Purebred Chihuahuas are categorized as either long-coat or smooth-coat (AKA short coat). Contrary to what some people may believe, these aren't actual breeds but rather varieties of the Chihuahua. If you're thinking of adding a new Chihuahua to your family in the near future, it's important to understand the differences between long-coats and smooth-coats. While their appearance is likely the most noticeable difference, there are some other unique features associated with each of these varieties. Knowing what features and characteristics the different Chihuahua varieties have will help you make the most educated decision possible.
Before we start, it's important to note that the breed standards for both the long-coat and smooth-coat Chihuahua variety are the same with a few exceptions. The AKC states that all Chihuahuas, regardless of their coat, must meet a certain criteria. You can visit the official AKC website for a more descriptive outline of these standards, but some of them include a weight of no more than 6 pounds, well-rounded head (apple-shaped), full and round eyes, slightly-arched neck, lean shoulders and muscular hindquarters. So what differences are there in the breed standards between the two varieties?
Long-Coat Breed Requirements
- Soft-to-the-touch fur coat.
- Fur can be either be straight or naturally wavy.
- Undercoat preferred.
- Fur should remain strong and prominent all the way to the tip of the tail.
- Excess hair around neck (AKA ruff) is preferred.
Smooth-Coat Breed Requirements
- Short fur coat that's close to their body.
- Soft texture
- Excess hair around neck (AKA ruff) is preferred.
- Excess hair on tail is preferred.
The criteria listed above is simply the official breed standards set by the AKC. If you're looking to register your Chihuahua with them or allow them to participate in an AKC-sponsered show, you'll need to make sure they meet all of the specifications. Start by determining whether your Chihuahua is a long-coat or smooth-coat variety and then work your way down through the requirements. Remember, the breed standards are the same for both varieties with the exception of the listed requirements previously mentioned.
Whether you own a Chihuahua or not, you've probably seen or at least heard of the long-coat variety before. As the name suggests, they have a much longer coat of fur than their counterpart, the smooth-coat Chihuahua. The long-coat variety tends to soft and semi-fluffy coat of hair, and they may or may not have an undercoat.
One might assume that long-coat Chihuahuas require 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 than their smooth-coat counterpart. This can be somewhat confusing given the fact that they have more fur, so why is it that they shed less? One of the reasons is simply because their fur stays more securely on their body, which then prevents it from falling off. Long-coat Chihuahuas that lack an undercoat will also naturally shed less than long-coat Chihuahuas with an undercoat. Of course this doesn't mean a long-coat variety isn't going shed at all, but they are a smarter choice for owners who are concerned with keeping their floors cleaned.
While long-coat Chihuahuas do in fact shed less, they also pick up more grass, dirt and debris from being outside. The extra fur on their body acts as a magnet to anything they come into contact with. If you allow your long-coat Chihuahua run and play outside for long periods of time, they will likely drag in leaves and debris on their coat. You can minimize this, however, by brushing their coat before letting them back in the house.
On the other side of the fence so to speak is the smooth-coat Chihuahua. It should go without saying that this variety possesses a much shorter and smoother fur coat. The fur rests directly directly on top of the Chihuahua's skin, creating the appearance that they have little-to-no fur. Smooth-coat Chihuahuas can be found in a variety of colors, from white and black to brown and grey.
Something that you need to be aware of is that smooth-coat Chihuahuas will in fact shed more than long-coat Chihuahuas. If you plan to own a smooth-coat Chihuahua, be prepared to spend extra time grooming them and cleaning the floors in your home; otherwise, you'll find their fur stuck to you anytime you sit down on the living room furniture. This can certainly be an annoyance, but it's easy to deal with their shedding once you learn the basics. Visit the link for a more detailed guide on how to minimize your Chihuahua's shedding.
Although smooth-coat Chihuahuas shed less than long-coats, grooming them is actually easier and less time-consuming. All Chihuahuas will need to be occasionally groomed, but smooth-coat varieties can go for a longer period of time without it. The short coat on their body prevents build-ups of dirt and debris, and it also doesn't get tangled up like that of a long-coat's.
The choice between a long-coat and 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 environment. As long as you raise your Chihuahua with lots of love, attention 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 affect on their personality or characteristics.