English Springer Spaniel standing in field

When looking to add a new four-legged family member to a household with an allergy sufferer, it’s much easier to search for breeds deemed hypoallergenic. While no dog can be considered 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds produce much fewer allergens than others and these breeds are typically touted as being hypoallergenic.

Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, the English Springer Spaniel does not fall into the hypoallergenic category. English Springer Spaniels shed moderately year-round with two bouts of a heavy shed in the spring and fall. They are not the most ideal dog for someone with a dog allergy.

Why Isn’t the English Springer Spaniel Ideal for Allergy Sufferers?

The English Springer Spaniel is a sporting breed that was bred for hunting. They excel at being gun dogs used to flush out game, but they also make great family pets. They are a double-coated breed with a soft, dense, short undercoat with a medium-length outer coat that is either flat or wavy.

It’s a common misconception that the hair itself causes an allergic reaction, but it is actually the proteins in dander, saliva, and even urine that cause the allergic response.  As mentioned, this coat will shed moderately all year round with two heavy sheds during spring and fall. So the shedding releases a lot of dander than can flare up allergies.

two English Springer Spaniels
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A Guide to Dog Allergies

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that as many as 3 out of 10 people that suffer from allergies will suffer an allergic reaction to cats and dogs. Cat allergies are much more prevalent than dog allergies, but dog allergies still plague many, leaving dog lovers in search of the perfect breed that they share their home with, without the misery of constant allergy symptoms.

Cause of Allergies

Allergies stem from an overly sensitive immune system. They are the result of an immune response to a foreign substance, and while it is the function of the immune system to fight off and destroy foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria, with allergies, the immune system has mistaken harmless proteins as potentially harmful. Once the immune system reacts to the protein, allergy symptoms present.

As mentioned above, the immune system is reacting to the proteins in the dog’s dander, saliva, and even urine rather than their coat. Encountering these proteins triggers an allergic reaction. Dogs that shed moderately-to heavily will release more particles of dander into the air.  Therefore, heavy shedders, heavy droolers, and dogs that are not well potty-trained can wreak havoc on allergies.

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

Symptoms of dog allergies will vary by individual. They can range from mild to severe and may even change over time, either becoming worse or getting better. Here’s a list of the symptoms associated with dog allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, the roof of the mouth, or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing/wheezing

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pet Allergies

If allergies are suspected, it’s best to visit your doctor for the associated testing and official diagnosis. The tests will confirm what allergens are causing the symptoms. Once this is confirmed, you can work with your allergist to help get the allergies under control and ease the symptoms.

There is no cure for allergies but medication, allergy shots, and keeping yourself far from known allergens are key to minimizing suffering. Talk to your doctor about the best options for you and your situation. If you already have a dog that is flaring up your allergy symptoms, there is plenty you can do to reduce the allergens within your home. If you are looking for a new best friend, you may want to consider breeds that produce fewer allergens.

English Springer Spaniel outdoors
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The Best Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers

While the English Springer Spaniel may not be an ideal choice of breed for allergy sufferers, there are plenty of breeds that produce less allergens. Keep in mind that no dog is truly hypoallergenic, but here’s the list of breeds allergy sufferers is likely to have the best luck with:

  • Afghan Hound
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Schnauzer

Final Thoughts

While no dog can be considered completely hypoallergenic since all dogs produce allergens, some breeds do make the list as being hypoallergenic and producing much fewer than other breeds. Unfortunately, the English Springer Spaniel is not considered a hypoallergenic breed, as they do shed regularly and produce a lot of dander.

For those who have dogs in the home that produce a fair share of allergens, there are steps you can take to drastically reduce them. For those searching for a new dog, there are plenty of other great breeds out there that can work well with allergy sufferers.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock