The Ultimate Guide to Long Hair Chihuahua

icon December 20, 2023
by:puaintapets

Chihuahuas are renowned for their petite size and big personalities. While these tiny dogs are already adorable, the long-haired Chihuahua takes cuteness to a whole new level. With their flowing locks and captivating charm, long-haired Chihuahuas are a delightful addition to any family. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of long-haired Chihuahuas, from their history and characteristics to their care and personality.

What Does A Long Haired Chihuahua Look Like?

A long-haired Chihuahua, like the name suggests, has a coat of longer hair compared to the short-haired variety of Chihuahuas, especially around the neck, chest, ears, and tail. It may form a "mane" of fur around the neck, and the tail can have a plume-like appearance. 

Their coat can come in a variety of colors, including.

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Fawn
  • Cream
  • White

Some long-haired Chihuahuas also have markings such as brindle or merle (merle isn’t natural to the breed).

Long-haired Chihuahuas have the same distinctive Chihuahua face with a rounded skull and large, expressive eyes. Their ears are typically large and stand erect.

Chihuahuas are small dogs, and long-haired Chihuahuas are no exception. They typically weigh between 2 to 6 pounds (0.9 to 2.7 kg) and stand about 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm) tall at the shoulder.

Long Hair Chihuahua

Are Long Haired Chihuahuas Rare?

Long-haired Chihuahuas are not considered rare within the Chihuahua breed. Long-haired Chihuahuas are quite common and are one of the two main coat varieties found in Chihuahuas, with the other being the short-haired (smooth-coat) variety. While there are variations in coat colors and patterns, the presence of long hair in Chihuahuas is relatively common and sought after by many dog lovers.

However, some coat colors or patterns within the Chihuahua breed might be considered rarer or more unique, such as merle, spotted, lavender, or certain solid colors like blue or chocolate. These coat variations can be less common and are often considered more unusual or sought after by breed enthusiasts, which can make Chihuahuas with these specific coat traits more expensive and harder to find.

1. Merle Coat

Merle coat pattern is considered rare and highly sought after in Chihuahuas and many other dog breeds. The merle gene, symbolized by 'M,' is responsible for creating the unique and beautiful merle pattern in a dog's coat.

Merle Chihuahuas have a mottled or marbled appearance with patches or spots of color on a lighter background. The merle gene dilutes random sections of the dog's coat, resulting in this distinctive pattern. Merle can come in various colors, including blue merle (blue-gray patches), red merle (reddish patches), and even chocolate merle (brownish patches), among others.

It's important to note that while merle Chihuahuas are highly desired for their striking appearance, breeding for the merle pattern should be done responsibly to avoid potential health issues associated with the merle gene. When two merle dogs with the 'M' gene are bred together, there is a higher risk of producing puppies with a double merle (homozygous merle), which can lead to congenital health problems, including vision and hearing impairments.

Merle Long Hair Chihuahua

2. Brindle Coat

Brindle is another one of the rarer coat colors found in Chihuahuas. Brindle Chihuahuas have a tiger-striped or streaked pattern on their coat, which gives them a unique and distinctive appearance. The brindle pattern consists of dark stripes or streaks on a lighter background color. This can create a striking and beautiful coat pattern, often likened to a little tiger.

While brindle Chihuahuas are not as common as some other coat colors within the breed, they are highly sought after by dog enthusiasts who appreciate their unique and eye-catching appearance. The brindle pattern can occur in various color combinations, such as black and tan, chocolate and tan, or even blue and tan.

Brindle Coat Chihuahuas

3. Lavender Chihuahua

Lavender Chihuahuas are considered rare and can be difficult to find. The lavender color in Chihuahuas is the result of specific genes and genetic combinations.

The lavender color is essentially a diluted or "dilute" version of the chocolate color in Chihuahuas. It is caused by the action of the "dilution" gene, often denoted as 'd.' When a Chihuahua inherits two copies of the 'd' gene (one from each parent), it can result in the lavender or blue-ish undertone in their fur. This dilution gene affects the production of pigments in the coat, causing the color to become lighter.

However, the lavender color is indeed rare because it requires specific genetic combinations, and not all Chihuahuas with chocolate-colored parents will produce lavender offspring. It depends on the inheritance of the 'd' gene from both parents. If both parents carry two copies of the 'd' gene, there is a higher likelihood of producing lavender Chihuahua puppies.

