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Long-Haired Chihuahua: A Guide to Their Care and Characteristics

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Long Haired Chihuahua

Imagine a mini dog with a big personality and an even bigger heart. Enter the Long-Haired Chihuahua, affectionately dubbed the ‘Long Chi.’ This breed stands out with its luxurious coat and expressive eyes, making it a beloved companion around the world. Not to be underestimated because of its size, the Long-Haired Chihuahua packs a lot of spirit in a compact, cuddly package. 

Despite their small size, these dogs are known for their big personalities and are often described as spunky and lively. We have consulted expert sources like George Hoppendale’s Long Haired Chihuahua Manual for a comprehensive guide on this American breed.

Whether nestled in the crook of an arm or strutting their stuff at the dog park, these little charmers turn heads and steal hearts with ease. Let’s unfurl the world of these pint-sized pups, exploring their origins, characteristics, and why they might just be the furry friend you didn’t know you were looking for.

The Long-Haired Chihuahua Breed Profile

bicolor tan and white pied long-haired Chihuahua

The Long-Haired Chihuahua is not just a Chihuahua with a longer coat; it’s a distinct variety that comes with its own set of fascinating traits. With a mane that rivals the finest fur coat, this breed’s long, soft hair can be straight or slightly curly and comes in a range of colors including black, white, chocolate, and even merle. They may be teacup-sized or slightly larger, but their presence is anything but small.

When delving into the breed specifics, you’ll encounter two prominent head shapes: the ‘Applehead’ with its rounded dome reminiscent of a freshly picked apple, and the ‘Deerhead’ featuring a more elongated head and a look similar to that of a young deer. This distinction is more than just cosmetic; it’s part of the breed’s history, with the Applehead being the traditional type recognized by kennel clubs and the Deerhead offering a nod to their likely ancestral ties to the feral dogs of Mexico.

Whether you’re interested in a pup with the classic Applehead silhouette or one with the sleeker Deerhead shape, these Long-Haired Chihuahuas share the same vivacious temperament and are equally capable of forming strong bonds with their human companions. They may carry the label of ‘long-haired’, but their most defining feature is their unwavering loyalty and endearing charisma that makes them a treasured member of any household.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore how to find and care for your Long-Haired Chihuahua, what makes their temperament so delightful, and the lifelong joys and responsibilities that come with owning one of these fluffy bundles of love.

History of The long-haired Chihuahua

The long-haired Chihuahua is a small breed of dog with a fascinating history. It is believed that the breed originated in Mexico, where the ancient Toltec civilization had a sacred dog called the Techichi. The Toltecs believed that the Techichii had mystical powers, and they were often used in religious ceremonies.

Despite how chirpy your everyday Chihuahua may be, the Techichi was likely mute. After conquering the Toldetecs, Aztecs then refined the Techichi into a smaller dog, much like the beloved Chi we know today.

The breed was first introduced to the United States in the late 1800s and quickly became popular among the wealthy elite. The long-haired Chihuahua was particularly popular among women, who often carried them around in their purses.

Amazingly, most of the initial Chihuahua breeding stock coming into the US in the mid-1800s had long coats. While some believed that these long coats resulted from adding Papillons and Pomerenians, that’s not true since the long hair is natural to the breed. Long hair is simply a natural variation like long-coated Doxies and long-haired Corgis. 

Today, the long-haired Chihuahua remains a popular breed among dog lovers worldwide. Both the long and smooth-coated varieties finally gained AKC recognition in 1904 and even got their very own club, The Chihuahua Club of America, in 1923.

Physical Characteristics

What does a long-haired Chihuahua look like? Physical Traits

The long-haired Chihuahua is a small breed of dog that is known for its adorable appearance. They have rounded apple-shaped heads and large, expressive eyes and compact, well-balanced body structure, despite being tiny dogs.

The long-haired Chihuahua can have either an apple head or a deer head, which refers to the shape of their skull. Apple head Chihuahuas have a more pronounced forehead, dome-shaped skulls and a shorter snout, while deer head Chihuahuas have a longer nose and a flatter forehead.

They have erect ears, which are relatively large in proportion to their head. Their muzzle is moderately short, tapering to a point. Their large, round eyes are expressive and can be dark or light in color. Chihuahuas have a moderately long tail, usually carried in a slight curve or plume over the back.

How big does a long-haired Chihuahua get?

Long-haired Chihuahuas are a small breed of dog, typically weighing between 3 and 6 pounds (1 to 2.7 kg). They stand about 6 to 9 inches (15 to 20 cm) tall at the shoulder. D

Coat and Colors

As their name suggests, long-haired Chihuahuas have long, silky hair that can be either straight or slightly wavy. This is an accepted coat-type, along with the more common smooth, short coat. They are not hypoallergenic and they do shed mildly.

