The Short Answer is:
There is no evidence that pit bulls are hypoallergenic. When a breed is hypoallergenic, it has characteristics that reduce the likelihood of causing an allergic reaction in humans. Dog allergens such as dander, fur, saliva, and urine are produced in moderate to high amounts by Pitbulls.
In this article you will know the answer to the query “Are Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?“.
- Is Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
- What Does Hypoallergenic Mean In Dogs?
- Why Aren’t Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
- How The Pitbull Stacks Up
- Is Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
- Can I Make My Pitbull Hypoallergenic?
- Hypoallergenic Pitbulls
When you’re allergic to dogs it can be extremely dangerous and frustrating especially if you’re planning to adopt or buy a dog.
There are a bunch of small fluffy dogs labeled “hypoallergenic” which people claim may work for you or your family despite allergies to dogs. It may be even more frustrating if you were looking for something more like a Pitbull and less like a Maltese.
Is Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
There is no evidence that pit bulls are hypoallergenic. When a breed is hypoallergenic it has characteristics that reduce the likelihood of causing an allergic reaction in humans. Dog allergens such as dander fur saliva and urine are produced in moderate to high amounts by Pitbulls.
It is common for the word “hypoallergenic” to be misunderstood and as a result misunderstood and misused. As opposed to the black and white “hypoallergenic” versus “not hypoallergenic” labels you often hear about it is more of a scale with degrees of success.
The mechanics of labeling dogs as “hypoallergenic” are even more complicated when they are pet animals.
Compared to Pitbulls and St. Bernards Poodles and Maltese are both hypoallergenic. This should be pretty straightforward should not it?
Because of their curly hair Poodles are more hypoallergenic than Maltese who have straight hair. Despite their small size the Maltese are more hypoallergenic than most Poodles which are larger.
In addition St. Bernards drool more than Pitbulls making them less hypoallergenic. Since St. Bernards have double coats their shed-fur will remain on their bodies rather than dropping everywhere making them less hypoallergenic.
In addition neither of them is considered “hypoallergenic!”
And it all depends on the severity and reaction of the person’s allergies too! People with severe allergies may have problems even with the most hypoallergenic dogs while someone with a mild allergy might be able to handle a Pitbull.
To conclude categorizing a breed of dog as “hypoallergenic” is not as straightforward as people think.
Despite all of the information Pitbulls are not less likely to cause allergic reactions to humans than other breeds due to any distinctive breed characteristics.
Pitbulls are also prone to skin conditions licking and drooling which makes them even more likely to trigger allergies in people.
The good news is that there are some ways you can reduce the number of allergens your dog sheds on you and in and around your house. Its time to get started.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean In Dogs?
Hypoallergenic refers to something that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction due to its inherent characteristics. The most common sign of this in dogs is that they are bald or have hair instead of fur as well as that they do not drool or lick much.
The term “hypoallergenic” refers to a material that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
The term “hypoallergenic” is most commonly used to describe dogs. Many of the products and plants that we interact with on a daily basis use this term.
You may read something like “naturally crafted to be hypoallergenic and free of parabens and sulfates” on the back of a bottle of shampoo or lotion.
As parabens and sulfates are common allergens in humans products that avoid them and other common allergens are called “hypoallergenic” – because they are less likely to cause allergic reactions.
The same rules apply when discussing hypoallergenic dog breeds. In other words this breed is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other breeds.
Physically reducing the amount or location of where they shed not only their fur but all of their most common allergens is one of these characteristics.
A dog allergy is caused by an overactive immune system that reacts adversely to proteins that are in fact harmless and produced by the dogs body.
Dog fur does not cause allergies in people. Instead they are allergic to the proteins found in the oils that coat a dogs fur. As a result these oils coat the dogs dander as well. They leave their allergic-reaction-causing oils on their fur and dander when they fall out around the house.
An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction in a person such as hair and dander.
A persons immune system incorrectly responds to allergens because they contain proteins.
Dog allergies can generally be avoided by avoiding physical contact with dogs by not owning them and staying away from them in public places. As a result however it is more challenging to avoid their allergens.
