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Hypoallergenic Rabbit Breeds: Do They Exist?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you’re one of these allergy-prone individuals, you may be wondering if you’ll ever be able to enjoy having a pet in your home – and whether there are any hypoallergenic animal breeds besides cats and dogs.
Today, we’ll be looking at what causes allergies, as well as what it means for a pet to be hypoallergenic. While it can be difficult to find a completely allergen-free pet, combining a low-allergen pet with appropriate cleaning measures is often enough for less severe allergies.
From the huge variety of rabbit breeds available, we’ll narrow it down to X breeds that may be suitable for allergy sufferers, as well as X breeds that should definitely be avoided. By the end of the article, you’ll be fully informed as to what sort of hypoallergenic rabbit (if any) you can welcome into your home!
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Because pets groom themselves, small amounts of highly allergenic proteins from the animal’s saliva are deposited on their skin. When your pet sheds, it will release these protein allergens into the air and surrounding environment, causing unpleasant symptoms in allergy sufferers such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, and more.
This combination of shedding skin and protein-rich saliva is most often referred to simply as “pet dander”, and is the underlying cause of pet allergies. Thankfully, this points us towards an important understanding of what we can do to minimize potential allergic reactions, and which breeds are less likely to trigger allergy sufferers.
What Does “Hypoallergenic” Really Mean?
ScienceDaily has a fantastic summary of the term hypoallergenic:
“Hypoallergenic is the characteristic of provoking fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers… [It] means to have a decreased tendency to cause allergies; hypo means less, not none.
Hypoallergenic pets still produce allergens, but because of their coat type or absence of fur, typically produce less than others of the same species.
People with severe allergies and asthma might still be affected by a hypoallergenic pet.”
In short, while there is no such thing as a completely allergen-free pet, people suffering from minor allergies have options available to them that may not trigger an allergic reaction. So, when you are looking for a hypoallergenic rabbit keep in mind that it’s about reduction of symptoms.
3 Hypoallergenic Rabbit Breeds
There are three things that can help to make a rabbit breed hypoallergenic:
- Shorter hair, which requires less grooming
- Plusher fur, which tends to shed less
- Smaller rabbits, which produce less dander overall
Let’s look at the rabbit breeds that fit these qualifications:
1. The Rex Family
Both Rexes and Mini Rexes are well-known for their silky and rich fur that sheds less profusely than any other rabbit breed. Available in a variety of colors and often having a pleasant disposition, they are considered to be ideal pets for first-time rabbit owners. If you suffer from only mild allergies, the Rex is a fantastic choice!
2. Silver Marten
With a strikingly contrasted black and silver coat, the Silver Marten is another breed of rabbit with thick, plush fur. Though they come in on the larger side of medium (with some weighing over 12 pounds), this offspring of the Chinchilla sheds very little and requires infrequent grooming.
A full-arch hypoallergenic rabbit, the Tan has a distinctive look reminiscent of a wild hare. Their long, slender legs and bellies raised high off the ground complement their short, dense fur and moderate top weight (around 6 pounds). Requiring very little grooming, their laid-back attitudes make them popular pets.
Rabbit Breeds to Avoid If You Have Allergies
While the above-listed hypoallergenic rabbits can be suitable for people with mild to severe allergies, there are a handful of rabbit breeds that should be avoided for this purpose. These include rabbits with long coats, significant grooming requirements, or very frequent shedding.
If you suffer from allergies, it’s probably best to avoid the Angora family, Lionheads, Jersey Woolies, and Flemish Giants. Each of these breeds of rabbit is lovely for many reasons, but a combination of long hair, frequent shedding, and intense grooming schedules can leave allergy sufferers in a constant state of discomfort.
By keeping your house clean, considering an air purifier, and choosing one of the three popular hypoallergenic rabbit breeds, you can definitely keep a rabbit as a pet even if you suffer from allergies. Thank you for reading, and we wish you the best in finding the right rabbit for your home (and allergies)!
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Featured Image Credit: Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.