Q: Where can I get a hypoallergenic dog?

A: It's one of our pet peeves that certain breeds and mixes are described as "hypoallergenic," meaning they don't cause reactions in people who are allergic to pets. In truth, there's no such thing.

Poodles are the original hypoallergenic breed, touted as such because their curly coat has a long growth cycle and thus takes longer to shed. For that reason, poodles are often crossed with other breeds to create dogs that are believed to be hypoallergenic, such as goldendoodles, Labradoodles and Maltipoos. It's not shedding hair that causes allergies, however; it's dander - dead skin cells shed naturally by all mammals, including humans.

Peter J. Ihrke, V.M.D., a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists and professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine, says: "To my knowledge, no scientific data support the claim that crossbreeds or any other breeds are less or more allergenic than any other dog."

A study published in the July-August 2011 issue of the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy found that the level of dog allergen in homes with dogs described as hypoallergenic did not differ from that in homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs.

People and dogs are individuals, and there is anecdotal evidence that some people with allergies react less severely to some dogs, but responsible breeders of crossbreeds and purebreds never guarantee that a pet will be hypoallergenic.