There are many misconceptions about what actually causes most pet allergies and if you’re asking “Are Pitbulls hypoallergenic?” you may have fallen afoul of some of them.
In this article, we’ll uncover the truth about whether or not Pitbulls are “hypoallergenic” and what the reasons for your dog allergy might be.
We’ll also look at what you can do if you or your family members would like to keep a Pitbull despite your allergy.
And, since many people ask about hypoallergenic dogs because they want to know whether they shed, we’ll touch on that topic too.
Let’s begin with Pitbulls and where the idea of “hypoallergenic dogs” came from.
There’s no Such Thing As A Hypoallergenic Breed, But Some Are Less “Allergenic” Than Others
We’ll very soon discuss why there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed, but there’s a certain amount of truth in the claims people make about certain breeds.
Here’s where things get a bit complicated. Although dogs of the same breed, or even siblings, can differ in the way they trigger individual people’s allergies, there are breeds that are somewhat less likely to trigger allergies.
The breeds that fit this description might surprise you since some of them have quite long hair. The initial belief was that hair length and shedding were related to allergies.
As a result, short-haired dogs like Pitbulls, and even hairless dogs, were considered a better bet. This turned out to have some truth in it, but hair isn’t the number one reason why people have pet allergies.
With research, certain breeds have been regarded as being less likely to trigger allergies than others, but individual factors still come into play.
The short answer in regard to Pitbulls and allergies is that they’re generally considered to be less likely to trigger allergies than some breeds, and more likely than certain others.
So, if pet hair is only part of the problem, what’s the reason why some people are allergic to dogs, and where do Pitbulls stand in these stakes?
Allergens, Hair, Dander, Saliva, Pitbulls And More
The number one trigger for pet allergies is dander – that’s the skin flakes any dog sheds every day.
“There’s no dog in the world that doesn’t shed skin flakes,” you may say, “why do some dogs trigger my allergy while others don’t?”
Here’s the answer. Your allergy isn’t necessarily to the substance itself, but rather, the proteins from which it is composed.
It seems that these proteins vary, and that means you could have an allergic reaction to some dogs, but not others. We’ll have good news for you on that score a little further on.
What about dog hair? Well, there will usually be some dander attached to that and that’s why heavy shedders (unlike the Pitbull which sheds lightly) got such a bad name in the allergy stakes.
Of course, there’s an outside chance that hair is the cause of your problem, but doctors say that allergies are almost invariably the result of dander.
Urine and saliva may also contain allergy-triggering proteins, so they can be taken into account too. Some people get rashes when dogs lick them, for example.
Saliva And Urine
Pitbulls are hugely affectionate, and they are inclined to “give kisses” which could be bad news for your ambition to keep one.
On the bright side, you can teach them not to lick people, or you can teach them a “no kisses” command that they may come to associate with how they should behave around you.
As for urine, it’s an absolute certainty that potty training will be high on your agenda as soon as you bring home any puppy, Pitbull or not.
However, “accidents” are inevitable during this process, so you may want to give the mopping-up and cleaning up responsibility to another member of your family and limit the areas of the house your Pitbull pup is allowed to enter.
Allergy Testing And Choosing A Pitbull
According to the AKC, there are now allergy tests that help to identify the specific dog protein you’re allergic to.
If it’s Can F5, that’s a protein that’s associated with males, so a neutered male or a female shouldn’t trigger your allergy. Even without testing, you can try a few things out.
Spend time with spayed females and neutered male dogs, and if they don’t trigger you, that could be all you have to worry about.
You can also try spending time with dogs of different breeds, including the Pitbull as a breed you’d prefer.
Although individual dogs within breeds can have different effects on your allergy, you might start spotting a pattern.
For some folks, smaller dogs don’t affect their allergy as much. It stands to reason that a small dog produces less dander, and a big breed produces more. As a mid-sized dog, we can put the Pitbull halfway between these extremes.
All the same, allergy testing could be a help. For example, if you have a pollen allergy or a dust allergy, you could mistake it for a dog allergy, or the pollen allergy can increase your sensitivity toward dogs.
If you aren’t allergic to dogs after all, and you’re craving a Pitbull in your life, that’s going to be pleasant news!
Of course, we’re basing this on what works for most people. Most folks don’t have violent allergies to dogs. It’s usually just a case of itchy rashes or hay fever.
If you already have asthma or your allergy is truly unpleasant, and you’re fairly sure it’s triggered by dogs, it’s probably wisest to avoid dogs as much as possible.
Wondering what causes allergies? It’s not that your Pitbull is poisonous or dirty.
It’s simply a matter of an overactive immune system wrongly identifying the proteins from your dog as a threat. The symptoms are caused by the way your immune system responds to a fake threat.
Worried about your kids? Studies show that kids who grow up with dogs are less likely to have allergies than those who don’t.
Living With A Pitbull When You’re Allergic
Consider The Impact On Your Dog’s Needs
Many people do live with dogs when they’re allergic to them, and there are ways to mitigate the effects of the allergy.
But since some of these include limiting contact with the animal in question, do remember that Pitbulls are high-maintenance in their need for human company and interaction.
A bored, lonely Pitbull can quickly become a problem animal, so if you can’t spend much time with the dog because of your allergies, someone will have to take up the slack.
If you can’t rely on others to give your Pitbull the attention it needs, it’s better not to get one at all.
If you have that sorted, there are several ways to reduce the impact of keeping a dog when you have allergic reactions.
Limit The Areas Your Pitbull Has Access To
As a person suffering from allergies, you definitely don’t want to sleep in a room full of allergens! Keep your dog out of your bedroom.
