Can Jack Russells Cause Allergies? Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Jack Russell Dog

You love the companionship and joy that dogs can bring to your life. They exercise with you, cuddle in your lap (no matter their size!), and love you unconditionally.

If you have allergies or asthma, however, your body might not like the allergens they can bring into your home. Allergens are the actual matter that causes the allergic reaction.

In the U.S., three out of ten people with allergies will have a reaction to furry pets. A pet owner may have to find a new home for their pet if their allergic reaction is severe enough, which is stressful for them and the dog.

That said, by learning which breeds are best for people with allergies and understanding what causes dog allergies, most people with dog allergies can still enjoy having a pet.

What Causes Dog Allergies?

Dogs produce proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. These proteins are found in a dog’s saliva, dander, and urine.

While dog hair itself doesn’t cause an allergic reaction, dander builds-up on hair follicles. It’s this build-up of dander on the hair that causes the reaction.

This has led people to look for short-haired breeds or low shedding breeds in the hope that they won’t have as strong an allergic reaction to these dogs.

People can be just as allergic to short-haired dogs as to long-haired. But some people find certain breeds don’t bother their allergies as much as others. So if you want a dog despite allergies, be patient. There is a breed that is right for you!

What About Hypoallergenic Dogs?

There’s lots of discussion about hypoallergenic dogs. Unfortunately, no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic because all dogs have saliva and shed dead skin cells, which is known as dander. These are two of the most significant sources of allergens.

The good news is that some dogs don’t shed as much dander as others. For people with allergies or asthma, these breeds can be a good fit, allowing them the joys of having a dog while minimizing allergens.

How Hypoallergenic are Jack Russell Terriers?

Jack Russell Terriers are small, energetic dogs that are great for people who live in apartments or smaller houses. Unfortunately, Jack Russell Terriers aren’t listed as a hypoallergenic breed by the American Kennel Club.

One of the problems is that most types of Jack Russell Terriers are moderate shedders. According to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, the shorter the Jack Russell Terrier’s fur, the more it sheds. Most Jack Russell Terriers also shed seasonally. So if you don’t like vacuuming dog hair, you might want to consider finding a different dog breed.

How much a Jack Russell Terrier sheds may depend on the type of coat they have.

Types of Coat

Jack Russell Terriers are easy to recognize. They are a distinctive breed, despite the variety in their coats. There are essentially three different types of coats:

  • Smooth coat is very short and lies in one direction.
  • Rough coat, also called wire-haired, has a longer fur ranging from an inch or more in length. This fur will grow in all different directions giving a wiry look to the dog.
  • Broken coat is a combination of a smooth and rough coat.

Shedding and Dander Control

 Jack Russell shedding on a brown couch

All Jack Russell Terriers shed. But some owners report that Jack Russell Terriers with a rough or wiry coat don't shed as much fur because it gets trapped in their wiry fur. That is excellent news if you don't want your clothes as covered in dog hair, but it will mean you'll need to brush your dog more regularly.

Smooth coat Jack Russell Terriers shed more, but only need to be brushed once a week, unless it’s a shedding season.


All Jack Russell Terriers need brushing regularly. As mentioned smooth coat Jack Russell Terriers only need to be brushed once a week. Rough or broken coat Jack Russell Terriers will require more frequent brushing to remove dead hair trapped in their fur.

In addition to brushing, rough and broken coats should be hand stripped at least twice a year. Hand stripping removes dead hair that didn’t shed off properly and requires a specific grooming tool. This process is time-consuming. For the best results, have it done by a professional groomer.

Bathing can help keep down allergens from dander as well as dust and pollen that your dog's fur picks up. However, bathing your dog too often can lead to dry skin and extra dander. So talk with your groomer or vet to determine how frequently you should wash your dog.

Mix Breeds

Another option is to consider a Jack-A-Poo, a mix between a Jack Russell Terrier and a poodle. While this is a newer breed, there is some indication that this mix can result in less shedding and less dander.

However, there is no guarantee that a Jack-A-Poo won’t shed as much as a purebred Jack Russell Terrier.

10 Tips to Minimize Jack Russell Allergies in Your Home

The only way to eliminate dog allergens from your home is not to have a dog. Even if you keep your dog outdoors (which isn't suitable for many breeds including Jack Russell Terriers), dog hair will get on your clothes when interacting with your dog, and you'll bring it in your house.

There are many strategies to help control the dog allergens in your home. This will enable you to enjoy having a dog, even if you find yourself allergic.

1. Vacuum Regularly

One of the best defenses in controlling dander and loose dog hair is to vacuum frequently with a powerful vacuum cleaner designed to deal with pet hair.

The Shark Navigator ZU561 is a lightweight vacuum cleaner with anti-allergen technology and HEPA filter that can help you keep loose dog hair off floors, stairs, and furniture. This powerful vacuum cleaner will help keep the pet hair and dander under control so your allergies don't flare-up.

Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum with Lift-Away, Zero-M Anti-Hair Wrap Technology, Anti-Allergen + HEPA Filter and Swivel Steering (ZU561), Red Peony

2. Keep pets out of bedrooms

Keeping your dog out of your bedroom can help lessen the dander and allergens in that room. This strategy can help allergy sufferers sleep better at night.

3. Use a HEPA air purifier

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HEPA air purifiers help remove allergens like dander and dust from the air. They also help remove airborne germs like viruses. This can help allergy sufferers breathe and sleep better with clearer sinuses.

Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier can help clear the air of allergens like dander, allowing you to breathe better and keep your allergies under control. It's programmable, with three different timer options and can run at three different speeds (low, medium, and high). Click Here to check the price on Amazon.

4. Keep furniture off-limits for your dog

If you hate vacuuming furniture, keeping your dog off couches and chairs can cut down on allergens and dog hair on clothes.

5. Dust regularly

Keeping up with dusting can cut down on allergens in your home. To help even more, be sure to vacuum after dusting so you can vacuum up any dust stirred up that didn’t get trapped in your dusting cloth.

6. Brush your dog regularly

While brushing won’t prevent shedding, it can help cut down on loose hair in your home. When possible, brush your dog outside.

One tip from the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America is to comb your dog’s hair toward its tail and then wipe your dog’s coat with a static electricity wipe like a Swiffer cloth to pick up any loose hair.

7. Wash your hands frequently

Make it a habit to wash your hands after touching the dog or their toys. While playing or interacting with your dog, try not to touch your face to help avoid accidentally rubbing allergens into your eyes.

8. Minimize carpeting

It’s easier to keep dog hair off wood and tile floors than carpet. However, if you have carpets, steam clean them regularly. Also, wash throw rugs frequently in hot water.

9. Wash bedding weekly

if your dog isn’t allowed in the bedroom, allergens will still find their way into your bedroom. Washing your bedding weekly can help.

10. Talk to your doctor

There is a variety of over the counter and prescription allergy medications that can help you manage your allergies. Consult with your doctor about options that may be best for you.

Can Someone With Dog Allergies Still Have a Dog?

Yes, people who have an allergic reaction to dogs can still have a dog. There are many strategies that they can use to help minimize the allergens in their home.

Additionally, finding a breed that doesn’t trigger their allergies can be a critical first step.

Dogs can be an important part of our lives. However, only you can decide if the risk of having allergies related to your pet is worth it for you.

Remember, allergens are only one part of the consideration when getting a pet. It’s also important to consider the breed’s temperament and activity level to ensure they will fit well with your lifestyle. Your dog relies on you to keep it happy and healthy. Finding the best fit will provide a loving and rewarding relationship for you both.

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