There is only one known hypoallergenic horse breed. The Bashkir Curly horse has a uniquely textured coat that lacks the protein (present in all other horse fur) believed to be the source of allergic reactions to equines. Many people with severe allergies to horses can handle Bashkir Curlies with no reaction.
'Course it COULD be something else -- I'm reminded of a TV show where the heroine makes a HUUUGE deposit on an unseen "hypo-allergenic cat" -- and it turns out to be hairless. She is really grossed out by the appearance and rejects it/
I've heard curlies are hypo-allergenic, but I don't see how that's possible. The protein that causes the allergic reaction is shed in skin cells and saliva as well as in the hair. Also true for dogs and cats - which is why none of them are hypo-allergenic either.
"Bashkir Curlies come in all sizes, colors, and body types but all carry a gene for a unique curly coat of fur.... the horse has a uniquely textured coat that lacks the protein (present in all other horse fur) believed to be the source of allergic reactions to equines. Many people with severe allergies to horses can handle Bashkir Curlies with no reaction."
There have apparently been some studies done, but nothing that was quality enough to be published. They need more money.
I have heard the Bashkir Curlies shed heavily in spring, and some lose the mane and tail hair length. The crest and tail bone may have fuzzy stuff, but the longer hair is gone each year. Grows back over the year, but sheds off again the next spring.
Doesn't happen on all Curly horses, just that mane and tail shedding has been mentioned a few places I read up on the breed.
The allergy factor is always mentioned, for horse lovers who can't be around other equines. My curly haired dog breed, Bouvier, is also supposed be somewhat better for allergy sufferers. The curl makes her hair different than dogs that shed, probably from a dose of Poodle way in the genetic background. She has multiple hairs coming from the same follicle, instead of just one hair. Non shedding if kept groomed. If not groomed, the breed mats and some mats come off. Hair never quits growing, so that is one messy dog if not groomed.
Have not met any Curly horses in person yet. They do seem to come in all colors and sizes by the photos. Curly factor is an odd gene that popped up randomly, did not get organized as a breed all that long ago, 1970's? Kept track of then and bred together to produce the curly hair, not looks, building up the breed numbers. So not a tight breed "look" yet. Look like the older style range horses, with larger heads, stocky bodies of old photos. Body styles and size can vary widely.
When I advertise my curlies locally (rarely) that's pretty much the headline I use. If for no other reason that to educate craigslisters!
There have been a few valid, but not high profile studies that concluded Bashkir Curlies were hypoallergenic, but a big study at the University of Minnesota just started. Remember hypo means "less", so while theoretically possible to be allergic to a curly, I've never heard from or about anyone who reacted. I'm extremely allergic to horses and have never met a Bashkir Curly from the blood registry that I had any reaction to.
Originally Posted by trafalgar
So how big do they get and what can they do? I am intrigued as well as plagued by allergies.