Are Cobberdogs Hypoallergenic?
Meaning of HYPOALLERGENIC as defined in the Oxford Dictionary:
"relatively" unlikely to cause an allergic reaction (emphasis mine).
There are no scientific studies to-date (as far as I know) which differentiate between dog coats which don't affect human allergies and ones which do. Anecdotal feedback from allergy sufferers around the world is emphatic that some dog breeds trigger their allergies and others don't. Rutlands Australian Cobberdogs at present have a 99% success rate according to surveys conducted over the past 2 decades.
Coat Development in the Australian Cobberdog
Allergy triggers are not confined to coat dander and skin cells alone. Rarely it's possible to be allergic to dog saliva. I am not aware of any studies done which could indicate saliva being different in various dog breeds. If you are severely allergic to dogs in general but still want to live with one, I suggest that it could be helpful to test for dog saliva sensitivity as your first course of action. No dog breeder can - nor should they - ever guarantee that their dogs will not affect your allergies.
ORIGINALLY the root stock had two major coat types - either short hair which shed profusely, or tight dense wool which didn't. The wool was high maintenance, needed regular clipping each few weeks, and ear infections were chronic.
This litter was bred in the Czech Republic with parents a cross between a Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever. (progeny of these cross matings are called 'first generation' or 'F1'.
It illustrates that contrary to popular belief it's possible for an entire litter of F1s to have short shedding hair coats.
WOOL COATS came from the Poodle and Irish Water Spaniel ancestry. I found it too difficult to get rid of the bald face pattern and rat tail of the Irish Water Spaniel, which are desirable their Breed Standard but traits I personally didn't want. So I bred away from them which was a pity in one way because they gave me the best chocolates at a time when colour was restricted to chalky white or an occasional black and they did a good job of producing whole litters of non shedding puppies. It was from Poodles that the lighter Cafe colour came.
POODLES have more than one coat type. Best show coats feel springy and almost wiry making them hold their shape better when they're trimmed for the show ring. "Improper" coats in Poodles are softer and looser in their curl and they don't hold the trimmed - in shape as well that's needed for top show Poodles. These "improper" or "reject for showing" coats were ideal to infuse because the end goal for the Cobberdog coat was a softly flowing coat, more wavy than tightly curled or springy. I found it difficult to find what I was looking for in Australia so I imported them and it still amuses me when I think how stupid I must have seemed to the breeder for importing at great expense, their 'rejects' !
Something else I noticed was that the softer and looser the Poodle coat was, the more blunt and broad the muzzle was as well ( also a Poodle fault). There was no DNA testing for dogs in those days, so I have no idea if the two traits were genetically linked or not. It was just my observation, and then joining the dots as the progeny emerged.
Wool and tightly curled coats are dense and high maintenance which can lead to unintentional neglect by inexperienced or disabled owners and discomfort or even pain for the dogs themselves when they become matted. Ear and eye problems in my experience also occurred more frequently in the wool coated dogs, probably due to the thick wool deep inside of their ear canals and close around their eyes. I infused the IRISH ONLY Soft Coated Wheaten around the same time to address these and other issues but that is a whole separate story.
About 2008, selective breeding using Borderline coats produced the early Curly fleece. These dogs had the new silky textured non shedding coats at maturity and were curly. Several puppies were kept from each litter to run on to adults so that their mature coats could be trial clipped to observe the way they grew back in. I would scissor cut one side of the dog and clip with electric clippers on their other side so I could compare how they grew back on the same dog. I was fascinated to discover that the electric clipper sides grew back more curly than the side I'd trimmed with scissors! The curls were looser on some and didn't tighten into matting circles like others. These looser coated dogs were selected from the litters, to breed on with.
Progress was slow, and obviously very expensive, but what I learned along the way made it worthwhile. For instance, I'd never heard of "Improper Coat" (I.C.) genes back then, maybe no one had, but when DNA tests became available, I sent away frozen semen I had stored for testing and I discovered that the dogs most influential in producing the thinner easier care wavy fleece coats I was pursuing, were I.C. carriers. Without knowing at the time, by purely good fortune I had instinctively mated them with the right partners!
CURLY FLEECE coats were the first progression stage from the wool to wavy fleece and as of 2017 there were as many being bred as the wool, while hundreds of new breeders still experimented in different ways in their search for the ideal allergy friendly non shedding and thinner Wavy fleece.
Some curly fleece coats still have the thick dense coat with its higher maintenance requirements, while others are getting silkier softer, thinner and more easily manageable, depending on each breeder's strategy and outcomes with the dogs they have in their breeding programs. Understandably, what works with one breeder's dogs may not work with another's, due to individual genetic combinations so there is not one method that fits all at this point in time, barely 30 years into breed development.
WAVY FLEECE. As the name suggests, has much less curl but still is not entirely straight in appearance. The head, face, body and legs are draped in flowing waves of the same length and the tail is luxurious. Some wavy coats grow back curlier after they have been clipped or trimmed short with electric clippers. Wavy Fleece is not as thick or dense as the wool or some curly fleece and is lower maintenance. As young puppies they may not look as 'cute' as the curlier puppies, but they mature into magnificent looking dogs with super easy care coats that don't easily matt or tangle.
Curly coated puppies can be mistaken for Wavy, because the degree of curl increases with age, reaching its curliest by about 12 to 14 months. Young Wavy coated puppies have no crinkles, or curls anywhere on their face, head or ears. Coat type does not appear to be related to colour, temperament nor size.