Are Corgis a Good Breed for Allergy Sufferers?

Cute Corgi laying in grass smiling

Corgis are loving, smart dogs who make wonderful family pets. Although small in size, these dogs are agile, energetic, and enjoy playing. This breed also makes an excellent watchdog and is loyal.

However, this fluffy breed is known to be moderate to high shedders and are not hypoallergenic. For people who are highly allergic to pet dander, Corgis may not be a good fit despite their cheerful personalities.

That said, implementing some regular strategies to manage a Corgi’s shedding can enable you to add this loving, loyal pet to your family.

Why Corgis Are Popular Pets

Corgis are a well-loved small dog breed and a popular pet. Both the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi are herders and are about 10 - 12.5 inches tall. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi ranks 13 out of 193 breeds in popularity, and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is not far behind at 68 out of 193, according to the American Kennel Club.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke is low to the ground and long with short but powerful legs. Pembroke’s are quick and agile. These dogs are affectionate but also independent. This is not a needy breed.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are active and enjoy playing. Owners will need to make sure they are burning their Corgi’s energy and providing adequate stimulation, so he doesn’t get bored. This breed is smart and responds well to training, which can increase the bond between the owner and the dog.

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a loyal, loving dog and a good watchdog. This breed is a great choice for families or people who live in apartments or small houses.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are also built low to the ground with short but powerful legs. Unlike a Pembroke, Cardigan Welsh Corgis have tails. A well-socialized, loyal and affectionate family pet, this breed tends to get along well with children and other pets.

These dogs are athletic, agile, and smart. As such, they respond well to training and likes to have things to do. Cardigan Welsh Corgis enjoy being outside but also do well living in apartments and small homes.

Reasons Why Some People Are Allergic to Dogs

While many people believe it’s a dog’s fur that causes allergies, the main source of dog allergens is a protein. This protein is attached to a dog’s dander, saliva, and urine.

Pet dander is made up of tiny flecks of skin that pets shed. The dander attaches to a dog's fur and then is released when the dog drops its coat. Because of the dander's small, irregular size, it clings to furniture, bedding, and clothing with ease. Additionally, dander travels easily and can get carried out of a home with pets, resulting in places that don't have animals to contain dander.

Dander is easy to inhale, which is what can trigger an allergic or asthmatic reaction in people sensitive to pet dander. Allergic symptoms can include congestion, sneezing, running nose, postnasal drip, and wheezing. Some people with allergies experience watery or itchy eyes, as well. Asthmatic symptoms that can occur due to dander include shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing.

Some people, however, aren’t allergic to dander but are sensitive to a dog’s saliva called allergic dermatitis. Allergic dermatitis is caused by a reaction in the immune system that results in skin inflammation. People with this allergic reaction may have raised-red patches, itchiness, or eczema where a dog has licked them.

Why No Dog Is Completely Hypoallergenic

There’s a lot of discussion about hypoallergenic dogs. But, no breed is fully hypoallergenic, unfortunately. All dogs have dander and saliva that contribute to allergies. That said, some breeds shed less than others, which can help owners with allergies or asthmatic reactions to dogs. These breeds are considered to be more hypoallergenic.

How Much Corgis Shed and Why

A Corgi is not for you if you want a low shedding dog. Not all Corgis shed the same amount. But be prepared. Both types of Welsh Corgis are moderate to heavy shedders year-round. This breed sheds a lot due to having a double coat and shedding seasonally.

Double Coat and Shedding. Originally, Corgis were bred to be herders. Since this dog spent a lot of time outside, especially in cold or wet weather, this breed benefited from having a double coat. The double coat helps them adjust to all types of weather.

Breeds with a double coat have two layers: a soft, shorter undercoat and a longer, coarse topcoat. Dogs with two coats typically shed more than breeds with a single coat.

Seasonal Shedding. While Corgis shed all year round, they also tend to shed their coat seasonally often called a coat blow. A coat blow occurs to help the dog transition his coat for a new season. Corgis will shed more than usual during this period. Many Corgi owners report this happens in the spring and sometimes in autumn. This extra shedding helps your dog adjust to the changing of the seasons.

