Are Black Labs Hypoallergenic? Here’s Why They’re Not Suitable for Allergy Sufferers!

October 13, 2022 / Dog Breeds / By: iPupster

A black labrador resting on woodland leaves during a walk in the autumn.

The short answer is no, and Black Labradors are not known for being one of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds – and the Black Labrador is almost never recommended as a household dog for people who are sensitive to allergies.

Compared to other hypoallergenic dog breeds like Scottish Terriers or the Shih Tzu, Black Labradors shed at least four times per year.

With other characteristics like fur density, Black Labradors are one of the least hypoallergenic dog breeds out there.

Here’s what to know about Black Labs and allergies, and the essentials about 6 medium dog breeds that are hypoallergenic and make excellent household pets.

Is a Black Labrador Hypoallergenic?

No...unfortunately Black Labs are not hypoallergenic!

Black Labrador Retrievers are not one of the best dog breeds for people with allergies, or anyone who is hypersensitive to dog allergies in general.

If you have experienced problems with dog allergies in the past, Black Labradors are more likely to trigger allergies than other breeds like the Bichon Frise, the Miniature Schnauzer or Shih Tzu Dog breed.

Here’s what makes the Black Labrador a little less allergy-friendly than some other dog breeds out there:

Seasonal Shedding

While some dog breeds like the Brussels Griffon shed only twice a year (during spring and summertime), the Black Labrador is known for consistent, almost year-through shedding of their coat.

According to "The Complete Guide to Labradors", this is also try of the chocolate Labs however they tend to shed less than yellow Labs and experience two heavy shedding periods per year.

Coats trap allergens, and the fact that a Black Labrador sheds at least once every season doesn’t help its allergy-prone owners.

Owners with Black Labs have to take year-round care to avoid thick mats of fur and airborne allergens.

Sensitive to allergies?

A Black Lab will present a whole lot more work and effort.

Thicker, Fluffier Coat

Black Labradors – in fact, most Labradors – are known to have a thicker, fluffier coat than most other dog breeds.

A sleek, heavy coat is one of the characteristics associated with the breed (and even with the best care, they are still cursed with a heavier, allergy-causing coat).

No matter what type of Labrador you get, Labradors in general are known to have a furrier exterior that traps allergies – and as we’ve already gone through, sheds off their bodies at least four times per year.

Sweat Glands

Black Labradors have different types of skin and sweat when they are compared to other dog breeds; the oils excreted from their skin gets trapped in their fur more readily than other dogs who do not produce these compounds in excess amounts.

Thanks to their glandular structure, what gives a Labrador their shiny and sleek coat is also a practical hotbed for different allergens. From dust to fine skin particles, the average Labrador’s fur contains all of them – and even after a bath, within an hour their skin will have compensated by replacing the oils.

More Drooling

The different allergens that you might encounter around your dog are not limited to the potential dust and skin cells that you find trapped in their fur.

Allergens (and often, other types of general bacteria) are present in their saliva. Although present in dog dander, the major allergen from dogs, Can f 1, is most prominent in a dog's saliva.

Anyone who has ever had a Labrador in the house will be able to tell you: almost no other dog breed has the potential to drool as much as a Labrador on a warm day!

Excessive saliva means excessive allergens, and an almost automatic problem for anyone who is sensitive to allergies.

Grooming Routine

The average Labrador can require about as much as double the amount of grooming that you would expect with any other dog breed that has less fur and dander.

While comparative dog breeds with a fluffy coat such as the Brussels Griffon require brushing perhaps once or twice a week, Labradors – especially fluffier ones – will have to be brushed at least once or twice a day in an allergy-prone household.

Labradors are (extremely!) active dog breeds: owners can almost count on their Labradors running through dust, dirt and Heaven knows what else. Labradors need more regular bathing than other dogs, too, especially for this reason.

The grooming routine for the average Black Labrador can only be described as extremely intensive, and not something that every person prone to natural dog allergies is willing to deal with!

6 Medium Dog Breeds That Are Hypoallergenic

Grey Standard Poodle Dog Playing Outdoors on Grass

Standard Poodle Dog Breed

If you want to add a new furry member to the household and have a choice between a Black Labrador and another dog breed, dog sensitive people should ideally find a breed that is suited to their level of allergen sensitivity.

There are great medium dog breeds out there that are significantly "less allergic", and less likely to trigger serious allergies in sensitive people.

With less shedding and an easier grooming routine, some dog breeds (like the Samoyed or Italian Greyhound) are a better fit.

Here are six recommended dog breeds for hypoallergenic needs households and homes. 

1. Standard Poodle

The Standard Poodle is a medium-haired dog breed that owes its origins to Europe. Standard Poodles make extremely great hypoallergenic dog breeds: they shed much less compared to the frequent shed of a Labrador – and their care routine lends itself well to simple brushing and bathing a few times per month.

2. Samoyed

The Samoyed is one of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds out there, with rising popularity amongst owners who happen to be allergic to most dog breeds.

Samoyed dogs have a thinner spread coat than the Black Labrador, and their skin doesn’t produce nearly as much oil (or trap excessive allergens) like Labs. Expect Samoyed dogs to have a once-per-week grooming routine.

3. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs are a type of hypoallergenic breed which is so-called for their aptitude in the water (a common characteristic shared by their non-allergy friendly cousins, the Black Labrador).

Short-haired, the Portuguese Water Dog is a natural water lover that only sheds twice a year – and has comparatively less of a thick coat to shed allergens all over the house.

4. Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound originates from the same place as its name, and originally spread as a dog breed popular in Italy. Even though Greyhound racing is no longer as popular in the world as it once was, the breed has remained – and it turns out they’re great hypoallergenic family or household dogs!

Thanks to their short-haired coat, even the most allergy prone dog lovers are less likely to have problems with an Italian Greyhound around the home.

5. Labradoodle

The Labradoodle is a combination breed that brings together the best qualities of two dog breeds: the Labrador and the Poodle.

Medium-sized, medium-haired dogs, the Labradoodle is similar to Labradors in their mood and habits – but similar to a Poodle in the sense that they are almost entirely hypoallergenic with the right care.

If you have had prior issues with allergies and Labradors, what about a Labradoodle?

6. The Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres (or the Flanders Bouvier) is a fluffier, short-haired type of dog breed that is known to shed very little – and with proper care, can maintain a great, curly coat throughout most of the year without the traditional allergy issues associated with breeds like the Black Lab.

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