Life is cruel sometimes. I had a friend all through school who was the biggest dog-fanatic you could ever meet, she had a puppy pencil case, dog posters on her wall, and every stuffed toy pooch you could imagine.
Her parents finally relented and took her to a local dog shelter to pick a pup only for the day to end in disaster. After an hour in the place and receiving plenty of licks her eyes were streaming, not tears of joy though…Allergies! She was covered in angry hives and distraught. Absolutely heartbroken she was prescribed a hefty dose of antihistamines and ended up with a pet goldfish that she called Fido.
This was many years ago and there was not as much discussion on the possibility or practicalities of a “hypoallergenic” dog. So alas her dreams of a childhood doggy companion were dashed. Fast forward to the early 2000s and the rise of the Poodle crossbreeds affectionately known as Doodles are often being touted as low shedding allergy friendly dogs.
No dog is truly hypoallergenic. However, with its Poodle and Yorkshire Terrier qualities, the Yorkiepoo is usually a low-risk dog for triggering any dander allergies. However, it’s important to remember that nothing is guaranteed, especially with crossbreeds.
In particular, some of the smaller varieties such as the Yorkiepoo (Yorkshire Terrier X Miniature or Toy Poodle) are frequently highlighted as a hope to those who end up itching all over after even the briefest encounter with a furry friend.
But are these little pocket rockets really the answer to every dog allergy sufferer’s dreams? Read on as we discuss more about whether any dog is truly hypoallergenic, how the Yorkiepoo shapes up in terms of key allergy triggers such as shedding, and what other aspects you need to consider when accommodating a dog allergy.
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Is There Such a Thing as Truly Hypoallergenic Dog?
Unfortunately, despite what many, often disreputable, breeders advise there currently is no breed of dog that could be considered 100% hypoallergenic. The confusion often arises as many people will believe that their dog allergy is an allergic reaction to the dog’s fur ergo it would seem sensible that getting a dog that minimally sheds and washing hands after playtime with your pup would solve all problems.
Sadly not, not many people are allergic to the fur itself. More often than not it is actually dog dander that causes the allergic response. Although it is a bit of a gross thought, just as humans shed dead skin cells throughout the day, so does your dog, these can be tiny particles that amass in rooms where we spend the most time. These are so light they can be airborne which we inhale or eventually settle on surfaces.
The dust atop your TV set? Yep, you can bet that there are more than a few dead human skin cells, dog dander from your pet in there amongst other airborne particles in your home such as dirt, fibers, and dust mites. Even the most diligent house cleaner will find it near impossible to eliminate every spec of pet dander as just as human’s, your dog’s skin is shedding and regenerating on a nearly continual basis.
Dogs who shed fur heavily inevitably shed more dander as skin cells often become attached to the fur. For dogs who shed less, their coat can act as a bit of a net catching a lot of the dander. A regular grooming routine including brushing them outside or a well-ventilated area means that the dander can be brushed out in a more controlled manner and limit the amount that is floating around your home. Less dander and fur indoors equals fewer particles to irritate allergies.
Can I be Allergic to my Dog’s Saliva and Urine?
Allergies can be just about as individual as the people who have them and specific testing can now be used to narrow down exactly what triggers a reaction. Some people will not necessarily be allergic to dog fur or dander but will react badly to dog urine and saliva. This is due to these bodily fluids containing specific proteins that can trigger an allergic response.
Many people may initially think this is much more manageable thinking: “great, don’t let the dog lick me and wear gloves if cleaning up any indoor accidents”. Alas, it is not that simple, firstly dogs have not quite developed the table manners to wipe away all specs of drool if they have been salivating over a particularly juicy treat and instead often will see that nice shaggy rug or that sofa arm as a great place to wipe their chops!
This invariably means saliva spots around the house. Dogs will also groom themselves by licking. This deposits saliva cells on the skin they are licking which as we have read above will eventually be shed as dander.
Also, your dog, unfortunately, cannot make use of toilet paper once they have responded to the call of nature. It is not the most pleasant thought but there will be drops of urine around the skin on your dog’s back end which again will shed as dander and carry the protein with it.
Yorkiepoo – Are they the Answer to Dog Allergy Prayers?
As stated above, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic however there are definitely dogs with characteristics that make them more compatible with those with dog allergies. As mentioned previously having a dog that sheds less reduces the amount of fur and dander that is deposited around the house. Also picking a dog that is not naturally disposed to excessive drooling will reduce the amount of saliva flying around (literally).
The Yorkiepoo with its compact size and Poodle heritage seems to fit the bill. Let’s take a look at the two parent breeds to understand more about what this little character may be able to offer in terms of allergy-friendly credentials.
Are Poodles Hypoallergenic? Do They Have Hair or Fur?
As with any crossbreed, there is no guarantee to just what aspect of their parentage, they will inherit. However, including a Poodle parent ups the chance they will inherit aspects of their low shedding, low dander coat.
