If you think you could be the right fit for a long-haired Chihuahua, how about looking around local rescue centres first to see if they have any that need a forever home? Whether you decide to buy or adopt, we always recommend you do plenty of research on both the breed and dog ownership in general, to make sure they’re right for your life situation. We recommend checking the website of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) before purchasing a pet, especially online, to learn more about how to buy a dog responsibly. Once you’re sure, you could also check out the Chihuahua page on Gumtree and look for long-haired varieties.
Like most breeds, a long-haired Chihuahua doesn’t like to be left alone; in fact, they’re usually happiest curled up on your lap or following you around. They’re also generally content to adapt to your lifestyle, even if you have a smaller space or no garden – that’s not to say they don’t need outdoor access every day, though. Chihuahuas’ lack of body fat means you’ll need to make sure they’re kept warm in the wintertime, with a cosy bed indoors and a good coat to wear on walks. Besides grooming, it’s also recommended that you brush a Chihuahua’s teeth regularly to stop them developing any dental problems. Unsurprisingly, as such small dogs, they can’t eat a huge amount in one go, so it’s a good idea to split up a long-haired Chihuahua’s meals into three or four smaller portions throughout the day. Because of their high metabolisms, the dog food you feed them should be high quality and high in both protein and calories.
With their little legs, Chihuahuas only need about 20 to 30 minutes’ walking per day. It’s wise not to underestimate their exercise needs just because of their size however, as a bored, inactive Chihuahua may get destructive when left indoors. Chihuahuas are playful and active by nature and tend to be quite curious in general. It’s a good idea to walk them on the lead, especially when young, as they often have a strong urge to chase things (squirrels, for example). It can be dangerous for them to pull on their lead too much, as they’re so small. For this reason, a small harness is often a safer way to walk them than a lead-collar combination.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are admired for their elegant coat, which gives the illusion of gliding as they move. This glossy coat doesn’t come without work, however, and you can expect to brush your dog every couple of days to avoid matting. You may also like to book your long-haired Chihuahua in at the groomers every few months for some expert TLC. It’s best not to bathe or wash them too regularly at home, as this can lead to their skin drying out. Also worth noting is that long-haired Chihuahuas have a peculiar shedding pattern. They do shed regularly, but rather than individual hairs flying everywhere, they conveniently seem to shed in clumps that are quite easy to clean up.
Temperament and training
Long-haired Chihuahuas often get separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviour around the home. They can also be notoriously difficult to house train, so may benefit from having – at least initially – a dedicated crate or tray to use in the house. It’s strongly advised that you practise consistent, rule-based training from a young age to stop these smart little pups getting the upper hand. Unfortunately for those with young families, long-haired Chihuahuas aren’t known for being great with young children and tend to have something of a temper, preferring a calmer life with adults. As a rule, Chihuahuas love other Chihuahuas but can be defensive around larger dogs (understandable really, given the size difference). For this reason, it’s recommended that you socialise your Chihuahua early on – puppy classes are ideal for this. They tend to have a high prey drive with smaller animals, like rodents, and it’s probably best not to introduce them in a household with small pets.
Long-haired Chihuahuas are prone to a number of health problems, some of which are genetic and can often be eliminated by careful screening of the parents. These include:
- osteoarthritis and other knee problems
- eye injuries, infections and dry eyes, due to their protruding eyes
- hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, which they can be at risk of developing due to insufficient muscle mass in their little bodies to store energy
- extremely soft bones, especially as puppies, when they need very careful handling. This bone softness continues somewhat into adulthood, especially in their lower jaw – regular dental check-ups can help monitor this
Is it OK to shave a long-haired Chihuahua?
Unless your vet needs to partially shave your Chihuahua for some reason, then it’s not recommended that you shave them. This exposes their skin to sun damage and leaves them feeling cold.
Do long-haired Chihuahuas shed?
Yes, all Chihuahuas do shed a reasonable amount. Long-haired Chihuahuas shed thicker clumps rather than individual hairs, so they can be easier to clean up after. That said, they’re not considered a hypoallergenic breed.
How big do long-haired Chihuahuas get?
An adult long-haired Chihuahua of either sex typically weighs 1.5 to 3 kg. They can grow to between 15 and 22 cm tall for males and about 12–18 cm for females.
How long do long-haired Chihuahuas live?
The Chihuahua has one of the longest lifespans of all dog breeds and can live from 12 to 15 years old, sometimes longer.