Home Pet Care Are Border Collies Hypoallergenic? An Allergy Sufferer’s Guide to Dogs

Are Border Collies Hypoallergenic? An Allergy Sufferer’s Guide to Dogs

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The sweet Border Collie is a popular family dog and for good reason—these gentle-natured dogs live to make their humans happy and, in general, get along beautifully with kids.

If you’re wondering whether or not Border Collies are hypoallergenic, the short answer is no, they’re not hypoallergenic. There’s a lot more to the term “hypoallergenic”, though, and in this post, we hope to answer some of your questions about hypoallergenic dogs.

What Exactly Does “Hypoallergenic” Mean?

A dog that is “hypoallergenic” is viewed as a more suitable companion for people with allergies due to being minimal shedders or not having fur at all. It’s a common misconception that fur is the cause of allergic reactions. They’re actually caused by dander—small flakes of dead skin—that dogs shed. Proteins in urine, feces, and saliva can also cause allergic reactions.

In the case of Border Collies, they’re moderate and regular shedders because they have a double coat. The coat consists of a soft undercoat and a coarse top coat. They shed periodically throughout the year, especially in spring and fall. For this reason, Border Collies are not considered to be hypoallergenic.

The truth is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog that is 100% hypoallergenic. Even if a dog isn’t a big shedder, they can still transfer allergens to you via saliva or dander. There’s an allergy risk regardless of the breed of dog you get.

Can Allergy Sufferers Have a Border Collie?

It’s possible, but it largely depends on the severity of your allergy and the shedding maintenance routines you put in place. Some people with allergies get by keeping their homes as dander-free as possible and regular grooming to reduce dander and shedding. Unfortunately though, for some, it may not be possible due to the allergy being too severe.

We recommend getting an allergy test done and having a chat with your doctor or allergist before you decide whether or not to get a Border Collie, as they can best advise you as to whether they think the situation would be manageable. You may also get a pleasant surprise and find out that it’s not a dog allergy causing your symptoms after all! It may help to talk through your concerns with a vet, too, as they’ll no doubt have encountered many people with pet allergies.

The worst-case scenario is that you get a Border Collie, find that your allergies are too severe, and then have to rehome the dog, which causes heartbreak and stress for all involved. We want to avoid this at all costs, so if you’ve talked with your doctor or allergist and there are still doubts, it may be best not to take the risk.

red border collie
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How to Live With a Dog When You’re Allergic: Tips

Though you can’t stop a dog from shedding, there are some things you can do to make your situation a little better and minimize the dander they shed around your home. Check out these tips:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Groom your dog daily during shedding season, ideally outside. Outside of shedding season, groom them every other day.
  • Keep your dog’s ears clean.
  • Invest in a HEPA air purifier.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Wash cushion covers and bed sheets frequently to avoid dander build-up.
  • Consider getting laminate flooring or only letting your dog on laminate flooring instead of carpets.
  • Try not to let your dog lick you.
  • Avoid allowing your dog on your bed and other furniture.
  • Ask your doctor to recommend some allergy medication to keep handy.

Final Thoughts

If you’re allergic to dogs, the risk of a reaction will always be present whether you get a so-called “hypoallergenic” breed or not. For this reason, we strongly recommend getting allergy tested, talking to a doctor, and spending some time thinking about whether getting a Border Collie or any other dog is the right thing for you.

If your allergies are of a more manageable variety and you decide to get a dog, we hope that our tips for sharing your home with a dog as an allergy sufferer will be useful to you. Good luck!


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