Lavender Chihuahua

4. Snow White Chihuahuas

"Snow White" Chihuahuas, or pure white Chihuahuas, can be considered rare and highly sought after by some dog enthusiasts. These Chihuahuas have a coat that is entirely white without any other color markings. However, it's important to distinguish between pure white Chihuahuas and albino Chihuahuas.

Albinism is a genetic condition that results in a complete lack of pigmentation in the skin, fur, and eyes. Albino animals typically have pink or red eyes due to the absence of pigment. Albino Chihuahuas would have pink or red eyes and would not have any pigmentation in their skin or coat.

In contrast, pure white Chihuahuas are not albino. The "sw" gene in combination with the "cch" allele determines the skin color and allows for the development of white fur while still having normal-colored eyes and skin. These Chihuahuas may have dark eyes and a pink nose but would not have the characteristic pink or red eyes associated with albinism.

Snow White Chihuahuas

What is the Difference Between Smooth Hair and Long Hair Chihuahua?

The primary difference between smooth-haired (or short-haired) Chihuahuas and long-haired Chihuahuas is the length and texture of their coats. Smooth-Haired Chihuahuas have short, smooth, and sleek coat that lies close to their body. The hair is typically short and does not have any long, flowing strands. Long-haired Chihuahuas have a coat of longer hair that is soft, silky, and flows away from their body. The hair around their neck, chest, ears, and tail is notably longer than that of smooth-haired Chihuahuas.

Due to their short and smooth coat, these Chihuahuas require less grooming than their long-haired counterparts. They still benefit from regular brushing and occasional baths to keep their coat healthy and clean. Long-haired Chihuahuas need more extensive grooming. Regular brushing is essential to prevent matting and tangling of their longer hair. They may also require more frequent baths and careful attention to their coat to maintain its condition.

Do Long Haired Chihuahuas Shed?

Yes, long-haired Chihuahuas do shed, just like their smooth-haired counterparts. Many dogs, including Chihuahuas, undergo seasonal shedding that sheds twice a year, and a longer topcoat that sheds less frequently. While long-haired Chihuahuas may not shed as much as some other breeds, they do have continuous, low-level shedding throughout the year. You can expect to find some loose hairs on their coat and around your home.

Do Long Haired Chihuahuas Need Haircuts?

Long-haired Chihuahuas do not typically need haircuts in the same way that some other long-haired breeds do. Their coat naturally grows to its appropriate length, and cutting it short is not a standard practice for this breed. However, regular grooming is essential to keep their coat healthy and prevent matting, tangling, and excessive shedding. 

While long-haired Chihuahuas don't need haircuts in the traditional sense, some owners choose to trim their dog's fur for practical reasons. Trimming the hair around the paw pads can help prevent slipping and sliding on smooth surfaces. Trimming the hair around the eyes can also improve visibility. However, these trims should be done with care to avoid injuring the dog.

Do Long Haired Chihuahuas Need Haircuts

How Often Should You Bathe a Long Haired Chihuahua?

The frequency of bathing depends on the individual dog's activity level, lifestyle, and coat condition. In general, long-haired Chihuahuas do not require frequent baths. Bathing them every 3-4 months or as needed should suffice. Over-bathing can strip their coat of natural oils and lead to dry skin.

Is A Long Haired Chihuahua Hypoallergenic?

Long-haired Chihuahuas are not considered hypoallergenic dogs. Hypoallergenic breeds are those that produce fewer allergens, primarily in their skin cells, saliva, and urine, making them a better choice for people with allergies. Chihuahuas, whether long-haired or smooth-haired, do not fall into the hypoallergenic category.

Is It OK to Shave a Long Haired Chihuahua?

Shaving a long-haired Chihuahua is generally not recommended unless there is a specific medical or grooming reason to do so. Chihuahuas have a double coat, consisting of a soft, insulating undercoat and a longer, protective topcoat. Shaving them can disrupt the natural functions of their coat and may lead to various issues. Such as risk of sunburn, skin irritation, coat texture changes, and increased shedding ( Contrary to the belief that shaving reduces shedding, it can actually lead to increased shedding as the coat grows back unevenly.)

What Health Problems Do Long Haired Chihuahuas Have?

