Are Cocker Spaniels hypoallergenic? The bad news if you’re contemplating a Cocker Spaniel adoption is they are not hypoallergenic. Cockers are not a great choice if you suffer from allergies.
However, before you leave thinking you’ve got the answer to your question, there’s a lot more information about so-called hypoallergenic dogs and the Cocker Spaniel that I believe you’re going to find helpful. So stick around, and read the rest of the article because you’ll find some essential information you need to know about dog allergies and how this relates to Cocker Spaniels.
The first thing we should discuss is the term hypoallergenic. What does it mean, and how does this relate to people with allergies? Perhaps you’ve had a dog before because you love them and enjoy their company, but unfortunately, you had to re-home your dog because you discovered the dog gave you severe allergies. This situation is a common occurrence, and thousands of dog owners have suffered the same predicament. It’s heartbreaking to give away a dog you love, like this, yet your health is suffering, and you feel you have no choice.
If this describes you, then you’ll appreciate what I’m saying. However, you still yearn for a fur companion, and you miss their company. However, along comes some dog breeders who claim the dogs they breed are hypoallergenic, and you instantly believe this is a second chance at becoming a dog owner without suffering from severe allergic reactions.
Irrespective of what you might have read, there is no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs. And here’s why. Every dog breed sheds hair; it might be a small amount, it could even be massive amounts, but they all shed, some all year and some more seasonally. You might think that a dog with a minimal amount of shedding, such as a Havanese, would more likely be hypoallergenic than a dog that sheds profusely, such as a Siberian Husky; that’s far from the reality.
The issue is not the hair because the real cause of dog allergies comes from the proteins in the dog’s dander, urine, and saliva. And as you know yourself all dogs, lick themselves, shake and urinate frequently. Of course, the more hair the dog loses, the more of these proteins will be in the air, on your furniture, your clothes, and in your carpets.
In 2011 researchers published an article in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy to determine whether so-called hypoallergenic dogs produced lower dog allergens than non-hypoallergenic dogs. Researchers tested 173 homes, of which 163 (94.2%) had detectable levels of Can f 1 (major dog allergen from salivary lipocalin proteins). There was no difference between these results when compared to homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs.
A further study by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2012 found that the levels of Can f.1. concentrations were significantly higher in dogs marketed as hypoallergenic than non-hypoallergenic dogs. Their conclusion found that so-called hypoallergenic dogs had higher Can f.1. levels in hair and coat samples than non-hypoallergenic dogs.
Several dog allergens, Can f1 and Can f2, from the dog’s saliva, are the two most common, but there are others. Because we’re talking about allergens in a dog’s saliva, there’s no way of knowing if a particular Cocker Spaniel has these proteins in their saliva or not. It’s highly possible to be allergic to one Cocker yet have no symptoms with another.
In addition, you could live with the same Cocker Spaniel for years without a single symptom and then suddenly start with allergies. If this happens to you, visit your health care provider, and they can run tests to find out which proteins you’re having an issue with and prescribe the correct medication.
You might need a hypoallergenic pet, but as we’ve explained, you aren’t going to find one. If you already know from previous experience, you suffer from dog allergies, it’s not the end of the road. You might have presented allergic reactions to a dog you previously owned or with a friend’s or family’s pet dog; it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen with every dog you come into contact with.
Only specific allergens are probably triggering these responses. Different dog breeds do not produce the same dander, so you might not be at all allergic to Cocker Spaniels.
Cocker Spaniels make lovely family pets; they are eager to please and love the company of their human family. Cockers are not big dogs; they rarely grow taller than 15 inches and only weigh up to 30 pounds. However, they have a reasonable life expectancy of between 12 to 14 years. Cockers are also the 30th most popular dog breed in the United States.
However, it’s the Cocker Spaniel coat we are most interested in and whether the Cocker is hypoallergenic. They have a long, silky double coat and a higher than average shedding level. In addition, you would need to groom your Cocker Spaniel frequently; in fact, every day would be best to ensure the coat looks as beautiful as it should.
Frequently grooming this way will also exacerbate any allergy problems you might have. A study in 2013 by PMC Labs found that dog saliva and not pet hair and fur is the most potent source of dog allergens. The Cocker Spaniel was one of fourteen dogs that took part in the study.
In recent years there has been an explosion of “designer or hybrid dogs.” The accompanying marketing would have people believe the vast majority of these crossbreeds are hypoallergenic. One of the most popular designer dog breeds is the Cockapoo. Is the dog truly hypoallergenic or not?
Cockapoos are a designer breed mixing the Cocker Spaniel with the supposedly hypoallergenic Poodle. The Poodle features in many of the mixes precisely because they are touted as being hypoallergenic dogs. Poodles may seem to be hypoallergenic because you don’t get much hair fall. The dead hairs get caught up in the thick curly hair of the Poodle’s outer coat. However, when you brush a Poodle, you’ll still see plenty of air in the brush or comb.
Not coming into direct contact with the Poodle’s hair quite so much does reduce the allergy effects; unless you have severe allergic reactions, then, of course, you will still suffer the consequences. Should you be considering a Cocker Spaniel mix, such as a Cockapoo, be aware the breeder has no control over the type of coat the litter will display. They could all end up with a Cocker’s coat. That’s one potential downside of choosing a Cockapoo.
By now, you probably appreciate why we say no dog is hypoallergenic and certainly not the Cocker Spaniel. However, are Cocker Spaniels heavy shedding dogs? Cocker Spaniels have a long, silky double coat, as we mentioned earlier. So, they do shed above average. If you love to see your Cocker with their beautiful full flowing coats, you’ll see more hair fall and possibly be more susceptible to allergies. However, many Cocker owners like to cut a Cocker’s hair pretty short because they prefer that look and presumably want to contain the hair fall as much as possible.
Cocker Spaniels shed all year round, and twice each year, they will go through seasonal shedding where you’ll notice more hair fall than usual.
We’ve touched a little on grooming Cocker Spaniels, but we should go into a bit more detail. Grooming your dog is an essential element to being a loving and responsible owner. Whether the dog has hair like a Cocker Spaniel or a Labrador, regular grooming sessions help you and your dog bond. It allows you to check your dog for any injuries or wounds carefully.
If you keep your Cocker’s hair relatively long, then they can pick up thorns and all manner of debris that can work their way into your dog’s skin, causing bacterial infections.
Honestly, as often as you can, daily if it makes you and your Cocker feel good. As a minimum, I would say every other day to every third day.
Should you take your Cocker into the countryside every day, I think it’s essential you brush him down when you return home. Cockers will pick up all manner of sharp objects on those types of walks.
If you suffer from allergies, then a Cocker Spaniel might not be the best choice. At least you’re reading about the problem with allergies and what causes them. You’re way ahead of many people who just dive in and choose a dog because they like the dog’s looks; without spending time researching the breed thoroughly.
By now, I’m sure you understand that no dog can be hypoallergenic. However, there are low-shedding dogs you can investigate. There might be fewer allergens in the air, and you could always designate a family member to do the necessary grooming. A Cockapoo might work for you if you manage to choose a puppy that has inherited the Poodle coat. At least that way, 50% of the dog is a Cocker Spaniel.