If you are a dog parent, the term hypoallergenic is probably not new to you.
There are plenty of dog breeds that are categorized as hypoallergenic that many families take home to keep their allergy symptoms at bay.
However, there are many more dogs that are not considered hypoallergenic. One of those dog breeds is the Pitbull Terrier.
Bruce’s breeds are both heavy shedders. His shedding tends to trigger my allergies, but I have learned to manage it!
I wrote this article in hopes that other Pitbull lovers like myself could learn more about the breed and their effect on a person’s allergies to dogs.
In this article I will cover a short history of the breed, along with some information about what makes a dog hypoallergenic.
I will also share some personal tips and tricks that I have used with Bruce to help keep my allergy symptoms under control.
I love this dog way too much to let me allergies stand in the way, so I dedicated a lot of time and research to this topic!
First, let’s talk about the word hypoallergenic and what it means.
Definition of Hypoallergenic
According to dictionary.com, hypoallergenic is defined as “designed to reduce or minimize the possibility of an allergic response.” Well how the heck does that apply to dogs?
Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic are classified as such because they either do not shed any fur or shed very little. Basically, hypoallergenic dogs are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that no dog breed is fully hypoallergenic, except maybe your kids’ mechanical toy dog.
All dogs shed some amount of fur, but also pet dander (dead skin cells) that can have a much more severe affect on a person’s allergies.
Now, how does all of this information apply to the Pitbull Terrier? Let’s talk about the breed a little to find out.
History of the Pitbull Terrier
Many people have heard of the Pitbull Terrier, but what they might not know is they are actually a mix of a few different dog breeds.
Most of their prominent genes come from different bulldog and terrier breeds.
Pitbulls were bred in the early 19th century in England for hunting purposes. More specifically, they were used as bait dogs to attract bears (which I hate).
This breed was off to a bad start from the get-go at no fault of their own. More modernly, although it is illegal, they are used in dog fighting rings.
While many advocates for the breed have done incredible things to show people how sweet and gentle Pitbulls are, they still tend to get a bad reputation.
But this is about their hypoallergenic qualities so I’ll end my rant!
Pitbulls are a short-haired breed that are known to be frequent shedders. They come in several different color patters such as tan, gray, black, white and brindle.
Bruce is often called a cow for his black and white coloring that makes him look just like one (his chubby belly does not help either)! One thing is for sure, Bruce sheds like crazy, which really triggers my allergies.
His fur, like his Pitbull cousins, is soft and wiry. He sheds heavily during the two shedding seasons throughout the year which is when the seasons change.
Outside of those two shedding seasons, he sheds pretty regularly throughout the year. I definitely have to keep up with grooming which really helps control how much he sheds.
I will talk more about grooming and how that helps later on!
The Main Event – Are Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
Nope. Moving on!
Okay just kidding, but the answer is still no. For a dog to be hypoallergenic, they have to be less likely to irritate a person’s allergies.
Pitbulls do not fall under that category in any way shape or form. They also are known for having dry skin which causes them to shed quite a bit of pet dander.
Pet dander is similar to the dead skin cells humans shed, but in dogs it’s usually much more obvious. Pet dander is a heavy trigger for many people’s allergies.
That being said, allergies can be a nightmare that makes people miserable.
The itchy, watery eyes, constant sneezing and congestion is something that I have experienced personally and I know how awful it can be.
However, I have been able to manage my allergies to keep both myself and Bruce happy and healthy so there are definitely ways to lessen the struggle!
Can you Make a Dog More Hypoallergenic?
Unless you are a mad scientist and as far as I know, it is not possible to make a dog more hypoallergenic. Some breeds just are not built that way.
However, there are definitely steps you can take to keep your allergy symptoms at bay, which have worked really well for me!
Between grooming and just getting into a good routine of cleaning things around the house, there are small ways you can make a big difference.
Let’s take a look at the two biggest steps that helped me.
This is HUGE! Shedding can be greatly maintained with regular grooming. While you really can’t change how much they shed, you can certainly control it.
Brushing and bathing can greatly help keep a dog’s fur and dander from irritating your allergies. Even though Bruce is a Pitbull, I still take him to the groomer about every two or three months!
