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Maltese Shih Tzu a Hypoallergenic Designer Dog
Would you like to have a Mal-Shi, Poo-Shi, Malti-Poo or perhaps a Mal-Chi?
If someone would have asked me that question several months ago, I would have said that I preferred Cashew Chicken. I would have thought that I was being offered an invitation to eat Chinese food. Unaware that I was being engaged in a conversation about Designer and hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Its funny how times can change, I believe that 20 years ago the dogs that would have been called Mutts would now be called Designer Breeds. Also 20 years ago, I don't ever recalling hearing about hypoallergenic dogs or allergen friendly dogs.
So what makes a dog a Mutt and what makes a Designer Breed? What makes a dog hypoallergenic? These were questions that I found myself asking many puppy training pads ago. After doing a good bit of research and talking to breeders I can now answer the questions that I once had.
The Mutt vs. the Designer Breed. Mutts can be very cute and lovable but you usually have no clue to their family doggy tree or their ancestry breeding. One day they just show up in your yard, you put posters up and try to find the owner. If you are unable to find the owner and are an animal lover you take them in as part of your family. By looking at the dog you may be able to guess at some of the ancestry. But you will not know for certain what type of parents or grandparents the dog has. With designer breeds the breeder should be able to inform you of the dog's background. What type of purebred the mom was and so forth. The other big difference between the two of course is the price. Lovable mutts are usually given away and the designer dogs can cost a good bit of dough. While doing research I was very surprised at the cost of some of the designer breeds and what surprised me even more was that some of the designer dogs (which remember are still mixed) were pricier than full blooded dogs.
While researching dog breeds I did not really care about getting a designer breed but I knew that my family needed a hypoallergenic breed. I have to say that I was very skeptical if such dogs even existed. Most the web sites would say that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic and I would have to agree with that, but I have to say that I am very pleased with the outcome of our furry family member, Herbie. He is half Maltese and half Shih Tzu which does make him designer breed but more importantly to me, it also makes him hypoallergenic. If I had not seen the results first hand I would still be a skeptic. But here we are, 6 months after Herbie came into our lives and no problems with coughing, sneezing, closing of the throat or any of the other problems that come along with dog allergies.
So what makes a dog hypoallergenic? Most think the main culprit is the dog's hair. But this is a common mistake. It is not the hair but rather the dander. But the good news is that there are many breeds that produce very little dander and what little dander they have can be taken care of by regular grooming. There are also breeds that shed very little, if at all. This helps in the sense that the dander that sticks to the hair is not getting all over your house. The Maltese Shih Tzu that we have loses less hair than I do. After grooming there's no hair to be found on the comb and even better there's never any hair on the furniture. Another allergen is the dog's saliva; it's good to keep this in mind when picking out the breed that you want. If a certain breed is known to be a barker then it will produce proteins that are in the saliva and these proteins are partly the cause of dog allergies. But again the good news is there are breeds that do not produce much saliva and therefore when they shake or bark they are not spreading the proteins or allergens around.
So to all those dog lovers with dog allergies, I say, don't put your hopes of having a dog in the dog house just yet. Take the time and do some research. Wikipedia has a wonderful list of dogs considered to be allergen friendly and a short description as to why.