If you’re thinking of getting a Chihuahua as a pet, you may have asked yourself,
“Do Chihuahuas shed?”
Chihuahuas are light to moderate shedders. Like all shedding dog breeds, Chihuahuas experience a hair growth cycle, which also happens with seasonal changes too, that is: more shedding during spring and fall.
This is true for both long-coat and smooth-coat Chihuahua varieties, although long-coat shed slightly less.
In this article, I go into a bit more detail about the difference between the two varieties, along with reasons why your Chihuahua might be shedding more than normal.
Also, I look at the best ways to deal with shedding for both longhaired and shorthaired Chihuahuas.
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Long-Coat Chihuahuas vs. Smooth-Coat Chihuahuas: The Differences
Chihuahuas are separated into two categories: long-coat and smooth-coat, which can also be called longhaired and shorthaired.
If you’re thinking of getting a Chihuahua, it’s important to know the differences, as it’s not as obvious as it might sound.
The first major difference is an obvious one, however. Long-coat Chihuahuas have long, wispy fur all over their body, but particularly around their legs, ears, and neck.
However, in the grand scheme of longhaired dogs, Chihuahuas still aren’t that hairy.
Smooth-coat Chihuahuas have a much shorter coat that lies close to their body. Contrary to their name, their fur feels much rougher, but this is mainly just because it’s short.
Their fur is generally the same length all over, but they might have excess hair around their neck.
Long-coat Chihuahuas have much smoother and softer fur, and according to American Kennel Club breed standards, it can be either wavy or straight.
It should remain a consistent length across their body, but will be a bit longer around their chest and legs.
As a result of their longer fur, long-coat Chihuahuas have a double coat. This means that, along with the long layer you can see, they also have a shorter undercoat.
While this makes little difference to the amount they shed, it does affect grooming routines.
Smooth-coat Chihuahuas, on the other hand, only have a single layer coat. This generally means that grooming is much easier, although they actually shed more than long-coat Chihuahuas.
They also get fewer things caught in their fur, and generally have lower chances of skin conditions and ear infections.
Sure, the biggest difference between the two varieties of Chihuahuas is the length of their coat; this has knock-on effects elsewhere.
The biggest one is in grooming routine, and it’s essential to know the makeup of your dog’s coat so that you can care for it properly.
Why Does My Chihuahua Shedding So Bad?
As I mentioned earlier, Chihuahuas are moderate shedders, so you can expect some loose hair around the house, but not excessive amounts.
However, you might have wondered if your Chihuahua is shedding more than normal, so it can be helpful to know if this is the case.
Here are some of the main reasons for excessive shedding in Chihuahuas.
Chihuahuas can be quite anxious dogs, which, among other things, relates to their purpose as lapdogs.
This basically means that they don’t necessarily enjoy being left alone, and might find dealing with other dogs stressful.
Stress isn’t uncommon in Chihuahuas, and one of the side effects is excessive shedding.
Look for signs of anxious behavior in your dog, such as barking or restlessness, and see if you can identify the cause of this stress.
If it can be removed, do so, and hopefully, this will control the dog’s shedding.
Female Chihuahuas shed more when pregnant, and this isn’t unique to the breed.
Pregnancy is obviously very demanding on the dog’s body, and this is often one of the ways it deals with the issue.
If your Chihuahua is pregnant and is shedding more than usual, consider introducing supplements into their diet to make up for the excess nutrients they need.
There are plenty of options available, but make sure the supplements are suitable for pregnant dogs.
Much like during pregnancy, general poor nutrition is another common reason why your Chihuahua might be shedding so bad.
It can be difficult to find a balanced diet for such a small dog, but if they’re not getting enough vitamins, then their hair will continue to fall out.
If you’re unsure what your dog is missing from its diet, speak to your vet, and they’ll be able to do some tests.
General all-purpose dog supplements should also do the trick, but the vet should be your first choice if you want more specific information.
How Can I Stop My Chihuahua From Shedding?
While you won’t necessarily be able to reduce the amount your Chihuahua sheds (unless it’s a solvable problem like those above), there are definitely ways to deal with their shedding.
These will depend on whether you’ve got a long-coat or smooth-coat Chihuahua, but some general tips apply to both.
- Brush your long-coat Chihuahua several times a week, but this might increase to every day during heavy shedding seasons. While they don’t shed as much as smooth-coat Chihuahuas, their coat requires more general maintenance.
- Use either a comb or slicker brush, but always make sure it’s suitable for dogs with longer coats. Aside from removing loose hairs, it’s also necessary to comb out any knots in your dog’s coat.
- You might find that you need to trim your dog’s hair around their ears, as if it’s too long it can irritate them. The same is true around their eyes and bum.
- A smooth-coat Chihuahua generally only needs brushing once a week, but it needs to be a more thorough going over to remove as many loose hairs as possible.
- Use a soft-bristle brush or something similar, as you don’t need to get into the coat, you only need to draw out loose hairs. You should also be more gentle with your brushing as Chihuahuas can have sensitive skin.
- During periods of heavy shedding, it’s best to do it outside, so there isn’t as much mess to clean up in the house.
- Bathe once every 1-2 weeks with a mild shampoo. Don’t bathe them too often, as this can dry the dog’s skin out.
- If you think your Chihuahua has dry skin, simply rub on some coconut oil. This is also a good excuse for giving them a message.
- Running a wet rubber glove along upholstery is a great way to bring out trapped dog hairs.
Why Should You Worry With Chihuahua Shedding?
It’s completely normal for dogs to shed, so don’t be concerned if this happens. However, it’s also worth paying attention to your Chihuahuas shedding cycle so that you can notice if any problems arise.
There are some reasons to be concerned with excessive shedding, so it’s worth being able to spot them early.
An early symptom of skin infection is hair loss, but this is also usually accompanied by sores or rashes.
If you see any of these symptoms, or your dog appears to be scratching more than usual, visit a vet. Skin infections can easily be treated with antibiotics, but are best caught early.
Chihuahuas, like all dogs, can get allergies. If your dog has recently started losing more hair than usual, then they could have possibly developed a new allergy.
Take them to a vet, who will do a full screening, and hopefully, the issue can be controlled with diet or medication.
Just as in humans, Chihuahuas can get alopecia (hair loss) as a symptom of a number of conditions. Alternatively, it might happen for no obvious reason. This is referred to as Alopecia X.
If diagnosed, a vet will prescribe appropriate medication and treated shampoos. While your dog might not regrow all of its fur, it’ll hopefully stop the issue in its tracks and promote at least a small amount of hair growth.
Is A Chihuahua Right For You?
When thinking of getting a new dog, it’s always important to ensure the breed is going to be right for you.
Here are the main things to consider if you’re thinking of getting a Chihuahua.
- While their tiny size is very useful if you live in a small apartment, you should also be aware that this makes Chihuahuas very delicate. If you’re heavy with your feet or have small children, consider a larger breed.
- Due to their size, Chihuahuas need minimal exercise but still need entertainment and socialization. Don’t sacrifice these just because you don’t think your dog needs walking every day (they do).
- Ease of care. Chihuahuas might seem like an easy dog to look after, but don’t underestimate their needs. You might find yourself spending out on vet’s bills due to the number of hereditary conditions found in the breed.
Some Final Thoughts
Chihuahuas do shed, but I imagine this is hardly news for many people. However, one of the main benefits of getting such a small dog is that even excessive shedding at their size isn’t much of a problem.
So if you don’t want to be cleaning up dog hair every day, then a Chihuahua might be right for you!