Allergy to Different Dog Breeds

Can I be allergic to one type of dog but not another?

Some people may be allergic to only certain dog breeds.

Allergy to Different Dog Breeds

I counsel my patients every day on dog allergy. A common story is that a patient will say that while their own pet dog doesn't trigger allergy symptoms, exposure to other peoples' dogs will. 

It seems strange, but it is possible for a person to be allergic to one breed of dog but not another. Some breeds of dogs are hypoallergenic, meaning they produce less dander and therefore cause fewer symptoms in those with dog allergy.

But there's more to it than that. There are differences in the characteristics of the dog allergens between breeds, and these differences may result in people developing allergies to some breeds of dogs and not others. This is a completely different concept than a hypoallergenic dog -- which relates to the actual amount of dog allergen produced by certain dog breeds.

In fact, the variety is so great that allergy tests must test for dog allergens associated with at least 5 different breeds in order to accurately deliver a diagnosis.

It is entirely possible that your neighbor's Labrador Retriever makes you sneeze uncontrollably, but your German Shepard doesn't induce even one sniffle. But don't expect to find these differences between various breeds of cats. The major cat allergen, Fel d 1, is the same regardless of cat breed and is even the same for other members of the feline family such as lions and tigers.

Want to learn more? Find out more about dog allergy.


Weber, RW. Dog Dander. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007; 98:A4.

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