Before we discuss if Chihuahuas are hypoallergenic, let’s determine what hypoallergenic means.
Hypoallergenic, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “having little likelihood of causing an allergic response”. Little likelihood. That means hypoallergenic dogs, products, and so on, could still cause an allergic response in some people.
Is pet dander the only cause of pet-related allergies?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, as much as 10% of the population in the U.S. is allergic to dogs! More specifically, 10% of the population in the United States is allergic to pet dander. But, people who suffer from dog allergies may be allergic to all dogs or only to some breeds.
So, since a person can be allergic to one breed and not another regardless of its known dander production, it can be a good idea to spend time with a specific breed before buying or adopting it can help you determine how you will react to it.
If you contact local rescue groups, or shelters, many will be happy to have an additional volunteer or foster home (even if it is temporary) to help you determine your sensitivity to the breed you are considering adopting.
Because allergic reactions can become dangerous and life threatening, it is important to choose adding a dog to an allergy sufferers household carefully. According to the Mayo Clinic website, “A pet allergen can prompt inflammation in air passages and prolonged exposure can cause the ongoing (chronic) inflammation associated with asthma.”
For those who have pet allergies, the pet dander forces their immune system into a reaction state. This causes an inflammatory response in the nasal passages and lungs.
So, are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?
No. However, they can still be a great choice for allergy sufferers!
NO breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but certain breeds are better for allergy sufferers. Typically, the breeds recommended for those suffering from pet allergies are hairless or non-shedding breeds, because the allergen (pet dander) attaches to pet hair and therefore can be harder to control with a shedding breed. But, that does not mean a chihuahua is allergenic.
Also, while the typical allergen produced by pets is their dander, according to the Mayo Clinic website, the allergen cause is actually “a protein found either in an animal’s skin cells, saliva, or urine“. So, if you have a pet-related allergy, be sure to find out if you are allergic to dander (which can be controlled), or if other contact with pets causes you to have a reaction also.
If you suffer from allergies to dog saliva or urine, unfortunately, adding a pet to your household is not a good idea.
How to control your pet-dander allergy:
When dealing with a small breed, like a Chihuahua, controlling pet dander can be much simpler as they do not shed as much as a large dog (smaller body = less hair)
1. Grooming (Bathing and Brushing) – The small size of a Chihuahua makes this solution simple. It is easy to wash them frequently which cuts down on both shedding and dander. By grooming your Chihuahua dog every day (or weekly, at the very least), you can greatly reduce the allergens, especially if you use a products specially formulated to cut down on pet allergens like this shampoo.
2. Don’t Allow Your Chihuahua in Your Bed (or possibly even your bedroom) – Choosing to keep your Chihuahua out of your bed (or bedroom if your allergies are more severe) may be difficult, but it will reduce allergens in your bedroom, which can help with your overall allergy management.
3. Use a HEPA Filter – HEPA air filters or air purifiers are specifically created to capture more allergens. They will not only reduce pet-related allergens in your home, but also environmental allergens like dust.
4. Vacuum – Similar to tip number 3, there are vacuums that are specifically manufactured to cut down on allergens and/or include HEPA filters. The more you vacuum, the more you can keep the allergens in your home under control.
5. Wash Your Hands – Because dander “sticks”, if you remember to wash your hands after petting your dog, that will help prevent the allergen having prolonged contact with your skin.
6. Skin Supplements for Your Dog – Adding fish oil as a daily supplement to your dog’s diet helps keep his coat healthy which will reduce dander.
7. Consider Medication – There are no medications you can give a dog to cause them to stop producing allergens, but there are many allergy medicines on the market for humans. If you find the above steps don’t help control your allergy to dogs, then you may want to consider this option by visiting your doctor who can recommend the best medication for pet allergies.
Some breeds do create less dander than others. However, according to the American Kennel Club, the Chihuahua is not on their list of dog breeds that are known for producing less dander, but again, their tiny size does make it easier to manage the dander they produce.
So, if you suffer from pet related allergies…go ahead, adopt a Chihuahua. But remember, you will need to be diligent about grooming in order to keep your allergies under control. Choosing a pet is a lifetime commitment, so if you’re not comfortable regularly grooming, you may be better off sticking to a non-shedding or hairless breed.
BUT, keep in mind that hairless dogs can cause even more allergic reactions because they have no fur to trap the dander before it goes into the air.
NOTE: If your (or your loved one’s) allergies are severe, rather than trying an easy-to-groom breed like a Chihuahua, you may want to try one of the following breeds:
|Breed:||Why this breed is considered hypoallergenic:|
|Airedale Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|American Hairless Terrier||Hairless|
|Bedlington Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Bearded Collie||Hair pH same as human hair|
|Bichon Frisé||Springy undercoat doesn’t hold much hair or dander Recommended by AKC for allergy sufferers.|
|Cairn Terrier||Sheds little to no hair|
|Chinese Crested||Has very little fur, doesn’t shed much|
|Coton de Tulear||Doesn’t shed|
|Dandie Dinmont Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Fox Terrier (Wire)||Sheds little to no hair|
|Greyhound||Short hair, single coat (similar to many Chihuahua coats)|
|Goldendoodle||Doesn’t shed (providing it is a later generation breeding, because early crosses may still shed)|
|Irish Water Spaniel||Doesn’t shed|
|Italian Greyhound||Short hair, single coat (similar to many Chihuahua coats)|
|Kerry Blue Terrier||Single-coated, short hair, sheds less|
|Peruvian Inca Orchid||Hairless|
|Portuguese Water Dog||Doesn’t shed|
|Schnauzers of all sizes||Short hair, sheds less|
|Scottish Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Sealyham Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Silky Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|Welsh Terrier||Doesn’t shed|
|West Highland White Terrier||Sheds little to no hair|
|Yorkshire Terrier||Hair has same pH as human hair|