Breeders often label the Cavachon (a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise) as hypoallergenic, but this is somewhat erroneous. While this toy-sized breed is low-shedding, to label the Cavachon as hypoallergenic overlooks the fact that dog allergies are not only triggered by dog hair!
Dog hair is just one contributing factor to symptoms for someone with a dog allergy. When someone is allergic to dogs, they are actually allergic to a protein present in a dog’s skin cells, urine, and saliva! So, while your Cavachon may not shed like a Bernese Mountain Dog, proteins in their skin, saliva, and urine still trigger a response from the immune system.
The Allergy Response
The allergic response happens when the body mistakes a harmless substance for one that is harmful. In the case of dog allergies, a protein that is present in skin, saliva, and urine cells triggers the immune system.
Once triggered, the immune system attacks those “harmful” substances to eliminate them from the body. For example, your immune system may make your nose run to flush allergen particles from your nasal passages.
Dog hair can carry traces of saliva and skin cells, but it is just one possible cause of an allergic response in someone with dog allergies. So while a low shedding breed can improve allergy symptoms for some people, those with serious allergies get minimal relief because other allergen sources are still present.
So, where does the Cavachon fit into all of this?
The Cavachon is a designer breed that inherits genetic material from both parents – the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise.
The Cavachon has a long and silky coat like that of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but like the Bichon, there is a slight wave or “kink” to the hair. Like many breeds with human hair-like coats, the Cavachon sheds minimally year-round, which means that at any one time, there is less dog hair and fewer skin cells throughout the house to irritate allergies.
Low Shedding Vs. Hypoallergenic
The difference between low shedding and hypoallergenic. An often-overlooked distinction when talking about “hypoallergenic” dog breeds is
As previously mentioned, dog allergies result from a reaction to specific proteins present in a dog’s urine, saliva, and skin cells. So when a dog sheds less hair, you are exposed to fewer allergens in the environment; however, coming within close vicinity of your dog will expose you to those allergy-inducing proteins once again.
In this example, we would say that the Cavachon is a low-shedding breed, but we cannot say it is a hypoallergenic breed because the allergy-causing proteins are still present.
Are Cavachons Hypoallergenic?
No. Cavachons are low-shedding dogs, but they are not hypoallergenic.
Is Any Dog Hypoallergenic?
In truth, no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
Several types of proteins can trigger an allergic response, and these proteins can be present at different levels in various dog breeds. So some dogs are less likely to trigger allergies simply because they have lower amounts of allergy-inducing proteins, but all dogs have these proteins in their saliva, urine, or skin cells to some degree.
Tips For Reducing Allergens At Home
Although the allergens that trigger your allergic reaction are present in proteins in your dog’s body, there are some helpful tips that can help to make your home a more comfortable place.
Regular Grooming and Brushing
One of the biggest concerns for allergy sufferers is the amount of hair and dander that a dog releases into the environment. Maintaining a regular grooming and brushing schedule can help remove dead hair from the coat before it starts to fall out throughout your home.
Regular brushing does not just remove dead hair from your dog’s coat. Brushing also spreads natural oils over the coat. These oils protect the coat from the elements and nourish the skin. Well-moisturized skin is crucial because it prevents excess skin cells from sloughing off throughout your home.
Your Cavachon’s diet is another major factor in preventing excess shedding and reducing the number of allergens in the environment. With the proper nutrients, your dog will shed minimally and have moisturized skin as well as a shiny, healthy coat.
Routine Vet Care
Routine veterinary care is another significant factor in keeping your dog healthy and preventing unwanted shedding. Routine vet care includes annual veterinary exams, monthly preventatives to keep parasites at bay, and monitoring of any pre-existing conditions that can impact skin health – for example, a thyroid condition.
Conclusion / Summary
The Cavachon is not a hypoallergenic dog, but it is a low shedder. Reduced shedding is certainly beneficial to allergy sufferers, but ultimately, there is no removing all of the proteins that contribute to allergies. For someone with serious dog allergies, the only solution to healthy living is to admire dogs from afar.