Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic? (Not exactly)

Adorable Shih Tzu dog look at the owner
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If you have allergies or someone in your family does, you might be looking for a pet that is hypoallergenic. There are a handful of dogs that fit the bill, but are Shih Tzus hypoallergenic? Not completely, but they come closer than a lot of pets.

Are Shih Tzus Hypollergenic?

The quick answer is no they are not, but don’t rule them out as a pet option just yet.

The advantage of Shih Tzus is that they have hair and not fur as most dogs do.

This means they don’t shed, for the most part, and their hair is closer to human hair instead of other dogs.

This is an advantage in a couple of ways.

One, you don’t have fur all over your house or your clothes which is wonderful.

My sister who has a short-haired dog can’t even wear nice clothing in her house due to all the fur flying around.

And when she sweeps the floor, it is covered again in hours.

Of course, her dog is still a sweetie, but all that flying fur can get on your nerves.

With a Shih Tzu, you don’t have to worry about that.

You’ll never be covered in fur or hair in this case.

This is due to the fact that Shih Tzus have a double coat. 

What hair does shed gets caught in the undercoat. 

It is trapped, so it doesn’t fall out on you or on the furniture.

You really only see this hair when you groom your Shih Tzu.

Secondly, and more importantly, because Shih Tzus have hair instead of fur, they don’t have the same amount of dander that other dogs produce.

shih tzu puppy in front of white background
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Understanding Pet Dander

Dander is actually skin particles.

These particles fall off of your dog or a cat or really any animal.

It is this dander that people are actually allergic to.

It is due to the proteins in this dander that triggers your allergies.

The dander floats through the air and into your nostrils.

You can’t see it or taste it, but it is there.

Dander is also released through a dog’s saliva.

purebred Shih Tzu in front of white background
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Can You Reduce the Amount of Dander in Your Home?

Yes, you can.

Considering that Shih Tzus produce less dander than many dogs, you’ve already got a head start.

With regular grooming, you will also reduce the amount of dander you come into contact with.

Grooming will also let you remove any loose hair as well.

A bath will get rid of some of the dead skin cells hanging around on your dog too.

Shih Tzus need a lot of grooming, to begin with, and regular brushing is a must if you don’t want to have to deal with matted hair. 

Keeping your house clean and vacuumed will be beneficial as well.

This includes your furniture. 

You will also want to wash your hands after you pet your dog or if they have been licking you.

As mentioned, dander can find its way to you through your Shih Tzu’s saliva, so when they lick you they are leaving dander on your skin.

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate all dander unless you do have a hypoallergenic pet.

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adult shih tzu sitting on a white background
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The Best Options for Allergy Sufferers

A hypoallergenic dog breed is going to be the best option for those that deal with allergy symptoms from dogs.

Pet allergies are nothing to play with as people with allergies know.

If you’re dead set on getting a dog and you’re not interested in a hypoallergenic dog breed, then non-shedding dogs are your next best option.

And if you are a fan of Shih Tzus, they fit the bill as a non-shedding dog breed.

If you can, spend some time with a Shih Tzu and see if they cause you any issues.

I, unfortunately, am allergic to dogs and cats. My cat allergies are much worse than my dog allergies.

Having said that, I am not allergic to my two Shih Tzus.

When I first got them, I did have minor allergy reactions, but over time, I seem to have built up a tolerance.

I can’t give any medical reason for this, but when I visit my sister who has short-haired dogs, I do have minor allergy symptoms.

So, maybe I am not allergic to my Shih Tzus due to the less dander or maybe I have built up a tolerance.

I have no way to know and I’m certainly no doctor, but it is something to think about if you’re wondering about getting a Shih Tzu.

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To Sum it All Up:

Shih Tzus are not hypoallergenic but their dander levels are lower than a lot of other dogs. They aren’t a bad choice for a family pet, but they still can cause health issues for those with allergies. Daily brushing and keeping your house vacuumed will help reduce dander but it might not be enough if you suffer from allergies.



Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary or medical advice. Always check with your veterinarian or doctor if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s or yourself. This article should not be considered in any way as a veterinarian or medical advice.

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