have allergies that encounter the dog) to have an allergic reaction.
First, let’s explore WHY people have allergic reactions to dogs.
According to Scientific American, most people have an allergic reaction to dogs due to a protein that dogs possess either in their saliva or skin. Sometimes the protein is located in both places.
Then there are those who say they are allergic to the dander located on a dog’s coat. Again, this is the protein in the skin of the dog. Although there are those who believe that they are allergic to the dog’s fur, this is not truly the case.
So, one must keep in mind that there is no truly hypoallergenic dog.
I’ve heard that there are Hypoallergenic Dogs – is that Untrue?
Yes and no. First, allow me to explain one thing – there are no hypoallergenic dogs, but there is a line of hypoallergenic cats.
A hypoallergenic dog tells of a company that seeks to create hypoallergenic pets. They were able to isolate the protein in cats that evoked an allergic reaction.
However, they could not do this in dogs.
Therefore, the company was able to remove the offending protein in cats, but not in dogs. As a result, dogs are still not truly hypoallergenic. However, some dogs tend to cause fewer allergic reactions than others.
You might be really surprised to find the dogs that are considered hypoallergenic. Check out this video that describes the top hypoallergenic dog breeds.
So, What Makes a Dog at least Somewhat Hypoallergenic?
As previously stated, you might be surprised to find that some dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic. This is especially true when you consider that many dogs in the video above have long hair!
Being hypoallergenic has nothing to do with a dog’s hair length. Rather, it has to do with the amount of hair that a dog sheds on a regular basis.
Now, keep in mind that all dogs shed at least twice a year. So, when some “experts” say that dogs are hypoallergenic because they supposedly don’t shed, this is inaccurate. Dogs will shed in the spring and in the fall.
Some dog breeds shed throughout the year, however. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that most dog breeds shed at least somewhat every day. This includes shorthair breeds and those with long, luxurious locks.
The breeds to be discussed in this section all shed, but they shed rarely. They do not shed hair, nor do they shed dander (which is often where the offensive protein is located).
The Poodle – and several variations of Poodle mixed breeds – is one of the top (nearly) hypoallergenic dog breeds. The Poodle is known for its lack of shedding frequency.
In fact, many of the hybrid breed dogs that are Poodle mixes were created just to promote the hypoallergenic nature of the dog. Cockapoos, Shih-poos, Malti-poos – that’s just three examples of dogs that are touted as being hypoallergenic.
The Yorkshire Terrier is another popular breed that is considered hypoallergenic, even though it is a long-haired dog. The Yorkie rarely sheds, and its long hair is silky and does not contain much of the offensive protein that elicits a reaction.
The Miniature Schnauzer is another dog that is said to provoke very few allergic reactions in those with allergies.
The Shih Tzu is often mixed with the Poodle to create the Shih-Poo hybrid dog. Being hypoallergenic is attributed to both parent breeds.
A final supposedly hypoallergenic breed is the Havanese. Much like other breeds mentioned in this list, the Havanese is often mixed with other hypoallergenic breeds to promote the trait.
You can read more about hypoallergenic breeds at MayoClinic.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of hypoallergenic breeds, but they are some of the most popular.
So, I Understand the Frenchie is not Hypoallergenic.
Unfortunately, the French Bulldog is not considered hypoallergenic. You might also be surprised to find that the degree of reaction a person will have when dealing with an allergy to dogs is actually dependent upon the dog, not the overall breed.
The French Bulldog is not hypoallergenic, but some dogs evoke a lesser degree of allergic reaction when compared to other Frenchies. Let’s discuss the protein that causes the allergic reaction.
The protein that causes an allergic reaction in individuals is also present in a dog’s urine. (One might as well consider any bodily fluid to have this protein present.) This can be a deciding factor in whether you or someone else has an allergic reaction to a dog.
Is there a Way I can Insure the French Bulldog will be at least Somewhat Hypoallergenic?
In some ways, you can!
First, consider where you keep the dog. If you have an individual in the home with an allergy, then try to keep Fido in one main location. This might be the laundry room or an air-conditioned utility room. You might even keep him in a specific bedroom.
Any time you can keep your dog away from the allergic individual, then you lessen chances of a reaction. Also, if you are the person with an allergy, you can reduce the places in your home where you come in contact with dander and saliva that holds the offending protein.
If your dog goes outdoor to “potty,” then reduce the presence of the allergy-provoking protein in two different ways.
You can either potty train the dog to go indoors on a puppy pad, or you can wipe down the pup to eliminate the presence of urine on his legs or bottom.
That’s not to say Fido needs a complete bath each time you allow him outdoors; there are hypoallergenic wipes you can use to “clean” him after every trip outside.
You can also ensure that the flooring of the home does not harbor pieces of skin or fur. A carpeted floor tends to catch these allergy offenders.
A hardwood floor does not, but be aware that you’ll need to sweep often to remove the dander or fur of your French Bulldog.
You might also be surprised to discover that dogs that have been spayed tend to have more of the offensive, allergy-provoking protein in their skin and saliva.
While this shouldn’t prevent you from taking this protective measure for your dog, keep in mind you’ll need to mitigate the presence of the allergen.
Male dogs that have been neutered, however, tend to produce less of the allergy-provoking protein.
Bathing your French Bulldog once a week will also cut down on the build-up of the offensive protein. In fact, you should begin to bathe Fido when he is young so that he becomes accustomed to the practice.
You can use the aforementioned pet wipes – or baby wipes – to cut down on the daily presence of the protein in a dog’s dander.
If you don’t feel right keeping your French Bulldog in one room, try to limit her area to a place that does not have carpet. This might be your kitchen and laundry from and perhaps the living room area (especially if its hardwood flooring there).
Purchase two major allergy-preventing appliances. First, get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuum several times a week (this is a personal preference; you may need to do this daily or every other day depending upon your reaction).
The second major purchase is a HEPA room air cleaner. This is more than just an air filter. The HEPA room air cleaner will help to suck a lot of the dust, loose fur, and skin particles out of the air. This appliance will be a lifesaver!
When you realize the assistance the HEPA filtered products can do for your allergic reaction (or the reaction of someone in your household), you’ll understand that you can have Fido and experience allergy relief too!
Okay, so I Have Made these Accommodations Now What?
You first need to determine what your level of reaction to a French Bulldog will be. First, make a determination as to whether or not you’ll even have a reaction.
Spend at least an hour with the dog before purchasing him. This will give you a good idea of any possible reaction.
Next, should the reaction prove rather weak, you can follow the guidelines above. Keep your home clean, and prepare to do a great amount of laundry (wash his bedding frequently). Vacuum, and mop often.