The Chihuahua is famous for being one of the most miniature breeds in the world. There are several variations of the Chihuahua, and the long-haired Chihuahua is one of those variations. Although they are the same breed as the short-haired Chihuahua, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of if you are thinking about welcoming one of these hairy pups into your life.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are the life and soul of any party. Chis are fierce companions and full to the brim with little canine character. Chihuahuas think of themselves as the top dog, so you might find them getting a little bossy in the doggy park. This is why you need to be a strong-willed dog owner and pack leader. But under their sassy character and all that long hair, they are also sweet and sensitive pups.
Chihuahuas, including long hairs, are a very popular breed, and you’ve likely met one before. But they have a bunch of quirks that you might not know about. From their extra grooming requirements to their health concerns, let’s look at everything you need to know about the long-haired Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua is the national dog of Mexico, which is where they originate, dating back thousands of years to when the Toltecs lived there. Artifacts show larger versions of the Chihuahua, known as the Techichi. Over time the treasured Techichi became smaller. But through invasions by the Aztecs and then the Spanish, leading to lost civilizations, it was thought that the Chihuahua breed was lost forever.
That was until the mid-1800s. Until then, they lived in small villages around the state of Chihuahua. When American travelers discovered this small breed, they named them Chihuahuas after the state. The first Chihuahua registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908 was named Beppie. Soon after this, the Chihuahua became one of America’s favorite breeds.
Shows such as Beverley Hills Chihuahua, Legally Blonde, and Sex and the City have popularized this little pooch. Although their popularity has fallen slightly over the years, according to the AKC, they commonly find themselves in the top 40 most popular breeds in America.
They are loyal to a tee and super protective of their family, ensuring everyone knows about it. It’s a comical trait but can get them into trouble if left unchecked. This is why Chihuahuas need a strong master to train them well and keep on top of their manners.
Under that bravado is a sweet and caring pooch that adores their family. The Chihuahua is a companionship dog like no other, and they hate to be left alone. They love spending their entire day with their family, sitting in front of the telly, snuggled up, or adventuring in the big world. Their small size means you have no excuse to leave them out.
Chihuahuas love their family but are hugely suspicious of strangers. They are aloof with most and very confident and vocal with it, which is why they are feisty characters. If you’re seeking a small watchdog, you couldn’t do much better than this pup. But if you’re looking for a quiet canine, you want to avoid this breed.
Size & Appearance
The long-haired Chihuahua is part of the toy dog group and is one of the most miniature dogs in the world. They usually weigh no more than 6 pounds and only measure up to 8 inches tall from paw to shoulder. Although Chihuahuas are tiny breeds, they have an athletic build with small muscles they like to show off. However, you cannot see this under all of that hair.
Chihuahuas have big cute eyes and tall, erect ears, adding to their gorgeous and alert appearance. The AKC sets out the expected appearance in the Chihuahua breed standard. Although this isn’t a must for all Chihuahuas, if you want to register your long-haired Chihuahua with the AKC, they must conform to it.
Like short-haired Chihuahuas, long-haired Chihuahuas have two head shapes – apple head vs. deer head Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas with an apple head have rounder, domed-shaped skulls compared to deer head Chihuahuas with larger but narrower skulls. The AKC only accepts apple head Chihuahuas.
Coat & Colors
The Chihuahua has two coat types, the long-hair, and smooth hair, which is what many people refer to as the short-hair. Although they are identical in every other aspect, their coat type sets them apart in several ways, which we’ll explore later. When it comes to color, long-haired Chihuahuas come in every canine color around, either solid or patterned.
Although there is no definition of how long the hair should be, it should be longer than a smooth hair but not touching the floor. Long-hair Chihuahuas have a ruff on their neck, fringing on their ears, and feathering on their feet and legs. Their tail should be plumed too. The long hair is soft and can be either straight or slightly wavy. Long-haired Chihuahuas are often mistaken for the Papillon breed.
Exercise & Living Conditions
However, their little legs and lungs cannot handle too much exercise. Expect to walk them for around 20 minutes a day outdoors for a leg stretch and sniff about. They get the rest of their exercise playing with their humans at home. Be sure to invest in a harness for your Chihuahua, as leashing their collars increases the risk of tracheal collapse.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are very adaptable creatures just as long as they are with their humans for most, if not all, of the day. All they ask is for their family to stick with them as they are prone to separation anxiety. Families looking for a more independent dog should steer clear of this needy pup.
Although Chihuahuas make great family pets, their small size makes them prone to injury. For this reason, they must live with dog-savvy children who will not mishandle them or see them as toys. If socialized well, Chihuahuas can live with other dogs and other animals.
Other than this, they can live in any accommodation, and their small size lends them to apartment and city living. You must ensure that your home and yard are secure because they’ll try to escape at any chance. Plus, Chihuahuas are at risk of being taken by predators such as coyotes, birds of prey, and others, so protecting them is essential.
Chihuahuas are feisty and think they know best, which makes training a Chihuahua tricky. This is why Chis are best suited to experienced dog owners. Training must start early, be consistent, and, most importantly, be entertaining. Otherwise, your Chihuahua will become bored within minutes.