Long-haired Chihuahuas, like all Chihuahuas, are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of. These health problems are not exclusive to long-haired Chihuahuas but can affect Chihuahuas of all coat types. Some of the common health problems seen in Chihuahuas include:

1. Patellar Luxation

This is a common orthopedic condition in dogs, including Chihuahuas, where the kneecap (patella) moves out of its normal position within the groove of the femur (thigh bone). It can cause pain and lameness in the affected leg.

Patellar luxation can be classified into different grades based on the severity of the condition:

  • Grade I: The patella can be manually moved out of position but returns to its normal position spontaneously.
  • Grade II: The patella can spontaneously move out of position and may remain out of place for short periods but usually returns to the groove on its own.
  • Grade III: The patella is frequently out of place and requires manual manipulation to return it to its normal position.
  • Grade IV: The patella is permanently out of position, and manual manipulation is unable to move it back into the groove.

Patellar luxation can affect one or both knees and may be present from birth (congenital) or develop as a result of injury or degeneration of the joint. Dogs with patellar luxation may exhibit signs such as limping, intermittent lameness, skipping or hopping on one leg, and discomfort. Over time, this condition can lead to joint degeneration and arthritis.

Treatment options for patellar luxation may include rest, physical therapy, pain management, weight management, and in some cases, surgical correction to realign the patella and deepen the groove it sits in.

2. Hypoglycemia

Chihuahuas, particularly puppies, are susceptible to hypoglycemia, which is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood sugar levels. Due to their small size and high metabolism, Chihuahuas can experience rapid drops in blood sugar, which can lead to various symptoms, including weakness, tremors, seizures, or even collapse. 

Hypoglycemia can be triggered by various factors, including insufficient food intake, excessive activity, stress, cold temperatures, and illness. Chihuahua owners need to be aware of the signs of hypoglycemia and take steps to prevent it.

Make sure your Chihuahua is eating enough food throughout the day if they are prone to hypoglycemia. Missing one or two meals is enough for small breeds to suffer a drop in blood sugar levels which can result in severe consequences such as seizures.

Avoid overexerting your Chihuahua, especially puppies. They have limited energy reserves and can quickly deplete them with excessive play or exercise.

3. Heart Problems

Chihuahuas are known to be prone to certain heart problems, and regular veterinary check-ups are indeed crucial for monitoring their heart health and catching any issues early. 

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a congenital heart defect where a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus, which is supposed to close shortly after birth, remains open. This causes abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery. PDA can lead to heart enlargement and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Surgery is often required to correct the defect.

Mitral valve disease is a common heart condition in older Chihuahuas. It involves the mitral valve not closing properly, allowing blood to flow backward into the heart. This condition can lead to heart enlargement, heart murmurs, and congestive heart failure. Medication and regular monitoring are often used to manage mitral valve disease.

4. Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a condition that can affect Chihuahuas and some other small dog breeds due to their delicate tracheas or windpipes. The trachea is the tube that carries air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. In dogs with tracheal collapse, the cartilage rings that normally provide support to the trachea weaken or lose their rigidity, causing the trachea to flatten or collapse when the dog breathes in or exerts effort.

Symptoms of tracheal collapse in Chihuahuas may include:

4. Dental Problems

Dental problems are common in small dog breeds like Chihuahuas, often due to their small mouths compared to the size of their teeth, leading to dental overcrowding, misalignment, plaque buildup, and increased risks. Periodontal disease, involving gum inflammation and infection, is prevalent in Chihuahuas and other small breeds, potentially resulting in tooth loss and pain if untreated. These dogs are also prone to rapid plaque and tartar accumulation due to their small size and mouth shape, with tartar removal requiring professional dental cleaning by a veterinarian. Therefore, regular dental care is crucial for maintaining the oral health of Chihuahuas, including brushing, dental chews, professional check-ups, monitoring for signs of issues, and a suitable diet promoting dental health. Neglecting dental care can lead to both oral problems and systemic health issues, emphasizing the importance of proactive dental maintenance.

