Long Coat vs. Smooth Coat Chihuahua: What Are The Differences?
Chihuahuas are adorable little bundles of saucy energy! Did you know that they also come in a couple of variations? There is the Long-coat or Smooth-coat (also known as Short-coat) Chihuahua. If you are considering inviting this fun little ball of sass into your family in the near future, it’s a good idea to understand which variety of Chihuahua is the right fit for you.
Before we dive deep into the styles of this breed, it's important to note that Chihuahuas have certain characteristics that are similar across the board. Their weight is generally around six pounds, they have a well-rounded head (apple-shaped) or slightly pointed face (deer-shaped), full and round eyes, slightly-arched neck, lean shoulders, and muscular rear end. Chihuahuas come in a variety of colors including solid colors such as black; white; fawn; chocolate; grey or silver and tricolors such as chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white. They may also be spotted. Below we will go through the characteristics of Long-coat and Smooth-coat Chihuahuas, types of skin conditions that can arise related to their coats, and how to best care for their fur.
Characteristics of Smooth Coat Chihuahuas
The Smooth-coat or Short-haired Chihuahua can have different coat textures even though the hair will remain short. Some can have a very smooth and flat texture to their hair while others can have a rough, wiry, or an almost curly look to their coat. Here are the traits that are most commonly seen in purebred:
- A short fur coat that's close to the body.
- Glossy coat
- Soft texture
- The tail is slim with short fur and a curve towards the body.
Characteristics of Long-coat Chihuahuas
The long-coat Chihuahua have much longer coats than their counterparts. They may also have different textures to their hair. They can have a flat or slightly wavy coat that comes in a variety of colors from light tan to black. The ears have a lot of fringes, a furry ruff encircles the neck, and the legs will also have tufts of hair.
Long-Coat Breed Requirements:
- Soft to touch fur coat.
- Fur can be either be straight or naturally wavy.
- Fur is strong and prominent all the way to the tip of the tail.
- Excess hair around the neck (AKA ruff).
You may think that the long-coat Chihuahua requires more grooming and maintenance, but this isn't always the case. If you do a little searching online and at some of the various Chihuahua forums, you'll probably notice how most owners agree that long-coat Chihuahuas shed less. One of the reasons is simply because their fur stays more securely on their body, which then prevents it from falling off. However, this also means that Long-coat Chihuahuas need to be brushed and groomed more frequently with tools that help to remove the shed hair and prevent matting. Long-coat Chihuahuas do in fact shed less, but they tend to pick up more grass, dirt, and debris from the outdoors. Almost like little sweepers close to the ground! You can help them stay clean by brushing their coat before letting them back into your house.
Common Types of Skin Conditions in Chihuahuas
There are nine different skin conditions to watch out for with your Chihuahua. Below is a list of what to keep your eye on to prevent things from developing into serious health issues.
1. Environmental Allergies - A sudden onset of itching particularly to the face, feet, chest, and stomach can indicate an environmental allergy, triggered when your chihuahua is in contact with the cause of irritation. This particular type of allergy is called ‘atopy’ and is similar to how people have hay fever except that dogs show it by having irritated, itchy skin rather than watery eyes and sneezing. Common allergens for Chihuahuas are:
- dust mites
2. Food Allergies - Increased itching often involving the face, feet, ears, and anus are signs of a potential dog food allergy. Chihuahuas can develop food allergies from the type of protein consumed as part of their diet, for example, beef, eggs, chicken, and dairy. Some dogs also suffer from allergies to wheat or even vegetables.
3. Folliculitis - Inflamed hair follicles can occur when your dog is experiencing another skin problem such as mange or an allergy, as the hair follicles become infected by the underlying skin condition. It appears on the body in sores, bumps, and scabs over the skin.
4. Impetigo - Lesions can appear on your Chihuahua’s stomach as blisters, which can burst and scab over. Puppies are more prone to impetigo, which may also indicate an underlying skin condition.
5. Ringworm - Despite its name, is not a worm but a fungus that is highly contagious to other animals and humans. The fungal infection appears as circular, crusty bald patches and is often found on a dog’s head, paws, ears, and front legs.
6. Ticks and Fleas - Affect your little bundle’s skin by biting and sucking their blood. Flea saliva enters the body and can cause an allergic response which irritates your pet’s skin, causing them to itch profusely.
8. Mange - A severe skin condition caused by several species of mites that live on the dog’s hair and skin.
9. Dandruff - Like humans, Chihuahuas can get dandruff or ‘scruff and dry skin, this can be a sign of an underlying problem, like an infection. Some dogs are prone to having dry skin, particularly in winter and it may be affected by their diet.
How To Bathe your Chihuahua
One of the most important grooming routines for your Chihuahua is bathing. Whether you own a long-coat or smooth-coat variety, all Chihuahuas must be bathed to prevent build-ups of dirt and to keep their fur free of any tangles. Just be careful not to over-bathe your furry pal, you don’t want to dry out their precious skin and have them develop dandruff or worse skin issues!
So, how often are you supposed to bathe them? It really depends on several different factors, such as their level of outdoor activity, what type of shampoo you are using, whether they are long-coat or smooth, how clean the air is inside your home, and how much they clean themselves with their tongue. Regardless though, a good rule of thumb is to bathe them around once every 2-3 weeks. This should keep them clean without drying out their skin.
What You'll Need To Bathe Your Chihuahua
Before you can give your Chihuahua a bath, you'll first need a few basic supplies. Here are some necessary items to bathe your pup:
- Dog formulated shampoo (human shampoo can be too harsh for their delicate skin).
- Dry Towel
- Pitcher or large bowl
- Some treats to distract with and praise her afterward.
Steps To Bathe Your Chihuahua
- Fill a pitcher or bowl up with lukewarm water and gently pour it over their body while shielding their head with your free hand. Be sure to do this in a basin or tub.
- Because of their small size, Chihuahuas usually only need a very small amount of shampoo.
- Lather the shampoo into their fur coat using either your hands or a washcloth.
- Allow the shampoo to sit for a couple of minutes to help freshen their coat.
- Fill the pitcher back up with more water and pour it over their body to rinse out the shampoo. As the water pours over their body, run their coat with your hands to help work out the shampoo. Repeat this step until the water comes out clear and shampoo-free.
- Now that your Chihuahua is fresh and clean, take them out of the tub and wrap them up in a dry towel. Gently rub the towel against their body to speed up the drying process.
- Since your Chihuahua did such a good job at bath time, give them a treat followed by lots of petting and praise.
- Voila! A purified pup that is probably ready for a long snooze after all that action!
Both the Long-coat Chihuahua and the Short-coat Chihuahua shed. The nice thing about both of these varieties is that since they are tiny dogs, it is fairly easy to keep up with their grooming.
Long-coat Chihuahuas really benefit from regular brushing and bathing. Not only will these types of grooming procedures cut down on shedding, but they will also prevent any tangles or mats from developing in their coat. Which as you know can lead to a whole host of other issues as noted above.
If you prefer not to be brushing your Chihuahua regularly then consider adopting a Smooth-coat Chihuahua instead, as the shorter hair does not require brushing very often. Unlike some other small breeds with longer hair, Chihuahuas are not known to have alopecia (hair loss), so shaving their coat does not typically increase the risk of balding in the breed.
The choice between a Long-coat and a Smooth-coat Chihuahua is one that only you can make. Both of these varieties can make wonderful loving pets for the family when raised in a healthy and clean environment. As long as you raise your Chihuahua with lots of love, attention to their needs, and care, they will grow up and offer you the same level of respect you gave them. The length of their fur coat has absolutely no effect on their personality or characteristics.