Allergies and Cockapoos

For many people, the initial attraction to Cockapoo's is not just their cute looks, but also the often used sales tag of "hypoallergenic" The addition of a poodles wool like coat into the mix, potentially makes a non shed coat that should remove allergic reactions. Or so it is claimed.

As a family we are not medical or dog experts but I would like to share our experience to help you make up your own mind.

Both my wife and I were brought up in homes with dogs, however we have both experienced allergic reactions to other peoples dogs. We are both also very allergic to cats. As a child, despite having no problems with pets at home I would routinely have severe reactions to the pets of friends (sneezing, swollen eyes and lips) Generally short haired animals seemed to be the worse.

A few years ago my mother past away we started seeing much more of my Dad and his long haired Chihuahua. At first his dog would always make us sneeze, but as time went on, this had less and less of an affect. We then began to see much more of my Sister-in-Laws Spaniel which we also got use to as long as we didn't get too close. This brought us to the conclusion that our allergies were reduced by familiarity, which is why as children, we could both tolerate our own pets.

During our married life (25yrs) we avoided furry friends, but a persistent desire from our youngest daughter finally pushed us into discussing "dogs" and we realized we both had space in our life for another family member. We have been accused of having empty nest syndrome now two children have married and left home!  Having overcome an allergy to the hairiest, most fur shedding Chihuahua you can meet, we felt we could cope.

As for my opening paragraph... We too were attracted by the promise of a hypoallergenic dog.

So how has it been?

Written in 2012 
After having Jessie 10 weeks.
She doesn't shed, even on dark clothing we never find hairs. If I spend excessive amounts of time with her on the floor, around my face, I get a mild itch on my upper eyelids, so I am careful what I do. This is more or less the same for all of us in the house although our two eldest children have very little reaction at all. By way of prevention we vac the carpets regularly and brush Jessie daily to remove anything that may be loose.. I think having a leather sofa has been a help, as it traps no rogue hairs or dander. We also have a lot of hard floor surfaces, tiles, laminate etc.

Some mornings Jessie has been on our bed or in our bedroom and this has never really triggered a reaction either. Allergies are triggered by hair, dander (dead skin cells) and saliva. I think our biggest trigger is the latter, so I take steps reduce those risks.

The caution is, no two Cockapoos are the same, so don't take my experience as a green light for yourself, but on the whole we have had a good experience as allergy prone dog owners.

Can we tell there is a dog in the house, yes on occasions.
Do we have occasional reactions, for 3 of us yes. 
Is it something we can and want to live with YES, she is worth it. (2012)

UPDATE (2013)
Jessie is now nearly 9 months old.
Between 6 and 7 months we noticed her fur became slightly courser, as she began to change from a puppy to an adult coat. This was also accompanied with her getting a minor case of "teenage acne" on her neck and chin (treated successfully with antibiotics)

At first as the coat began to change, we did notice slight sneezing among the humans in the house. There was however no increase in coat shed other than on the brush. We did worry that this may become a permanent  issue but it has now passed. If anything we are all less affected than ever. I cant remember the last time she made me sneeze or itch. We are so comfortable she has moved upstairs from the kitchen at bedtime and sleeps in her bed, next to ours throughout the night..

When we go to puppy class other dogs still make us sneeze but I think we can safely say, Jessie is hypoallergenic or we have become totally immune to her. 

Update 2 (2014)
Jessie is now 12 months old.
Her coat has now gone lighter and returned to being softer than a teddy bear. We have no reactions to her at all now. She sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed, sneaking onto the bed in the early hours for a cuddle. We quite often wake up with her between us and her head on our pillows. We have become so smitten with Cockapoos we have picked out a second that we are collecting in 2 weeks.

Update 3 (2014)
To mark the anniversary of Jessie being with us for 12 months ... We have got a second Cockapoo, Max. We are happy to report that even though we still have allergies to "normal" dogs, we have no reaction to Max. The two of them sleep in our room and seem to have no affect on our allergies.

Update 4 (2018)
Hard to believe it has been 5 years since I originally wrote this!
Jessie and Max now have unlimited access to the house, they are always on the bed, sleep on the pillows and are never more than a meter away from us when we are in the house. We never sneeze or itch. When visiting families homes with shedding dogs I still have reactions to them. I have yet to meet a curly coated cockapoo that now makes me sneeze or itch.
Our eldest 2 children have married and left home and when they come back they do seem to be affected and get sneezy.

I think in general our two cockapoos did affect our allergies far less than other dogs, however I also think we have become accustomed to them.