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 and is not desirable in the breed standard)

More and more recently we are seeing the rise of rare colors and patterns, such as merle Chihuahuas. Because this is not a typical color pattern in the breed (which means breeders may crossbreed to get the merle coloring to drive up prices), and the merle gene is linked to deafness and eye problems, Merle-colored Chis are very controversial.

Long-haired Chihuahuas require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and free of tangles. They shed moderately throughout the year, so regular brushing is important to keep their coats looking their best.

Overall, the long-haired Chihuahua is a small and adorable dog breed with a distinctive appearance and personality.

The Teacup Long-Haired Chihuahua

Long hair teacup chihuahua running on grass

The term “teacup” refers to Chihuahuas that are bred to be even smaller than the breed standard, often not weighing more than 3 pounds as adults. Their diminutive size may be appealing to those looking for a tiny companion, but it comes with significant health risks.

While the Teacup Long-Haired Chihuahua may seem like the epitome of cuteness, pocket-sized and with a fluffiness that can fit in the palm of your hand, it’s essential for potential dog owners to proceed with caution. 

These Teacup Chihuahuas are often prone to a host of health issues including fragile bones, dental problems, hypoglycemia (dangerously low-blood sugar), and a weakened immune system. Their small size can make them more susceptible to injuries, and they often require special care throughout their lives. Additionally, the breeding practices used to achieve this tiny stature can be unethical, focusing on size at the expense of the dogs’ overall well-being.

While all Chihuahuas, including the Long-Haired variety, are relatively small, the Teacup Chihuahua is not a recognized variety and is not recommended by reputable breeders. Their appeal should be weighed against the potential for lifelong health challenges. 

Owning a pet is a commitment to caring for them throughout their life, and with Teacup Long-Haired Chihuahuas, this can mean preparing for extensive veterinary care and the possibility of a shortened lifespan. As dog lovers and advocates for the breed’s health, we advise against seeking out this ultra-small variation and instead recommend embracing the standard-sized Long-Haired Chihuahua, which can provide all the love in a healthier, more robust package.

The Genes Behind The Long Hair

The luxurious coat of the Long-Haired Chihuahua is the result of a specific gene known as the ‘LH gene’, which stands for ‘long hair’. This gene is responsible for the length of the fur, distinguishing the breed from their Smooth-Coat counterparts. 

According to research published in the scientific journal on the Wiley Online Library, the FGF5 gene manifests when two copies are present, one inherited from each parent, showcasing a classic example of autosomal recessive inheritance. This means that a Long-Haired Chihuahua must inherit the gene from both parents to express this trait in their physical appearance.

The Cost of a Long-Haired Chihuahua Puppy

Black tan and white long haired Chihuahua puppy cost

Embarking on the journey to bring a Long-Haired Chihuahua puppy into your life is an exciting venture that comes with its own set of financial considerations. The cost of a Long-Haired Chihuahua puppy can vary widely, typically ranging from $500 to $1,500. 

Factors influencing this price include the pup’s coat color, with rare hues like blue or merle often commanding a higher price tag. Size also plays a pivotal role; smaller pups, particularly those labeled as ‘teacup’ or ‘mini’, can be more expensive due to the high demand for these petite pets, despite the aforementioned health concerns.

Long-haired Chihuahua Temperament, Personality, & Intelligence

Long-haired Chihuahuas are known for their lively and energetic personalities. They are feisty, affectionate, alert, social, and intelligent dogs. They have a bit of a Napoleon complex, challenging dogs several times their size, forgetting their miniature stature. 

They are highly alert and make great watch dogs because they tend to bark at anything they perceive as threatening. They are also fiercely loyal to their owners and can become very attached to one person in particular.

While they are small, Chihuahuas with longer coats have big personalities and can be quite demanding. They are known for being prone to anxiety and stress, leading to fearful or aggressive behavior if not properly managed.

In terms of intelligence, long coatedChihuahuas are generally quick learners and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks and tasks. However, they can also be stubborn and may require patience and persistence during training.

Unfortunately, many Chihuahua owners don’t respect their pups’ boundaries. This explains the narrative that Chihuahuas are mean and aggressive, and their propensity to anxiety only worsens the situation. They need a lot of early socialization and training, as they don’t handle stress well. This is one reason they tend to shake after getting shots.

If your Chihuahua is prone to snapping, biting, or shaking, remember that this is a sign of stress and discomfort. Too often, owners can become amused with their little dog’s “sassy” behavior and deliberately invade their dog’s space for a laugh. It’s better to address the source of a dog’s stress and discomfort, even if they are too small to real damage. 

