Do Border Terriers Give Allergies?

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I must admit, as a non allergy sufferer (yes, I am lucky!), I only discovered a few years ago that dogs, like cats, can cause allergic reactions. Yet, there is the belief that there are some non allergenic dog breeds, due to the fact that the dog is short coated, whereas some dogs shedding hair can cause allergies. With all this in mind, it is only but natural that, especially if you are an allergy sufferer, you may ask yourself: ‘Am I allergic to Border Terriers?’. It is a legitimate question, especially if you are considering getting a Border because of his or her outstanding personality traits.Shaggy Border Terrier

So, let’s find out together whether Border Terriers is one of the non allergenic non shedding dog breeds.


What Causes Allergic Reactions

At the risk of stating the obvious, I feel the duty of briefly explaining why we get allergic reactions. This is, I am sure, for the minority of people who, like me, do not suffer from allergies – or at least from pet allergies. Truth be told, I do react to perfumes, and am intolerant to strong smells, including perfumes. But that’s another story.

In layman terms, people who suffer with allergies have reactions in their body, due to the fact that their immune system reads foreign bodies that are generally harmless in the same way as it reads bacteria and germs, and attacks them by reacting to try to get rid of them.

In dogs, what causes allergic reactions is the shedding of flakes of dead skin, called ‘dander’.


Are There Any Dog Breeds That Do Not Cause Allergies?

I am going to have to burst a massive babble here. Unfortunately and potentially, if you are sensitive to allergies, virtually all dogs can trigger a reaction in your body.

The old belief that some dogs will cause allergic reactions because they have long hair; or that dogs that don’t moult are safe for allergy sufferers; all of these are really not true.

This is because all dogs, like humans, loose dead skin flakes in the atmosphere.

Border Terriers shed dead skin flakes too.

Dogs like to kiss us too

If you suffer from allergies, however, you can also react to dogs’ saliva and urine, or to certain chemical elements present in them.

Border Terriers, like any other dog breed, will not urinate on you – not unless they are not trained from puppies, or if they have some medical or psychological condition affecting their ability to control their urethra. But drops of urine can be found virtually everywhere in a house where a cat or dog are present.

Likewise, if you react to dogs’ saliva, you may find that you will react to your Border Terrier, if your Border Terrier is a dog that likes to give you ‘kisses’, or rather to lick your face for affection.


Signs Of An Allergic Reaction Caused By Your Dog

As you can see, I am referring to dogs in this section, rather than to Border Terriers specifically. This is because, as mentioned above, Border Terriers are found not to cause allergies any more or less than any other dog breed.

The typical signs that youAllergy sufferer are reacting by being close to a dog are the following:

  • watery eyes and runny nose;
  • itchy eyes, nose and throat;
  • coughing and sneezing
  • wheezing, especially if you also suffer from asthma;
  • on more severe episodes and sufferers, blotching and itchy skin reaction and hives.

The interesting thing about allergy caused by the proximity to a dog – including, I am afraid, Borders – is that individual dogs from a same breed may or not cause a reaction.

This is to prove that allergic reactions are not at all linked to the breed, but in fact to the individual dog.

Likewise, the individual factor plays its role on humans too. The fact that you generally suffer from allergies does not necessarily mean that you will be allergic to a dog – let alone to a Border.


How To Avoid A Reaction

Unfortunately, if you don’t want to take a chance as you have already had bad experiences of severe allergic reactions, you may never want to find yourself close to a hound of any breed.

But let’s admit it, it can be a bit difficult.

How to avoid walking by a dog in the whole of your lifetime? of refusing to visit a friend or family member for as long as they have a dog?

On the other hand, we dog owners can be understanding too. And we would never get offended to be told that the only way to meet up is so long as our dogs are not around. Please don’t take offense if family and friends make such a request to you – they may suffer from an allergy that they may not want to disclose.

But, the fact that you suffer from allergies does not necessarily mean that you will never be able to own a dog.

As it is clear that it is the individual dog, rather than specific breeds, that causes an allergic reaction, the best approach is to spend a short time with the dog you want to purchase or adopt, allowing him or her to give you kisses and play with you.Border Terrier With Owner

Remember, dander is air borne, and as such you do not need to be in close contact with a dog in order for your body to react to the dander the dog has shed.

In houses where a dog lives, dander has been identified in so many hidden and most unexpected places – even places that your dog would never go to!!!

In other words, like with all allergy tests, the good old ‘trial and error’ approach may be the only one to establish whether you are safe around a specific dog or not.


What To Do If You Get An Allergic Reaction

The answer is one and one only. Especially if this is the first time that your body reacts at the presence of a dog, you MUST seek medical advice immediately.

Doctors will prescribe drugs such as antihistamine, decongestant and steroids, depending on the severity of your attack.