In the winter, his undercoat grows quickly since this layer protects him from the cold. When spring arrives, he sheds the warm undercoat and grows the topcoat more. Then in the autumn, he will shed his topcoat and start growing more of his undercoat again.

5 Ways to Manage Shedding

While this breed does shed, you can manage the shedding, so it doesn’t interfere with your lifestyle or provoke your allergies as much. The good news is that the strategies to help decrease shedding don’t require much effort or time.

Brush Your Dog Regularly

Brushing your Corgi doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Corgis are a small dog. In about ten minutes, you can completely brush your dog. By removing the loose hairs, you will cut down on his shedding.

Additionally, many dogs love being brushed, so this can be an opportunity to bond with your dog. Brushing regularly will also prevent or cut down on mats and tangles in your dog’s fur. Mats, or tangled clumps of loose hair, can bunch up against your dog’s skin, causing him pain and discomfort. The more you can prevent tangles, the better your dog will feel.

Brushing routinely also helps promote healthy skin and coat as brushing helps to spread a dog’s natural oils that are needed to be healthy.

Feed Him a Healthy Diet

Your dog needs a healthy balanced diet to feel and look his best. With the right nutrients, his coat will be shiny and smooth, and his skin will be in good condition. Your pooch will also feel well and be more active and engaging.

However, if he isn’t getting all the nutrients he needs, he will shed more. Your dog does not need table scraps or endless treats. Investing in a high-quality food that he likes is sufficient to help ensure he gets the nutrition he needs. You’ll know when you have a brand of food that is good or your dog because his coat will be shiny and he will have lots of energy! Talk to your veterinarian about the best types of food for your dog.

Bathe Your Dog Regularly

Bathing your Corgi about once a week can help cut down on the amount of loose hair. It’s important to select a mild dog shampoo to keep his coat and skin healthy. You can also use a dog conditioner to help keep his fur shiny and soft.

When bathing your Corgi, it’s important to brush his fur well to remove all of the dead fur. Additionally, make sure the temperature is warm but not hot. Dogs’ skin is sensitive. You don’t want to hurt or scald him. Typically, a warm temperature, like you would use for an infant, is good for your dog.

If your dog is a little skittish of baths, make the time fun by talking sweetly to your dog and giving him lots of praise. With patience and time, your dog can learn to love bath time.

Provide Regular Health Checkups

It's essential to see your veterinarian regularly to ensure your dog is healthy. Your veterinarian will let you know how often your dog should be seen. If your dog starts to shed more or the quality of their fur declines, it's critical to talk to your veterinarian.

Sometimes dogs will shed more when there is an underlying health issue, such as an illness or hormonal change, or if they’re under stress. Your dog will react to significant changes in his environment or his routine. If this happens, discuss options with your veterinarian to help your dog manage his stress and anxiety.

Groom Him Regularly

The good news is that since Corgis have medium-length fur, you don't need to have your dog professionally groomed to look good. You will, however, need to perform regular grooming yourself.

As discussed above, this doesn't have to take a lot of time. You'll need to brush him (ideally daily) and bathe him once every week or few weeks, depending on your preference and your dog's needs. You will also need to trim your dog's nails, although many veterinarian offices will do this for a fee, as well.

Tools to Help Groom Your Corgi

Even though Corgis shed a lot, this breed has low-maintenance grooming needs. The key to easy grooming is to perform the tasks regularly, as discussed above, and to have the proper tools.

Slicker Brush

A slicker brush helps keep a double-coated dog’s fur mat-free and healthy. It’s especially useful for the areas of your dog’s coat that are thick. A slicker brush contains rows of short wire pins, which can reach into your dog’s undercoat to help remove loose hairs, dirt, and tangles.

Hertzko Slicker Brush for Dogs and Cats Pet Grooming Dematting Brush Easily Removes Mats, Tangles, and Loose Fur from The Pet’s Coat

One popular slicker brush brand is the Hertzko Brush. It effectively removes tangles and knots, but is so gentle on your pet's skin that your dog will enjoy being brushed. The brush is strong and durable with an ergonomically designed handle that is comfortable to hold. Best of all, this brush is easy to clean. When you're done brushing, simply press a button to retract the bristles to wipe away any collected dog hair quickly.

