Chihuahuas are one of the smallest pups in the canine kingdom, loved for their loyal, charming, and bold personalities. They may be small, but they have giant hearts and are often described as loving, affectionate, and friendly. But one crucial factor that’s often overlooked when buying a new dog is their shedding levels. Shedding can be annoying as the hairs get on your clothes, furniture, and carpets, basically, everywhere around the house. But the issue is more serious if you have pet allergies. Today we look at how much Chihuahuas shed and what you can do to manage the situation. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of this breed’s shedding, let’s answer a simple question:
Do Chihuahuas shed? All dogs shed, and Chihuahuas are not an exception. The good news is they tend to shed less when compared to other breeds. They will shed slightly more during the shedding seasons, but even then, there will not be a fur nuisance in the house like other dogs are.
Most first-time owners often think that Chihuahuas don’t shed as a miniature breed. This is just one of the many misconceptions people have about this breed. The Chihuahua also has different coats, and their shedding levels might vary slightly. Dogs’ shedding level varies from heavy to light, and this Mexican cutie falls in the medium-shedding category. Is your Chihuahua an apple head, deer head, pear head, or teacup? I have the answers you’re looking for concerning their shedding, from how much they shed, common triggers, managing the situation, and much more. Without further ado, let’s dive into the details.
How Much Do Chihuahuas Shed?
The Chihuahua sheds every day, but it is light to moderate throughout the year. That being said, there are certain times of the year when they shed more than usual. In spring and autumn, they shed their coat in preparation for seasonal changes. Even in such times, they still don’t drop many hairs like other breeds like the Golden Retriever or the Shiba Inu. And because they are miniature, there isn’t much hair to shed compared to regular- or larger-sized dogs. This is good news for allergy sufferers; plus, cleaning doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Why Do Chihuahuas Shed?
Like any other breed, the Chihuahua’s hair growth involves three stages: anagen (the initial growth stage), catagen (the transitional stage), and telogen (the resting phase where the hair follicle is temporarily anchored in place before falling out). After the hair falls out, a new hair follicle begins to grow in its place, and the process repeats itself.
In short, shedding or molting is normal in dogs as they get rid of their old hairs to make way for new hairs. What differs and determines the shedding level of a particular breed is how long this process takes to complete. Other factors that can contribute to shedding include the time of the year (specifically in spring and autumn), your dog’s diet, physical and mental health, and the condition of their coat. It’s important to differentiate between normal and unhealthy shedding.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
You’re probably wondering when do Chihuahuas shed? This breed is a light to moderate shedder throughout the year, but they do shed more in spring and autumn. They will shed their fur to grow a much-needed heavy-duty winter coat at the end of autumn. This helps to keep them warm in cold weather. As spring ends and summer approaches, they don’t need as much far. As such, they will drop off the heavy winter coat for a much lighter one that can help keep them cool in hot weather while still protecting them from the elements. This is the heaviest shedding period as the Chihuahua has more fur to shed.
Keep in mind that not all Chihuahuas follow this general shedding schedule. Your Chihuahua may shed a lot once or twice per year or gradually throughout the year. This depends on where you live. Many people mistakenly think that the change in temperature causes the seasonal shedding when it’s actually the sunlight variations.
Having your Chihuahua’s fur scattered all around the house, on your clothes, furniture, carpets, and even car seats, is pretty much normal. But such regular fur loss shouldn’t cause any visible changes in your dog’s body. Your dog shouldn’t be shedding in lumps even during seasonal shedding. And if you notice a patch or two missing or brittle or uneven fur, that’s not normal. So, do Chihuahuas shed unhealthily?
Yes, they can if they have an underlying health problem. Common causes include stress, parasitic infestation such as fleas or mites, food allergies, skin infections, mange, and hypothyroidism. Excessive or unusual hair loss is a common symptom in many more severe illnesses, which is why you should see the vet immediately for further investigation.
What Type of Coat Does a Chihuahua Have?
The Chihuahua comes in different types of coats. It can either be long or short-haired or single or double-coated.
These coats sit close to the dog’s body and are usually shiny and straight in texture. Because the short fur gives these Chihuahuas a bit of a streamlined look, they’re sometimes called smooth-coat Chihuahuas. This fur is neither thin nor thick, and it falls somewhere in the middle.