They are able to give him a good scrub down that moisturizes his skin and gets all the loose, dead fur off his body so all of that does not get shed in my home.
I still like to give Bruce a good brushing between visits just to help maintain.
For at home grooming, I highly recommend the Furminator brush for short haired dogs like Pitbulls.
It really grabs their undercoat and pulls out all the loose and dead fur without scratching them or pulling their fur!
I do not normally give Bruce a bath myself, partially because he absolutely hates it and partially because with his grooming appointments I really do not need to.
However, if it is muddy out and he needs one, I use an all-natural shampoo that has soothing ingredients like oatmeal in it.
I really do not have a specific one that I recommend, but anything that is limited ingredient is good, and try to stay away from the scented stuff. Those chemicals can irritate their skin even more!
I do not really consider myself a clean freak, but I do appreciate a clean home. When you have a Pitbull, this can seem like a hopeless dream.
However, keeping the house regularly vacuumed makes a huge difference in my allergies. In fact, when my dad’s allergies got so bad from our dogs he actually had all the carpet replaced with hard wood.
The hardwood does not cling to pet hair and dander the way carpet does!
I do have some carpet in my house still though because we just don’t have the time to redo all of our floors, so a good vacuum was key for my home.
I will always recommend the Dyson Cordless pet hair vacuum because it works better than any other vacuum I have ever used.
It breaks down into smaller parts too, which makes it super easy to get into tight corners.
I even use it on my furniture because it grabs all the dog hair! I have to vacuum at least once a week, but that is just my personal preference.
However, I can definitely tell when it has been a while since I vacuumed last. My allergies are definitely worse the longer I let it go!
Another huge cleaning tip is to change your sheets regularly. Yes, my dog sleeps in my bed as do many others!
You might not even notice the pet hair that gets caught in your sheets, and I cannot tell you the amount of dog hair I throw away from my dryer lint catcher every week.
I highly recommend that if you have any dog sleeping with you to wash your sheets at least once a week to keep all that hair at a minimum.
Trust me, you will notice a difference when you sleep and when you wake up the next morning! I noticed a crazy difference in how stuffed up I was in the mornings.
Once I started paying more attention to changing my sheets regularly that decreased by a landslide. Don’t forget the pillow cases too!
Speaking of bedding, something that made my life a lot easier was getting a duvet cover for our comforter. Most comforters are huge and can be ruined if you put them through the wash.
A duvet cover goes right over your comforter and is easy to take off, wash and put right back on without having to stuff your bulky comforter in the laundry.
This made a huge difference and also helped protect our comforter so it lasted much longer!
Food and nutrition
Did you know that dogs get allergies, too? Especially Pitbulls! Seasonal as well as food-based allergies can have a major effect on a dog’s skin.
If their skin is dry, irritated and itchy, they tend to scratch more which leads to more shedding which leads to more allergies which leads to more sneezing…. This is exhausting.
You should always consult your vet before adding or taking anything away from your dog’s diet, but you might just find that certain ingredients are the culprit to bad allergies.
For example, Bruce is allergic to poultry so we have to feed him other sources of protein.
We have also found that fish oils like salmon have done wonders for his skin and coat, which have also helped my allergy symptoms decrease.
Final Thoughts: Are Pitbulls Hypoallergenic?
Pitbulls are my favorite dog breed on the planet. They are true born sweethearts to the core and make the best companions.
I have had several different dog breeds, and Pitbulls will always hold a special place in my heart.
However, I know that allergies can cause people to miserable and that some people need a dog that does not make their symptoms worse.
Unfortunately, if you are one of those people, a Pitbull might not be the best choice for your home.
However, if you are anything like me and do not mind taking some extra steps to maintain your allergies, I cannot recommend this breed enough.
I could not have asked for a better tempered and well-behaved dog than Bruce.
Pitbulls might have a bad reputation, but that is changing for the better and us dog parents have to do our part to support that.
While they are not hypoallergenic, Pitbulls are full of love and that is what having a dog is all about!
Hopefully this information helps you decide whether a Pitbull is the right dog breed for you and your family.
Happy Pup (Pit) Parenting!