Pet owners are always curious as to the difference between hair and fur, as it is a commonly held belief that one causes a dog to be hypoallergenic while the other does not. Interestingly, however, at a chemical level, there is nothing that would make one more allergenic than the other. Allergenic dander and compounds which cause allergies are found much more commonly in a dog’s skin and saliva than in their coat. Both hair and fur are made from the same protein, keratin, and they both go through the same four stages of growth: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. While hair enjoys a longer anagen phase and overall a longer growth cycle, fur moves more quickly through the cycle. This is why there are differences between dogs with hair and dogs with fur.
As a result of the longer growth cycle, dogs with hair not fur tend to have a longer, smoother coat, and their coat also tends to be finer than those with fur. Hair can be straight, wavy, or curly. Fur, on the other hand, tends to be shorter than hair, as a result of its short growth cycle, and it also tends to be dense, with more follicles spread across the dog’s skin. Owners who are curious as to what sort of coat their dog has can generally get a good idea just from looking and touching their coat.
Dogs with hair are often referred to as hypoallergenic dogs because, generally, these aredogs that don’t shed as often asdogs with fur.The extended growth cycle that hair enjoys means that allergenic dander which would otherwise be on the floor remains on the dog. Curly hair tends to hold onto allergens more than straight or wavy hair, which is why dogs like poodles are often consideredhypoallergenic dogs.
Fur, on the other hand, because of its short growth cycle, sheds more often, leading to more allergens in the dog’s environment. Additionally, because it is typically short and dense, fur cannot hold onto allergens as well as hair. This means that even when the dog is not shedding, it will still be spreading allergens in its environment. It’s for this reason that dogs with fur are not considered to be hypoallergenic dogs.
In order to limit allergens overwhelming your home or apartment, it is vital that you learn proper grooming practices, whether your dog has hair or fur. For instance, just because hair doesn’t shed as frequently as fur doesn’t mean that it can go without brushing. The longer your hairy dog goes without being brushed, the more likely it is that their coat will be chock full of allergenic dander and other compounds which cause allergies. That’s why it is a great idea to purchase a brush that can properly deal with hair, whether it is straight, wavy or curly.
Now that it’s understood that furry dogs are more likely to give off allergens, you should definitely make it a priority to brush your dog vigorously every day or three to four times a week, so that the loose fur is dealt with before it spreads around the house. A properly designed brush that can collect a lot of hair at once and dispose of it quickly will be important for these dog owners.
Additionally, bathing your dog every so often will help keep its shedding patterns in check, whether it has hair or fur. Be sure to look for dog shampoo as well as topical oils which are organic and carefully formulated, that way your dog’s skin doesn’t dry out and possibly flake.