Labradors, regardless of their color, are incredibly loving and caring creatures. They make wonderful family dogs as they are fiercely loyal, affectionate, and soft-centered animals. This is why it comes as no surprise that Labrador Retrievers are some of the most popular family dogs across the globe.
In 2020, Labradors Retrievers once again topped America’s list of popular dog breeds, based on statistics given by the American Kennel Club. So, it’s clear that everyone just loves these dogs. But, what if you have allergies, are Labradors a suitable dog breed for you?
If you have a lot of allergies, then you may need to consider a hypoallergenic dog. These types of dogs do not tend to shed or drool, as these are the main causes of allergies.
The dander, dead skin cells, and animal fur that dogs can release can cause allergic reactions in humans, so you will need to pick a breed that has less of a chance of being the cause of your allergies.
So, are chocolate labs hypoallergenic? This guide will answer all of your questions about Labradors being hypoallergenic. But first, let’s take a look at what hypoallergenic means in more depth.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
The term hypoallergenic is used to refer to something that is the least likely to cause an allergic reaction. You can have hypoallergenic skin care products and materials that will not cause reactions and will be suitable for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
Whilst hypoallergenic products can often mean that they definitely will not cause a reaction when we use the term hypoallergenic for dogs, this does not necessarily mean that they will 100% not cause allergies.
Dogs by nature have fur, drool, can salivate, and produce dander. All of these things can and do cause allergic reactions in humans. So no dog is truly, completely hypoallergenic.
Most allergic reactions will be caused by what we call allergens. Allergens can be dander in the air, or saliva, urine, mucus, and other fluids caused by a dog. As some allergies are caused by allergens such as saliva, even hairless dogs can produce allergens, and not be entirely hypoallergenic.
This is why having allergies due to a dog can be highly dependent on the person. Some people with dog allergies can be fine with certain dogs and will tolerate the allergens, whereas they may not be able to tolerate other dog breeds.
In addition to this, not all dogs, even ones of the same dog breed can produce different allergens to other dogs. You may have one dog that salivates a lot and can cause allergic reactions, whereas the same breed of dog may not cause an allergic reaction.
Despite all of this, there are still dog breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, whereas others are not.
For instance, hypoallergenic dogs are often Afghan Hounds, American Hairless Terriers, Bichon Frises, Maltese, and other terriers. You can find a full list of ‘hypoallergenic dogs’ on the AKC website here.
Are Chocolate Labs Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, no. Chocolate Labradors are not considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. Some people often wonder whether different colored labradors are more or less hypoallergenic than others, but the short answer is no, no Labrador is considered a hypoallergenic dog, whether chocolate, yellow, black, red, golden, or white.
This is largely due to the fact that Labradors shed their coats seasonally, and do actually shed their fur a lot. Any Labrador owner will tell you that these dogs seem to be constantly losing fur all over the house, and you will have to vacuum at least once daily to keep on top of it!
Are There Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Many people will argue that there are no actual hypoallergenic dogs as they all produce dander, salivate, and will urinate. All of these things can be allergens for those with dog allergies, so there really are not truly 100% hypoallergenic dogs.
In addition to this, there have been multiple studies to see if a breed that is considered a hypoallergenic dog actually produces much fewer allergic reactions than other breeds of dogs.
Many of these studies did not show significant differences or findings in allergy levels between various breeds. Therefore, it can seem that allergen levels just depend on the dog itself, and not the breed.
Also, some people may be more allergic to certain breeds than others, and that is down to the person, not the specific dog breed.
For the most part, many people are under the impression that the furrier the dog, then the more they will shed, and therefore more allergens they produce.
This is not always the case, as dogs can produce allergens in other ways, such as in their saliva. Whilst many furrier dogs may be considered non-hypoallergenic, this does not mean that you will definitely be allergic to them!
No dog on earth is 100% allergen-free, and therefore is not 100% safe for those with dog allergies, however, you may not even be allergic to a certain dog even if you suffer from allergies with another breed!
How To Deal With Labradors Shedding
Labradors are the perfect pet, but their undying love comes with a price…the shedding. Labs will seem to shed all of the time. However, your home does not have to be a hairy haven forever, as there are a few things that you can do to stay on top of the hair.
Frequently bathing your labrador can reduce the amount of hair loss, and help manage the allergens on the dog’s fur.
If you try bathing your dog just 2 times a week, you can help to eliminate the fur allergens, and maybe even manage your own dog allergies better.
Specific shampoos and conditioners
You can also purchase shampoos and conditioners that can minimize shedding, and prevent it from becoming too much.
Massage while bathing
You can also massage your dog whilst you bathe them to help get rid of dead fur and wash away the fur and dander from the dog.
In addition to regular washing, maintaining your dog’s coat can also help reduce allergens in your home. For example, you will need to brush your Labrador’s fur regularly, to get dead skin cells and dead hair follicles off them.
