When searching for a new dog, it’s important to find a breed that’s consistent with your lifestyle. For example, some people need a low energy breed like the Basset Hound because they don’t have enough time to commit to a spry Aussie or athletic Vizsla. If dog allergens top your list of concerns, the Basset Hound may not be the breed for you. Since they have a short, smooth coat that sheds, they’re not considered hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, Basset Hounds are actually among the breeds most likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Why the Basset Hound Is Not a Hypoallergenic Breed
With a drooping tongue that drips drool and short fur that sticks to everything, the Basset Hound might as well be the allergy sufferer’s nightmare. Dog allergies are mostly caused by proteins in their skin dander and saliva, so technically all dogs can potentially cause a reaction. However, dogs that produce a lot of drool and shed throughout the year will likely cause worse problems than ones that don’t slobber and shed minimally.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, the Basset Hound only sheds at a 2/5 level compared to other breeds. The short dark hairs travel around though, which easily spreads the allergens. They’re also much more likely to drool than most breeds, giving the allergens a second mode of transportation.
What Makes a Breed Hypoallergenic?
Typically, long-haired dogs with a single coat don’t shed as much. In fact, some people may claim their hypoallergenic Havanese doesn’t shed at all. While that claim isn’t completely true, you won’t find tufts blowing around like tumbleweeds when you sweep, like you will with a Golden Retriever.
By contrast, dogs who don’t shed as much retain more of the dander, like Poodles. These breeds although not truly ‘hypoallergenic’ may be a better choice for allergy sufferers because their fur isn’t flying everywhere, spreading the allergens. Plus, you won’t likely need to wipe off your sofa before you sit down because breeds like the Portuguese Water Dog don’t drool as badly due to the shape of their muzzle. Typically, larger dogs or breeds with more compact faces like the Pug are going to have more of a drooling problem than dogs with longer snouts.
What You Can Do to Combat Dog Allergies At Home
If you suspect you’re allergic to dogs, the Basset Hound is probably not the best breed for you. While not 100% allergen-free, a hypoallergenic breed would be better to help you manage your symptoms. No matter what breed you choose, you can implement these steps to mitigate the allergens at home:
1. Wash your bedding at least weekly.
Washing your sheets and blankets in hot water once a week will not only fight dog dander, but also kill other potential allergy triggers such as dust mites. If you have bedding that must be spot cleaned only, try to vacuum it off at least once a week or consider switching to something you can pop in the washing machine. Consider keeping your bedroom a dog free zone.
2. Avoid carpet if at all possible.
If you’re renting, you might not have much control over the flooring choices. However, if you’re a homeowner or if you’re looking for a new place to move once your lease is up, consider ditching the carpet for options such as laminate or tile. Carpet traps dander and is much harder to clean than smooth surfaces if your new puppy has an accident.
3. Vacuum regularly.
If you have carpet or rugs, try to vacuum at least once a week. Be sure to clean the filter outside so you aren’t shaking off the allergens in your home.
4. Wipe down your dog when they come inside.
When your dog takes a walk in your neighborhood, they’re like a shaggy carpet that’s collecting all the tree pollen, dust, and other outdoor allergens. Chances are likely that you’re also allergic to things in the environment outside your home, so try to wipe them down with a wet cloth or pet-friendly wipes before they walk through the door and hop on your sofa.
5. Consider medication.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about whether an over-the-counter medication or allergy shots might be the right choice for you.
Is the Basset Hound the Right Breed for You?
If allergies are your main criteria when choosing a breed, the Basset Hound is probably not the right dog for you. In fact, they’re one of the worst breeds for allergy sufferers. If allergies aren’t really a concern for you, let’s explore the Basset Hound’s many admirable qualities.
With short legs to match their short smooth coat, the Basset Hound has an iconic look that’s earned its well-loved reputation throughout the last couple centuries. Basset is derived from the French word bas meaning “low”, and the dogs were originally bred to accompany aristocrats on their hunting expeditions.
While the Basset Hound today might be a front porch symbol in the United States, they still retain their hunting instincts and excellent track record for sniffing out prey. Although they’re generally a low energy dog, you’ll need to give them a daily walk, in order to keep them mentally stimulated and physically fit. Basset Hounds are prone to obesity due to their body shape, affinity for treats, and lazy nature when at home. Obesity predisposes your dog to devastating diseases like diabetes, so it’s important to keep up with their daily exercise and limit the treats to a healthy portion.
Although the Basset Hound isn’t an ideal choice for allergy sufferers, they’re an excellent low-energy breed that makes a good match for many people. There’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, but certain low shedding breeds, like the Bichon or the Schnauzer, are better options than the Basset. No matter what breed you choose, there are a few things you can do to mitigate your symptoms so you can enjoy your time with your new puppy without having to carry a tissue in your back pocket.
Featured Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock