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Are Jack Russell Terriers Hypoallergenic?

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Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic. People can be allergic to their dander, saliva, sweat, and urine. The most prevalent dog allergens are dander and saliva.

Jack Russell Terriers moderate to high amounts. Dander attaches to their hair and spreads into the environment. This can trigger allergies.

You can reduce shedding and control it through diet and grooming.

If you have severe allergies to dogs, Jack Russell terriers are not the best choice for you.

All types of Jack Russell Terriers can provoke allergic reactions. Their coat type does not highly influence allergic reactions.

This article explores the mechanisms through which Jack Russells determine allergic reactions. You will also find out what Jack Russell Terrier mixes can be hypoallergenic.

What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog?

Hypoallergenic dogs are less likely to cause allergic reactions. There is a misconception that “hypoallergenic” means zero chances of allergic reactions. This is false. Attributing the word “Hypoallergenic” to a dog does not imply that it won’t cause an allergic reaction.

The word “hypoallergenic” comes from “hypo” and “allergenic”.

Word rootsMeaning
Hypo-A prefix that comes from Latin meaning below, under, or beneath.
AllergenicMeans something has the effect of an allergen.
HypoallergenicDescribes a lower potential of triggering allergic reactions. 

Allergic reactions to dogs and cats affect between 10% and 20% of the population worldwide[1]. The same percentage affects the population in the United States. 

The percentage is constantly growing. This makes it essential for people to understand that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.

What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog

What Causes Dog Allergies?

Dog allergies are caused by allergens present in dander, saliva, sweat, and urine. People who are allergic to dogs are not allergic to their hair. They have allergic reactions to the dander that attaches to a dog’s hair. Dogs that shed a lot are more likely to cause allergic reactions. 

Certain protein types in dog dander and saliva are responsible for the majority of allergic reactions related to dogs.[3]

The more dogs shed, the more dander is present in the air. The more dander present, the higher the chance of allergic reactions.

Dander consists of the skin cells that dogs shed. It poses a problem because it is made of small particles that remain airborne for long periods. Dander also sticks to furniture and clothes and can rise back into the air because of air circulation.

It is not compulsory for a dog to lick you to have an allergic reaction. Dogs don’t have to lick you to trigger an allergic reaction. Saliva left on other surfaces is enough. It dries and particles of it can become airborne.[2]

Allergic reactions happen when your immune system reacts to an unfamiliar substance, such as the proteins in dog dander and saliva.

When your immune system detects these proteins, it interprets them as dangerous. As a result, it produces antibodies. The role of antibodies is to eliminate the threat.

When you have an allergic reaction, your body is not in danger from the allergenic substances. Your immune systems perceive them as a threat, while they are not dangerous.

What Causes Dog Allergies

Are Jack Russell Terriers Hypoallergenic?

No, Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic. Jack Russell Terriers are moderate to heavy shedders. This results in large amounts of hair in their environment. 

Jack Russells are double-coated. This means they have an outer coat and an undercoat. The overcoat is made of coarse hair. The undercoat is dense and made of soft hairs. 

Jack Russells shed both their outer coat, as well as the undercoat. The undercoat lies closer to the skin. This means dander sticks to it more easily.

As dander sticks to the hair, there is a higher amount of it in the air. This high amount of airborne dander causes allergies.

Related: Do Jack Russells Shed?

Do Jack Russells’ Coat Types Influence Allergic Reactions?

Jack Russells’ coat types don’t have a high impact on the severity of allergic reactions.  All Jack Russells have the same allergenic potential. Long-haired Jack Russell Terriers shed a bit less than smooth-haired Jackies. The difference is not huge.

Jack Russell Terriers can have one of the following coat types:

  • Smooth
  • Rough
  • Broken

Jack Russells with smooth coats often have hair shorter than one inch. Rough-coated Jack Russells have coats that range from 1 to 2 inches in length. Broken-coated Jackies have smooth coats with rough-haired patches.

As a result, Jack Russell terriers are short to medium-coated dogs. 

Long-haired dogs’ hair length is longer than one inch. Another name for rough-coated jackies is long-haired Jack Russells. This name is not accurate, even though their coats are longer than the ones of smooth-coated Jackies. 

