Are Schnauzers Hypoallergenic? Separating Fact From Fiction
Let’s cut right to the chase: Schnauzers are not 100% hypoallergenic. A low-shedding breed, Schnauzers are sometimes labeled as hypoallergenic as a marketing tactic. While it is true that some people with allergies may not be as sensitive to low-shedding dog breeds, all dog breeds measure approximately the same for the presence of allergens.
In truth, there is no 100% hypoallergenic dog breed, but there are things you can do to make life a little easier if you want to own a dog and avoid having allergic reactions to your family pets. Here, we’re going to be breaking down what you need to know about owning a Schnauzer if you have a dog allergy.
How Are Dog Allergies Triggered?
Most often, humans that suffer from allergies to dogs are reacting to two key proteins found in canine dander, saliva, and urine. Known as Can f 1 and Can f 2, these proteins are present in all dog breeds, and studies show that many so-called hypoallergenic dogs have higher Can f 1 levels in their coats than non-hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Luckily, this difference in allergen load doesn’t appear to affect the environment. Homes with hypoallergenic dogs test approximately the same for allergen buildup as homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs.
Unfortunately, many families mistakenly purchase and adopt dogs for their allergic children thinking that the breed is hypoallergenic. When it becomes obvious that the dog is still producing allergens—all dogs have skin, saliva, and urine, afterall—many of these pups end up in shelters or rescues.
To recap: dog allergies are triggered by exposure to proteins in dog dander, saliva, and urine. Contact or exposure to any of these can trigger a response if you suffer from allergies.
What is a “Hypoallergenic” Dog?
Dog breeds referred to as “hypoallergenic” are most often low-shedding breeds. These dogs—like Schnauzers—typically shed less than single coated dogs, which theoretically can reduce the amount of dander being dropped in your home. That said, low-shedding does not mean low-allergen, and these breeds are often just as likely to trigger pet allergies as any other dog breed.
Understanding this and being able to manage your expectations is key if you want to own a dog but also have an allergy.
“My wife had several dogs previously and never had dog allergic reaction to those dogs. However she knows she is allergic to some dogs that shed heavily. We thought hypoallergenic dog breed was a thing. Turns out there really is no such thing,” said Reddit user gosubuilder in a threat for first time Schnauzer owners. “Even [within the] same breed you can be allergic to one dog and fine another…only true way to find out is to spend time with the dog before you get him. Sadly we didn’t know this, got the schnauzer and turns out it makes my wife break out in hives and other symptoms. She has to wear long sleeves and pants to play with him”
Funnily enough, many allergists tell people looking to purchase or adopt a dog to rub their faces in the dog’s fur. If nothing happens, that’s good! You might not be as allergic to that individual dog! However, not being allergic to an individual doesn’t mean you won’t be allergic to other dogs from the same breed, and it does not mean you have miraculously been cured of your allergy.
Of course, you might have heard that some people can develop a tolerance to their dog allergy, especially with low-shedding dogs. Unfortunately, this appears to be wishful thinking. “Many people who report “tolerance” have mainly learned a new normal of everyday congestion and rhinitis,” said Dr. Tania Elliot—an allergist affiliated with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in a discussion with a journalist from the American Kennel Club.
So, no, you won’t get used to your dog’s dander, but you might get used to having a stuffy nose!
Get To Know the Schnauzer
Schnauzer breed dogs come in three sizes: giant, standard, and miniature. All three varieties share the same wiry double coat, and benefit from regular grooming, and before you ask are miniature Schnauzers hypoallergenic? What about the Standard Schnauzer? Are giant Schnauzers hypoallergenic? No—none of the Schnauzer family of dogs are 100% hypoallergenic, but they are low shedding.
Because of their double coat, Schnauzers typically won’t leave fur all over your furniture or clothes, and may be less prone to dropping dander as a result. However, you will need to brush your Schnauzer to help them release dead and dropped fur, which can expose you to more dander and potential allergens. To avoid this, we recommend taking your Schnauzer to the groomer every 8–10 weeks, even if they just need a good bath.