You will also most probably be required to do blood tests to establish whether the cause of your allergic reaction way due to you being near a dog rather than other allergenic factors, such as pollen for instance.

Not all the times blood tests are as conclusive as we would like. In order to be sure, and so as to avoid more reactions, if you are a dog owner your doctor may ask that you live without a dog for a period of time. This will help your doctor establish for sure whether your dog is the cause of your unwell being.


I Am Allergic To My Border Terrier – What To Do

If you find out you are allergic to your Border, or indeed to your dog of any other breed, it doesn’t mean you have to give your dog away. Oh my goodness, far from it!!

Don’t get me wrong, you must implement precautions in order to avoid flare up episodes in your allergy, but you do not have to get rid of your dog at all.Vacuuming

It is expected that you would have worked out a clinical plan with your doctor or consultant, so as to manage your allergies through a regular course of antihistamines.

  • However, the following measures are also essential:
  • clean the house more regularly, by hoovering material based furniture and carpets using hoovers which are best suited to catch pet hair and dust;
  • declutter your house of textile and material based furniture – hard flooring is preferable to carpets and rugs, and likewise leather or faux leather sofas and chairs are better for allergy sufferers as they prevent dander from embedding, and they are easier to clean;
  • do NOT allow your dog in your bedroom;
  • limit areas in the house where your dog can roam freely, allowing you to have rooms which are completely dander free;
  • use air purifiers around the house – using air conditioners or dehumidifiers will only help move dander from one point to the other in the house.


Do Border Terriers Cause Allergies? – My Verdict

To sum up, I do not believe Border Terriers cause any more allergies than other dog breeds.

Remember, Border Terriers do moult. In fact, if we look at the maintenance of Border Terriers’ coat, remember that Borders require hand stripping in order to eliminate the top coat, which comes out naturally along with the flakes of dead skin.

This means that Borders do shed dander as much as any other dogs. But not more than other dogs.

Some owners to be may be tricked in thinking that Borders do not cause allergies, nor do they moult, because, especially with tan coated Borders, you do not see their hair on carpet nor on hard flooring. Yet, all you need to do is check your hoover after vacuuming the place, and you will notice the massive amount of hair shed by your Border.Hairy Border Terrier

It is not easy to have a dog if you suffer from allergies, but it’s not impossible.

And finally remember, the fact that you are an allergies sufferer, does not necessarily mean that your body will react to dogs. Some dogs may cause an allergic reaction, some others will not, even in people who have never had an allergic episode in their life.

If unsure, give it a try. You might be surprised at how well your body copes surrounded by the loving company of a Border.

As ever, you are welcome to leave your comment below to share your experiences as well as to make suggestions. I shall respond to all of you as soon as I possibly can.


  1. // Reply

    Hi We rescued a BT last year ( 10 year old called Mo). He is such a nervous boy (god only knows what he been through previously). Anyway after committing to giving him a forever home I
    noticed I started to get a rash on my arm nothing to much just abit itchy . I didn’t think much of it to be honest and certainly didn’t think it was Mo.
    After about 3 months Mo was a massive part of our family but my rash had started to spread over my body and was alot more angry looking ( big red blotches and hot to touch and itches like mad).
    After several trips to the doctor’s and various lotion creams etc he decided to take several tubes of blood for testing, they came back with nothing untoward showing up in the results.
    I had already started to surf the net and all things we pointing towards dog dander.
    We bought a new hoover with a HEPA filter and a Air purifier and set about the house to get rid of the build up of dander.
    The air purifier was on continuously especially when hoovering because this is when the dander is released in the air. Almost immediately it started to improve my rash until it finally cleared up although was was still on antihistamines.
    I would love to say this was the happy ending but I’m afraid after two clear months my rash is returning again.
    The struggle goes on at the moment but we are not giving up on Mo .
    He is being bathed more regular now with special shampoo to see if this helps .
    I hope my little story would help someone else if they have a dog allergic .

    1. // Reply

      Paul, apologies for the very late reply. And a million thanks for your contribution. It must be horrible for you, as you have obviously identified that your allergy is caused by little Mo, through no fault of his own. But it is so good to hear that you are not giving up on him. He is part of your family by now, and I cannot imagine for a single moment you being able to ‘get rid’ of him – for lack of a better word. Have you spoken to your doctor about your suspicions? There might be stronger antihistamines that may play the trick.
      Does Mo show any sign of discomfort with any skin complaints? I have found a new brand of CBD based products, and they have an absolutely brilliant shampoo for dogs which plays miracles. I shall review it shortly.
      It appears that the way forward, as well as you taking the precautions you are mentioning with your hoovering round the house, is also to bathe your dog regularly with a good shampoo, so that you eliminate the dander produced by your dog’s skin.
      Let us know how you get on, Paul. I hope to hear from you soon, and once again, thank you ever so much for sharing your experience 🙂

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