There is a misconception that dogs with short hair cause fewer allergic reactions. Short-haired dogs shed more than long-haired dogs. 

Considering everything explained above, it is obvious this is a myth.

Related: Jack Russell Coat Types

Do Jack Russells’ Coat Types Influence Allergic Reactions

Are Jack Russell Terriers Mixes Hypoallergenic?

Some hybrid breeds of Jack Russell Terriers trigger fewer allergic reactions. These hybrid breeds must have a hypoallergenic dog in the mix. When jack Russells are mixed with these breeds, the crossbred can inherit the genes from the hypoallergenic parent.

Hybrid breeds are designed to reduce the chance of diseases in dogs and to change their appearance.

One example is the Jack-A-Poo, a combination between Jack Russells and Poodles. Poodles are on the American Kennel Club’s list of most hypoallergenic dogs. There are high chances that a Jack-A-Poo inherits shedding genes from Poodles.

Dogs’ coat type is a part of their appearance. As their genes combine and change, dogs can cause fewer allergies. This happens because they shed less.

The problem with mixed breeds is that the result is not 100% predictable. Some genetic predictions are more likely to happen but one can not guarantee that your puppy will turn out hypoallergenic.

There are ways of raising the chances to obtain a hypoallergenic mix breed. Jack Russell Terriers should be mixed with hypoallergenic dog breeds.

The following breeds are hypoallergenic:[4]

  1. Affenpinscher
  2. Afghan Hound 
  3. American Hairless Terrier
  4. Barbado da Terceira
  5. Bedlington Terriers
  6. Bichon Frise
  7. Bolognese
  8. Chinese Crested
  9. Coton de Tulear
  10. Irish Water Spaniel
  11. Kerry Blue Terrier
  12. Lagotto Romagnolo
  13. Löwchen
  14. Maltese
  15. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  16. Poodle  – Standard, Miniature, Toy
  17. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  18. Portuguese Water Dog 
  19. Russian Colored Lapdog
  20. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  21. Shnauzer – Standard, Miniature, Giant
  22. Xoloitzcuintli
  23. Yorkshire Terrier

The existing Jack Russell mix-breeds with the potential of being hypoallergenic are:

  • The Yorkie Jack  – Jack Russell + Yorkshire Terrier
  • The Jack-A-Poo – Jack Russell + Poodle
  • The China Jack – Jack Russell + Chinese Crested
  • The Mini Schnauzer Jack – Jack Russell + Miniature Schnauzer

Can I Have a Jack Russell if I Am Allergic to Dogs?

You can have a Jack Russell Terrier if you are engaged in a desensitizing treatment. If your allergic reactions are mild, you can try and see how it goes. It all depends on how you manage your dog’s shedding. 

Jack Russells are not the best dogs for people who struggle with a dog allergy:

  • If you are allergic to dander you will have reactions such as sneezing and nasal congestion. 
  • If you are allergic to dog saliva you will get rashes on your skin if a dog licks you.
  • If you are allergic to both dander and saliva, it is best to choose a hypoallergenic dog.
Can I Have a Jack Russell if I Am Allergic to Dogs

How To Manage Dog Allergies

You can manage dog allergies in many ways:

  • Washing your dog once a week – this is not indicated for Jack Russell Terriers
  • Not letting your dog inside your bedroom
  • Using an air filter
  • Cleaning your house often
  • Brushing your dog often

An effective way to prevent allergic reactions is to take your dog to the groomer. When brushing your dog, dander is released into the air. This can cause severe allergic reactions. Avoid doing this at home if you are allergic to dander.

A way to prevent dog allergies is to expose children to dogs when they are younger than 1 year old.[5]

Conclusion

Jack Russell Terriers are not hypoallergenic dogs. They shed a lot. This results in dander being spread in the air and on various surfaces. People can develop allergies to dog saliva, also. If you like to physically bond with your dog and you have an allergy to dog saliva, Jack Russells are not for you.

All three types of Jack Russells are allergenic. You can try to reduce allergic reactions but medical advice is recommended.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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