Thinking about getting an Australian Shepherd, but worried about your allergies? Choosing the right breed of dog can be a difficult task, especially when being around dogs makes you sneeze and sniffle. ‘Hypoallergenic’ has become a popular buzzword in the dog world in recent years, however, there is no such thing as a totally hypoallergenic dog. Some breeds do tend to shed less than others and therefore tend to trigger less allergic responses making them more suitable pets for allergy sufferers.
Australian Shepherds are a friendly, lively, and intelligent breed that makes brilliant family pets. The answer to the question ‘are Australian Shepherds hypoallergenic’ is unfortunately not straightforward – it’s yes and no. They do have a low shedding rate which means some allergy sufferers can live with them easily, but because they do shed year-round, they can still trigger allergies in others. So, if you’re not sure if an Aussie is right for you, keep reading to find out a bit more.
Despite their name, Australian Shepherds actually originated in Spain and were further developed in the western USA as working dogs. They are lively, high-energy dogs which is how they became a popular choice for cowboys as herding dogs. Today they are still commonly used for this purpose due to their agility, energy, and intelligence. But they also make great family pets for those with an active, outdoor lifestyle, as they are full of energy and easy to train.
Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs, with an average weight of 40-65 lbs, and an average lifespan of 10 years. They do require a lot of exercise – up to 2 hours a day and need plenty of stimulation and games to keep their intelligent minds occupied. Aussies can be quite vocal, so you should be prepared for a lot of barking! They have a medium-length coat, so they do require regular brushing and grooming.
Although there are a number of breeds out there that make claims to be hypoallergenic, there is actually no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog! However, there are plenty of breeds that are better suited to dog lovers with allergies, so don’t worry – your allergies don’t need to stop you from being a pet parent!
Most dog allergy sufferers are actually more sensitive to the dander that comes off a dog than the fur itself. Dander are flakes of skin that cling to a dog’s fur and are shed into the environment as they malt. Different types of coats have different shedding patterns, which is what makes a breed more or less suitable for allergy sufferers. So, dogs with a low shedding rate will produce fewer allergens. The coat types that are least likely to cause allergies are hairless dogs, breeds with a mixed short/long coat, and those with no undercoat.
Australian Shepherds are not strictly hypoallergenic because they do shed their coat, and there is no simple answer to whether they are suitable for a dog lover with allergies. Aussies have what is known as a double coat, which means they have a soft undercoat and a tougher topcoat. Dogs with this type of coat typically shed less fur and dander, but they do still shed. So, for some allergy sufferers, an Aussie might be okay, but others might not be able to tolerate the fur, it’s all down to the individual!
Australian Shepherds will shed more in the winter months but do shed all year round. So how hypoallergenic they are could change throughout the year. But as Australian Shepherds have been found to have a low shedding rate, allergy sufferers generally do very well when around these friendly and intelligent dogs!
An estimated 10-20% of the population in the USA suffers from dog allergies according to the American Kennel Club. Any dog that sheds its coat can trigger a reaction in allergy sufferers, but it can be difficult to predict how different individuals will respond as everyone’s allergy is slightly different. Some people with allergies can tolerate living with Australian Shepherds while others cannot.
Mixing breeds can make a dog more ‘hypoallergenic’. If an Australian Shepherd is mixed with a breed with a lower shedding rate, then this might help!
Australian Shepherds do shed and have a medium-length coat that requires grooming.
If you still want an Australian Shepherd, then there are a few things you can do the help your allergies and make your life more comfortable!
While Australian Shepherds are, like all breeds, not strictly hypoallergenic, they have a low shedding rate because they are double-coated. They might be suitable for dog lovers with allergies, but they do shed a small amount of fur and dander year-round so might still cause problems for some. But there are things you can do to reduce your allergy symptoms if you still want an Australian Shepherd. Regular grooming and brushing, as well as keeping your home fur-free can make a big difference!