Dogs always shed fur dander saliva and urine their “allergens.” A dog-allergic person who avoids physical contact with dogs may still encounter traces of these allergens in the air in the house or in the yard.
As a result fur dander saliva and urine are the four main causes of allergic reactions in dogs.
Consequently hypoallergenic dog breeds have some physical or behavioral characteristics that make them less likely to cause allergic reactions in humans.
Why Aren’t Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
A hypoallergenic dog breed must have physical and behavioral characteristics that reduce human exposure to fur dander saliva and urine. Although some dogs may have hair or rarely drool which reduces the number of allergens they shed no breed is 100% hypoallergenic or allergen-free.
In the world there is no such thing as a purely hypoallergenic product meaning it could not cause an allergic reaction. Water is an allergen so its fair to assume that dogs could always cause an allergic reaction to someone which is why I dislike the “yes hypoallergenic would not cause an allergic reaction” label – its just too broad.
Lets take a closer look at Pitbulls specifically to determine whether or not they are hypoallergenic.
Below is a list of the most common features of hypoallergenic dogs and how Pitbulls stack up against them. To determine whether a dog is hypoallergenic and if it is a good fit for a person with dog allergies all traits below should be evaluated holistically.
You should not view “hypoallergenic” as a black-and-white label but rather a sliding scale.
Hair Wire and Hairless
Its usually enough for most people to put a “hypoallergenic” label on their dog if it has hair instead of fur but its actually more complicated.
In dogs and all animals hair grows continuously from the base without falling out while fur grows to a certain length and falls out then grows back.
A hypoallergenic dogs skin produces allergy-causing oils that coat every strand of hair which generally stay on the dog until they get a hair cut rather than dropping out when the dog sheds.
The result is that dogs with hair are more hypoallergenic than dogs with fur because they can better control the spread of allergens around the house.
Those of you who have brushed your hair will know that it does shed. There is still some hair shed by dogs with hair such as poodles and Maltese but it is less than what dogs with fur shed.
In addition dogs with tightly curled hair are more hypoallergenic than dogs with straight hair.
Do you remember the Maltese and the poodle I mentioned earlier?
Theres nothing wrong with dogs having fur its just that their fur is coated with oils that spread throughout the house when they shed.
Even dogs with hair shed but those with tightly curled hair such as the poodle get the hair caught in their coat rather than falling to the ground.
A dog with straight hair like the Maltese sheds its hair because there are no curls to hold it in place.
Because you can concentrate most of your exposure to their hair on grooming days poodles are more hypoallergenic than Maltese.
We’ll look at the example of the poodle and Maltese later.
Like poodles and Maltese Schnauzers have wiry coats with hair that resembles poodles. Unlike fur it does not fall out regularly but instead sticks to the dog until it is brushed or stripped away.
The benefit of hair and wire coats is that they allow owners to bring their dogs outside and isolate them when the dogs’ hair falls out unlike fur which falls out when it is ready.
Hair/fur allergens are completely removed from the equation with bald dogs. Due to their lack of hair and fur to shed all the oils that their bodies produce stay on their skin rather than falling out and contaminating your home.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
There is only one layer of fur on the coat of a pitbull not hair. Consequently their fur sheds pretty much constantly but it sheds more frequently in the spring and early summer when they are blowing out their coats.
Compared to other breeds of dogs they do have short coats so they require less hair management than St. Bernards. Its not all good though when it comes to that short coat.
In a similar way to the curly-haired poodle the Saint Bernards long double coat will get tangled with spent fur and remain on the body until brushed.
Because theres nothing holding the fur onto your Pitbulls body it will just fall out whenever it sheds.
Healthy oily skin
In this section we discuss dog dander another common allergen that is misunderstood.
It is important to note that people are not allergic to the dander itself. Dander does not cause allergies; rather it coats the dander with oils. It is the oils on their bodies that cause the reaction when they come into contact with dander.
