PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
To compare levels of, and determine the relationships between, the major dog allergen (Can f 1) from the hair and coat of various breeds of dogs and in the homes in which the dogs live.
A total of 356 dogs (Labradoodles, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Spanish waterdogs, airedales, and a heterogeneous control group) were recruited from breeders, breeder associations, and a veterinary hospital in the Netherlands. In addition, 168 homes with 1 dog had floor and airborne dust samples collected and a survey of their 502 owners was conducted.
Dog hair was collected by clipping the coat. Coat samples were collected by vacuuming one side of the dog for 30 seconds. Floor samples were collected by vacuuming for 2 minutes and passive airborne dust was sampled by using an electrostatic dust collector. Can f 1 levels in each sample were measured. For some analyses, Labrador retrievers and the control dogs were grouped as “nonhypoallergenic” and the other breeds grouped as “hypoallergenic.”
Hair samples were obtained from 151 dogs. The vacuumed coat and the hair of so-called “hypoallergenic” dogs had significantly more Can f 1 as compared with the nonhypoallergenic dogs (geometric mean: coat: 27.04 vs 0.12.98 μg/g; hair: 2.26 vs 0.77 μg/g; P < .001 for both). Airedales had the highest level of Can f 1 from the coat without differences between other breeds. There were significant differences between breeds in the Can f 1 level of hair (lowest: Labrador retrievers, highest: poodles) and high variability among dogs of the same breed in levels of both the coat and hair. Sixty-two percent of the “hypoallergenic” dogs were selected for that marketed reputation. Can f 1 levels from rugs/carpets were higher than from smooth floors. Can f 1 levels in settled floor dust and in sampled air did not differ between homes with hypoallergenic and nonhypoallergenic dogs, although floor dust levels were lowest in homes with Labradoodles; however, there were no breed-to-breed differences in sampled air.
So-called “hypoallergenic” dogs had higher Can f 1 levels in hair and coat samples than did control breeds. There was no difference in Can f 1 levels in homes between types of dogs. There is no evidence to classify certain dog breeds as hypoallergenic.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, “A dog by any other name…is still a dog.” At this time, there is no evidence to recommend one breed over another to dog-allergic patients. Nonetheless, patients frequently claim they do worse with one breed than another. We are not aware that a definitive study has been done, for example by evaluating for immune responses to any genetic polymorphisms in Can f 1 between breeds or evaluating allergen extracts from the dander of various breeds.
- Copyright © 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics