Do you, or members of your family suffer from allergies and, before introducing a Chihuahua into your home, are wondering if Chihuahuas shed, and if so, how much?
In the following article we’ll explain everything you need to know about Chihuahuas and shedding, including how much they shed compared to other breeds, why they shed, when they shed most, whether short or long haired Chihuahuas shed more, and how to minimize shedding with regard to allergies and housekeeping.
Chihuahuas shed, as do all dog breeds. They’re considered medium shedders and tend to shed most around the change of seasons, particularly during warmer months. Long haired Chihuahuas tend to shed less than short-haired Chihuahuas but this may vary from dog to dog.
How Much do Chihuahuas Shed?
Chihuahuas are regarded as medium shedders, meaning they shed less than average compared to other breeds.
Have you ever picked up your Chihuahua, only to notice hair all over you? Well, Chihuahuas, like all dogs shed.
Unless a completely hairless variety, dogs that don’t shed are about as common as low shedding unicorns.
Shedding is a nuisance for dog owners and despite their diminutive size, as a Chihuahua owner you are going to have to contend with some doggy hair on your furniture and garments from time to time, especially as Chihuahuas are picked up and handled far more than most breeds.
The good news is however, due to their small size, the amount of hair will obviously be much less than for a larger dog.
Why Do Chihuahuas Shed?
The fur on your Chihuahua, and all dogs for that matter, helps to regulate body temperature, and protect against the sun.
Unlike humans dogs don’t sweat so their fur plays an important role in regulating their body temperature.
However their fur, or more importantly the hair follicles that make up their fur have a life cycle, and shedding is just a natural part of this cycle.
In short, hair follicles grow, until they eventually die and are then discarded through shedding only to be replaced by new fur and for the cycle to repeat.
In some breeds this cycle lasts much longer.
For example some dogs have almost continuously growing hair. Dogs such as Poodles, and Shih tzus tend to shed far less as a result, and often require a trim during the warmer months of the year.
When do Chihuahuas Shed?
Chihuahuas shed most of the year round, but tend to shed more at the beginning of Spring and Fall, with shedding being more prolific at the beginning of Spring due to the warmer temperatures.
Most dog varieties have two coats, an inner (aka undercoat) and an outer coat, often referred to as guard hairs.
Dogs with single coats (just the outer coat) tend to shed less in terms of volume, and are referred to as Hypoallergenic dogs, meaning they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Chihuahuas have double coats, you can tell that by taking a closer look at your dog. The inner coat is usually thicker and shorter than the outer coat, and will sometimes take on a woolly texture and appearance.
Dogs that appear fluffy, for example, have thick inner coats. While the skin is visible when the hair is parted upon inspection of single coat dogs.
The outer coat is more prone to shedding all year round, while Chihuahuas usually only shed their inner coat during Spring and Fall, with more shedding occurring during Spring as their coat changes in response to warmer weather e.g they need less fur to keep warm.
Do long-haired Chihuahuas shed more than smooth-coat Chihuahuas?
While it’s natural to assume that long-haired Chihuahuas tend to shed more, due to having longer hair. The opposite is actually true.
Although due to the individual hair strands being longer, you may notice them more easily.
Long-haired dogs tend to shed more seasonally, and require more maintenance to ensure a healthy coat. So, while they may shed less, don’t think you are getting off lightly if you do happen to own a long-haired Chihuahua.
How to Minimize Shedding?
While shedding is completely normal, there can be additional reasons why your Chihuahua may shed more than other Chihuahuas, including:
- Poor nutrition
- Parasites such as fleas
- General poor health
Fortunately there are ways to minimize shedding, including the following.
You should be brushing your Chihuahuas coat at least weekly to remove excess hair, and up to twice weekly using a quality brush during warmer months when they typically shed more fur. Not only will this remove excess fur but it will stimulate the hair follicles and promote a healthier coat.
You should also be bathing your Chihuahua weekly as this will improve the health of the hair follicles, reduce irritants on the skin and contribute to your dog having a healthier coat in general.
Keep in mind, dogs shed damaged or dead hair, and promoting a healthy coat by regular washing will reduce the amount of shedding.
Chihuahuas despite being pocket dynamos also experience stress and anxiety, as can all dogs. In Chihuahuas this is mostly due to their size.
If you suspect your Chihuahua is anxious, you should investigate ways to reduce the anxiety your dog experiences. This may be advantageous for all manner of reasons, not just because of unwanted hair.
Anxious dogs also display destructive tendencies more often, bark more often, and generally act more aggressively toward other animals and in some cases even their owners.
If your dog’s coat is itchy your dog will scratch and this will also result in excess fur being shed. Be sure to use a reliable flea treatment and if you suspect fleas or some other irritant inspect the skin and look for visible signs of irritation.
All dogs shed, some more than others, and while it may be a nuisance, shedding is a natural part of life for your Chihuahuas, and essential to maintaining a healthy coat.
An important part of minimizing shedding is ensuring your dog is in good health through good nutrition, regular exercise and regular bathing.