A lot of confusion persists in the dog world about whether a particular breed is “hypoallergenic.” For starters, most people think the term hypoallergenic means non-allergenic. In other words, they assume that a hypoallergenic dog would never set off their allergies.
Hypoallergenic does NOT mean non-allergenic. At the risk of getting overly technical, the prefix “hypo-” simply means “below.” Someone suffering from hypothermia has a body temperature significantly below normal.
So something that is hypoallergenic has a below average chance of causing allergies. Merriam-Webster defines hypoallergenic as “having little likelihood of causing an allergic response.”
In this sense, many low to non-shedding breeds of dogs are truly hypoallergenic, because they are less likely to cause allergies than other breeds of dogs. Since many Labradoodles and Goldendoodles have low to no-shedding (especially F1b crosses), they can be called hypoallergenic.
It is common for Doodle breeders to overstate the case and make you think that buying a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle insures lack of allergies. This is not necessarily true. Some Labradoodles and Goldendoodles shed (if they inherit the Lab or Golden Retriever coat). Additionally, not all allergies are caused by shedding hair. The vast majority of dog allergies are due to allergic reactions to dog hair or dog hair dander, but occasionally people are allergic to dog saliva (which obviously can’t be solved by getting a non-shedding dog).
Practical advice for those with allergies.
Get a F1b Labradoodle or Goldendoodle. Because the Poodle coat is a dominant gene (much like brown eyes in humans over blue eyes), the chance of a 50-50 Lab/Poodle cross getting the Poodle’s non-shedding coat is quite high. Because an F1b dog breeds that 50-50 dog back to a Poodle, the chances of the coat being non-shedding are far, far higher. In essence you have a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle that is 75% Poodle, and with Poodles having the dominant gene for their coat, you have an extremely high chance (likely over 95%) of getting a non-shedding coat if you buy a F1b puppy. This desirability is one of the reasons F1b Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are more expensive.
If you’re considering buying a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle, it is a good idea to spend a couple hours around the breeder’s dogs to see if you react negatively.
When picking a puppy, remember that puppies with short, wiry coats will likely shed. This is a good reason to get pick of the litter, so you can pick a non-shedding puppy.
Remember that a shedding puppy will also shed as an adult. A non-shedding puppy will probably not shed as an adult, but there are exceptions. If you start with a puppy that sheds, you can guarantee that the adult dog will also shed (regardless of what the breeder says).