Are Certain Breeds More Prone To Allergies Than Others?

Have you ever wondered if certain dog breeds are more prone to allergies than others? It’s a common concern for many potential dog owners, especially those who suffer from allergies themselves. Well, the good news is that I have some answers for you. In this article, we’ll delve into the topic and explore whether certain breeds are more likely to cause allergies than others. So, if you’re considering getting a furry friend but want to make sure you won’t be sneezing and itching all the time, keep reading!

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details. While it’s true that all dogs produce allergens, such as dander and saliva, some breeds may be more prone to triggering allergic reactions than others. This is because certain breeds shed more fur, produce more dander, or have a higher level of allergenic proteins in their saliva. However, it’s important to note that allergies are highly individualized and can vary from person to person. Just because one breed is known to be hypoallergenic doesn’t mean it won’t cause allergies in certain individuals.

In this article, we’ll break down the different factors that can contribute to a breed’s allergenicity, such as coat type, dander production, and saliva proteins. We’ll also discuss some dog breeds that are often recommended for allergy sufferers, as well as tips on how to manage allergies if you already have a beloved furry companion. So, whether you’re in the market for a new pet or simply looking to better understand the relationship between dog breeds and allergies, this article will provide you with the information you need. Get ready to learn more and make an informed decision about finding the perfect dog for you!

What are allergies in dogs?

Allergies in dogs are a common condition where the immune system reacts excessively to certain substances, known as allergens. These allergens can be found in various forms such as pollen, dust mites, mold, certain foods, and even flea bites. When a dog’s immune system encounters these allergens, it triggers an allergic reaction, leading to a range of symptoms that can cause discomfort and distress.

Understanding allergies

To understand allergies in dogs, it is important to grasp the basic concept of how the immune system works. The immune system is responsible for defending the body against harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts to harmless substances, mistaking them as threats.

In the process of this overreaction, the immune system releases chemicals, such as histamines, which lead to allergic symptoms. These symptoms can manifest in various parts of the body, including the skin, respiratory system, and gastrointestinal tract.

Types of allergies in dogs

There are three main types of allergies that affect dogs:

  1. Flea allergy dermatitis: This type of allergy occurs when a dog has an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Even a single flea bite can trigger a severe allergic reaction, leading to intense itching, redness, and inflammation of the skin.

  2. Food allergies: Some dogs develop allergies to certain ingredients in their diet, such as proteins (e.g., beef, chicken) or grains (e.g., wheat, soy). Food allergies can cause digestive issues, skin problems, and even respiratory symptoms.

  3. Environmental allergies: Also known as atopic dermatitis, environmental allergies are caused by substances present in the environment, including pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and certain grasses or trees. These allergies can result in itchy skin, redness, and recurrent ear infections.

Common allergy symptoms in dogs

When it comes to allergies, dogs can display a wide range of symptoms. Some common signs to look out for include:

Itchy skin

One of the most prominent signs of allergies in dogs is itchy skin. You may notice your dog scratching excessively, biting or licking certain areas of their body, or rubbing against furniture or the floor. This constant itching can lead to hair loss, open sores, and secondary bacterial infections.

Redness and inflammation

Allergic reactions often cause redness and inflammation in the affected areas. The skin may appear swollen, hot to the touch, and may even develop rashes or hives. These symptoms are usually seen in localized areas, such as the belly, paws, ears, or face.

Excessive scratching and licking

Dogs with allergies often engage in obsessive scratching or licking behavior. They may spend hours scratching at their skin or constantly licking their paws, resulting in further irritation and potential skin infections. This behavior is driven by the need to alleviate the intense itching caused by the allergies.

Sneezing and coughing

In addition to skin-related symptoms, dogs with allergies may also experience respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. These symptoms can be more common in dogs with environmental allergies, as they may inhale allergens such as pollen or dust.

Factors influencing allergies in dogs

While allergies can affect any dog, certain factors can contribute to a dog’s susceptibility to developing allergies:


Just like humans, dogs can inherit a tendency towards allergies. If a dog’s parents or siblings have allergies, the dog is more likely to develop them as well. Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to allergies, making them more prone to allergic reactions. However, it’s important to note that genetics alone do not guarantee that a dog will develop allergies.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors can play a significant role in triggering allergies in dogs. Exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust, and certain chemicals can increase the chances of a dog developing allergies. Additionally, living in a polluted area or being exposed to cigarette smoke can also contribute to the development of allergies.


A dog’s diet can have an impact on their susceptibility to allergies. Some ingredients commonly found in commercial dog food, such as beef, chicken, wheat, and soy, are known to be potential allergens. It is important to provide a balanced and nutritious diet to minimize the risk of food allergies.

Are certain breeds more prone to allergies?

While allergies can affect dogs of any breed, there are certain breeds that are more predisposed to allergies than others. These breeds often have a genetic predisposition to allergic reactions, making them more likely to develop allergies in their lifetime.

Breeds commonly susceptible to allergies

  • Golden Retrievers: Golden Retrievers are known to be highly prone to allergies, particularly environmental allergies such as pollen and dust mites. They often develop atopic dermatitis, which can cause intense itching and recurrent ear infections.

  • Labrador Retrievers: Like their Golden Retriever counterparts, Labrador Retrievers are also susceptible to environmental allergies. They may exhibit symptoms such as red and itchy skin, ear infections, and hot spots.

  • Boxers: Boxers are prone to both environmental and food allergies. They commonly develop allergic reactions to certain proteins, grains, and environmental allergens like pollen and dust mites.

  • Bulldogs: Bulldogs are predisposed to skin allergies, particularly due to their wrinkled skin and sensitive nature. They are prone to developing atopic dermatitis and require proper skin care to avoid discomfort.

