When considering a new dog breed, shedding is one of many areas to investigate. If you don't have the time or ability to properly groom a dog and keep your house clean, a heavy shedder isn't right for your home. Chihuahuas are light to moderate shedders with relatively low grooming requirements. A little work's involved, but they're worth considering if you're looking for a relatively low-maintenance pet from a shedding and grooming perspective.
Chihuahuas come in two varieties: shorthaired and longhaired, and the latter shed a bit more than the former. The coat on shorthair Chihuahuas fits tightly against their bodies, and it's smooth and velvety. Their head and ears have little hair, but their tails are somewhat fluffy. Longhaired Chihuahuas are less common, as their lengthier coats are carried in a recessive gene. Long hairs may lie flat or be wavy. Both types of Chihuahua have a ruff around the neck.
The diminutive size of Chihuahuas is an advantage where shedding is concerned. Typically, dogs of this breed range from 2 to 8 pounds and stand 6 to 9 inches tall. Because there's relatively little dog, there's also relatively little hair to spread around your home. It also means that with minimal area to cover, grooming is a fairly quick procedure, provided your pet is cooperative.
'Tis the Season
As with many dogs, cats and other animals, shedding changes seasonally in Chihuahuas, and most noticeably in the longhairs. You'll see a period of increased shedding in a Chihuahua in the spring and fall. Animals shed their coat in spring to lighten their insulation for summer's heat, and they shed again to bring in new, thicker growth in preparation for the cold of winter. During shedding seasons, more frequent grooming and house tidying are in order.
Proactive grooming controls a Chihuahua's shedding. Use a soft-bristled brush or rubber grooming glove on a shorthair once per week. This collects loose hair and distributes natural oils to keep the coat shiny and healthy. Use a soft-bristled brush on a longhair two or three times per week for the same reasons, and to prevent tangles and matting; a stainless steel comb helps if tangles occur. In addition, sweep and vacuum floors and furniture as needed to minimize hair around the home. A lint brush or a wad of tape rolled up with the sticky side facing out is an easy way to spot-clean.