Often declared the cleverest member of the canine family, Border Collie is a popular choice for a pet. Sweet-natured, agile, and a workaholic of a dog, it is an excellent performer at agility and obedience training. No wonder so many people wish to get one. But often, they have to stop in their tracks to contemplate, are Border collies hypoallergenic? And rightly so, pet allergies are fairly common, and chances are, even if you don’t have one, someone close might have them.
In this article, we will address the topic in more detail. You will also find some tips to help you make the best out of the situation.
Are Border Collies Hypoallergenic
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even though the Border Collies are medium shedders, they do carry a fair amount of allergens, enough to prompt a reaction from those suffering from allergies. The situation does spiral out of control with the seasonal changes. Border Collies dump their lighter summer coats for a thick growth in winters and vice versa as the mercury rises in spring, as a natural thermoregulating mechanism.
If you still want to have the dog, first and foremost, speak to your doctor. Discuss the possible repercussions and the kind of medication you will need to keep things going for you. The good thing is that despite the risk, having a Border Collie is still possible, provided control measures and a cleaning regimen are in place.
Hypoallergenic Breeds – Truth or Myth?
Before we proceed any further, let us dissect the term “hypoallergenic.” People usually assume it as a magical breed of cats or dogs that somehow does not cause any allergies at all. However, much to our dismay, there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog breed.
Allergic reaction is an immune response of the body to foreign items it deems harmful, resulting in inflammations, irritations, or even more severe effects if the exposure prolongs. Pets carry allergens – the substance causing allergies in their saliva, urine, fur, and dander (dead skin cells).
It is actually the interaction of allergens with people that increases the chances of an allergic reaction. Therefore the cat/dog breeds who shed heavily are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than those who fall in the medium to mild shedding range. So, in reality, a dog labeled hypoallergenic has lower chances of disturbing affected people, but the risk does not diminish.
The Border Collie Coat
Border collies were bred essentially as herd dogs to work extensive hours in the harsh mountainous region of Scotland and Wales. Their demanding job and rough winters necessitated an unmatched energy level and solid protection from the winters – a thick coat. So they evolved to develop a double coat.
The outer coat has a rough texture, while the inner one is short and soft in touch. Border collies may either have short, smooth but coarse fur or a medium-length, feathery one. Both the coats are excellent barriers against cold and heat and even resist rain and snow.
As the winter approaches, these dogs shed their lighter summer coat to grow a thicker layer to shield them from the cold. In spring, they undergo what many call a coat blow, where all the heavy layers shed in the form of thick tufts of fur, replacing it with a summer-appropriate lighter coat.
Border collies are medium shedders, so, besides the seasonal shedding, there will be some hair fall in routine. For routine maintenance, you just need a pin brush to comb through the fur roughly twice a week. Daily combing would be the best thing to do during their seasonal shedding to minimize the mess around the house.
Best Practices to Deal With Dog Allergies
Now that we have unearthed the truth, it is time to learn what you can do. Indeed the Border collies are hypoallergenic, and no, there is nothing you could do to make them go over to the other side. But despite the knowledge, even if you do have a pet allergy, there are a few best practices to follow that will make the experience least bothersome for you.
One of the best things you can do to keep your Border collie from spreading the allergens is to routinely bathe it. If anything, the pandemic has taught us very well that washing does work. Not only will it remove the dander and the saliva from your dog, but also the unintended allergens it brings home from a trip outdoors.
Shedding is the primary source of allergies. Doing something to regulate it would naturally minimize the risks. Coat grooming can range from using a pin brush to remove loose hair to using an undercoat rake. Brushing twice a week is good enough to keep it under control on regular days, but owners will have to switch it up to a daily routine during seasonal changes. Remember to use a quality glove while you are at it to minimize the harmful effects on you.
Keeping a dog is already risky enough when you are prone to allergies building some boundaries will help you contain any possible flare-ups. Take it upon yourself to train the dog to stay in a specifically designated area. Considering that Border Collies are pretty active dogs, remember to give them ample space and enough exercise nonetheless. But make sure that your bedroom is a no-go area for the dog to make things bearable for you.
This one is a no-brainer. Diligently removing fur will help you keep out the allergens as much as possible. In a best-case scenario, the spaces you share with your dog should not have a carpet at all. Even if you had one, removing it would be a good idea. But if that is not an option, get your hands on a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for removing pet fur.
Wipe the floor with a damp cloth to pick up the fur, and wear gloves while you are at it. Putting up throws and blankets over the couches and chairs your dog lounges on. Frequently washing these additional layers is a great way to minimize pesky allergens. Using machine washable dog beds is also a great way to control the harm.
HEPA Air Purifier
Allergens are tiny particles that may be riding your pet, lying on the surfaces around the house, and can even become airborne. If you are already following the cleaning guidelines properly, removing the airborne bad guys should take your cleaning mission a notch higher. Investing in a good quality high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will remove both the pollutants and the allergens. Likewise, changing your HVAC filters more often can also help keep the situation under control.
The idea is to remove anything that may affect you. Change your clothes after playing with your dog or getting an extended exposure to the canines outdoor. Doing so will minimize the chances of an allergic reaction.
If you have ever been to a pet groomer, you must have come across a heavy-duty blower they use to dry them after a shower. It has dual benefits; it helps them dry up quickly, preventing them from getting cold. The other benefit is it removes the dead skin hanging by until that point.
With all the best practices and cleaning regimes, you only minimize the chances of an allergic reaction, but it does not really go away. Despite the risk, if you still want one, start by having a genuine discussion with your physician. Seek a professional opinion; medicine to keep any reactions under control. Possible solutions include anti-allergy injections or over-the-counter medication.
Border Collies are sweet-natured, agile, and very gifted dogs. The famous herding dog from England is quite the workaholic ball of energy, with a remarkable attitude and its trademark herding eyes. There is no reason why any person who appreciates dogs should not like a Border Collie. But the fact is, it is not hypoallergenic, even in the true sense of the word. It can cause allergic flare-ups, but that does not mean you cannot find ways to keep it at home. With proper care, grooming, cleaning, and medication, you may still enjoy having your dog around, albeit with a few restrictions.