Are Papillons Hypoallergenic?

Papillons are becoming more and more common as family dogs. This is because they tend to be friendly, good with other dogs and people, and are small in size. While papillons have a great temperament, due to their longer coat, many people wonder if they are hypoallergenic. 

Papillons are not hypoallergenic because they do shed their long (single-layer) coat seasonally in both the spring and fall. Papillons do have a longer coat, but the shedding amount is actually minimal – resulting in a low-maintenance dog even during shedding season. 

Knowing more details specific to papillon allergen levels and shedding may be helpful for a prospective owner. Not all dogs are the same and you certainly can’t judge a book by its cover. To give you a place to start if you are looking into bringing a papillon home, here I have outlined many of the most common information needed surrounding papillon’s fur and shedding so you can be knowledgeable about your dog choice. Let’s take a closer look.

Papillons Shedding: What You Need to Know

It is important to note before beginning that no dog is completely hypoallergenic. Being hypoallergenic is just a term used to define a dog that has minimal dander and minimal shedding. However, every dog will have some degree of dander (skin cell) production, and the shedding of the coat is usually what determines how much of that danger is in contact with the area and people around the dog.

Because of this, it is important to recognize that just because a breed is known to be hypoallergenic does not mean that this breed is entirely dander-free (or does not shed at least a little bit). Still, some allergy sufferers will find that they can tolerate dogs that have little amounts of dander and shedding, while others with more extreme allergies need another type of pet.

With this in mind, it is important to note that papillons do shed a little bit, although they do not shed a ton compared to other dog breeds. Rather, it is that they have long hair that can make their minimal shedding seem to pile up. Additionally, they do not produce much dander, but this does not mean that they do not produce any at all.

Papillons Hair and Coat Type

When taking a closer look at the papillon hair and coat type, the first thing that you will notice is that papillons are long-haired dogs. While the hair is long, you should not make assumptions about these little animals based just on this information. After all, just having long hair does not mean excessive shedding, although this is contrary to popular belief. 

While long hair does often mean more upkeep, papillons are actually an exception to this in many ways. The primary factor behind papillons being lower-maintenance despite long hair is the fact that they have only one coat of fur. The single coat means less upkeep, less protection from the environment, and a different shedding pattern.

This is the opposite of many breeds of dogs that have two-layer coats. When a dog has a double layer coat, you can expect that in the summer, the dog will shed the thicker layer to make room for a thinner coat to come in- helping to wick away the heat from the summer. Then, in the late fall, the dog will shed the thinner double layer to make room for the thick double layer to return again for the winter.

When it comes to papillons though, they only have a single layer meaning they will shed very minimally compared to many other breeds. Still, because they have long hair, it is necessary to provide regular grooming for this breed of dog to avoid matting and other issues that could result in poor hygiene for your pet as well as additional shedding concerns.

How Much do Papillons Shed?

Now, taking a closer look at their shedding patterns, papillons do not shed very much. They do shed seasonally (in fall and spring) when their coats are preparing for the change of seasons. Other than the changing seasons, papillon’s hair, similar to any mammal, naturally dies and falls out as it grows – meaning their average shedding is very low except for twice a year. 

Even during the shedding seasons, papillons tend to have lower amounts of shedding. The single coat of hair does not have a common undercoat, meaning that the amount of hairs that need to be shed each season is much, much, lower than many other breeds of dog that have a double layer coat.

You will find that keeping up with your papillon’s shedding patterns will be relatively simple. As you regularly brush your papillon to keep his or her long-haired coat clean and free of matting, you will likely see some of the dead hairs come off, but this will not be in large clumps (or at least it shouldn’t be). Instead, it will be more of a light amount that you will gather and then toss.

©Pet Care Project

For those people who are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, though, the papillon’s little shedding can still be difficult to bear. Considering the long hair and single coat that make the shedding minimal, it is still important to note that this breed sheds enough to bother those who suffer from extreme allergies.

Do Papillons Produce Lots of Dander?

While the amount of shedding is important when deciding to choose a dog that is manageable for allergies, it is important to remember that the actual allergen is most often the dander that is produced by your pet. Dander is the skin cells that you will find on the coat of a dog at varying levels of intensity. Some dogs produce lots of dander while others produce very little- and this can occur seasonally, too, as the dog’s chance in coat provokes more robust dander production. 

Papillons produce an average amount of loose dander. The amount of dander produced is manageable for most people with mild allergies, however is not recommended for anyone with more sensitive allergies. If you are consistent with grooming, you can keep the loose hair and dander produced by a papillon very low.

This is because consistent grooming will include regular brushing (including with a variety of types of brushes). You will gently whisk away any tangles in your dog’s long-haired coat, and any dander that has accumulated on your dog’s coat (or that is ready to be scratched away) will fall out and be removed as well.

You can see how this could be ok for people with less sensitive allergies, as the collection of dander and minimal shedding is contained with consistent grooming of your papillon. But, for those people who suffer more extreme allergies, this grooming practice could pose major concerns.

How to Minimize Papillon Allergens

If you are someone who experiences less extreme allergies to pet dander and fur, and you have spent plenty of time with a papillon to know that you will not have an extreme reaction, then you might be considering bringing one home. Of course, you will want to be confident that your allergies will not become an issue with this breed of dog as rehoming can be very difficult on the pet as well as you.

To help minimize papillon allergens so that you can keep one in your home, consider the following options:

  • Maintain a Regular Vacuuming Schedule
  • Clean Pet Beds and Blankets
  • Clean Couches, Beds, and Other Soft Surfaces
  • Brush Your Papillon on a Regular Basis
  • Bathe Regularly and Use an Anti-Allergen Pet Shampoo 
  • Give Your Papillon Skincare Products for Healthier Skin
    (omega oils, probiotics, etc…)
  • Consider Getting an Air Filter
  • If Necessary, Take Allergy Medication

By maintaining a regular vacuuming schedule in your home, you will minimize the allergens that could be sitting around or collecting in dusty corners. Instead, you will see that any minimal shedding from your papillon will be collected, and the dander will not float by as dust in the air.

Then, by regularly grooming your papillon, you will help to minimize any allergens that he or she is producing, and you will be more able to tolerate spending time with him or her. These grooming practices include regular brushing, bathing (with a pet-safe anti-allergen shampoo that removes dander as it cleans), and using healthy skin supplements and products to prevent the dander from occurring in the first place.

©Canine HQ

Finally, you can take it to the next level by purifying the air in your home with an air filter that can eliminate any floating pet dander, your papillon’s long-haired coat, or any other type of debris. Then, if you really need it, you can take allergy medication, but this is a last result solution considering that if you need allergy medication to have a pet at home, this might not be the right type of pet for you.

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