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Home > Dogs > Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic? Facts & FAQ

Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

woman having an allergy to a Cocker Spaniel dog

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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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 unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. Let’s explore why this breed may be the right choice for you.

divider-dog paw

What Is An Allergen?

So, how do allergies work anyway? People with dog allergies are sensitive to certain proteins that dogs produce. Allergens themselves are harmless; it is our body’s reaction to them that causes the problems! Allergens are named following a standard structure. In dogs, the most studied ones are Can f1 and Can f2, but there are more. They are found in saliva, dander, and urine and carried on hair 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 or settle on a sofa, causing an allergic reaction before you even touch a dog.

Every breed of dog produces allergens, 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 few dog allergens as possible. There are two potential ways to do that. First, you can get a dog that sheds less. Some breeds, like Poodles, have low-shedding coats. However, no study has proven that lower shedding will reduce the amount of allergens shed, so all dog breeds, regardless of their coat length or shedding levels, can trigger an allergic reaction.

The other thing one may want to look for is a dog that makes fewer dog allergens overall. Different dogs make different amounts of allergens, but unfortunately, this is not associated with a specific breed or sex. So, if you have minor allergies, one dog might cause a giant breakout, but another dog might be totally fine.

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. Additionally, their drooling level is moderate, which may spread saliva over furniture. 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:, Shutterstock

Tips for Allergic Owners

Picking the right dog is only one way that you can reduce allergic reactions. It is important to understand what your allergic threshold is since you may be suffering from other types of allergies at the same time. Minimizing your exposure to allergens other than your dog’s can help you stay below your symptom threshold, which means you won’t experience the uncomfortable allergy manifestations, such as runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing, among others.

Here are some ideas:
  • 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.
  • Scrub your hands. After you play with your dog or pet them, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. That will help remove any allergens that have transferred to your hands before they trigger your allergies.
  • 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. Use a disposable face mask if you can’t leave this task to a non-allergic person.
  • Wash bedding, clothing, and sofa covers regularly using high temperature and detergents.
  • Use HEPA air filters. You can buy an air filter that will scrub your air and reduce dander and dust.
  • Make a dog-free zone. We all love doggy snuggles, but if you’re allergic, you might want to keep them away from your bedroom. Banning dogs from certain parts of your house can help you manage your allergies better.

If you want to keep your pets clean while protecting their skin and coat, try a great dry shampoo like Hepper's No Rinse Shampoo. This moisturizing shampoo is pH-balanced and free of irritants like synthetic dyes, soaps, phthalates, and sulfates. With a pleasant cucumber and aloe scent, this foaming shampoo is easy to use and very effective.


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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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