This fur is obviously longer, but it doesn’t fall to the ground like other smaller breeds with long fur. It is thicker around the ears, mane, underbelly, and tail. The long-haired variety sheds longer fur that might be more noticeable, making it seem like they shed more. But the truth is both long and short-haired Chihuahuas have the same shedding levels and frequency. They do, however, have different grooming needs as the long fur requires more brushing to prevent tangles and mats.
Single or Double Coated Chihuahuas
Both long and short-haired Chihuahuas can be single or double-coated. The former features a single top layer consisting of thick guard fur. On the other hand, a double-coated Chihuahua has a soft, downy under-layer and a separate top layer of fur to provide extra protection from the elements. The double-coated Chihuahua has more hair than the single-coated variety, which means more shedding and grooming needs.
If your Chihuahua is both long-haired and double-coated, you can expect more fur around your home than if you have a short-haired and single-coated Chihuahua. Those are both extremes, but generally, the Chihuahua is a light to moderate shedder.
How to Manage and Reduce Chihuahuas Shedding?
You can’t stop your dog from shedding completely, but there are a couple of ways you can minimize the shedding and how much fur ends up in your home. Remember, shaving is not an option. The fur plays a vital role in regulating body temperature, both during cold and hot weather. Fur also protects the Chihuahua from sunburns, mosquito bites, and other elements. When shaving, you also run the risk of nicking your beloved pet.
Managing your Chihuahua’s shedding comes down to grooming, bathing, and providing a proper diet.
Your dog will need brushing once or twice a week. The more loose and dead fur you can capture on the brush, the less it will be in your home or office. Brushing also helps spread the natural oils, thus encouraging healthy hair growth all over the body. Since this breed sheds more in spring and summer, you may need to brush daily to keep up with the increased shedding.
It’s equally important to use the right tools. With the short-haired Chihuahua, you’ll need a soft bristle brush, while the long-haired Chihuahua needs a pin brush or slicker brush to manage his long fur. There are also special de-shedding tools like the Furminator, which work for all breeds and coats.
Diet and nutrition play an essential role in the dog’s overall health and wellbeing, including their shedding tendencies. Take humans, for example; weeks of eating junk food will soon take a toll on our skin, hair, and overall health. The same goes for your Chihuahua. This is why you must offer a high-quality diet full of omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients help to nourish the skin and fur from the inside out. And, healthy hairs mean your dog will only shed when they need to and not due to nutritional deficiency. Fish, fish oils, vitamin E, biotin, flaxseed, and eggs are some of the great ingredients for a healthy coat.
There are definitely several other ways to stop excessive shedding and, in turn, reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up. Bathing, for instance, promotes a clean doggy as it removes dirt, dander, loose and dead fur, and debris. But this is only necessary every 8-12 weeks for the short-haired variety and 4-8 weeks for the long-haired ones. Overbathing your dog will only disrupt his coat’s natural oils.
Using fish oil supplements can also help nourish your dog’s skin and fur. But always check with your vet first before making any dietary changes in your dog’s eating.
Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
10-20% of the world’s population has pet allergies, which is why there’s been a growing need for hypoallergenic breeds. These are breeds that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Note that I used the world ‘less likely’ and not completely unable to cause allergies. The biggest culprit for pet allergies is usually dander, but fur, saliva, and urine are also contributing factors. Since dander tends to stick to fur, which gets released into the environment during shedding, hairless animals or those that shed less are often considered more suitable for allergy sufferers.
With this information in mind, let’s focus on the Chihuahua. Unfortunately, this breed is not considered hypoallergenic in any way. Whether long or short-haired, the Chihuahua is a moderate shedder. And since it releases the dander and other allergens clinging to the dog’s fur into the air, it is not suitable for people with pet allergies. If you are allergic to your Chihuahua, you might experience the following symptoms from touching or just being around them:
- Sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose
- Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
- Itchiness around your nose and eyes
- Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing
- Skin rash or hives
Dealing with Pet Allergies
The Chihuahua may not be hypoallergenic, but there are things you can do to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction. The first one is proper grooming. Regularly brushing your Chihuahua will help catch loose and dead fur before they are shed in your environment. Of course, you should delegate the task of grooming to a non-allergic person, and the process should be conducted outdoors. Bathing your Chihuahua is another way to remove dander and other potential allergens. Just don’t do it frequently as you risk depleting the hairs of their natural oils, which ends up causing more shedding.
You also want to keep your house clean by regularly mopping and vacuuming. Be sure to use a HEPA filter to trap pets- and environmental-related allergens in your home. Lastly, keep your dog out of rooms you spend a lot of time in, like the bedroom.