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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I am interested in getting a chocolate lab puppy from a breeder, but my wife has allergy issues I need to consider. She is dreadfully allergic to cats -- even after popping a preventative Allegra, she cannot spend more than 1/2 hour in a cat household even if they "just vacuumed and cleaned!" before she gets scratchy eyes, runny nose, the works, and we generally have to leave. She has had allergy tests that indicate she is indeed allergic to both cats and dogs.

On the plus side, my wife is very self-aware of her allergies and says she feels only 5% as allergic to dogs as to cats, and in fact some dogs don't bother her allergies at all. Also, our house is almost entirely hardwood and we keep it very clean; and, we have an outside area that could be suitable for a doghouse. So it's not requisite that a dog sleep inside with us.

So, it's a tough situation. I was thinking of contacting some of the chocolate lab breeders in my area whom I am considering, to see if they would be open to our visiting and spending some time with the lab parents/relatives, and observing my wife's allergic response. Also, it would be a good opportunity to meet the breeders.

I wanted to ask if this is something a good breeder would be open to, what an appropriate amount of time to visit would be, and any other tips or thoughts. For example, I read elsewhere on this forum that dogs over the age of 2 years tend to be 'more allergic' than when they are puppies. Also, I am making an assumption that a dog's allergy-causing proteins would be the same, or similar, to his or her parents and relatives.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Why did you decide on a Lab? Seriously, I think they shed the most out of any breed. Or at least it seems like that, LOL. Of course that doesn't have a lot to do with true dog allergies, but if she has other allergies as well, tons of fur floating around isn't a good thing.
 

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I'm also not sure a lab would be okay with sleeping outside, away from its people. What qualities are you looking for in a dog (besides one with less chance of aggravating your wife's allergies)? Perhaps we can suggest some breeds. :)
 

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My mom is SUPER allergic to cats, and semi allergic to dogs. cats send her asthma into a tizzy. But dogs on the other hand.. she mostly just needs to make sure washes her hands after cuddle time and before she touches her eyes. So it's definitely possible to be way allergic to one, and not much to the other. She lived well with 2 dogs. One terrier (whom she NEEDED to wash her hands after), and one poodle/terrier mix (who barely affected her allergies at all).

I wouldn't look past lookiing into breeds that are less likely to shed a lot. I know it's the dander that triggers allergies, but shedding does add to that.
Anyway, it's not a bad idea to check out other dogs like you said.

I'm also not sure a lab would be okay with sleeping outside, away from its people. What qualities are you looking for in a dog (besides one with less chance of aggravating your wife's allergies)? Perhaps we can suggest some breeds. :)
I was going to mention the same thing. I would think twice about a dog if you are going to have them sleeping outside all night. All dogs I've ever met are much happier inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the input so far guys. I selected a lab because they look beautiful, and they met most of my criteria. Other breeds that I had considered I deemed to be inappropriate for my level of experience (none - moot, never ever had a dog). My notes thus far:

Anatolian Shepherd Dog: Not a dog for beginners
Flat-Coated Retriever: Very sociable; Harder to find than Labs
Weimaraner: Not for beginner; hard to train

Since you asked for specifics, here are my notes on breed selection. By no means complete -- my research has just begun.

Desirable Traits / Abilities
Physical
Large dog
Doesn’t shed all over the house
Low-maintenance grooming a plus​
Backpacking / Hiking
Can hike 6-10 miles a day on steep & rocky terraine
Willingly carry light load
Will enjoy spending multiple nights in wilderness
Can swim in currents
Temperatures down to 20 degrees F at night
Frequently encounter: squirrel, deer, raccoon, horse, bobcat, coyote, bear​
Climate
Can handle living in snow climates
Can handle occasional cold mornings (5-25 degrees)​
Temperament
No droolers
No excessive barkers
Friendly and loving; affectionate but not a 'shadow'
Smart
Gets along ok with other dogs (doesn't assult them)
Gets along ok with random kids
Loves to be in the woods & wilderness​
Activity Level
Likes to go trail / road running 3-5 miles a day
Frequent hiking
Ocean swimming?
Follow-along mountain biking?​
 

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Yes, unfortunately I do not prefer poodles or, in general, dogs with curly hair.
understandable, most people do have a "vendette" for curly dogs. but the poodle really is your best bet. if your wife is allergic, this breed is great for allergy sufferers. its very close to the lab, it too is a water retreiver as well. If its the hair cut, which seems to bother most people. this breed can be cut any way you want, their coat is so versitle.

a lab has a short, very thick, all year long shedding coat, which tends to be greasy, while a poodles is a single coat, hardly sheds, since its one coat, it doesnt have as much oils and such in the coat that makes people suffer
 

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If shedding is a deal-breaker for you, you do NOT want a Lab. Really. . .my Lab died 4 years ago and we still find yellow hair in weird places (and my parents' current dogs are black!).

ETA: haha, I type too slowly!

What exactly don't you like about Standard Poodles? They're very sturdy dogs, bred to be retrievers, not "frou-frou" at all. You don't have to do the silly haircuts :p.
 