Related: Long Hair Dog Brushes

FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool

Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Large Dogs – Long Hair

The FURminator deShedding Tool helps remove loose hair from shedding, which helps reduce the amount of fur collecting throughout your house and helps prevent tangles and mats. Many owners particularly like using this tool during seasonal shedding as it can help you keep up with the extra shed fur. The FURminator is not like a regular dog brush. Use this tool in conjunction with your other favorite dog brush, such as a slicker brush. When used as directed, it provides a comfortable experience for you and your dog. 

When using this brush, you'll want to use long strokes down the length of your dog's fur. Unlike a brush, you don't need to go back over the same area repeatedly. This deshedding tool has stainless steel teeth that reach easily into your dog's undercoat, but it's gentle enough not to damage the topcoat. The brush is curved to fit your dog's body, and the rounded outer edges make it comfortable against your dog's skin.

7 Tips to Help Minimize Allergic Reactions to Your Dog

Regular grooming and keeping your dog healthy will help reduce shedding. Additionally, other strategies can reduce pet allergens in your home.

1. Use a quality vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Vacuuming your home regularly will dramatically help reduce the amount of dander and loose hairs in your home. Using a powerful vacuum that has a HEPA filter can reduce allergens even more by trapping even more dust and allergens than a regular vacuum. 

The Shark Navigator NV352 is a lightweight vacuum cleaner that comes with anti-allergen technology and HEPA filter. This powerful vacuum is designed to handle households with pets. The HEPA filter helps trap 99.9 percent of dust and allergens inside the vacuum, helping to reduce pet allergens in your house. It’s also designed to help you vacuum furniture and is easy to use on stairs.

2. Wash your hands regularly.

After petting, playing or feeding your dog, it's important to wash your hands thoroughly, especially if you're allergic to pet saliva. Washing with warm, soapy water is the most effective method to keep an allergic skin reaction away and to prevent spreading allergens to your face.

3. Use a HEPA air purifier.

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode in White (Renewed)

HEPA air purifiers help remove dust and dander from the air, helping you breathe easier. Air purifiers also help remove airborne germs.

The Conway Mighty comes with a true HEPA air filter that will work in a room up to 361 square feet in size. It uses a four-stage filtration system to capture and reduce up to 99.97 percent of allergens, pollen, and pollutants in the air. This air purifier comes with an LED sensor that alerts you to the air quality in your home. It has a variable fan speed and comes with an auto mode that makes it stop running when no pollutants are detected for 30 minutes.

4. Keep your pet off the furniture.

Keeping your dog off furniture can help reduce the number of allergens from dander and saliva. If you decide to keep your Corgi off the furniture, it will be important not to set him in your lap when you’re on the couch or chair. It will make it difficult for your dog to understand why he can be on the furniture sometimes and not others.

5. Keep your dog out of your bedroom.

Keeping bedrooms off-limits to pets can help reduce allergens in the air, helping you sleep better at night.

6. Wash your dog’s beds weekly.

Your sweet Corgi will spend a lot of time relaxing in his dog bed. In addition to sleeping there, your dog will typically groom himself while lounging on his bed as well, causing a build-up of saliva proteins.

When these proteins dry, they can become airborne and contribute to allergens. Therefore, wash your dog’s bedding weekly in warm to hot, soapy water to help reduce allergens in your home.

7. Consult your doctor about allergy medications.

If you still have trouble with pet allergies after implementing these strategies, consider discussing possible allergy medications with your doctor. There are a variety of safe and effective over-the-counter medicines that can reduce your symptoms, allowing you to enjoy your pet.

Related: Do Corgis Bark a Lot?

Unfortunately, Corgis Are Not Hypoallergenic

Corgis are small, affectionate dogs with big personalities. Corgis happy, expressive faces and cute fluffiness brings joy to people they meet.

But all that fluff has to go somewhere all year long. Not only does this breed shed throughout the year, but he will also drop his coat seasonally to adapt to weather conditions.

If you’re highly allergic to pets, then a Corgi may not be the right choice for you. However, if you love Corgis and want one despite dander allergies, you could consider getting a Corgi mix. A Corgi mixed with a more hypoallergenic breed might shed less, although there is no guarantee.

Corgis are wonderful companions. If you’re willing to take steps to minimize the impact of their shedding, then a Corgi can become your new furry best friend.

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