Compared to breeds with dry skin breeds with healthy oily skin are more hypoallergenic because they shed less dander around the house.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
Unfortunately Pitbulls are prone to skin allergies. As a result they are more likely to develop immune disorders that make them more susceptible to skin allergies.
As a result of these allergies your Pitbull will develop itchy rashes all over his body which will encourage him to scratch himself excessively causing him to shed too much fur and skin cells.
It is possible for these conditions to dry out the skin of your Pitbull resulting in them producing more dander. Unfortunately many common treatments further dry out your Pitbulls skin aggravating your allergies at the same time.
In the event that you are allergic to Pitbulls this is exactly what you should avoid.
The reason for this is simple: economies of scale. The skin of large dogs is thicker and produces more allergens than the skin of smaller dogs. The hypoallergenic properties of smaller dogs are therefore higher than those of larger dogs.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
Pitbulls tend to weigh about 45-50 pounds placing them firmly in the category of “medium” dogs. They have similar coats to Chihuahuas but since they weigh about 10 times more you can expect about 10 times more shedding.
Pitbulls are still about one-third the size of St. Bernards so thats 13 less fur overall so they’re definitely not the worst.
Dogs that drool more are less hypoallergenic than dogs that do not drool as much. Dogs that drool are more likely to leave behind allergens because many of the reaction-causing proteins are also found in their saliva.
Short-nosed dogs are more likely to suffer from respiratory issues snoring coughing and sneezing than long-nosed dogs.
Therefore they are more likely to spread their saliva and mucous to their owners and around the house causing them to react later on.
Keeping everything inside is a great benefit.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
Drooling is more common in Pitbulls than in other dogs but they are not among the worst offenders.
Due to their large wide mouths and short snouts Pitbulls have relatively droopy upper lips.
Dogs with this particular head shape are prone to this condition. As a result Pitbulls tend to leave more drool and dribble around the house than other breeds.
The same as drooling. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to your dogs saliva if it licks you.
Many people who call dogs hypoallergenic think only of the dogs hair and are surprised when they break out in a rash after having kisses with their new poodle.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
A pit bull is one of the lickiest breeds of dog there is. Compared to other breeds of dogs they bond closely with their owners and love to show affection through licking.
Another big negative about Pitbulls is their tendency to cover you with spittle which can cause allergic reactions.
Easy To House Train
It may surprise you but dogs that are easier to housetrain are more hypoallergenic than dogs that are notoriously difficult to housetrain.
In addition to being an allergen urine is also a irritant. Even if you have a dog with hair if you frequently step into puddles around your house you are more likely to react.
Dogs that can be quickly trained to do their business outside in a designated area are better options for people with allergies to dogs.
How The Pitbull Stacks Up
There are a lot of Pitbulls in this category! Because they are not stubborn by nature they can learn to hold their business until they are outside more easily than other breeds.
In addition Pitbulls are an intelligent breed that is in tune with their owners’ emotions so they are well-suited for housetraining.
Is Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
You can see that they do not have the physical or behavioral characteristics that would reduce your exposure to their allergens so no they are not very hypoallergenic.
Although its a scale there are some things you can do to reduce the number of allergens you will have to deal with if you have mild allergies or are still considering getting a Pitbull.
Can I Make My Pitbull Hypoallergenic?
It is possible to make your Pitbull more hypoallergenic but Pitbulls are a breed that is especially prone to cause allergies so you would not be able to make it completely “hypoallergenic.” You can make your Pitbull more hypoallergenic by controlling your exposure to their fur dander saliva and urine.
Fur and Dander
First you must control your Pitbulls shedding in order to control dander so you can deal with their allergens. Toward your Pitbull start from the outside and work your way in.
You should start by cleaning your house. Make sure you clean your house thoroughly. Consider having your carpets steam cleaned by a professional. If they’re doing the furniture too maybe have them do that as well.
Invest in a robot vacuum and schedule it to run every day at a certain time to keep your house fur-free.
Ensure that your air filters are kept clean by cleaning them regularly.
You may want to consider investing in an air filter that reduces the amount of fur and dander in your home such as this one.