  • West Highland White Terriers: Terriers, in general, are prone to allergies, and West Highland White Terriers are no exception. They can develop environmental allergies, resulting in itchy skin, redness, and frequent ear infections.

Breeds less prone to allergies

While some breeds are more susceptible to allergies, there are breeds that are less prone to allergic reactions. However, it’s important to note that individual dogs within any breed can still develop allergies.

  • Basenjis: Basenjis are known to have a low occurrence of allergies compared to other breeds. They are less prone to skin allergies and typically have fewer allergic reactions.

  • Siberian Huskies: Huskies are generally less prone to allergies. Their thick double-coat helps protect their skin from allergens, making them less susceptible to skin-related allergic reactions.

  • Greyhounds: Greyhounds are known for their relatively low occurrence of allergies. They have short hair, which reduces the chances of allergens getting trapped on their skin and causing allergic reactions.

  • Border Collies: Border Collies are less prone to allergies compared to some other breeds. However, they can still develop allergies, particularly environmental allergies.

Allergy testing for dogs

When a dog exhibits allergic symptoms, it is essential to determine the specific allergens causing the reaction. Allergy testing can help identify these triggers, which allows for more targeted treatment options.

Testing methods

There are two common methods for allergy testing in dogs:

  1. Intradermal testing: Intradermal testing, also known as skin testing, involves injecting small amounts of potential allergens into the skin. The veterinarian then observes the skin’s reaction to determine which substances provoke a response.

  2. Blood testing: Blood testing, also known as serum testing, measures the levels of antibodies specific to different allergens in the dog’s blood. The presence of elevated levels of certain antibodies indicates an allergic reaction to specific allergens.

Identifying specific allergens

Once the allergy testing is completed, it becomes easier to identify the specific allergens causing the allergic reactions. This knowledge allows for more effective management and treatment strategies, such as allergen avoidance or immunotherapy.

Managing allergies in dogs

Managing allergies in dogs involves a multi-faceted approach aimed at reducing exposure to allergens and alleviating symptoms. Here are some common methods used to manage allergies in dogs:

Avoiding triggers

The most effective way to manage allergies is to identify and avoid the allergens triggering the reaction. This can involve making changes to the dog’s environment, such as using air purifiers to reduce pollen and dust, switching to hypoallergenic bedding, or avoiding certain outdoor areas during high pollen seasons.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy

Allergen-specific immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a treatment option that involves gradually introducing small amounts of the allergen to the dog’s immune system. Over time, this helps the dog develop a tolerance to the allergen, reducing the severity of the allergic reaction.

Medications for symptom relief

In some cases, medications may be prescribed to provide relief from the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamines can help reduce itching and inflammation, while corticosteroids can provide fast relief for severe allergic reactions. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any medications to ensure proper dosage and monitoring.

Skin care and hygiene

Proper skin care and hygiene are crucial in managing allergies in dogs. Regular bathing with hypoallergenic shampoos can help soothe the skin and remove allergens. Additionally, keeping the dog’s coat and paws clean and trimmed can reduce the build-up of allergens and minimize the risk of secondary infections.

Prevention of allergies in dogs

While allergies cannot always be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of allergies in dogs:

Early exposure and socialization

Exposing puppies to a variety of environments, substances, and stimuli from an early age can help strengthen their immune system and reduce the likelihood of developing allergies. Proper socialization also helps reduce anxiety and stress, which can impact the immune system.

Proper diet and nutrition

Feeding dogs a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial in maintaining their overall health and immune system. Introducing a variety of high-quality proteins and limited ingredient diets can reduce the risk of food allergies. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog’s individual needs.

Regular veterinary check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor your dog’s overall health and detect any potential allergies or health issues early on. Vaccinations, parasite control, and routine examinations can help identify and address any concerns before they escalate.

Importance of professional guidance

When it comes to allergies in dogs, professional guidance is vital in ensuring the best possible care for your pet. Consulting a veterinarian is the first step in diagnosing and managing allergies. They can conduct allergy testing, provide appropriate treatment options, and offer advice on allergen avoidance and lifestyle modifications.

Allergy specialist referral

In some cases, a veterinarian may recommend consulting an allergy specialist, also known as a veterinary dermatologist. These specialists have advanced training and expertise in diagnosing and treating allergies in dogs. They can offer specialized testing, individualized treatment plans, and access to the latest advancements in allergy treatment.

Research and advancements in allergy treatment

The field of allergy treatment is continually evolving, with ongoing studies and new therapies being developed to improve the management of allergies in dogs. Researchers are exploring novel treatments such as sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) and investigating the potential benefits of new medications and vaccines.

Ongoing studies

Researchers are conducting studies to better understand the underlying causes of allergies in dogs and to develop more effective treatment options. Ongoing research aims to identify genetic markers for allergies, refine diagnostic techniques, and explore the use of innovative therapies.

New therapies and treatments

Advancements in immunotherapy, including sublingual immunotherapy, offer promising alternatives to traditional allergy shots. These treatments aim to provide a convenient and less invasive option for managing allergies in dogs. Additionally, new medications are being developed to specifically target the allergic response, providing more targeted and effective relief.


While allergies can affect dogs of any breed, certain breeds are more prone to developing allergies due to genetic predispositions. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, and West Highland White Terriers are among the breeds commonly susceptible to allergies. However, it’s important to note that individual dogs within any breed can still develop allergies.

Identifying and managing allergies in dogs is crucial to ensure their well-being and comfort. Professional guidance, appropriate testing, and targeted treatments can help alleviate symptoms, reduce allergen exposure, and enhance the quality of life for dogs with allergies. With ongoing research and advancements in allergy treatment, the future looks promising for effectively managing allergies in dogs.

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