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Home > Dogs > Are Whippets Hypoallergenic? Dog Allergies Explained (Vet Approved)

Are Whippets Hypoallergenic? Dog Allergies Explained (Vet Approved)

Whippets

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Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Written by

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

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

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A Whippet’s sleek coat can appear much more than a streamlined cover for one of the world’s quickest dogs. While keeping this lightning-fast breed as aerodynamic as possible, the smooth, short hair is delightfully low-maintenance and low-shedding. Although the Whippet is friendlier to allergy sufferers than many breeds, they aren’t completely hypoallergenic.

Does that mean the Whippet isn’t a good choice for allergy sufferers? In the following article, we’ll discuss whether Whippets are hypoallergenic, and what people with dog allergies can do to make this wondrous breed a part of the family.

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Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?

Whippets are more hypoallergenic than many dogs, but there are many other breeds that trigger less of a reaction in allergy sufferers. Whippets rarely drool, and their smooth hair only sheds lightly throughout the year. Grooming is hassle-free, and the hair only needs light brushes with a rubber curry brush and bristle brush once a week or so.

Although the thought of light shedding may be enough to put off anyone hoping for a hypoallergenic pet, Whippets are still less allergy-inflaming than the average dog, and no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. We tend to think of dogs like the curly coated ‘Oodle’ breeds and Bichon Frises as hypoallergenic, with their non-shedding coats as protection against irritation. However, it isn’t the hair specifically that causes allergies.

blue whippet lying in bed
Image Credit: Maite M. Senosiain, Shutterstock

Where Do Dog Allergies Come From?

Up to 20% of the population is allergic to cats or dogs, triggered by proteins our dogs produce in their saliva, urine, and other bodily secretions. These proteins attach to dander (dead, flaking skin cells).

Common signs of exposure include:
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Red, itchy, swollen, and watery eyes
  • Chest tightness and breathing difficulty
  • Skin rash

Because they don’t shed, Poodles and other “hypoallergenic” breeds don’t release as much dander into the environment to float in the air or land on furniture and other surfaces, including us.

Every dog has dander, occasionally drools, and of course, pees and poops; these all carry the assorted proteins that spark allergies. This is often overlooked when labeling hypoallergenic breeds, focusing specifically on the shedding aspect instead.

Is Any Dog Hypoallergenic?

Poodles and other dogs can still expose you to dander, saliva, and urine, even though they don’t shed. Studies have shown that some ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs even produced higher levels of the primary dog allergen Can f 1, in their coats than non-hypoallergenic dogs.

Interestingly, Poodles produce a relatively high amount of Can f 1, while the heavy-shedding Labrador Retriever has some of the least. Even though you won’t see much hair around the house, a hypoallergenic dog could still cause a reaction when you pet, groom, or clean up after them.

With that in mind, it can be challenging to tell if a Whippet will be better for your allergies than the next dog. Dogs produce six primary allergy-inducing proteins, and people with dog allergies have unique tolerances, reacting to some allergens but not others. One person may be allergic to one dog and not another. Another person with allergies may have the exact opposite tolerance. In many cases, you won’t know how you’ll react to a breed until you meet them.

close up of whippet dog looking sad
Image Credit: stylefoto24, Shutterstock

Tips for Managing Dog Allergies

Even if you have dog allergies, the idea of owning a Whippet may be too appealing to resist. Although it takes extra effort and some grit to tough out occasional allergy signs, you can follow a few helpful steps to limit your exposure and live comfortably with your dog:

  • Limit your dog’s access to bedrooms and other areas where you want to reduce allergen concentrations
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after petting or playing with your dog
  • Clean carpets, floors, and furniture frequently with a HEPA vacuum
  • Set up an air purifier with a HEPA filter in each room to capture airborne hair, dander, and dust
  • Dust and mop hard surfaces frequently
  • Bathe your Whippet every 4–6 weeks
  • Groom your dog outside to reduce loose hair in the house, and use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away any loose fur or debris from their coat

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Over-the-counter allergy medicines or decongestants can relieve mild signs of irritation. Your doctor can also prescribe antihistamines. For severe sensitivities, you could consider discussing immunotherapy for long-term relief. Over several months, introducing minute allergen amounts to your body via shots can help you reduce or eliminate your sensitivity to your dog.

 

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

Whippets may not be completely hypoallergenic, but among dogs that shed, they’re about as close as you can get. They shed little and drool even less, leaving fewer allergens in their wake, provided you keep on top of grooming and cleaning. There’s no telling how you’ll react even with allergies, so the best plan is to spend time with, and touch your prospective pet to assess your response, and take the necessary steps to make one of these magnificent dogs part of your life.


Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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