Most Labradors should be brushed once or twice a week during normal periods, and once a day during their shedding periods.
This will help to loosen any dirt, dander, and debris, whilst also getting rid of dead hair that can cause allergies.
All you need to do is use a rubber brush to get rid of excess hair and smoothen with a bristle brush to remove hair and keep the coat shiny. You can also use your hands or mitts to manually brush dead hair off of your dog’s body.
To get rid of allergens, it is vital that you vacuum regularly when you have a Labrador. This not only keeps your home clean and tidy, but it stops irritants from the hair, dirt, and dander from bothering or aggravating your allergies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of dog allergies?
The most common symptoms of dog allergies are a runny nose or sneezing. You may also feel that you have itchy eyes, nose or throat, and can experience some coughing.
In addition, you can suffer from nasal congestion as a result of your dog allergy, or even experience swelling of the face, and sometimes facial pain.
If you do experience some symptoms of dog allergies, then you should speak to a doctor about this. Some symptoms are only minor, and can be dealt with rather easily, and managed if you want a dog. However, more severe symptoms may need to be treated with medication.
Can I have a Labrador with allergies?
Even if you have dog allergies, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot have a Labrador. It depends on your particular allergies, as you may be sensitive to certain allergens over others.
If you do become sensitive and have allergic reactions when you are around Labradors, then a lab may not be the right dog for you.
However, if you have been around Labradors before and your symptoms are very mild, or you are not bothered by severe allergic reactions, then having a Labrador can be manageable and safe for you.
Some studies even suggest that Labradors can have fewer allergens than other large dog breeds, especially those labs that like to swim a lot. Being in the water often can wash away dander, saliva, and excess fur, making the lab much safer for those with allergies to be around.
Whether you are able to have a Labrador will depend on a range of factors. For instance, will you be able to reduce the number of allergens they produce by regularly brushing, maintaining, and washing your pet?
Bathing and brushing a Labrador regularly can help reduce the amount of fur lost regularly and prevent it from collecting around the home and causing allergens.
In addition, you may need to think about whether you are willing to take allergy medication daily to help keep your symptoms at bay.
On the other hand, if you have very severe allergies to Labradors, then it may be time to forget about having your favorite breed in your home. That being said, there are many breeds that are considered hypoallergenic dogs that may be more suited to you.
For instance, you can try having a:
- Afghan Hound
- American Hairless Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Bedlington Terrier
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Irish Water Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Toy Poodles
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Spanish Water Dog
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Not only this, there are many more hypoallergenic dogs that you can try instead. You do not have to give up your hopes of having a family dog just yet!
Do Labradors shed often?
One of the main reasons that labs are not considered dogs suitable for those with allergies is because they can shed their coat rather often. The amount of shedding directly impacts the amount of fur that will be in your home and in the air around you.
However, how much the dog sheds can be affected by the climate and environment that you keep the dog in. Most Labradors will shed throughout the year a little bit but then shed a lot about twice a year to get rid of their old coats. This is called “blowing” their coat.
This happens typically over a 2-3 week period, during the spring, where the lab will shed its old winter coat to prepare for the warm weather to come.
This will happen again in the fall months as they begin to lose their summer coat and start growing more fur to bulk up for the winter months. Unfortunately, some labs can shed pretty much all year round, but it depends on the particular dog itself.
Labs are not considered very allergy-friendly as they have very coarse and thick hair, due to their double coat. The sleek, soft outer layer of fur is waterproof, making them great swimmers and paddlers, whereas the undercoat is very dense to keep them warm.
As a result, labs are very tolerant of various weather conditions and temperatures, as they can swim in warm waters, and even in very cold waters.
Labradors will love to swim as much as they can, and can stay warm in the very cold conditions of the water throughout the year. However, the thick coat that keeps them warm in water also means that they shed very easily and very often!
To conclude, Labradors are not considered or categorized as hypoallergenic dogs by the American Kennel Club. However, no dog is completely hypoallergenic, as allergens can be caused by saliva, dander, fur, dead skin cells, and even urine. As all dogs salivate and urinate, no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
That being said, some breeds can aggravate allergies more than others. This does not mean that you cannot have a labrador if you have allergies, as it depends on how severe or mild your allergies are, and there are many things you can do to minimize the risk and have a Labrador.
Would You Like To Find Out More About Labradors?
Here at the Outdoor Dog Fun blog, we believe Labrador Retrievers are a great friend to have when you’re outdoors. That’s why we’ve written so many interesting articles about this breed.
- Wanna take long walks with your lab?
- Are Labrador Retrievers outdoor or indoor dogs?
- How much does a lab retriever cost each year?
- Read about Labrador cross breeds: the Jackador, the Pomodor and the Labrahuahua
- Do black labs live a longer time than other colored labs?
- Yes, the white Labrador does exist
- Know more about the golden Labrador
- Adding cats to the Labrador household? Read this article first.