Make sure your Pitbulls bedding is kept clean by washing it regularly. Place a blanket or sheet over their spot so you can isolate their fur and dander to that one spot if they are allowed on the furniture.
If you’re going to have a Pitbull inside with someone who suffers from allergies you need to keep your house as clean as possible. There may be no possibility of getting a Pitbull if the reaction is severe.
The next thing to consider is the fur and dander on your Pitbull.
Its a good idea to brush them out regularly with a slicker brush like this one. You would not be able to undo all the hard work you have put into cleaning your home if you do it inside!
Brush your Pitbull as needed using this brush or a similar one but I recommend doing so at least twice a day to remove as much loose fur as possible.
A bath is another great way to remove excess fur and dander from your Pitbull but be aware that most dog shampoos strip grease and oils from your Pitbulls coat.
Your Pitbulls skin and fur will be dried out if you do so too much which will make shedding and dander worse.
If you do not want to use shampoo on your Pittie then pick up an extremely mild puppy shampoo. It is possible to remove most of the excess fur and dander through the use of water and agitation alone without the use of any unnecessary chemicals.
Use dog shampoo only once a week if you use regular dog shampoo on your Pitbull.
There is a possibility that your Pitbull may suffer from allergies as well if they have a dander problem. You should consult your veterinarian if thats the case.
If your Pitbull only has dander and does not show any other signs of allergies you can treat their dry skin by applying coconut oil.
You can use coconut oil to moisturize your Pitbulls fur if it is suffering from minor infections that are causing it to dry out. It is also a safe and inexpensive oil that contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Before giving your Pitbull a bath apply it all over their skin especially where they have the worst dander but cover them all.
Allow the oil to soak into their skin and hair for 5 minutes then proceed with the bath as usual.
You should also check if your Pitbull is dehydrated which is often overlooked as a cause of excess dander. You should make sure your Pitbull drinks roughly one ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.
Adding a splash of sodium-free chicken broth to their water can encourage them to drink more fluids if they are not getting enough.
When it comes to Pitbull allergens fur and dander are the main culprits but saliva and urine play a major role as well.
You may not have realized how challenging it is to control where your Pitbulls saliva ends up. Most people with dog allergies encounter Pitbull saliva when the Pitbull licks them or their furniture or when the Pitbull drools.
You will need to train your Pitbull not to lick you if you experience allergic symptoms after it licks you.
Even though it may sound sad it is a necessary and worthwhile step to save the relationship. Training involves teaching them what they should not do and having them do something else instead as is the case with all forms of instruction.
The first thing you need to do is stop them from licking you. Pull your hand away when they do it and tell them “No.”. There is no need to reprimand them especially if it is their first time learning this rule.
You cannot teach your Pitbull to avoid licking you just by telling him “no.”. They love you and want to be affectionate toward you!
The second step is to give them something else to do. Your Pitbull should be encouraged to behave differently after you have said “No.” Try sitting nicely and then giving them a head scratch avoiding their mouth and tongue.
If you want to get more elaborate you can have them roll over and rub their belly keeping their mouths away from yours.
Depending on how severe the allergen is you may need to take a different approach. Maybe you’ll need to tag someone else in to give your Pittie the positive reinforcement he needs to stop licking you.
Pitbulls may not be a good fit for you if you are unable to have physical contact with them.
Liking you is a pretty straightforward thing you can avoid. Your Pitbull may not even realize where the allergens come from licking the couch pillows or carpet if it likes to lick them.
Observe your Pitbull carefully to see if they are licking the furniture in your house leaving behind allergens that will later cause you problems.
The fact that their saliva has dried up does not mean that you will not experience an allergic reaction to it. After drying it can still flake off and become an aerosol causing an even greater number of allergens to be released into the air.
If you do not know where your Pitbull is licking treating it will be difficult. With this bitter apple spray from Amazon you can treat your Pitbull after identifying where it is licking.
In addition to tasting bitter it will discourage the dogs from licking it.
If you want your Pitbull to be able to lick it you should pair it with a new toy or stuffed animal.
