Hypoallergenic is one of those terms we often hear. Claims that this pillow or that sheet set is hypoallergenic are everywhere. In recent years it has become common practice for pet breeders to make claims that their dog breed is hypoallergenic. However, all dogs have dander, even hairless breeds, so no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
The good news is that some dogs are better for people with allergies than others. Where do Australian Shepherds fit in? The good news is that they are not the worst dog breeds for those with allergies. Unfortunately, they are not one of the best dog breeds either.
Are Australian Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic and allergenic are big terms for pretty simple things. Allergenic is used to describe something that is likely to cause an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic is used to describe something that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
When it comes to pets, no pet is one hundred percent hypoallergenic. However, some pets are less allergenic, or more hypoallergenic, than others. With dogs, there are a number of factors that contribute to a dog’s rating on a scale of allergenic to hypoallergenic.
People with allergies can be allergic to a dog’s saliva or its urine. This form of allergy is the least recognized. Dogs that are trained not to lick may cause allergic reactions when licking family or guests.
More commonly, people may be allergic to things that are caught in a dog’s fur. These allergens may be environmental, or they may be proteins excreted by the dog. Sometimes they are both. When dogs shed, they release these allergens, causing allergic reactions.
Australian Shepherds’ level of shedding is medium to high. They have a double coat, which means they have a blowout in the springtime, where they shed more than ever. Lastly, they have medium to high levels of dander, which is an allergen.
How Hypoallergenic are Australian Shepherds?
Let’s take a look at the numbers to see just where Australian Shepherds fall on the scale between allergenic and hypoallergenic. We will look at
Australian Shepherds have medium to long fur. They also have a double coat.
On a scale of one to ten, an Australian Shepherd has a coat length of about seven, making the coat length mid-way between five (medium) and 10 (long).
An Australian Shepherds double coat helps it stay warm and dry in the fall and winter months. However, when Spring comes, they start shedding to lighten their coat before summer. If you have other seasonal Spring allergies, these will be compounded by your dog’s extra shedding.
Like all dogs who shed, Australian Shepherds shed year-round. Spring is their biggest shedding season. Unfortunately, Spring is also the worst time of year for environmental allergens. Pollens, dust, and other allergens may get caught in your Aussie’s fur and be released when they are shed.
Australian Shepherds are medium to high shedders. On a scale from one to ten, they fall at about a seven. This number is averaged, in the springtime, the number will be closer to ten, and in the winter, it may be closer to a five.
Dander is a term used to describe the proteins collecting on a dog’s fur that is released when they shed. Dander is the thing most people who are allergic to dogs are allergic to.
On a scale from one to ten, Australian Shepherds rate at a seven on the dander level. They have medium to high levels of dander. This is on top of the fact that they are medium to high shedders.
Less common is the allergy to the protein in a dog’s drool or urine. There is nothing you can do about urine except make sure your dog goes to the bathroom outside. Drooling is also something you cannot control. However, you can train your dog not to lick people, and this can help prevent allergic reactions.
On a scale of one to ten, an Australian Shepherd rates at about a four. The good news is that this makes them a medium-low drooler. With training, you can prevent most allergic reactions if you, family, or friends are allergic to your dog’s drool.
An Australian Shepherd’s double coat makes grooming a little more challenging. Aussies have medium to long coats and need regular grooming and brushing. In the springtime, you may need to brush your Aussie every day to control the shed.
Grooming should be done outside whenever possible. This protects you from the release of dander and fur inside. Inside brushing will lead to dander and fur on your furniture and all surfaces of your house. Grooming outside means most, if not all, of the fur and dander will remain outside.
If there is someone in your house who is not allergic to dogs, it would be a good idea to have them brush and groom your Australian Shepherd. If this is not an option, you can pay a professional to do the grooming.
Breathing Allergens are things that cause breathing problems. These allergens are the most common allergens related to dog fur, shedding, and grooming.
Dog produced breathing allergens are dander and fur. However, dogs can carry other allergens in their fur. These include pollen, dust, and other environmental allergens. Environmental allergens are allergens from our environments.
Australian Shepherds’ long double coats can hold a lot more allergens than shorter-haired dogs. Their shedding releases all of those allergens in your home.
Skin allergens are things that cause allergic reactions in or on your skin. Saliva and urine are dog-caused skin allergens. However, your dog may also roll in something outside that may cause an allergic reaction.
Australian Shepherds do not drool much, so their saliva can only get on you or someone who is allergic if they lick. You can train them not to do this.
Australian Shepherds are medium to large dogs. Males are about twenty-three inches tall. Females are approximately twenty-two inches tall. This means they are both almost two feet tall. They can reach a lot more places than a small dog. Anywhere they can reach, they can leave dander, fur, or other allergens.
Why Do Aussies Shed So Much?
Australian Shepherds shed for two main reasons. Their coat thickens in the fall and early winter to keep them warm and dry. They then need to shed this coat in the summertime to thin out their coat and keep themselves cool. The second reason they shed more is that they are double coated dogs. Double-coated dogs, in general, shed more than single coat dogs.
Levels of Shedding
There are three main levels of shedding: low, medium, and high. Between those, you have low-medium and medium-high shedders. Aussies fall into the Medium-high range.