A purebred Poodle itself often makes a good option for those with allergies as unlike many dogs they have a coat that is more akin to hair than fur. This means it grows steadily and will not naturally shed as some fur coats do. Therefore, your Poodle requires trips to the groomers to clip their coats back. This means the hair is snipped off in a controlled way, often alongside a thorough bath, and can be done out of the home to limit the hairs/dander floating around.
The other aspect of the Poodle coat that improves its allergy friendliness is that they are single coated. This means they have no fluffy or tight undercoat that often serves to trap dander and bacteria. This means that with regular brushing a Poodle minimally sheds dander. The amount of dander does relate to the size of the dog though and a Standard Poodle will invariably create more dander than its smaller Miniature or Toy Poodle variation.
For those with saliva allergies, the Poodle does not usually exhibit excessive drooling which is another positive.
Are Yorkshire Terriers Hypoallergenic? Do they Have Hair or Fur?
Like the Poodle the Yorkshire Terrier generally has a coat that is hair-like rather than furry. Some owners do prefer to keep their Yorkshire Terrier’s coat long to almost floor-length which can sometimes mean they act a little like miniature brooms, sweeping up dust particles. Longer hair can also snag around the house and shed through breakage rather than genuine shedding. These issues however are reduced with a shorter groom.
There is a little more variation in the Yorkshire Terrier genetic line with them occasionally displaying a fluffier, cotton-like coat. These variations are a lot denser and tighter and have something like a tight undercoat which can need a lot more grooming and maintenance.
These Yorkies are less allergy-friendly due to dander being trapped in their tighter coats and moderate shedding. These types of coats would be considered a fault in purebred Yorkshire Terriers and would not be recommended to breed from however many less rigorous or amateur breeders may introduce this into a crossbreed such as a Yorkipoo.
They are smaller in size than the Standard and Medium Poodle which reduces the surface area of skin which can produce dander considerably. They are not known to drool excessively either.
The similarities between the coat types combined with the small stature of combining the Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature or Toy Poodle should in most instances lead to a small, single-coated dog that should shed minimally.
Are Different Generation Yorkiepoos Less likely to Shed than Others?
This is very dependent on the genetic lineage of the parent dogs. The Poodle should generally only pass on low shedding characteristics however as we have outlined above there can be a curveball in the Yorkshire Terrier family history which could lead to a coarser cotton coat.
If a first-generation (F1) Yorkiepoo was noted to display some shedding or coat characteristics that were undesirable, an option would be to breed it with a further Poodle so that the resultant litter would be 75% poodle (F1B).
This is generally a way to ensure that the Yorkiepoo inherits the non-shedding Poodle attributes. However, as with all crossbreeding nothing is certain, and there can be variation even within the same litter.
Should I Trust a Breeder who Advertises their Dogs as Hypoallergenic?
Any breeder who resolutely states their dogs are 100% hypoallergenic should not be trusted as, presently, this is a scientific impossibility. Not only is this misleading it also is unethical in that it increases the likelihood of a puppy being returned or rehomed as when the owners invariably find out it is not.
Reputable breeders may refer to litters of certain breeds as “allergy-friendly” or “low shedding” however should also be able to have full and detailed conversations with prospective owners about what this actually means for them.
What Questions Should I Ask the Breeder About Previous Litters Regarding Shedding?
All reputable breeders should be able to provide details to the parentage of their litters and allow you to see the mother and ideally the father also. It is useful to ask not just regarding the coat type and shedding of the immediate parents but also the grandparents as the genetic blueprint for shedding may be dormant in the parents.
If the parent dogs have had previous litters, it can be useful to discuss what the coat textures were like at birth and into puppyhood. However, ultimately it will be a bit of a lottery.
Is there a Gene that Causes Shedding?
There have been scientific investigations that have identified two genes that can impact upon shedding. The MC5R gene relates to how much sebum (an oily wavy substance) is created in the dog’s hair follicles. The RSPO2 gene relates to hair quality.
Puppies inherit one copy of each gene from their parents, if both parents have two copies of each of these genes that result in low shedding then the resulting dog should also be low shedding. The difficulty arises when the parents may have one low shedding gene as it will be a bit of a lottery as to which is passed to the pup.
These tests are utilized by some breeders to select parent pairings however this is more commonly utilized in the pairing of established purebred dogs to rule out mixed breeding in a bloodline. For Doodle crossbreed, the option of breeding a first-generation back to the Poodle parentage is generally preferred as the method of reducing the likelihood of shedding.
Overall, the Yorkiepoo is a small dog which if bred well should exhibit low shedding and low dander qualities. This should mean that it will be much less irritating to an allergy suffer than say, a high shedding, high slobber Saint Bernard.
While no dog is ultimately 100% hypoallergenic this feisty little crossbreed does offer a realistic option for the allergy-challenged dog aficionado.