Is it appropriate to call Doodles "hypoallergenic"?
Hypoallergenic Goldendoodles, Hypoallergenic Labradoodles, Hypoallergenic Aussiedoodles, Hypoallergenic Bernedoodles, Hypoallergenic Sheepadoodles...is it "false advertising" to use the term HYPOALLERGENIC when referring to doodles--or poodles for that matter? Sometimes on Facebook, somebody will rebuke us at Crockett Doodles for calling doodles "hypoallergenic." They'll basically say that we are stupid or promoting false advertising, because no breed can be called "hypoallergenic." I've even had people say "you should tell people they are much less likely to produce allergies, but you can't call doodles (or any breed) hypoallergenic."
Meaning of Hypo-
Apparently some people misunderstand the term "hypoallergenic," which simply means that a particular dog or breed of dogs (in this case poodles/doodles) is less likely to cause allergies. I think it is fairly common knowledge that the English prefix "hypo" means "less than" or "under." Hypothermia is someone extremely cold due to a less than normal body temperature. Hypothyroidism is an under-active thyroid gland. People with hypoglycemia have low blood sugar. A hypochondriac is less sensible than a normal person about their health (imaginary diseases, etc). A hypothesis is a less than proven thesis; a theory that still needs proof. A hypocrite is less moral than they pass themselves off as. Hypoxia is a person who has less than a normal amount of oxygen reaching their tissue. Anyway, regarding the term "hypoallergenic," we are quick to tell people that no dog is non-allergenic, and they should interact with a pup to see if their allergies respond negatively.
Historical Usage of “Hypoallergenic”
Originally used in 1953 to describe cosmetics that were less likely to cause allergic reactions, the term "hypoallergenic" is still used in the cosmetics world, and is used for dogs that are less likely to cause allergic reactions. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that low-shedding or non-shedding breeds are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Again, this is different than saying non-allergenic. It's impossible to make a 100% foolproof promise, because some people are allergic to dog saliva. Or they’re allergic to grass, and when their doodle plays in the grass, then comes inside they have a reaction.
Doodles Proven Less Likely to Cause Allergies
I would contend that it is completely appropriate to refer to well-bred doodles as hypoallergenic, because they are less likely to cause allergic reactions, but this is not a 100% guarantee that someone with extreme allergies or asthma will never react to a doodle or any kind of dog. Those who closely follow the Crockett Doodles Facebook page will have read dozens (likely well over one hundred) testimonies about how a family member who was always allergic to pets before has done fine with a doodle from Crockett Doodles. Every year many of the hundreds of families who get a doodle puppy from the Crockett Doodles network, due so because they are allergic to other breeds. In the vast majority of cases, the Doodle does not aggravate their allergies.
Medical doctor, Clifford W. Bassett proved that non-shedding dog breeds are much more likely to be hypoallergenic. Essentially people who own a poodle (or poodle-cross) are less likely to develop severe allergies than many other breeds. Read the full article in Asthma Magazine.
Pets and allergies: Minimizing the reaction
Volume 7, Issue 3, May 2002, Pages 31-32
Clifford W. Bassett, MD, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). He works at NYU Medical Center and has a private practice in New York, New York
To reiterate, saying that Goldendoodles or Labradoodles are hypoallergenic is different than saying they are non-allergenic. It is true that they are less likely to cause allergies, but that does not mean that they would NEVER ever, under any circumstance cause allergies. Someone who makes the claim that any breed is completely non-allergenic is overstating his/her case. The AKC has a list of several breeds that are less likely to cause allergies.
To read more about surveys done on doodle owners, click here.