In the fall and winter, they shed less than they do in the Spring and Summer. The springtime is their shedding time, and they have to shed a lot to keep from getting too hot in the summer.
Another shedding thing to keep in mind is climate. In colder climates, an Aussie will need a thicker coat in the winter and will need to shed less if the summers are still cool. The bigger the difference between winter and summer temperatures, the more your Australian Shepherd will shed in the Spring.
Australian Shepherd Mixes to Consider if You Have Allergies
If you are open to having a mixed breed Aussie you can find mixes that are less allergenic or more hypoallergenic than Aussies. Below are the most common and popular Aussie mixes.
- American Hairless Terrier: The Hairless Australian Shepherd American Terrier can be hairless or have short to medium-long fur. A hairless Aussie Terrier is the best option for someone with allergies.
- Bedlington Terrier: The Bedlington Terrier hardly ever sheds or drools. When you breed it to an Aussie you can get puppies that have the best of both parents. An Australian Shepherd Bedlington Terrier that has the terrier parents coat is the best option for anyone with allergies.
- Bichon Frise: Bichon Frises have dense, curly fur that does not shed much. An Aussiechon, as they are popularly called, with the coat of its bichon parent is a great choice for someone who is allergic to dogs.
- Chinese Crested: The Chinese Crested rarely drools or sheds and has a low dander count. An Australian Shepherd Chinese Crested Mix who takes after their Chinese crested parent is a good choice for people with allergies.
- Coton de Tulear: A Coton de Tulear almost never sheds, never drools, and their dander count is significantly lower than most dogs. An Australian Shepherd Coton de Tulear Mix who takes after their Coton parent is a great choice for anyone worried about allergens.
- Maltese: A Maltese rarely sheds and almost never drools. An Aussie Maltese who takes after their Maltese parent is an ideal choice for someone who is allergic to dogs.
- Poodle: Poodles, with their short dense, curly fur almost never shed nor do they drool. An Aussiedoodle who takes after their poodle parent is one of the best choices for someone with allergies.
- Schnauzer (Mini, Regular, and Giant): Schnauzers are great dogs for people with allergies as they rarely drool or shed. An Australian Shepherd Schnauzer Mix or Schnauzzie who takes after its Schnauzer parent is a great addition to any household worried about dog allergies/
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier: These dogs are considered non-shedding and they hardly ever drool. An Aussie Wheaten who takes after their Wheaten parent is a great choice for anyone who might be allergic.
How to live with Australian Shepherds and reduce allergies
If you have your heart set on an Australian Shepherd or if you find you are allergic to your dog, there are things you can do to help control your reactions.
Use an Air Purifier & Change Filters Regularly
Air Purifiers are a must if you have allergies. It is important to remember to change the filter every couple of months. If your allergies are severe, you may need to change the filters more often.
Make sure you always have allergy medication on hand. Whether you need an inhaler and a prescription or just over-the-counter pills, it is essential to have them in case you need them.
Keep Your Dog off of the Furniture
It goes without saying that if you are allergic to your dog, keep them off the furniture. It is also a good idea to keep them out of the bedroom to help keep that area where you can escape from allergens.
Australian Shepherds shed quite a bit. During the Wintertime, you may only need to vacuum once or twice a week. However, during the Spring, you will want to vacuum every day to control the allergens being released by shedding.
Grooming and Bathing
Bathing your Australian Shepherd every couple of months or any time you think they may be carrying allergens can be helpful. Grooming should happen every six to eight weeks.
Brushing will have to happen every day during shedding season. Brushing your dog outside will help prevent the spread of allergy-inducing things within your home. In the fall and winter, brushing can be less frequent. However, it will depend on your dog and your tolerance for dander.
Exercise and Nutrition
Exercise is important for your dog. Outdoor exercise allows some of your dog’s shedding to happen naturally outside instead of inside. It is a great idea to combine a walk with a brushing.
Nutrition is also important. Many people overlook this critical step. A dog that is not receiving proper nutrition will shed more than one who is receiving a balanced diet. Check with your vet about your dog’s specific needs.
Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?
If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!
And in most cases, it’s still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.
And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!
So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!
(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)
If you are considering getting another breed, below you can find a list of the best and worst dogs for allergy sufferers.
What are the Best Dogs for Allergies?
The following list was created by the American Kennel Club. These seventeen dogs are considered the best options for people who have allergies to dog saliva or dander.
- Afghan Hound
- American Hairless Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Coton de Tulear
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Hairless Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Schnauzer (Mini, Regular, and Giant
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Spanish Water Dog
What are the Worst Dogs for Allergies?
The following list consists of the worst dog breeds for allergy sufferers. There are ten dogs on this list, but they are by no means the only dogs that can cause problems for those who have allergies.
- Basset Hound
- Boston Terrier
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Siberian Husky
Do Australian Shepherds Like To Cuddle?
Australian Shepherds can be cuddly and warm towards trusted family members. However, they are less so with strangers. Do not be surprised if your Aussie does not immediately like a person when meeting someone new.
In the end, it comes down to what you want and how allergic you are. An Aussie may not be a bad choice if the allergic person is someone who only rarely visits. You can always clean before a visit.
However, if you or someone in your immediate family or circle of friends is allergic or highly allergic, it would be best to find another dog. If that someone is only mildly allergic, you can consider having an Aussie mix and taking precautions as laid out above.