If you are an allergy sufferer, it has probably been quite a task for you to find a dog that wouldn’t give you symptoms. Do hypoallergenic dogs even exist? Well, they really don’t. But there are dogs that tend to cause less symptoms in the allergic owners than others. Let’s say a dog can be more or less hypoallergenic. Where does a bull terrier stand in this?
Are bull terriers hypoallergenic?
First of all, let’s see what actually causes dog allergy in people. There are at least three components that tend to be the most common culprits. Allergy is usually caused by 1) dog dander 2) dog saliva and 3 ) urine/fecal matter.
Are bull terriers hypoallergenic: dander
Dander is the fine, usually light colored matter which is mostly comprised of microscopic flecks of skin shed by the dog. Such shedding of skin is completely natural and happens all the time during the dog’s lifetime.
Dog dander is the most common reason for dog allergy in humans. If you have a dog, its dander will be virtually everywhere, on all the surfaces of your house. It’s microscopic, so it’s really not as gross as it sounds. However, even microscopic skin particles are enough to cause symptoms of allergy as they are spread in the air of your home and constantly get in your lungs.
Unfortunately for dog lovers who are also allergic to dogs, there isn’t really a breed that doesn’t produce dander. A bull terrier is no exception. They shed skin sells just like any other dog.
However, before you close this article, there is some good news. Bull terrier might be one of the best breeds for allergy sufferers, because it might spread less dander around than other breeds.
In fact, both bull terrier ancestors – the bull dog and the terrier, tend to be somewhat better for allergy sufferers than other breeds due to their coarse, short hair that is generally on a heavy side and doesn’t tend to float as much, thus spreading less dander.
Bull terriers have exceptionally short and coarse hair as well, and are generally very low shedding. Although they still shed skin sells, they don’t tend to spread as much as they would in a high shedding dog with long and light hair that just spreads all over your house. With a bull terrier, you are unlikely to see too much hair around, and would probably have significantly less dander entering your system.
Are bull terriers hypoallergenic: saliva
A large proportion of allergy sufferers are actually allergic to the proteins in dog saliva. When the dog licks itself, there is a lot of saliva left on its skin and hair, which further dries out and then is spread into the air as the dog sheds hair and skin. Then it gets in your system and you start sneezing, coughing and experiencing other unpleasant symptoms.
When it comes to bull terrier, they are smaller dogs and have shorter coat, which naturally reduces both the amount of space licked and the amount of saliva on the coat.
The other things about bull terriers is that they are not a slobbery breed. In fact, their mouths tend to be a little drier than most other breeds. Because of that there might be less saliva protein flying around your house if you have a bull terrier, and you might not experience allergy as severely as you would with another breed.
Unfortunately, when it comes to urine or faecal matter allergy, you will still have to deal with that whether you get a bull terrier or any other breed. No way around that, they haven’t invented non-pooping dogs yet.
Bull terriers and dog allergy: how to live with a bull terrier if you are allergic
If you already have a bull terrier and are discovering that you are allergic to them, don’t panic. (And don’t post your bull terrier on Craigslist. First, it’s not good to get rid of friends. Second, Craigslist is probably not a good place to give away your bull terrier. Please don’t do it. Talk to your breeder instead).
Not all hope is lost and there are still a few things you can do to alleviate your allergy while still enjoying the company of your bull terrier.
Wash the bedding and toys
Guess where your bull terrier’s hair and dander (and saliva with all those allergenic proteins!) collects most? Your pup’s favorite bedding and toys, of course. Especially that stuffed toy that he keeps playing with and chewing and sleeping with day after day.
Wash that stuff! Regular washing will help get rid of collected dander and saliva instead of letting them spread everywhere more and more. You can usually wash dog beds in the washing machine, as well as most of the dog toys. (Bonus: they will smell better after you wash them too!)
Wash your bull terrier
If you give your bull terrier a good bath a few times a week, it can really help mitigate your allergy symptoms by simply removing a lot of the dander and saliva off their coat.
While you can use a shampoo on your bull terrier, make sure you do not use human shampoo (which can be very bad for dog’s coat and overall health.) Use a specialised dog shampoo.
Don’t forget to dry your bull terrier out to keep them warm and also to reduce the amount of licking they will be tempted to do, as that would again let them spread saliva with allergens all over their coat.
Bathing your bull terrier is a good idea regardless of allergy, especially if you have a white bull terrier. Their white coat looks so gorgeous when they are clean, but not so much after they have been playing in the mud.
Regular washing will help keep your pup’s coat clean and free from potential infection / parasites, and also provides some nice quality time for you and your dog. Start bathing them when they are still young so they can grow up to like and enjoy the procedure instead of being afraid of it.
Keep the house clean
Maintaining hygiene in the house or apartment is very important for allergy sufferers and can be one of the deciding factors in how strong or soft your symptoms may be. Regular mopping the floor, vacuuming and dusting off the surfaces may help you keep the allergens at bay and significantly ease your suffering. Plus, you get to live in a clean house!
Don’t let your health issues slide
If you are allergic, please remember that it isn’t something to disregard. Allergy is a serious condition which may even grow into asthma if it’s severe enough. If you don’t have a dog yet and are just considering getting one, remember that allergy can be a serious issue.
Try to meet a bull terrier before you get one. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, ask if you can do an “allergy testing” – meet the puppies and adult dogs in the breeder’s home before you decide on anything. Keep in mind that puppies normally have less allergens in their saliva and on their coats, so you may not be able to see just how allergic you are unless you spend some time with an adult bull terrier.
If your allergy is serious, please consider putting off taking a dog, and give it a second thought. Don’t think that you can just keep taking anti-allergy medication: this isn’t healthy for you, no matter how much you would love to have a dog.
It will be much more difficult to have to re-home the dog if your allergy becomes too severe or grows into asthma. There are cases when allergy sufferers had less and less allergy symptoms the longer their dog lived with them. There are even cases when a previously allergic person stops having any allergy towards their dog, while still being allergic to others.
All of those seem like miracle stories and definitely lucky dog owners, but there is no guarantee that it will be you. Your health should be your number one priority, so don’t take this decision lightly.
In any case, I hope you find that you aren’t actually allergic to bull terriers and can get your puppy!