In the areas of the house that your dog can access, regular deep cleaning will be helpful. Carpets are dander and dog hair collectors of note, so opt for bare wood or tile flooring.
Keep It Clean
Regular cleaning will prevent allergens from building up and rendering the rooms your Pitbull can access “no-go zones.”
When cleaning, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter that sucks up dirt and dander without allowing anything to escape into the air. Follow up with a steam mop to be extra sure.
Curtains capture tiny particles from the air, and dander will be among these. Consider switching to blinds or one-way glass instead.
Maintain Your HVAC System And Use Air Purifiers
Your HVAC system keeps you comfortable, but if it’s recirculating allergens all over the house, it may have the opposite effect.
Clean the filters more frequently than you otherwise would to limit its ability to recirculate allergens along with air.
Air purifiers are often helpful for people living with allergies. It’s a great idea having one in your bedroom even if you aren’t letting your dog into it. Those tiny particles spread easily!
Wash Your Hands And Blow Your Nose
If your allergy is relatively mild, you may be able to get away with giving your dog lots of love and then washing your hands immediately afterward.
You can also try wearing a mask when with your dog to see if that helps.
Blowing your nose or even flushing it out with a nasal spray to clear away any inhaled particles after being with your dog could also help to reduce your allergic reaction.
Groom Your Pitbull – Even if He Doesn’t Really Need It
Although Pitbulls don’t really need a lot of grooming, keeping your dog well bathed and brushed can help to reduce the amount of dander coming from its skin.
However, be careful that you’re not using shampoos that will dry your Pitbull’s skin out too much, and don’t bathe your dog more than once a month.
Dry skin means more dander, so odd though it may seem, keeping your dog squeaky clean can actually make the allergy problem worse than it was.
Brushing, on the other hand, can’t harm your Pitbull’s skin or coat, and the brushing action helps to clear away skin flakes. Ideally, allocate the responsibility for brushing your Pitbull to a member of your family who isn’t allergic.
Let brushing happen outdoors. It won’t help if the grooming simply brushes allergens into the air and onto surfaces in your house.
Keep Your Pitbull’s Skin Healthy
Pitbulls can be prone to skin conditions that cause them to shed more skin flakes. As we already mentioned, too-frequent bathing can be the cause of the problem.
Using a humidifier in your house can also help to keep your dog’s skin better moisturized, and there are even special moisturizers formulated for dogs.
Do watch for allergies in your dog too. If your Pitbull tends to scratch a lot, has some kind of skin inflammation or is prone to “hotspots” that show up as sores, consult your veterinarian.
Eliminating your Pitbull’s allergies could help with relieving yours and you’ll both be a whole lot more comfortable.
Other skin conditions, including those caused by parasites and infections, can also be uncomfortable for both you and your Pitbull.
Treating these problems begins with correct identification of the cause, and since symptoms overlap, your veterinarian will be best-qualified to help you resolve the problem.
Apart from being a possible source of allergens that make your dog produce more dander, your choice of food can play a big role in keeping your Pitbull’s skin healthy.
A well-balanced pet food that’s rich in Omega-3s could make a difference!
Work With Your Doctor
As you’re probably aware, there are medications that you can use to quickly and effectively treat allergy symptoms.
But nobody wants to use medicines too frequently, so you can also discuss possible immunotherapy with your doctor.
This treatment is meant to gradually persuade your body to recognize that the allergen isn’t harmful and shouldn’t trigger an immune response.
If Pitbulls Aren’t Hypoallergenic, What Dogs Are?
Because allergies are so individual, and dogs are individual too, it’s not really fair to class any kind of dog as being “hypoallergenic.”
But, although we don’t agree entirely with the chosen terminology, there are certain breeds that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in most people.
The AKC’s list includes the Afghan Hound, the Bedlington Terrier, Schnauzers of all sizes, the shaggy Komondor, and the Maltese.
However, the club acknowledges that just choosing one of these breeds doesn’t necessarily mean your dog won’t trigger your allergies. It recommends compiling a shortlist of breeds (you can include your favorite Pitbulls in it) and seeing how you do around them.
But even if you find a breed that seems to be less hard on your allergies, there’s no guarantee that the individual dog you choose will match up to your expectations.
Adopting a dog is a big responsibility, and you should face up to the fact that you might experience allergic reactions.
If that’s a deal-breaker for you, it’s better not to get a dog than to get one only to send it to a shelter because you’ve decided you can’t live with it.
Are Pitbulls Hypoallergenic? Summing It All Up
Broadly speaking, Pitbulls are neither the least likely nor the most likely breed to trigger allergies.
Potential disadvantages include the dog’s propensity for developing skin issues, and the fact that it likes to lick.
There’s a slightly smaller chance that female Pitbulls and neutered male Pitbulls won’t carry one of the most important proteins involved in allergies, but there are no guarantees that this protein is the cause of your problem unless you have allergy testing done.
If you and your family have your hearts set on getting a Pitbull, or already own one, there are ways you can reduce the impact your dog allergy has on you, but none of these methods is foolproof.
Before getting any dog, no matter what its reputation for being “hypoallergenic” is, consider its potential effect on you, talk to your doctor, and decide whether you’re ready to commit without reversing your decision.
No dog should be made to suffer because of your allergies, so keep things fair for both of you when making your decision.
Pitbulls are emotionally sensitive dogs despite their tough reputations, so get help from your family in caring for your pet if you need to minimize contact.
Even if the breeder says their dog breed is “hypoallergenic” you might still have issues. If you aren’t sure that you can live with allergies despite treatment, don’t get a dog.