They’re definitely one of the most popular small breeds, but are chihuahuas hypoallergenic dogs?
That’s something you might want to know if you have allergies and want to adopt one of these pint-sized sweetie pies!
So, let’s see how suitable the tiny Chihuahua is for people allergic to dogs.
Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
Did you know that about 10% of the population of the USA is allergic to dogs, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology?
It can be devastating to discover that you’re one of that 10% and that your favorite dog makes you sneeze or cough like crazy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get rid of your dog if you have allergies. Instead, you can take some preventive measures to reduce your exposure to allergens. We’ll talk more about those measures in a bit. One of them, of course, is adopting a hypoallergenic breed.
Hypoallergenic dogs are those that are less likely to cause a reaction in people with dog allergies, typically because they’re low-shedding breeds with “real hair” instead of typical fur. This helps cut down on the amount of dander they produce.
Since pet dander (which comes from dog saliva, skin cells, and urine) is the culprit behind the vast majority of pet allergies, they’re more “hypoallergenic” than other dogs.
We aren’t talking about a 100% guarantee of no allergic reaction, but more about that later.
But are Chihuahuas one of those “hypoallergenic” dogs? I’ll cut to the chase. No, they’re not. If you have your heart set on one, though, as I mentioned above there are ways to prevent itchy eyes, congestion, and all of the other symptoms that plague allergy sufferers.
Let’s learn more about Chihuahua’s history and temper first. After all, you’d want to know if these tiny dogs will be a match for your idea of a “dream dog” before you go crazy with fancy vacuums, air purifiers, and other methods of relieving allergy symptoms!
As with most breeds, it isn’t clear where Chihuahuas come from or how they appeared.
One theory states that these tiny dogs come from a Central/South American dog called Techichi.
There are carving from the 9th century that resembles Chihuahuas a lot with large ears and round heads.
Specialists think that these depict Techichi dogs who were bred by the Toltec people.
Another theory claims that Spanish traders brought small hairless dogs from China to Mexico.
These dogs were later bred with native dogs to produce the Chihuahuas.
But all these are speculations.
What we do know is that the short-haired Chihuahua appeared for the first time in the 1850s.
Since people discovered it in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, they called it Chihuahua.
That’s why it’s not surprising that long-haired Chihuahuas resemble Pomeranians with their plumed tail and feathering on their neck and legs.
As you can imagine, Chihuahuas have become quite beloved thanks to their tiny size and fierce temperament. They’re still one of the most popular small dogs.
Chihuahua Temperament and Health
Chihuahuas might be one of the smallest dog breeds, but they have the personality of a big dog in their tiny bodies.
They’re bold explorers and far too curious for their own good.
Chihuahuas are known for their ability to squeeze through the smallest holes and make a run for it.
Moreover, Chihuahuas love nothing more than to be with their human. They often bond to a single person and can be quite demanding.
Still, they’re excellent companion dogs and are happy to keep you company no matter what you’re doing.
While Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and excel at agility training, they can be willful and stubborn.
They’re not the worst dogs to train, so you can bribe them to do your bidding with food and attention.
However, Chihuahuas are a bad choice for families with small children because it’s easy to injure these tiny dogs.
Holding them badly or allowing them to leap from high places might result in injuries.
Otherwise, Chihuahuas are generally healthy and are one of the longest-living breeds.
But most toy dog breeds are susceptible to such conditions.
How Hypoallergenic Are Chihuahuas?
A lot of people think that the small size of Chihuahuas and their short coats mean that they should be hypoallergenic.
However, as I mentioned earlier, people are allergic to proteins found in the urine, saliva, and dander of dogs, not the fur itself.
Since dander often falls along with dog hair, breeds that shed little or not at all are less likely to bother people with allergies.
These are called “hypoallergenic.” The bad news is that all dogs shed dander.
In that sense, there are no hypoallergenic dogs from a scientific point of view.
Moreover, studies on hypoallergenic dogs have failed to prove that they shed less dander than other breeds.
Still, a lot of people with allergies can tolerate these “hypoallergenic” breeds better than others.
But no one can guarantee you that you won’t have an allergic reaction to a hypoallergenic dog.
So, what about Chihuahuas? Are they a hypoallergenic breed?
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas aren’t among the breeds that the American Kennel Club lists as hypoallergenic.
While Chihuahuas might not take much space, both the shorthaired and longhaired Chihuahua are moderate shedders.
They shed a little throughout the year and heavily in spring and autumn.
As such, they’re not the best choice for people with allergies.
On the bright side, Chihuahuas are easy to housetrain with consistency and patience.
So, they’re likely to urinate inside and trigger your allergy.
Moreover, Chihuahuas don’t drool and neat dogs, so there won’t be many allergens in the house.
Which Dog Breeds Are Hypoallergenic?
Since Chihuahuas aren’t hypoallergenic, you might be wondering which dogs are. Breeds that shed little or not at all include:
- Afghan Hound
- American Hairless Terriers
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Mexican Hairless Dog
As you can see, the list includes breeds with double and single coats and hairless dogs.
But all are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed much dander/fur.
However, these dogs still need a lot of grooming to keep their coats in perfect shapes.
Don’t confuse hypoallergenic with dogs that don’t need any brushing or bathing.
Are Chihuahua Mixes Hypoallergenic?
You’ve probably seen cute pictures of many Chihuahua mixes.
Designer dogs have gained quite a lot of popularity in recent years and become a common sight.
So, what about Chihuahua mixes? Are they hypoallergenic?
That’s an interesting question with no straightforward answer.
If you mix Chihuahuas with one of the hypoallergenic breeds, you might get a hypoallergenic dog.
It depends on the dominant gene.
If the Chihuahua mix takes after their hypoallergenic parent, they might shed so little as to be a suitable choice for people with allergies.
Some popular mixes that could be hypoallergenic include:
- Affenhuahua = Chihuahua + Affenpinscher
- Chi-Chon = Chihuahua + Bichon Frise
- Bolo-chi = Chihuahua + Bolognese
- Chi-Chi = Chihuahua + Chinese Crested
- Malchi = Chihuahua + Maltese
- Chipoo = Chihuahua + Poodle
- Chorkie = Chihuahua + Yorkshire Terrier
What to do if you’re allergic to chihuahuas but still want one
As promised, here are some quick tips on how to relieve allergy symptoms without getting rid of your dog.
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine just how severe your dog allergy really is. Mild allergies may react well to simple medications, while allergy shots may help relieve more moderate symptoms.
- Buy a good air purifier. Air purifiers with HEPA filters help cut down on the amount of dust and dander floating around your house, which in turn relieves your symptoms.
- Vacuum daily, especially if you have carpets. Again, look for a good vacuum with HEPA filtration.
- Better yet, replace carpets with hardwood floors, and ditch all of those area rugs.
- Feed your dog a healthy diet. Your dog’s diet plays a big role in how much they shed! A good, high-quality food with fish oil supplements can go a long way toward giving them healthy smooth coats.
- Consider a mixed-breed dog. If your allergies are too severe for a purebred chihuahua, consider adopting one of the mixes mentioned above.
Chihuahuas might not be hypoallergenic, but there are ways to live with one if you only have mild to moderate allergies. The only way to test it would be to spend time in the company of a Chihuahua and see how you feel before you commit to adopting one.