Chihuahuas are small dogs that have modest care needs.
Their small size makes them ideal for dog owners who live in apartments or city dwellings.
Chihuahuas don’t have a lot of exercise needs – a short walk or some play time in the yard should suffice.
These Mexican dogs aren’t hypoallergenic, so if you’ve got an allergy to dogs, you may want to consult with a medical professional before bringing home a Chihuahua.
However, in comparison to some breeds, Chihuahuas are considered relatively moderate shedders.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at just how much Chihuahuas do shed, any grooming needs the breed may have and other care requirements to consider.
We’ll break this article into the following sections:
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What is a Chihuahua?
Chihuahuas are a Mexican dog breed that make great companion pets.
They grow to a height between five and eight inches, while they usually don’t weigh more than six pounds.
With a life expectancy in the region of 14 to 16 years, Chihuahuas will be companions for a significant portion of their owner’s life.
Chihuahuas are members of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group.
The organization list the charming, graceful and sassy Chihuahua as the 33rd most popular dog breed in the USA.
Brief Chihuahua history
There have been dogs with the likeness of Chihuahuas found adorned on ancient artifacts going back centuries.
Chihuahuas are thought to be related to bigger dogs called Techichi. The Toltecs were thought to have bred these distant ancestors of the Chihuahua.
When the Azetics conquered the Toltecs in the 1500s, they retained an interest in the Techichi. However, they did breed these dogs to be smaller and closer in line with the modern Chihuahua.
Americans who travelled to Mexico, particularly the state of Chihuahua, encountered a lot of hardy, small little dogs in the 1800s.
The American Kennel Club describe on their website how “this survivor of two lost civilizations gained worldwide fame” as the Chihuahua.
A Chihuahua called Beppie became the first member of the breed to be registered with American Kennel Club in 1908.
In modern pop culture, TV shows such as Sex in the City and movies like Legally Blonde have helped the breed to gain even greater popularity with dog lovers.
They’ve gone to become firm favourites in many households across the world.
There are two varieties of Chihuahua – the short haired/smooth coat and the long haired/rough coat. These two types of Chihuahua have different coats of differing textures.
The smooth-coat Chihuahua has short fur that sits close to their body. It’s glossy in appearance and is soft to touch. There’s usually excess hair around the neck and the tail.
The long-coat Chihuahua has fur that can either be straight or naturally wavy. They’ll usually have an undercoat. Soft to touch, the fur should remain thick to the tail, while there can be excess hair on the neck.
Chihuahuas will usually have a double coat. The outer coat is made up of coarse, long hairs. The inner coat is soft, thin and dense.
Some members of the breed will have a single coat which consists of thick guard hairs.
Do Chihuahuas shed?
Chihuahuas do shed but aren’t as bad as some other breeds.
They’ll usually shed at the changing of the seasons regardless of whether they’re a smooth-coat Chihuahua or a long-coat Chihuahua.
If you own a Chihuahua, you should be prepared for your dog to shed their inner coat in the spring and in the autumn. However, their outer coat will usually shed gradually throughout the year.
Indeed, regardless of whether a Chihuahua has a single or double coat, they’ll shed a little all year long.
Chihuahuas may not have a lot of exercise requirements, but they do have some grooming needs.
The smooth-coat Chihuahua needs occasional brushing to maintain the quality of the coat. They’ll benefit from regular baths to ensure their coat looks clean and healthy.
The long-coat Chihuahua will need to be brushed at least once a week to make sure their hair doesn’t become tangled or matted. By grooming their little pooch once a week, Chihuahua owners can remove dead hair and potential allergens caught in their coat.
This variety of Chihuahua are prone to collecting dirt, grass, pollen – and potentially ticks – in their longer coat due to the length of their hair and low centre of gravity. By brushing your long-coated Chihuahua when they re-enter your home, you can make sure their coat is free of any unwanted passengers.
Bathing Your Chihuahua
Most Chihuahua owners will bathe their pet once a month to help remove dead skin in the dog’s coat. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner can be confusing, so check out our article on the best dog shampoos.
The Chihuahua Club Of America recommend to start bathing a Chihuahua from the age of 10 weeks. This can help them become acclimated to what can be a distressing experience for some dogs.
The CCOA provide some great tips for Chihuahua owners when it comes to bath times. Here are some:
• Never leave your Chihuahua unattended on any surface or table by itself in a tub of water.
• Pretest all water before applying it to the dog.
• Protect the ears so they do not take in water. Cotton balls may be used.
• Use non-tear dog shampoo on puppies and/or adult Chihuahuas.
• Dry your dog carefully and thoroughly with towels and a low-setting dryer.
• Brush out excessive hair on a shedding dog before bathing.
Other Chihuahua care needs
Chihuahua will require regular healthy checks, such as their ears and eyes.
These toy dogs need to have their ears given the once over to make sure there’s not excessive wax or debris which could eventually lead to unwanted ear infections.
Chihuahuas will also benefit from having their nails trimmed regularly.
Excessive Chihuahua hair loss
If you’re worried that your Chihuahua is shedding a lot more than usual or developing bald spots in their coat or patches of uneven fur, you should contact your local veterinarian and make an appointment.
Some conditions that could result in a lot of hair loss include:
• Cushing’s Disease
• Food Allergies
Anything else to consider
A hypoallergenic dog is one that is less likely to trigger dog allergies. The American Kennel Club warn dog lovers that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.
However, there are some breeds that are more hypoallergenic, such as Poodles, Schnauzers and Sealyham Terriers. Both the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK have a list of breeders that they recommend
The Chihuahua isn’t hypoallergenic, despite being moderate shedders.
Wrapping up – Our final thoughts
Chihuahuas are moderate shedders, irrespective of whether their smooth-coated or long-coated. So if you’re thinking about a Chihuahua as a pet, you should be prepared for shedding.
They’ll shed their inner coats twice a year, usually at the changing of the seasons. Their outer coat will gradually shed throughout the year.