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America’s First (Hypoallergenic?) Dog

Posted by Ashley on April 15th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama and the First Family welcomed their new furry, four-legged canine “Bo” to the White House. Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, is a curly-haired, black-and-white puppy with a lion-cut tail and lots of appeal. Aside from his penchant for being a gentle companion, obedient, agile, and easily trained, Bo is considered to be hypoallergenic – a must for 10-year-old Malia Obama, who is allergic to dogs. But is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? Many allergists say no.

According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Portuguese water dogs – or “Porties” – are considered hypoallergenic because they are single-coated and shed less hair than other breeds. However, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) says that the amount of hair a dog actually sheds is not the issue for allergy-sufferers. It’s not a dog’s hair that causes allergies. It’s a dog’s dander, or dead skin cells. Read more about hypoallergenic dogs