Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?
Cream long haired chihuahua walks on embankment in big city (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on November 04, 2019
Fact Checked

The Chihuahua is a popular dog breed – but they’re not hypoallergenic.

Their small size makes them suitable for city dwellers living in compact apartments.

Chihauhuas are companion dogs that enjoy being in the company of their pet parents.

The American Kennel Club list the Chihuahua as the 33rd most popular breed in the United States.

You will often find a Chihuahua mixed with other small breeds due to intentional or unintentional breeding.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at whether the Chihuahua is hypoallergenic, whether these small dogs shed and what grooming requirements they have.

We’ll break this article into the following sections:

What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic was a term first coined by the cosmetic industry in the 1950s. It was used to denote a cosmetic product that was less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. There was no guarantee that said product wouldn’t cause a flare up in allergies, it was just less likely than another rival product.

To get an even clear understanding of the word hypoallergenic, let’s take a look at how WedMD.com define the word:

If you see “hypoallergenic” on makeup or a skin care label, it means that that maker claims its product causes fewer allergic reactions than other ones. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is allergy-proof or gentler for your skin. The U.S. government doesn’t have standards that products must meet in order to put “hypoallergenic” on the label.

Although the term hypoallergenic was initially used alongside cosmetic products, the term is now associated with lots of different products around the world.

It has also been used to denote a dog breed that is less likely to trigger someone’s allergies than another type of canine.

What are hypoallergenic dogs?

As we touched upon above, a hypoallergenic dog is one that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Almost 10 per cent of the American population is allergic to dogs, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. That equates to roughly around 32 million Americans who suffer from flare ups around dogs.

It’s little surprise that there’s such a big demand for hypoallergenic dogs. Indeed, there’s over 23.5 million results for hypoallergenic dogs when you do a quick search on Google.

The American Kennel Club make it clear on their website that there’s no such thing as a 100 per cent hypoallergenic dog breed. They explain:

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are a variety of breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander.

While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, some canines have more hypoallergenic qualities than other types of dog.

The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK give a list of breeds that could be a good fit if you’re searching for a hypoallergenic dog.

What causes an allergy to dogs?

Before we take a look at these specific hypoallergenic breeds, we need to understand what triggers allergies to dogs.

Your first thought will naturally be dog hair. Usually, allergy sufferers will search out a dog that doesn’t shed a lot if at all.

Dog hair is a contributor to dog allergies but usually the biggest trigger is dander.

Here’s the American Lung Association to explain what dog dander is:

Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.

Seeing as dander can be carried by hair, having a dog that doesn’t shed a lot is still important. Poodles, for example, don’t shed a lot and dander can easily be washed out of their curls.

What are the symptoms?

You may or may not be aware of potential allergies to dogs.

Therefore, it’s crucial to know what are some of the symptoms of dog allergies. Of course, we’re not medical experts here, so we recommend contacting your local doctor if you have any concerns.

But we will touch upon some of the usual symptoms that will be present if someone is allergic to dogs:

• Sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose.
• Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
• Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
• Watery, red or itchy eyes.
• Skin rash or hives.

This article doesn’t constitute medical advice so we urge readers to speak to their regular doctor if they’ve got concerns about potential allergies to dogs.

Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?

Chihuahuas aren’t considered a hypoallergenic dog breed as these little dogs do shed a moderate amount.

It’s important to note that there’s two varieties of Chihuahua: the longhaired (long coat) and the shorthaired (smooth coat).

As we mentioned above, no canine is considered 100 per cent hypoallergenic but Chihuahuas aren’t one of the breeds listed by the AKC or the UKC as a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Do Chihuahuas shed a lot?

Chihuahuas aren’t hypoallergenic but they’re considered relatively moderate shedders compared to some other breeds.

These Mexican pooches are slightly below average shedders but they’ll still require some grooming.

Chihuahuas grooming

The amount of grooming required will depend on whether you’ve got a long haired or short haired Chihuahua.

The latter require occasional brushing and grooming. You can even use a cloth to wipe down their coat.

The former will require a regular brush to remove any dead hair or debris in their coat.

Chihuahuas care

The AKC recommend bathing a Chihuahua once a month.

You’ll need to check and clean theirs, keep tabs on their eyes as well as keeping their nails trimmed.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK offer recommendations for prospective dog owners who want a low shedding or hypoallergenic dog.

Let’s start with the AKC’S list of 19 breeds:

• Affenpinchser
• Afghan Hound
• American Hairless Terrier
• Barbet
• Bedlington Terrier
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Giant Schnauzer
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Kerry Blue Terrier
• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Maltese
• Peruvian Inca Orchid
• Poodle
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
• Schnauzer
• Xoloitzcuintli

England’s Kennel Club offer an more extensive list of 31 breeds:

• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Spanish Water Dog
• Bouvier des Flandres
• Giant Schnauzer
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russian Black Terrier
• Hungarian Puli
• Komondor
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Havanese
• Maltese
• Yorkshire Terrier
• Lhasa Apso
• Intermediate Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Mexican Hairless
• Standard Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Standard Poodle
• Toy Poodle
• Miniature Poodle
• Shih Tzu
• Tibetan Terrier
• Bedlington Terrier
• Dandie Dinmont Terrier
• Glen of Imaal Terrier
• Sealyham Terrier
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Chihuahua Poodle Mix

Some Chihuahuas could be mixed with a hypoallergenic dog breed to create a cross breed such as a Chipoodle.

Of course, there’s no guarantee a Chipoodle will inherit the hypoallergenic qualities of the Poodle or the coat of the Chihuahua.

However, given the Chihuahua are relatively low shedders and Poodles are known as being hypoallergenic, a cross between these two dogs should yield a dog that doesn’t shed too much.

A Chipoodle – or other Chihuahua mixes – could be the result of intentional or unintentional breeding.

Anything else to consider?

As we mentioned above, if you’re thinking about getting a dog but you’re worried you may suffer with an allergy to dogs, you should contact your local doctor.

You can always contact current Chihuahua owners to find out more about their grooming requirements if you’re worried about the cost or the time.

In conclusion

So there we have it, we’ve reached the end of our article on Chihuahuas.

These dogs are considered to be a hypoallergenic dog breed.

However, these little dogs that originate from Mexico are below average shedders.

If you want to learn more about hypoallergenic dogs, check out our breakdown of 19 hypoallergenic breeds.