Health and Lifespan

So, let’s look about health problems you need to be aware of in the Long Chi.

Common Health Issues

Like all dog breeds, the Long-haired Chihuahua is prone to certain health issues. However, these issues can be prevented or treated with proper breeding, care, and regular check-ups. Some of the most common health issues seen in Long-haired Chihuahuas include:

  • Collapsed tracheas due to their fragile throats, causing them to cough like they have a hairball
  • Hypoglycemia that occurs when the body’s blood sugar is too low. Chihuahuas are known to burn calories much faster than other larger breeds, increasing hypoglycemia risk.
  •  Patellar luxation: where the kneecaps slip out of place
  • Eye problems: Long-haired Chihuahuas are prone to eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye. Regular eye exams can help detect these issues early and prevent them from becoming worse.
  • Heart Murmurs: Chihuahuas are prone to heart murmurs, which can indicate heart valve abnormalities or other heart conditions. Regular cardiac check-ups with a veterinarian are recommended. This condition is one reason why Chihuahuas shake a lot.
  • Liver Shunts: Chihuahuas may have a congenital condition called liver shunts, where blood bypasses the liver, leading to toxin buildup. Research has shown that liver shunts may exacerbate hypoglycemia, which Chis are already susceptible to. 
  • Dental problems: Small breeds like the Long-haired Chihuahua are prone to dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental check-ups and cleaning can help prevent these issues.
  • Hydrocephalus: Chihuahuas, especially the “apple head” variety with a rounded skull, can be more susceptible to hydrocephalus, a condition where excessive fluid accumulates in the brain. Research shows that hydrocephalus is most common in tny breeds like the Chihuahua.

Mild to moderate health issues like obesity, allergies, skin and ear infections, and food intolerances are also common in Chihuahuas with long and smooth coats.

How long does the Long-haired Chihuahua live?

The long-haired Chihuahua seems to live forever and has a lifespan of 12 to 20 years. In fact, studies show the average lifespan is 12⋅42 years and the maximum is just under 20. However, this can vary as new research shows that the average median age of Chihuahuas is dropping because of their surge in bad breeding practices and popularity.

This means if you’re looking for a fluffy Chi, it’s vital to look for an ethical and reputable breeder.

Care and Maintenance of a Long-haired Chihuahua

What Should Long-Coat Chihuahuas Eat?

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. 

It is important to avoid overfeeding them as they are prone to obesity, which can lead to various health problems. Additionally, Chihuahuas are known to be highly sensitive to low-quality ingredients, so avoid foods with chemicals, by-products, and fillers.

Exercise Requirements

We recommended a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise for long-haired Chihuahuas. A study by Dr. O’ Neill and colleagues found that obesity is the second most common problem in Chihuahuas, suggesting that these little dogs are often neglected when it comes to exercise.

Physical exercise should be coupled with mental exercises like snuffle mats, puzzles, and lick mats.

However, it is important to avoid over-exercising them as they are prone to joint and bone problems. 

How to Groom a Long-haired Chihuahua

Grooming a long-haired Chihuahua is an essential aspect of taking care of this breed. Chihuahuas with a longer coat require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance. 

  • Brushing 

Use a slicker brush or a pin brush to remove tangles or mats from the coat 3 to 4 times a week. This is particularly important as these Chihuahuas tend to have most of their long hair around their ears, which is the area most prone to matting on dogs. 

Brushing should be done in the direction of hair growth, starting from the head and moving toward the tail. This will help distribute the natural oils throughout the coat and prevent matting.

  • Bathing 

Long-haired Chihuahuas should be bathed regularly, but not too frequently, as this can strip the coat of its natural oils. A mild shampoo should be used, and the coat should be rinsed thoroughly to prevent any residue from building up.

  • Trimming 

Trimming the hair around the ears, paws, and anus is important to maintain hygiene and prevent matting. This can be done using scissors or clippers, but it is recommended to seek professional help if you are not confident in doing it yourself.

  • Other Grooming

Long-haired Chihuahuas require regular nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning to maintain overall hygiene. These require professional tools and products like a dog nail clipper, ear cleaning solution, and a quality dog dental rinse.

Do not neglect your Chihuahua’s teeth. Periodontal disease is the most common issue these little divas have and it can impact their overall health and quality of life.

What is a good home for a long-haired Chihuahua?

  1. Apartment dwellers and people in smaller homes
  2. A home without small kids since long-coated Chihuahuas are prone to injuries and often don’t tolerate children well.
  3. People with regular schedules where someone is home most times. Retired adults, or adults who work from home are the best owners for Chihuahuas/
  4.  A home with smaller dogs, as larger dogs can accidentally injure a Chihuahua
  5. Non-allergic households since they do shed and this is not a hypoallergenic breed.