5. Allergies

Allergies can affect Chihuahuas, just as they can impact dogs of any breed. Allergies in Chihuahuas can manifest in various ways, including skin issues and gastrointestinal problems. Here are some common types of allergies that can affect Chihuahuas:

  • Food Allergies: Chihuahuas can be allergic to certain ingredients in their food, such as proteins (e.g., chicken, beef, or fish), grains, or additives. Food allergies can lead to skin problems (itching, rashes, hot spots) or digestive issues (vomiting, diarrhea).
  • Environmental Allergies (Atopy): Chihuahuas, like other dogs, can be allergic to environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites, mold, or certain plants. These allergies often result in skin problems, including itching, inflamed skin, and ear infections.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Chihuahuas are susceptible to flea bites, and some may develop an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Even a single flea bite can trigger severe itching and skin problems in dogs with this type of allergy.
  • Contact Allergies: Some Chihuahuas may have allergies to certain substances they come into contact with, such as certain fabrics, cleaning products, or grooming products. This can lead to skin irritation and dermatitis.
  • Seasonal Allergies: Chihuahuas, like other dogs, can develop seasonal allergies to pollen and other outdoor allergens. This can result in symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation.

6. Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a condition that can affect some Chihuahuas, particularly puppies. Hydrocephalus is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain's ventricles, which can lead to increased intracranial pressure and neurological symptoms. Chihuahuas, with their small skulls, are among the breeds that may be more susceptible to this condition. Treatment options for hydrocephalus may include medical management to reduce CSF production or surgical intervention to divert excess fluid. The choice of treatment depends on the individual dog's condition and response to therapy.

7. Obesity

Spoiling our fur babies is hard to avoid, but in the long run, too much food and too many snacks lead to obesity.

According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standards, if you have a pure-bred Chihuahua, he or she should not weigh more than six pounds.

Obesity in Chihuahuas can cause joint problems, stress on the spine, difficulty breathing, arthritis, and a shortened lifespan.

Try to limit the amount of food you give your pup, and keep an eye on their calorie intake if they become overweight. Your veterinarian can help you monitor your dog’s diet and get you on the right track.

Long Hair Chihuahua

How to Keep Your Dog's Weight?

Calculating the daily calorie needs for your dog based on their weight is an important step in ensuring they receive the appropriate amount of food to maintain a healthy weight. Here's a general guideline to estimate your dog's daily calorie needs:

Determine Your Dog's Resting Energy Requirement (RER):

The Resting Energy Requirement is the number of calories your dog needs to maintain basic bodily functions when at rest. It can be calculated using the following formula:

RER = 70 x (weight in kilograms) ^ 0.75
To convert your dog's weight from pounds to kilograms, divide the weight by 2.2.

For example, if your dog weighs 20 pounds (9.07 kilograms):
RER = 70 x (9.07 ^ 0.75) = 318.77 calories per day

Adjust for Activity Level:

The RER provides the baseline number of calories your dog needs to maintain its current weight. To determine the total daily calorie requirement, you'll need to adjust this number based on your dog's activity level:

  • Sedentary (little to no exercise): Multiply the RER by 1.2.
  • Lightly active (light exercise or play): Multiply the RER by 1.4 to 1.6.
  • Moderately active (regular exercise or daily walks): Multiply the RER by 1.6 to 1.8.
  • Very active (high-intensity exercise or working dogs): Multiply the RER by 1.8 to 2.0 or more.

Choose the appropriate activity multiplier based on your dog's daily physical activity level.

Multiply the RER by the activity multiplier you selected to find your dog's estimated total daily calorie needs:

Total Daily Calories = RER x Activity Multiplier

8. Bladder and Kidney Stones

Bladder stones and kidney stones are common in older Chihuahuas, especially males. These tiny stones made of calcium build up in your dog’s urinary tract over time and cause difficulty urinating, bloody urine, and intense pain.

Usually, stones pass on their own. However, if you notice that your Chihuahua is having a lot of difficulty when trying to urinate, go ahead and schedule a vet visit. Kidney stones can cause blockages that quickly turn into medical emergencies.

9. Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is typically not dangerous, but it can be alarming for both pets and their owners. Pet owners need to recognize the signs of reverse sneezing and understand how to respond when their Chihuahua experiences an episode.

Reverse sneezing often sounds like a snort or honk and can resemble other respiratory issues, such as kennel cough or a collapsed trachea. While it usually passes on its own, some pet owners find it helpful to gently massage their Chihuahua's throat during an episode. This can help relax the muscles and release tension in the airways, potentially making the attack pass more quickly.

