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Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic? Facts & FAQ

Do dogs make your heart happy but clog your sinuses? If you pet a pup, does your skin break out in a rash? Dog allergies are the bane of many pet lovers’ lives, and the hunt for a hypoallergenic dog is never-ending. If you want a dog you can hug without worry, you might wonder if a Cocker Spaniel is the dog for you.

Some people say Cocker Spaniels don’t set off their allergies, but there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. Cocker Spaniels may produce slightly fewer allergens than other dog breeds, though. Let’s explore why this breed may be the right choice for you.


What Is An Allergen?

So, how do allergies work anyway? People with dog allergies are sensitive to certain proteins that dogs produce called Can F1 and Can F2s. Can F1 and Can F2s are found in dog saliva and dander. That means that some people will have an allergic reaction when a dog licks them, but most of the time, dog allergies are triggered by shed fur and dead skin cells. These can float in the air, causing an allergic reaction before you even touch a dog.

Every breed of dog produces Can F1 and Can F2, which is why there are no hypoallergenic dogs.

Image Credit: jmexclusives, Pixabay

A Different Dander?

So when it comes to dealing with allergies, you want to be exposed to as little of Can F1 and Can F2 as possible. There are two ways to do that. First, you can get a dog that sheds less. Some breeds, like Poodles, have low-shedding coats. You still might have an allergic reaction to them, but they’ll leave less dander floating around for you to react to.

The other thing to look for is a dog that makes less Can F1 and Can F2 protein overall. Different dogs make different amounts of dander. So, if you have minor allergies, one dog might cause a giant breakout, but another dog is totally fine.

There are some differences that are universal; for example, male dogs will usually produce more Can F1 and Can F2 than female dogs. Right now, there aren’t any studies that show that one breed produces more Can F1 and Can F2 than another, but anecdotally many Cocker Spaniel owners believe that their allergens are milder. It’s possible that Cocker Spaniels have a different kind of dander that produces less Can F1 and Can F2 than other breeds.

Why Cocker Spaniels Might Not Be Hypoallergenic

On the other hand, there are also reasons to think that Cocker Spaniels aren’t the best choice if you have allergies. Cocker Spaniels have longer fur and shed a medium amount. Many dogs recommended for allergy sufferers have thin, low-shedding, short-haired coats. And like we said above, there is no scientific evidence that backs up the hypothesis that Cocker Spaniels produce less Can F1 and Can F2. If you are thinking about adopting a Cocker Spaniel and you have allergies, try adopting an adult Cocker Spaniel that you can meet first so that you can see how your allergies react.

english cocker spaniel on green grass
Image Credit: andriano.cz, Shutterstock

Tips for Allergic Owners

Picking the right dog is only one way that you can reduce allergic reactions. A big way to help if you have dog allergies is changing your environment to make it last allergy friendly.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Keep your dog groomed. Dog dander gets cleaned out of your dog’s coat when you wash and brush it. The more dander you can clean out by grooming the less gets into the air.
  2. Get it a haircut. Dogs with short hair are easier to keep groomed.
  3. Scrub your hands. After you play with your dog or pet it, wash your hands with soap and water. That will help remove any allergens that have transferred to your hands before you have an allergic reaction.
  4. Dust and vacuum. The dog dander settles on carpets, beds, and couches along with other surfaces. Getting a small pet hair vacuum and cleaning regularly will help reduce build-up.
  5. Use air filters. You can buy an air filter that will scrub your air and reduce dander and dust.
  6. Make a dog-free zone. We all love doggy snuggles, but if you’re allergic, you might want to keep them downstairs. Banning dogs from the bedroom or keeping them in certain parts of your house can help you manage your allergies.


Last Thoughts

It’s hard to find the right dog that won’t trigger your allergies. Although Cocker Spaniels might not be the magic breed, it is worth trying to see if a Cocker Spaniel is right for you and your home. That way, you can experience the joy of owning a dog without sacrificing your health and happiness along the way.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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