You simply can’t mistake a Tibetan Mastiff. These large dogs are easily distinguished by their proud, imposing stance, bush of a tail, and lion-like features—the poofy double coat in particular. If you have your eye on a Tibetan Mastiff but are wondering if they’re considered hypoallergenic, they’re not, but there’s a lot more to the story when it comes to the term “hypoallergenic”.
In this post, we’ll explain more about what hypoallergenic actually means, why Tibetan Mastiffs aren’t labeled hypoallergenic, and share which kinds of dogs might be a good fit for allergy sufferers.
The Hypoallergenic Label
First, let’s kick off with a bit about what it means when a dog is labeled as hypoallergenic, as there are some misconceptions surrounding this term.
The term “hypoallergenic” is used to describe dogs that are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction because they don’t shed as heavily as some other breeds. Some of the breeds classified as hypoallergenic include the Bichon Frise, Poodle, Schnauzer, and Irish Water Spaniel.
Some may think that, if a dog is hypoallergenic, they can’t trigger an allergic reaction in their owners. This isn’t the case—any dog can trigger an allergic reaction, even dogs labeled “hypoallergenic”. Every dog sheds, it’s just that some shed a little, whereas others shed a lot.
Dogs that shed little are just less likely to trigger allergies than heavy-shedding breeds and therefore might be better for allergy sufferers (emphasis on “might”), but the risk is still not entirely eliminated.
Moreover, it’s commonly thought that dog hair is responsible for allergic reactions, but it’s actually dander, which is the tiny dead flakes of skin. These, along with saliva and urine, contain proteins such as Can-f1 and Can-f2 that can trigger a reaction in allergy sufferers.
Why Aren’t Tibetan Mastiffs Hypoallergenic?
Tibetan Mastiffs aren’t considered hypoallergenic because they have a double coat that sheds lightly to moderately throughout the year (though not as much as some breeds), and “blows” once yearly between spring and summer.
This means that, during this period, the Tibetan Mastiff sheds heavily and it becomes necessary to tackle the fallout with a deshedding tool. Outside of shedding seasons, Tibetan Mastiffs need to be brushed at least once per week, but you can certainly brush them more than this.
Can an Allergy Sufferer Have a Tibetan Mastiff?
The Tibetan Mastiff may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers in general (especially during shedding season), but it really depends on how severe the allergy is and how you manage it. First of all, if you’re thinking about getting a Tibetan Mastiff or any kind of dog, you might consider consulting with an allergist to talk through your options.
The good news is that many allergy sufferers live harmoniously with dogs by, for example, sticking to regular home cleaning and dog grooming routines to reduce dander, keeping certain areas (like beds) dog-free, and using HEPA air filters. Some recruit another member of the family to perform the dog’s grooming routines to avoid coming into contact with excess allergens.
The most important thing is to be sure you can make it work before you get the dog. The worst-case scenario is that you get a dog only to give it up down the line. This causes heartbreak for both you and the dog and should be avoided at all costs, so we would advise taking your time to really think things through before you make the commitment.
If you already have a dog but are struggling with allergy symptoms, consider talking to an understanding allergist that gets how important your dog is to you.
Low-Shedding Dog Breeds
If you’re curious about the kinds of dogs that don’t shed much, below is a list of some breeds often labeled hypoallergenic. Just bear in mind that, as mentioned above, no dog is completely hypoallergenic.
You can also find low-shedding dogs waiting for new homes, both pure and mixed breeds, so, if you’re thinking about adopting a dog instead of buying from a breeder, discuss your situation with the adoption organization and they can help match you with a low-shedding canine friend.
Though Tibetan Mastiffs are not considered to be hypoallergenic, they don’t shed an awful lot throughout the year. However, come shedding season, you can expect them to shed a considerable amount.
If you’re considering getting a Tibetan Mastiff, think first about whether or not you will be able to manage your allergies around them. If you’re not sure, you might want to have a look around for a dog that sheds less.
Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock