The Most Common Myths About Household Pets, Debunked

Do you own a hypoallergenic dog? I thought I did, too* – but surprise! Apparently they don't exist.


Above: My non-hypoallergenic dog, Lucca, sated and indescribably pleased with herself for eating two loaves of bread and a cheese scone while I was at work. (The dairy did not go over well with her digestive system, as her cheddar-farts later revealed.)

Canis familiaris allergen 1 (Can f 1) is a salivary protein that dogs shed in tiny flakes of skin and hair called dander (yum!). It's also, as its name suggests, one of the main things that people who are allergic to dogs are allergic to. As Elliott from Mental Floss explains in this roundup of ten myths and misconceptions about pets, a 2011 study published in The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy found there to be no difference in Can f 1 levels in the homes of various one-dog families, regardless of whether the dogs in those homes were considered hypoallergenic or not.

Check out more pet myths from Mental Floss below:

As Elliott points out, the American Kennel Club does list a number of breeds that "do well with allergy sufferers," though a spokesperson from the club told the New York Times in 2011 the club "does not recommend or endorse any specific breed, nor does it claim that 'hypoallergenic breeds' will not affect people with allergies."

That said, the spokesperson did say that the AKC does recommend many breeds based on "consistent," "predictable" and "nonshedding" coats, which, in theory, produce less dander. In practice, however, the NYT says this claim hasn't always held up to scientific scrutiny, noting that "previous studies have examined dog skin and hair to determine the amount of allergens they contain, and have found wide variations among individual animals, but no consistent differences by breed."

*When I consulted Google on the matter (query: "vizslas hypoallergenic"), this was the response I got (note the contradicting feedback from Google, and its top search result):

Illustration for article titled The Most Common Myths About Household Pets, Debunked

See also: The one myth about cats that's actually true




You only wrote this for an excuse to post a GIF of Lucca, didn't you?