Perhaps the biggest downfall to owning a dog is the hair left behind on absolutely anything. It is perfectly reasonable that when you are looking at each breed you will consider the amount of shedding you will be contending with. The athletic and short-haired Greyhound is a wonderful choice for your next dog, but are they suitable for allergy sufferers?
So, are Greyhounds hypoallergenic? Greyhounds are not hypoallergenic. While they do possess a light and short coat that sheds minimally and requires minimal grooming, they still fall under this classification. There is some good news, however. Most allergy sufferers report that they have very few issues being around Greyhounds.
Greyhounds are many things – loyal, energetic, and independent, but they are unfortunately not hypoallergenic.
Thankfully, since the Greyhound coat is very short, each hair they shed is unable to carry a large number of allergens.
Also, Greyhounds produce far less natural body oil than other breeds, so they release less dander and aren’t as prone to doggy odor as some breeds are.
Furthermore, compared to other breeds, the saliva and dander from a Greyhound is chemically different as well. This further helps to prevent allergic reactions.
None of this is to say that every person with allergies will be fine with a Greyhound in their lives, but the chances are far higher than with another dog breed such as a Husky.
It depends totally on the individual person, how clean the dog is, and other varying factors.
Let us now take a closer look at why the Greyhound breed cannot be classified as hypoallergenic.
We will then explore shedding in the breed in further detail before we turn to some practical tips to groom your Greyhound and keep shedding at bay.
What Makes A Dog Hypoallergenic?
The simple answer is that for a dog to be considered hypoallergenic, they must shed very little or not at all. We will see why in the following section.
A true hypoallergenic dog is really an urban myth – they just do not exist. Every dog will shed to some extent.
Even hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Argentine Pila Dog, and the American Hairless Terrier still release dander, proving that 100% hypoallergenic dogs are not possible to find.
To be considered hypoallergenic, the breed must be labelled as 99% hypoallergenic.
So basically, a dog that is called hypoallergenic has a lesser effect on an allergy sufferer than others.
A good example is a Husky vs. a Maltese. Huskies have thick double coats that are known to shed like crazy, meaning that they would be extremely allergenic.
The small Maltese does not shed at all, similar to a poodle, so this would make them extremely hypoallergenic.
Why Is Shedding The Problem?
It actually is not the shedding that causes the problem – the problem arises from what is attached to the fur.
Skin cells, saliva, and urine are where the allergic properties of a dog are found. No matter how clean you keep your Greyhound, a small amount of urine will always get on their hair, since it tends to splash back when they urinate, especially with males.
Dogs will then use their tongues in an attempt to clean the urine from their fur, leaving behind saliva residue as well.
Once these pieces of fur detach from the body, skin cells come along for the ride. The end result is hair full of allergens that is flying around your house and left to settle on various surfaces.
This hair then ends up in your nose, eyes, and mouth – unfortunately the worst areas for ramping up allergic reactions.
Do Greyhounds Shed?
Greyhounds do shed a certain amount; although in this breed it is considered light.
Although shedding may seem to be just an annoyance, there is actually a purpose behind it. The coat on a dog is vital to protect the skin, their most important organ.
It assists in protecting your pup from weather and to help with maintaining the proper body temperature. Shedding gets rids of all the old and damaged fur, leaving behind a healthy coat capable of doing what it is meant to do.
Greyhounds have a unique build when compared to other breeds. They have long legs, a narrow head, and they are very slender.
In fact, most Greyhounds look like they do not get enough to eat. But what is their coat like?
Well, they do shed their coat and they also go through a period of seasonal shedding in both the spring and the fall.
In preparation for the warm weather of summer, the spring shed will see the hair on your pet become even lighter in weight than it was previously.
During the fall shed, the lighter hair is replaced by thicker hair designed However, they are considered to be light shedders when compared with other types of dogs.
Additionally, Greyhounds do not release huge amounts of hair at one time.
They do not have an undercoat, and their actual coat is light and short.
Coat colors vary from blue-grey, fawn, brindle, white, and black. Lighter color hair means that any shedding will also not be so noticeable around the home.
One interesting fact about the Greyhound’s coat is that they do not build up an excess of dander or body oils.