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Well the only problem with a standard poodle is a the grooming, unless you keep the hair short all the time. They shed minimally but because their coat is curly it gets trapped in the coat and can mat easily. So keeping it short is the best bet. But I agree they might be your best fit. You don't have to do the cuts of the coat you see most often, even though those would help the dog in cold water, you don't have to shave the face, really their coat is very versatile in how you can shape it. Curly Coated dogs are actually the best dogs for allergy sufferers.

If you can't handle massive amounts of shed hair, then don't get a lab.
 

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and on the other end...if you're not looking for something to show and just want a pet, you can always go w/ the 'doodle dogs....my sister has a Golden doodle that would (taking some weight off) do quite well w what you're looking for in a dog......and her coat is a little thicker for the colder temps than the pure poodle....

just another suggestion (here come the daggers, now....:) :) )
 

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a standard poodle will fit all your requirments, and should not send your wife in to a allergy issue.
I would agree with this ^.....^ ..... ^ My Mom had severe allergies to dogs whose hair was floating all over the house and mixing with the dust mites. Our Poodle mixes did not effect her allergies or her copd or mine. I would vote for a purebred Poodle from a reputable breeder or a rescue. We kept them groomed with a short coat except for the winter. That is just a by choice thing anyways.
 

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The only issue with a doodle I see is not all of them are "hypoallergenic"-it would be a matter of meeting the dog and seeing if the wife's allergies are triggered. I believe poodle coated doodles required regular grooming as well but I could be wrong.
 

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I get that you don't find the curly haired dogs appealing appearance-wise. But, I think you'll find that a standard poodle will quickly change your mind. Once a dog gets your heart, you don't care what kind of fur it has ;)
Plus, you want to make sure that the dog you get is a commitment. If you think you can get a high shedding dog and not affect your wifes allergies; you are probably going to be dissapointed, as well is the dog.
 

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i know that they're not hypo-allergenic, but neither is a Lab and they are less shedding than a Lab.....the coats are, generally, a little thicker to w/stand colder weather than a poodles tends to be which would help in his hiking/camping w/ the dog....and, yes, they'd still have to be kept in a clip to make it easier.....

and, for anything that he may be looking at, i would highly suggest the rescues.....
 

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OP, some people are breeding labradoodles and goldendoodles ethically. If you go that route, try to find an "Australian Labradoodle" breeder (they are attempting to turn it into a recognized breed rather than just a mix) or at least someone who does the proper health tests (NOT just a vet check) on their breeding dogs. Find out which genetic issues can plague both poodles and labs/goldens and make sure the breeder has tested to make sure their lines are free of them. :)

How do you feel about terriers? The soft-coated wheaten terrier could be one to look into. This is tough, though, because most of the breeds that are known to be "hypo-allergenic" are either small (which you don't want), have curly coats (which you don't like), are barky (which you don't want; otherwise I might suggest a schnauzer), or wouldn't be great for the kind of activities you want to do (Samoyeds, for example, wouldn't be good off-leash hiking dogs).

That said, you said in your first post that dogs don't trigger your wife's allergies as much as cats do anyway, so it's possible she'd be fine with a lab as long as you take care to brush and bathe it often and continue to keep your house clean. I think your idea of visiting with breeders in your area is a good one. I said above that I don't think a lab would enjoy sleeping outside away from his people, and I stand by that, but you could always crate-train your pup and allow him to sleep in his crate inside the house.
 

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Welcome to the forum, did you or your wife ever consider a hypoallergenic dog? I know all dogs shed, but dogs that are hypoallergenic only have single coat and do not shed as much as a Lab would (that you want). There are many out there that could work for the both of you. I'm like your wife, I'm highly allergic to cats and allergic to dog dander and saliva, and we went to meet Luke too to see if I would get sick and I didn't. I know you want a large dog, but just to remind you a lot of small dogs act like big dogs. Luke acts like he's the biggest dog in the complex and I really like that cause I've always liked big dogs.

I was thinking Poodle too because not only do they shed less than other dogs, especially the Lab, they're great for what you named. Or if you don't want a Poodle, why not a Doodle dog? Goldendoodle or Labradoodle? You just have to be sure there they grow up to be more Poodle than Golden/Lab as I hear that part of them can still shed. I know you said you don't like curly breeds, but would you ever consider a Curly Coated Retriever? Or a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds here, but I want to tell you a story: I would like to remind you that you can't always have what you want. For example: I wanted a Golden so badly and nothing else and my allergies were going to stop me. Then, after many years I realized I couldn't have my dream dog. So I searched again for a hypoallergenic dog and one that fit my lifestyle, granted I got a dog smaller than I thought I would, but Luke acts the way bigger and is sweet, playful. I call him my "Golden Coton". Point of the story is, you seem to want to get a Lab soo badly, but your wife may not be able to take the dander that will be coming off this dog. Labs shed...a lot! You may want to rethink your decision since you have someone you love who suffers from their dander. So why not try another breed? Like a Labradoodle or Curly-Coated Retriever? You never know what you could get out of it, maybe a better dog than you thought you would've had. ;)
 

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LOL, he doesn't like poodles!!!

I'm having a vague memory that maybe schnauzers tend to be less allergenic than some breeds? And standard schnauzers are a very, very underrated breed in my opinion. But there are also giant schnauzers if the standards are too small for your tastes.
 
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