I think it must be one of the most frustrating allergies to have – even more so if you are a dog lover and actually want to own one! It’s maybe like going into a candy store as a kid and being told you’re not allowed any. I am lucky and don’t have this, but think it would possibly be one of my worst nightmares. So if you do, and have often wondered what is the best dog for allergy sufferers, it may be helpful to look at a new breed recently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
A new dog in town – The American Hairless Terrier
One of the most common features of this newly recognized breed is – you guessed it – they are hairless. There are also some out there who have very short coats, however they do carry a “hairless” gene. So it depends on the type and severity of your allergy, as to whether either or only the hairless terrier would be suitable.
I have several friends with allergies to dog hair, and in their cases their allergies appeared worse with short-haired dogs, then with our mid-coated German Shepherd. We have speculated (over a few glasses of wine) that perhaps shorter hairs are harder to vacuum up, tend to get more ingrained into materials like carpet and clothes, and also get up your nose more easily! Whether that’s right or wrong, we don’t know as it most definitely wasn’t a scientific study! But it was an interesting conversation and something to ponder. For sufferers with very severe allergies, I would imagine that any dog hair is a no-no, so these hairless terriers may be a good option to try.
These dogs are described by the AKC as inquisitive and lively and as a result they can do well at canine sports, if that’s also something you are looking for in a dog. To quote club secretary Lynn Poston of Fontana, California
“They’re terrier-smart but somewhat calmer than some other terrier breeds. They’re very easy to live with because they’re very trainable.”
How did this breed come about?
The answer is really one of those rare, random foibles that happen every now and again in the animal kingdom. In Louisiana during the 1970’s a puppy was born without any hair, as part of a litter of middle sized Rat Terriers. The couple were surprised but it seems they viewed the phenomenon as something rather special, naming the female puppy Josephine. This event then went on to purposeful breeding to promote this hairless characteristic.
There is already a dedicated American Hairless Terrier Club club dedicated to this breed, where you can view additional information about these amazing dogs.
What constitutes a “breed” at the AMERICAN Kennel Club?
The AKC now has 189 recognized breeds, following the addition of this and one other new breed this month. One of the criteria for a dog breed to be recognized is that there need to be several hundred dogs of the breed across the nation.
The AFC also has some very good resources about selecting what type of dog you are most suited to, although I’m not sure that they take allergies into consideration! However, it may be fun to take a look at their Dog Breed Selector tool.
Try before you buy
There would be nothing more heart-breaking that bringing a new puppy or dog into your home, forming bonds and becoming attached, then having to re-home them because your allergy is still to much for you to be able to live with. For any allergy sufferers, I would highly recommend visiting a breeder and spending a decent amount of time with the type of dog you are interested in. That way you can have a better idea of whether it’s going to be a viable situation to bring such a dog into your own home. This would also apply if you have children with dog-related allergies. It really is a good idea to test out their allergies with particular dogs ahead of time.
Thanks for taking the time to read about this new breed, which I’m tempted to call the “hairless wonder”. If you have any thoughts or comments you’d like to share, please do so below.