10. Spinal Injuries

A spinal injury can happen in the blink of an eye. Chihuahuas have such small frames that one mishap could spell disaster.

Spinal injuries and diseases are almost entirely due to trauma in Chihuahuas. One such disease called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) occurs when a spinal disc moves or slips out of place (this disease is oftentimes genetic and not the result of trauma).

Thankfully, doggy wheelchairs and physical therapy can help manage any pain and mobility issues that arise following the injury.

Keep an eye out for your furry friend, especially around large groups of people and big dogs.

How Long Do Long Haired Chihuahua Live?

Long-haired Chihuahuas, like their short-haired counterparts, typically have a relatively long lifespan compared to larger dog breeds. On average, long-haired Chihuahuas can live anywhere from 12 to 20 years or more, depending on various factors such as genetics, overall health care, diet, and living conditions.

Care And Maintenance Of A Long-Haired Chihuahua

Caring for a long-haired Chihuahua involves various aspects, including their diet, grooming, exercise, and overall well-being. Here's a guide to help you provide the best care for your long-coat Chihuahua:

Diet

Long-haired Chihuahuas should have a diet of high-quality dog food rich in nutrients. The diet should be high-protein (at least 25%) and formulated for small dogs since those are higher in calories in smaller portions.

They should be fed at least 2 to 3 times a day to avoid hypoglycemia that occurs when they go too long without food. 

Grooming

Long-haired Chihuahuas require regular grooming to maintain their coat's health and appearance.
Brush your Chihuahua's coat several times a week to prevent matting and tangles. Use a slicker brush or a comb designed for long-haired breeds.
Pay extra attention to areas prone to matting, such as behind the ears, around the neck, and under the tail.
Bathe your Chihuahua as needed, typically every 3-4 months or when they become dirty. Use a mild, dog-specific shampoo.
Trim the fur around their paws, ears, and sanitary area for hygiene purposes.
Regularly check and clean their ears, brush their teeth, and trim their nails to maintain overall hygiene.

Exercise Requirements

Chihuahuas are small but active dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of exercise per day.
Walks, playtime, and interactive toys can help meet their exercise needs. Be mindful of their size and avoid overexertion, especially in extreme weather.
Chihuahuas also enjoy indoor play and may benefit from puzzle toys and games that engage their minds.

Are Long Haired Chihuahuas Aggressive?

Chihuahuas, including long-haired Chihuahuas, have a reputation for being vocal and sometimes displaying protective behaviors. However, this does not necessarily equate to aggression. Chihuahuas are known for their loyalty and strong attachment to their owners, which can make them behave defensively in certain situations. They may bark, growl, or show their teeth to alert their owners or deter perceived threats. It's essential to understand that this behavior is often a response to fear or anxiety rather than true aggression.

Do Long Haired Chihuahuas Bark A Lot?

Yes, long-haired Chihuahuas, like their smooth-coated counterparts, have a tendency to bark more than some other dog breeds. Barking is a common behavior in Chihuahuas, and while it can vary from one individual to another, many Chihuahuas are known for being quite vocal.

Are Long Haired Chihuahuas Good With Kids?

Long-haired Chihuahuas, like Chihuahuas of all coat types, can be good with kids when properly socialized, trained, and supervised. Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds, and their small size can make them vulnerable around young children. Children should be taught to handle Chihuahuas gently and with care to avoid accidental injuries, such as falls or rough handling. Chihuahuas are intelligent but can be stubborn, so consistent training is important. Teaching them basic commands and appropriate behavior around children is crucial for a harmonious household.

Related: The 10 Best Dogs for Kids

Are Long-haired Chihuahuas Easy to Potty-train?

Potty-training a long-haired Chihuahua, or any Chihuahua for that matter, can present some challenges due to their small size and potentially smaller bladder capacity. While their smaller bladder may mean more frequent bathroom breaks, with consistency and the right approach, Chihuahuas can still be successfully potty-trained. 

Conclusion

Long-haired Chihuahuas are a captivating and endearing breed that offers not only their striking appearance but also a loyal and loving personality. While they require some extra care when it comes to grooming, their charming presence and affectionate nature make them wonderful companions for those willing to invest the time and effort. Whether you're looking for a small dog with a big heart or simply admire their stunning coats, long-haired Chihuahuas are sure to capture your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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