Because they are probably seeking comfort and self-soothing through licking removing it altogether may not be good for them as they will likely find something else to lick.
Although Pitbulls drool they do not drool as much as Saint Bernards and Irish Setters. The amount of drool your Pitbull makes may need to be considered if you have allergies.
After a walk or playtime make sure you have a towel handy to dry off your Pitbulls face.
Dogs drool more after exercising so wiping it off before they come inside and before it can get on you is the best defense.
Towels can be strategically placed in your home to control most drooly spots. Dogs tend to drool more when eating and drinking so wrap a towel around their food and water bowls.
The same is true for dogs who tend to drool more when they are in a car so be sure to have a washable towel or blanket handy to absorb excess drool.
If all else fails you can buy them a scarf or bandana to tie around their necks. You can use this to absorb drool before it lands on your floor carpet or on a part of your Pitbull that you will touch later.
There should not be a problem with urine in the house unless you have a puppy or a Pitbull with special needs.
Housetraining your Pitbull is important if you own one. As a matter of health and hygiene this is important regardless of whether you have allergies. Dog urine can accumulate ammonia over time which can be caustic to humans.
It may be that your Pitbull thinks its okay to pee in the same place in the house all the time. You should remember that dogs are much better at smelling than we are so if it smells like pee they’re likely to come back to it. If you clean your Pitbull thoroughly with regular products they may still think they should go there again after smelling the pee.
As you continue to work on bringing them outside to relieve themselves pick up a bottle of this enzyme cleaner to completely eliminate the smell of urine.
After your Pitbull has been outside to do their business you may also find urine on them.
Give your Pitbull some time to walk around the yard or continue walking on the leash with them after they have peed to ensure that everything has made its way out and that your Pitbull is as dry as possible.
It is more of a sliding scale than a label when it comes to hypoallergenic products. There are some dogs that are very hypoallergenic and some dogs that are not very hypoallergenic but no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.
People may be allergic to dog oils because all dogs secrete them. Dogs with hair though less likely to shed these oils around your house can still cause allergic reactions in people with dog allergies.
These oils are found not only in a dogs hair but also in his dander saliva and urine. Due to the fact that all dogs have these to some degree there will never be a dog that is completely hypoallergenic.
It is especially difficult for Pitbulls to be hypoallergenic. It may be easy to control their urine but they shed quite a bit giving allergens plenty of opportunities to enter your home.
Additionally they tend to have dry skin which increases their dander production.
That coupled with their goofy drooly mouths makes for a potential allergic reaction triple threat.
Keep them clean and ensure you keep as much distance between yourself and their fur dander saliva and urine as possible if you have mild allergies and are considering a Pitbull.
It would probably be best for you and the Pitbull to consider a more hypoallergenic dog breed in the long run.
Other Breeds To Consider
The fact that Pitbulls are not hypoallergenic may make you rethink bringing one into your life if you are a Pitbull fan.
Its okay I’m not going to recommend getting a Maltese instead. Here are some hypoallergenic options to consider instead of a Pitbull:
There are three different sizes of Schnauzers the largest weighing over 100 pounds.
The Schnauzer is an intelligent trainable and athletic dog that is a better option than the Pittie if you have allergies to dogs.
It is a known fact that these charming little dogs are quiet and clean as well as confident and playful. Pitbulls have the same energy and character as Pitbulls but without fur problems.
When you need a tough guard dog these strong fearless dogs are a great alternative to Pitbulls that are hypoallergenic and courageous.
It is very intelligent and just like Pitbulls quickly devotes itself to its family. They make excellent family dogs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
Portuguese and Irish Water Dogs
In the Spaniel group both of these water dogs and many others are outgoing athletic energetic dogs that can spend the whole day running outside as easily as they can snuggle up on the couch.
The majority of water dogs including Poodles have hair rather than fur making them more hypoallergenic than Pitbulls.
If you’re allergic to pit bulls you might sneeze if you own one! Pit bulls are wonderful dogs who have a lot going for them.