Untrained Chihuahuas who can do what they want are likely to suffer from small dog syndrome. This is a set of unruly behaviors found in small sassy dogs who are allowed to go unchecked simply because they are small. Behaviors include growling, nipping, not listening to basic commands, and jumping on and over people. Owners often think these behaviors are cute and, because they are small, couldn’t be dangerous, but they can be. It’s essential that you correct your Chihuahua, so they know they are not in charge.
Socialization is vital for all dogs, especially breeds prone to guarding their family, like this pup. A reputable breeder starts the process from day one, and you should continue it. Allow your dog to experience new situations, such as walking along a busy sidewalk or exposing them to loud noises. Introduce them to other dogs so that they become confident around them. Your local doggy park is a great way to do this.
Finally, another essential training aspect for your Chihuahua is crate training. Dogs prone to separation anxiety benefit hugely from crate training because it gives them a safe space to retire when alone or feeling stressed. Plus, it also offers owners peace of mind knowing that their little pup doesn’t have the run of the house when you are not there.
But like all dog breeds, the long-haired Chihuahua is prone to several health conditions. They enjoy a long lifespan, but to reach this golden age, they must be taken care of. Regular health checkups and awareness of the common health concerns in Chihuahuas are crucial. Plus, working with a reputable breeder who screens for common health concerns is essential.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are prone to cardiac concerns, but there are two cardiac conditions to look out for – patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease. Both conditions are caused by abnormal heart formation, which can be fatal. Regular examinations at the vets should pick up on this early, allowing them to be managed.
Patella luxation is a common condition found in small dog breeds, and it occurs when the kneecap dislodges from where it should be. Meaning the leg cannot extend or be used normally. Extending their leg outwards or skipping is an indication of patella luxation. This can be extremely painful and usually needs surgery.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are susceptible to several eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma. Both cause degeneration of the eye, which can lead to complete blindness if not addressed. Again, regular checkups with the vet are crucial to early detection.
Because long-haired Chihuahuas are tiny, they only eat a small amount. Typically a Chihuahua eats around half a cup of food a day. But this depends on their size, age, activity levels, and the food they eat. All dog food comes with feeding instructions, so be sure to follow them. If you choose to feed your Chi kibble, it’s essential to choose one designed specifically for small breeds. Normal-sized kibble is often too large for Chihuahuas.
Grooming is the main difference between long-haired and smooth-haired Chihuahuas. The longer hair collects more dirt and tangles easier, so brush them several times weekly to keep their coats healthy and clean. But because they are so small, it shouldn’t take very long. Although they shed the same amount, because their hair is longer, it seems like they shed more. A soft pin or slicker brush is the best grooming brush to keep the Chihuahua looking their best.
Bathing your long-haired Chihuahua is another important grooming activity that helps to keep them healthy. Bath them once every two months, or sometimes more if their long hair becomes dirty. Always use a gentle doggy shampoo with natural ingredients such as oatmeal or coconut oil.
Dental hygiene is another critical aspect to keep on top of. Small dogs like the long-haired Chihuahua have limited space in their mouth, meaning their teeth are crammed together. This leads to a quicker build-up of bacteria and earlier teeth loss due to periodontal diseases. They need their teeth brushed several times a week. Establishing a grooming routine early on makes it much easier for you and your Chi.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are one of the most popular small breeds, making them a target of unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills. For this reason, you must research breeders diligently. Ask to meet them, the puppies, and the mother, at least. Ask for health certificates, and look for independent recommendations or reviews online. A great place to start your research is with the AKC’s Chihuahua breeders list.
The average price of a long-haired Chihuahua puppy from a reputable breeder falls anywhere between $500 and $1,500. If you are looking for a long-haired Chi from an award-winning breeder or champion bloodline, you can expect to pay more than this. You also need to consider the other costs associated with getting a puppy, such as beds, crates, food, toys, boarding, insurance, and much more.
Rescues & Shelters
If you are considering rescuing a long-haired Chihuahua, you can expect to pay less than buying a new puppy. Rescue fees are usually several hundred dollars. Head to your local shelters and speak to the staff who might know of any long-haired Chihuahuas up for adoption in the local area. Alternatively, check out Chihuahua-focused rescue websites.
As Family Pets
- Long-haired Chihuahuas are feisty and think they are the boss
- Chihuahuas are aloof with strangers and protective of their family
- They can be very vocal
- Long-haired Chihuahuas are lovely and fun companionship dogs
- They don’t like to be left alone
- Chihuahuas can be stubborn and tricky to train
- Long-haired Chihuahuas need additional grooming
- They need 20 minutes of exercise and additional playtime
- Chihuahuas can live with dog-savvy children and other dogs
The long-haired Chihuahua is a fun and sassy canine character packed into a tiny frame. There is never a dull moment with one of these pups in your life. However, they can be tricky to train, and previous dog experience is recommended. Plus, extra dedication is required when grooming their long coat. But, if you can offer them what they need, you are sure to find a wonderful best friend in this hairy hound.