Are Chow Chows Hypoallergenic?
In the dog world of today, a new and popular trend is the idea of “hypoallergenic” dogs. An authentic hypoallergenic dog would be a dog that doesn’t have any allergens or cause any issues for people with allergies. Some dogs may present fewer allergens, but unfortunately, a 100% hypoallergenic dog does not exist. If it did exist, it certainly wouldn’t be a Chow Chow due to the nature of their coats!
Quick Answer: No, Chow Chows are not a hypoallergenic breed because of their dense, shedding coat.
A Chow Chow’s coat
Chow Chows are double-coated dogs. Their top layer of fur can be short to medium in length and is always abundant. Their second layer of fur, or their undercoat, consists of thicker and softer fur.
Within the Chow Chow breed, there are two main types of coat. A rough-coated Chow Chow will have an abundant but courser outer layer of fur that is medium in length and a thick, soft undercoat underneath the outer layer. A smooth-coated Chow Chow will have the same undercoat as a rough-coated Chow Chow, but its outer coat will be shorter and softer.
A double-coated dog’s undercoat helps prevent any moisture or cold that has gotten past the outer layer of fur from touching the dog’s skin. The outer coat is part of the initial defense against the elements. Having these two layers helps keep dogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This outer coat is just one reason why they should never be shaved. The layers act as insulation that helps the dog regulate its body temperature.
Shaving a double-coated dog like a Chow Chow puts the dog at a higher risk for sunburn or heatstroke. Shaving can easily ruin a dog’s coat as the fur will grow sparse and coarse. Of course, there are exceptions in the case of a dog requiring surgery or treating skin diseases, but this should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian.
Instead of shaving, regular bathing and brushing are an absolute must for double-coated dogs. Before any bath, be sure to brush the dog out well. Mats and tangles tend to get tighter and are more difficult to remove when wet. There are a variety of brushes to help with the maintenance of a double-coated dog’s fur. A grooming rake is typically a great place to start in addition to a regular pin brush. The next step would be to use an undercoat rake, specifically formulated for targeting a dog’s undercoat.
For more problematic areas, a de-matting brush is a must. This brush helps ‘cut out’ mats and tangles without the risk of using scissors on the dog and causing injury or discomfort. A finishing step would be to brush with a slicker brush. This brush helps evenly distribute the oils of a dog’s coat and helps give it that extra smooth feel and look.
Chow Chow shedding
Chow chows have thick, heavy coats, and they shed year-round. They also tend to shed more during the spring and fall seasons as they prepare for their summer and winter coats. You might notice dozens of tufts of fur that are just begging to be brushed out during these times. Chow Chows can also be fairly large dogs with an average weight of 40 to 75 pounds. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog and don’t love the idea of piles and heaps of shedding dog fur on your floor, these may not be the dogs for you.
So, what breeds are hypoallergenic?
Though there is no breed of dog that is truly 100% hypoallergenic, some may be better than others for owners with allergies or sensitivities.
Hairless dog breeds with minimal fur like the Xoloitzcuintli, (Mexican hairless dog) the Peruvian Inca Orchid or the Chinese Crested may be a good option for people looking to avoid excessive allergens, shedding, and grooming maintenance. Though these dogs don’t shed, they do still produce dander. In theory, though, they do not produce as much. Thus, they are less likely to cause irritation or excessive allergy symptoms.
Single coated breeds might be another good option for folks looking for a non-shedding dog. These coats are more comparable to human hair than fur. Breeds like Poodles, Bichons, Yorkies, etc., would all be examples of single-coated dog breeds. These are typically the dogs that get a thorough brushing and an all-over haircut or shave-down at the grooming salon. This haircut or shave-down does not harm their coat and prevents the hair from becoming tangled and matted as it grows out.
Allergies and owning a Chow Chow
So, what if you have allergies, but you just can’t picture yourself living without a Chow Chow? There are some things you can do to be still able to live with a non-hypoallergenic dog and not feel sick with allergies all the time.
Sometimes allergy symptoms might be mild and hardly even bother you at all. Or they may only show up during the worst week of peak shedding season. If you can get through that week or two, everything from there on out will be a breeze.
In some cases, humans can even become insensitive or have fewer allergy symptoms with their own dogs as opposed to other dogs. After living with a dog for so long, your body may become more accustomed to the irritants.
Your dog will need to be frequently brushed to keep irritants out of your home. If you do tend to have allergic symptoms around your dog, it may be best to do the brushing outside and not in the house. Better yet, ask someone else in your home to be responsible for your dog’s daily brushing. Frequent brushing will help keep you and your dog happy.
Tips and tricks for owners with allergies
Let’s go ahead and get the first tip out of the way, as some of you may not like it. Don’t let your Chow Chow come into the bedroom with you. Sorry! The bedroom should be your safe space away from allergens so you can rest easy. Your dog will be just fine with its own bed in the living room or in someone else’s bedroom. Don’t worry; you can snuggle on the couch! Just keep your bedroom allergen-free.
Try using an allergen-capturing air filter for the parts of your house your dog does frequent. These filters can be your best defense against any allergens and not just your dogs.
Consider over-the-counter antihistamines for when your allergies might be especially bad. Or talk to your doctor about prescription medications.
Most importantly, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, nose, or eyes.
A couple of common myths
Myth: Frequently bathing your dog helps with shedding and allergens.
Nope. While a good de-shedding bath every few months can be helpful, bathing your dog too frequently can be detrimental to their skin and coat health. It might leave your dog’s skin dry and coat rough to the touch. Also- Chow Chows are not known for being fans of water, so good luck when you do give your chow a bath!
Myth: Shaving your Chow Chow’s fur will reduce shedding and allergens.
Nope. Shaving your double-coated dog’s fur will never help with shedding or allergens. The only time shaving a double-coated dog’s fur would be ever be appropriate is in the case of severe matting.
In conclusion, Chow Chows are fantastic dogs! But no, they are not hypoallergenic. (No dog truly is). But with a bit of motivation (and some grooming tools and an air filter), you might just be able to have a dog like a Chow Chow in your life! They are a big commitment, though, so consider fostering first to see if they are the breed for you!
About The Author
I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.