Are Portuguese Water Dogs Hypoallergenic? What To Know

The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is a popular breed for people with dog allergies. This single-coated breed is the least to shed off his fur, unlike Chow Chows and Akitas. 

For the most part, however, no such dog is 100% hypoallergenic. That means the Portie dog still continuously lets go of his hair from time to time. Does he need extreme maintenance? Simply put, no– and that is what makes him the best choice for hypersensitive individuals.

Does a Portuguese Water Dog Shed a Lot?

No, not really, hence why he earned himself a spot in the list of hypoallergenic breeds. For your reference, his shedding rate is almost the same as that of the Poodle and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Below image shows a Portie with his well-known curly coat.

People claim that the reason why the PWD sheds less is that he has hair rather than fur. Although this isn’t entirely the reason since hair and fur are the same, there is actually some truth to it.

Just like how it is with humans, dogs also have a hair growth cycle. There is the active phase (anagen), hair growth ending phase (catagen), resting phase, (telogen), and releasing stage (exogen).

The longer the anagen stage takes its course means the longer the hair is going to be, therefore, the less tendency to shed.

Of course, the other reason why Porties are low shedders is due to the absence of an undercoat. With that, it can be a cause of concern should this dog start shedding heavily. There could be an underlying problem that would require a vet’s attention.

When Does He Shed the Most?

A PWD may shed more than the usual amount– particularly during the spring and fall seasons. What can cause this is the change in weather or climate. A dog’s body is more interesting than we think. The Portie pooch can adjust well to certain conditions by making slight changes to his system.

When the spring approaches, expect your dog’s coat to transition into something lighter. To achieve this, he has to let go of his winter coat. Preparation is essential as he blows off his excess hair to avoid drowning in his freely-flying hair in the air. 

Meanwhile, as the fall season ends, he will start shedding again to give room to a thicker coat. This is going to give him more warmth during the cold months.

Can Someone With Allergies Live With a Portuguese Water Dog?

Absolutely! In fact, the Portie poses as a low-risk pet to allergy sufferers. That doesn’t mean that you can compromise your health’s safety. There are precautionary measures that need to be taken to ensure that you and your dog mutually live in happiness and comfort. 

All you need to do is to manage your dog allergies by visiting your doctor, getting advice on what to do, and asking for prescriptions. It’s important to remember, by the way, that the fur of the dog isn’t what can cause your nose to go red and run. 

Dogs, and even cats, produce a particular protein that gets produced through their saliva, sweat, feces, urine, and dander. Every time a Portuguese Water Dog grooms himself, the protein that triggers allergies are spread on his coat. 

Once a hypersensitive individual makes physical contact with him, the protein either gets inside his olfactory nerves and eventually results in mild to severe allergy symptoms.

Can I Develop Immunity to Dog Allergies?

Research suggests that you can. The immune system is constantly changing. Although you have never experienced having allergic reactions, you may eventually will one day after getting near a family dog. This is why pets need to be introduced to infants, aside from the companionship they offer, a stronger immunity can also start to kick in, thanks to them.

The moment a child gets exposed to high levels of pet allergens, the risk of developing asthma lowers by the age of seven. 

This may be good news, in a way, but not really for adults who already have an established allergy reaction to dogs, even if it’s a hypoallergenic one like the PWD. Luckily, as technology advances, treatments for this common chronic disorder improves.

You can consult your doctor and check out the allergy shots alternative. This is a method of helping you develop immunity to dog allergies over time. With regular injections within 3 to 5 years, your allergy attacks can either be stopped or reduced.

What To Do to Manage Dog Allergies

First of all, you have to spend time with your prospective Portuguese Water Dog puppy before ultimately bringing him home. This is to determine if your family members would do well with a dog like him. It helps assess as well if the dander the dog produces causes life-threatening symptoms or not.

Once you see that it isn’t that bad having a new family addition in a fur-coated body, that’s when you can decide about adopting a pet. When symptoms are manageable, you can do the following steps to lower the number of allergens in your household.

  • Install HEPA air cleaners. Some HEPA air filters promise to eliminate at least 99.97% of particles, your dog’s hair included, in the air. Since pet dander is particularly small, measuring around 2.5 to 10 microns, a quality and heavy-duty air cleaner can eliminate specks even with the size of 0.3 microns!
  • Give your PWD dog a good wash. Although it is recommended that a dog be washed only every 6 to 8 weeks, this rule only applies to families who don’t suffer from allergies. Meanwhile, those who do have to give their Portie a bath more frequently. Doing so helps take off all loose hairs instead of letting them end up on your carpet or furniture. Do this with caution if you are allergic. If possible, have someone else do the task for you.
  • Limit your PWD’s areas. As much as you can, make your bedroom a pet-free zone. The last things you’d want your pet’s hair to end up to be are your pillows and blankets. You can place a dog gate to create the boundary and do the same thing in the kitchen and other places where you frequently go in your house.
  • Provide your PWD dog with the right diet. Always make sure that your pet is in its top state and condition. Some dogs may suffer from dry skin and when that happens, more shedding occurs due to their constant skin scratching. Provide him only the best meals along with dietary supplements to give him the essential vitamins and nutrients his dog food may lack. 
  • Ready your OTC medicine. We don’t know when your allergy may occur, so it is always good to have what you need ready in the cupboard. Thankfully, medicines can be bought without the need of showing a prescription. The top choices as allergy medicines are Benadryl, Cetirizine, Claritin, and Allegra.
  • Don’t mix your clothes. Have designated clothing should you want to spend time with your Portuguese Water Dog. Once bonding time is over, carefully remove your garment and wash it separately.