Although Australian Shepherds have a beautiful coat, they are not hypoallergenic. If you're severely allergic to certain breeds, this may not be the breed you want to choose. However, if your allergies only occasionally act up, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact Aussies have on your body.
Why Australian Shepherds Aren't Hypoallergenic
No, Aussies are not hypoallergenic. In fact, they are well-known as heavy shedders in the dog world. The Australian Shepherd sheds moderately year-round, but heavy shedding occurs once per year during spring or summer. Heavy shedding can last about eight weeks before your dog's new coat grows back in.
Some dogs don't shed as much and lack the proteins in saliva and urine that result in your allergic reactions; these breeds are known as hypoallergenic. The Poodle, for example, is a hypoallergenic dog breed.
The Australian Shepherd's Coat
Aussies have a double coat, which puts them in the heavy shedder category. At least once every year - usually when seasonal changes in temperature set in - your dog will drop their undercoat, also referred to as "blowing" their coat. Get ready for an avalanche of hair when this happens. Dogs that are heavy shedders are not labeled hypoallergenic.
Tips to Minimize Dog Allergies
If you are an allergy sufferer, you may wonder whether it's possible to live with dogs and not have problems. The answer is yes, but it takes some work on your part. There are steps you can take to reduce the impact your dog has on your allergies:
- Grab a brush. Use a slicker brush or rubber curry comb on their coat to remove loose fur before it has time to settle in your carpet or furniture.
- Avoid letting your dog lick you. Avoid kissing your dog or letting them lick your face, because saliva contains high amounts of allergens. We know it's sad, but it's a necessity if you want to reduce your exposure to allergens.
- Schedule grooming appointments. Bring your dog to the groomer at least once every 6 months so that you can keep the shedding under control.
- Vacuum often. Vacuuming can help remove allergens from carpets and floors that may be aggravating your allergies.
- Get a HEPA Filter. If vacuuming doesn't help enough, consider vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, or purchase a standing HEPA filter unit that is designed to trap dust mites, pollen, and other allergy-causing particles before they make it into your home's air supply.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands immediately after playing with your pet or cleaning up after them.
Australian Shepherds Can Tickle Your Allergies
Australian Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, but they're also one of the most heavily shedding breeds. If you can handle their shedding, and take the steps to minimize allergies, these dogs can be perfect companions for someone who enjoys outdoor activities. They make excellent partners for active families and even serve as therapy dogs because of their friendly, affectionate nature.