This means that your pet will not smell “doggy” the way some others can. They are also very fastidious about keeping themselves clean.
Since they self-groom, this also helps to reduce the number of allergens released by Greyhounds.
During the rest of the year, you will notice that shedding stays at a pretty much consistent level.
At this point, your pet will still have a coat that is reasonably light and thin. Greyhounds really do not have a coat that will protect them from the cold.
For this reason, the majority of owners keep their pets in a sweater during the winter months to help with the regulation of body temperature. This is an excellent option from Amazon.
The other important fact that should be noted is that the lack of a thick coat also makes Greyhounds susceptible to scrapes and cuts. Because of this it is also common to see Greyhounds with light shirts or sweaters on even during the warmer months.
For people who have adopted their Greyhound from a shelter or rescue have often reported that their new furbaby sheds an extreme amount when they are first brought home.
While this could be a natural reaction to stress, there is another theory.
It is a commonly accepted principle that when Greyhounds are in kennels that they grow what is known as a “kennel coat”.
The thought behind this is that to keep them warmer and help to protect from rough surfaces, they grow in a fuzzy coat far different from their normal hair.
Once it has been shed, your pet will be left with the regular coat that all Greyhounds have.
Which Factors Influence How Much Your Greyhound Will Shed?
There are many external factors that determine how much or how little your Greyhound will shed.
The following should be considered when trying to determine if your Greyhound’s shedding is excessive or just normal hair loss:
- Local weather and climate
- Seasonal shedding blowouts, fall and spring
- The amount of time your pup is left outside
- How often you brush and groom them
- How warm or cold the temperature is in your home
- Whether or not your dog wears a sweater
- Whether you have had your Greyhound from birth, or whether they were adopted from a shelter or rescue
Many of these factors are completely within the control of the owner so it can be an easy matter to make some adjustments to reduce the amount of shedding.
By providing an optimal environment that is comfortable for your pet, you can help to reduce the amount that your Greyhound sheds.
One part of this is keeping them as warm as possible all during the year. Do not leave them outside in the elements longer than they need to be. By doing this they will not grow in a thicker coat that will ultimately need to be shed out.
Brushing your Greyhound regularly is a big step in the right direction. And always feed your dog a high-quality diet. This assists in keeping their coat healthy and a health coat needs to be replaced far less often than an unhealthy one.
How To Groom Your Greyhound
Thankfully, Greyhounds are known for being very clean. So much so that most Greyhounds will even clean themselves; in the same way that cats often do!
Greyhounds are therefore pretty low maintenance, but they do require some basic grooming to cut down on the shedding.
Regardless of the type of dog that you have, grooming is an important part of taking care of your dog properly.
Brushing your dog daily will ensure that shedding remains at a minimum.
Slicker brushes (like this on Amazon) are best for removing any mats or knots in the fur.
Grooming gloves (like this on Amazon) are the best tools for getting all of the dirt and loose hair up to the surface.
Then you will need a bristle brush to remove all of the hair and dirt that rose to the top layer of the coat.
Only give your Greyhound a bath about once per month. This is plenty to keep their coat smelling good and looking clean. Make sure you only use a shampoo and/or conditioner designed for dogs. Human shampoos are damaging and irritating to the skin and can cause inflammation and pain.
The other important part of grooming a Greyhound is keeping their ears clean. Simply use a wet cotton ball a gently clean around the outer part of the ear.
Their nails will also need to be trimmed on occasion. This is basically the extent of Greyhound grooming.
In closing, even though Greyhounds do shed, it is possible for even allergy sufferers to have a close relationship with a Greyhound.
While they are not considered hypoallergenic, they are one of the breeds that are closer to it. Their coats are short, hair is released lightly and these dogs do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean.
Beyond this, with a little bit of grooming and if you do your part to keep them clean, the chances that allergy sufferers would have any problems are on the low side.
The majority of people with dog allergies typically do well around Greyhounds and other similar breeds with short coats. Equally, a Greyhounds dander is quite unique and does not appear to be as troublesome as the dander produced by other breeds. There are many reports of people with dog allergies living with Greyhounds successfully.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.