Known to be excellent family dogs, standard and miniature Schnauzers are particularly good with children, and get along easily with other animals and family friends. Hearty dogs, Schnauzers are high-energy and always seeking a job. Quick to appoint themselves the family guard dog, Schnauzers do well when they can be both physically and mentally stimulated.
While giant Schnauzers may suffer hip and joint problems as they age, standard and miniature Schnauzers are typically very active and mobile well into their senior years. Prone to a few health issues, the few ailments to look out for in your Schnauzer include diabetes, kidney and bladder stones, liver disease, and allergies.
Other Kinds of Low-Shedding Dogs
Schnauzers are in good company if you’re looking for other low-shedding breeds to fall in love with! Some of the most popular hypoallergenic and low-shedding dog breeds include:
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested Dogs
- Maltese (and Maltipoos)
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Shih Tzus
- Yorkshire Terriers (and Yorkipoos)
Are Schnauzers Hypoallergenic? The FAQ
Here’s what the internet wants to know about Schnauzers, hypoallergenic dogs, and managing allergic reactions while owning a dog.
Do Schnauzers shed a lot?
No! Most Schnauzers are low-shedding, and won’t shed all over your house. This said, Schnauzers still drop fur, which mostly gets caught in their guard hairs. To avoid dropped fur getting left on your pillows, pants, and furniture, make sure your Schnauzer is being brushed regularly and given baths to loosen stuck dead fur.
If you neglect to care for your Schnauzer’s coat, you may start to find clumps of fur around your home, or your Schnauzer could develop skin problems. Regular grooming is for your health, and your dog’s health!
Do Schnauzers have dander that can trigger allergies?
Yes! Schnauzers produce the same amount of dander as other dog breeds. According to a variety of studies published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, homes with hypoallergenic dogs test for the same amount/concentration of allergens as homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs.
Can regular grooming reduce the allergenic potential of Schnauzers?
Yes and no. Yes, regular grooming can reduce the amount of dander dropped in your home. However, grooming won’t reduce the actual amount of allergen produced by your Schnauzer, and some people may react not to the dander, but to saliva or urine. Unfortunately, grooming can’t reduce either of these.
What precautions can I take to minimize allergies with a Schnauzer?
Regular baths, professional grooming, brushing, and taking your Schnauzer outside to drop some of their fur/dander away from your home can help manage allergies. However, it’s important to understand that there is no guaranteed way of avoiding allergens if you own a dog.
Luckily, there are allergy treatments available to help you build a tolerance or outgrow allergies. While these courses of treatment can be quite lengthy, they are completely worth it for animal lovers who want to own pets without constantly feeling stuffed up and itchy.
Are Schnauzers as hypoallergenic as Poodles?
No. Purebred Poodles are considered the most hypoallergenic dogs, although even these pups are not 100% hypoallergenic. Schnauzers shed more than Poodles, and have an undercoat that can trap fur and dander to be spread through your home later. Poodles have a single coat but are also low-shedding, making them the “gold standard” for the world of hypoallergenic dogs.
Are Schnauzers suitable for people with severe allergies?
No. No dog will be suitable for someone with a severe allergy to dogs. For their safety and to avoid serious health problems, it’s better to avoid contact with dogs whenever possible. If you have severe allergies and are determined to own a dog, the best thing to do is to start allergy treatments as soon as possible.
Are there any hypoallergenic Schnauzer mixes?
The Schnoodle is a hybrid breed produced by mixing a Schnauzer and a Poodle. Schnoodles are considered hypoallergenic by some, but have the same problems as other dogs when it comes to allergen load. Remember, mixing dog breeds can produce unexpected and unusual results, so some Schnoodles will shed more than others.
Did you know you don’t have to pay for a designer breed to get a hypoallergenic dog? Check out this guide to adopting your low-shedding canine bestie!
- 55 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds You Might Be Able To Live With If You Have Allergies
- Finding the Perfect Hypoallergenic Dog for Your Family: Tips for Adopting a Dog That Won’t Trigger Allergies