Training and Socialization

Adorable Chihuahua with a long coat close up white background

Deborah Duffy conducted a study that showed that those who own Chihuahuas often neglect their training and socialization because of their small size.  If a Chihuahua does become aggressive or fearful, Chihuahua owners are far less likely to do something about the problem than Pit Bull owners. So it’s vital that Chihuahua owners take the extra steps necessary for their dogs.

It’s true that because of their size, it’s not wise to take a Chihuahua to the local dog park and let them off leash where they can be hurt by bigger dogs. But it is important that still get a lot of exposure to the outside world and different situations to avoid anxiety about the unknown.

It is important to start training early and to be consistent with positive reinforcement techniques. Harsh or negative training methods can lead to fear and aggression in these small dogs.

Socialization is also important for long-haired Chihuahuas. They can be prone to shyness and anxiety if not exposed to a variety of people, animals, and environments from a young age. Regular socialization can help prevent fear-based behaviors such as excessive barking, biting, or hiding and builds their confidence. 

When training and socializing a long-haired Chihuahua, it is important to keep in mind their small size and delicate nature. They may be easily injured or overwhelmed by larger dogs or loud noises. Positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and playtime can help build trust and confidence in these little dogs.

Adoption Tips

Like many popular breeds, Chihuahuas are a victim of their own popularity. With demand so high, the amount of unethical breeders has skyrocketed. So we heavily suggest rescuing or adopting a Chihuahua where possible. Adopting a long-haired Chihuahua can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to keep in mind a few tips before bringing one home. 

First, do your research. Long-haired Chihuahuas have unique grooming needs and require regular brushing to maintain their coat. They also tend to have sensitive stomachs, so it’s important to find high-quality, easily digestible dog food.

When looking for a long-haired Chihuahua to adopt, consider visiting local animal shelters or rescue organizations. These organizations often have a variety of dogs available for adoption and can provide valuable information about each dog’s personality and needs. Such organizations include:

It’s also important to consider your lifestyle when adopting a long-haired Chihuahua. These dogs are small and can be easily injured, so they may not be the best fit for households with young children or larger pets. They also tend to bark a lot, which may irritate some neighbors.

Before bringing a long-haired Chihuahua home, make sure to schedule a visit with a veterinarian. A thorough check-up can help identify potential health issues and ensure your new pet is up-to-date on vaccinations.

By following these adoption tips, you can provide a loving home for a long-haired Chihuahua and ensure that both you and your new pet are happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do long-haired Chihuahuas shed?

Yes, long-haired Chihuahuas do shed, but not as much as other breeds. They have a thick undercoat that sheds twice a year, and a longer topcoat that sheds less frequently. Regular brushing can help reduce shedding.

How often should you groom a long-haired Chihuahua?

Long-haired Chihuahuas require regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. They should be brushed at least once a week and bathed every three months or as needed. Nails should be trimmed every month.

Are long-haired Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?

No, long-haired Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic. They can still trigger allergies in people who are sensitive to dog dander, although they may cause fewer reactions than other breeds.

Are long-haired Chihuahuas good with children?

Long-haired Chihuahuas  are sometimes good children, but they are a small and delicate breed that may not tolerate rough play. They are also known for snapping at kids at times. They are better suited for households with older children or adults.

How much is a long-haired Chihuahua puppy?

The cost of a long-haired Chihuahua puppy varies depending on the breeder, location, and pedigree. On average, they can cost between $500 to $1,500.

Do long-haired Chihuahuas need haircuts?

No, long-haired Chihuahuas do not need haircuts so long as their hair is brushed regularly and well maintained. Their hair grows continuously, but regular brushing and grooming can help keep it at a manageable length. If their hair becomes too long, it may need to be trimmed around the face, feet, and tail.

Do Long-haired Chihuahuas Bark A lot?

Long-coated Chihuahuas are pretty loud, just like their smooth-haired relatives. These dogs make great miniature watch dogs because they will always alert you when they find something suspicious. 

Are Long-haired Chihuahuas Easy to Potty-train?

Long-haired Chihuahuas have smaller-than-usual bladders, making them a bit of a hassle to potty-train. They may need to pee more than a larger breed, but proper house training will prevent accidents. 

Final Thoughts

Long-haired Chihuahuas are a unique breed of dog that has become increasingly popular in recent years. They are known for their small size, big personalities, and long, flowing coats. While they may require a bit more grooming than their short-haired counterparts, many owners find the extra effort to be well worth it.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.