Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

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German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic dogs. In fact, these large working dogs are so well known for shedding, that GSD lovers often refer to them as “German Shedders”! 


It is not only the frequency of their shedding that makes the German Shepherd a poor choice for a family with allergies, though. The level of particular proteins that a breed has and the sensitivity of reactions of individual humans also influence how “hypoallergenic” a dog is for that household.


The German Shepherd Coat


The German Shepherd has a double-layered, medium-length coat. The bottom coat layer is soft and insulating, while the topcoat is thick, harsh, and closely held to the body.

Like most dogs with a double-layered coat, the German Shepherd is a shedder. In addition to regular shedding, this protective pup also “blows its coat” twice a year (in Spring and Fall) when the temperature shifts significantly – spring and fall.

In the spring, the GSD coat thins out to prevent dogs from overheating when summer comes along. In the fall, the GSD coat thickens to protect dogs from freezing temperatures come wintertime.

Caring for the German Shepherd coat is more a matter of maintenance than anything else. Brushing out your GSD’S coat once every few days helps to remove dead hair and prevents that dead hair from falling around the house.

Regular brushing also helps to spread oils from your GSD’s skin over their coat. These natural oils help to protect the skin and create a waterproof layer over the coat.

Since the German Shepherd does have a double-layered coat, always brush them carefully so that you do not strip the light, insulating undercoat and permanently damage your dog’s natural coat.


Hypoallergenic Dogs


Let us pause briefly to ask what hypoallergenic means.

When someone advertises something as being “hypoallergenic,” it means that it is much less likely to cause an allergic reaction. So, for example, a hypoallergenic dog is unlikely to cause allergy symptoms in someone who might usually have allergies.

But what makes a dog “hypoallergenic”?

It is all down to those proteins we mentioned previously.

All dogs produce these proteins, but some dogs have more than others. These proteins are present in skin cells, urine, and saliva, so anytime someone with allergies comes into contact with these substances, they experience a varying degree of allergic reaction.


Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?


No. The German Shepherd is not a hypoallergenic dog, in fact, most people with allergies to dogs experience a degree of reactivity to the German Shepherd.


What Influences How Hypoallergenic the German Shepherd is?


Shedding Frequency

The German Shepherd sheds considerably and when dogs shed, they also lose skin cells (dander.) Allergy-inducing proteins are in that dander. So, the more frequently and heavily a dog sheds, the more allergy-inducing proteins release into the environment, and the higher the likelihood is of someone with allergies experiencing symptoms.


Allergy-Inducing Proteins

Dogs produce certain proteins that trigger an immune response in humans that are allergic to dogs. Some dog breeds produce more of these proteins than other dog breeds, and some humans are more sensitive to some types of proteins than other humans.

A combination of these factors influences how one person experiences an allergy to dogs and explains why one person can have an allergic reaction to a particular breed of a dog whereas another person can have an allergic reaction to another breed.


Limiting Allergy Symptoms When You Own a German Shepherd


If you already own a German Shepherd or if you decide that you cannot live without one despite your allergies, there are some things that you can do to limit your allergy symptoms.


Regular Grooming

A regular grooming/brushing schedule helps remove dead hair from your GSD’s coat before it gets thrown into the atmosphere. So, if you brush your German Shepherd daily, you can improve your allergy symptoms and have a cleaner home!


Healthy Diet

Diet is another crucial factor in shedding. Your German Shepherd’s health depends on vitamin and mineral-rich diet that is suited to their lifestyle. A well-balanced diet maintains your GSD’s skin and coat health which limits shedding.

A good diet also prevents problems like dry skin that cause itching and lead to more dander in the environment.


Veterinary Care

Veterinary care also influences your GSD’s coat health and overall wellbeing. With regular veterinary care, your veterinarian can ensure that your GSD is not experiencing allergies, food sensitivities, or other medical problems that impact the skin and coat health.


Conclusion / Summary


The German Shepherd is not a hypoallergenic dog, and it makes a poor breed choice for many people with dog allergies for two reasons –

  • Frequency of shedding – The German Shepherd sheds frequently, and more hair shed means more skin flakes (or dander) in the environment.
  • The presence of allergy-inducing proteins – Unfortunately, the German Shepherd produces more allergy-inducing proteins than other more allergy-friendly breeds like the Maltipoo!

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