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Long Haired Chihuahuas

Long Haired Chihuahuas

Overview

The U.S. (AKC), the UK (Kennel Club), Canada (the Canadian Kennel Club) and the majority of countries around the world recognize one breed of Chihuahua breed with 2 varieties:
 
1) The short coat (also called smooth long haired Chihuahua)

2) The long coat (also called the long haired Chihuahua).

The only difference within the two types lies in the length of the coat. The same qualities exist in regard to coat color, size and body structure. 
Long haired adult Chihuahua
How The Long Hair Type Came to Be

When one thinks of a Chihuahua, one may picture the short coat. However, longcoats are very popular as well. Short coats were introduced first and originated from the ancient Techichi, a small canine that dates back to Mayan times.

The Chihuahua transitioned into Mexico and then quickly spread in popularity throughout the US and Canada. From there, the dog was brought overseas to Europe.

Once the short coat was established, breeding programs began to develop a new variety: the long haired Chihuahua. This was done by pairing the Chihuahua with other toy sized dogs that were similar in size yet had longer coat. 

The breeds thought to bring the longer coat to the Chihuahua include: the Papillon, the Pekingese, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Pomeranian.

It should be noted that people who are not too familiar with the Pomeranian and the Chihuahua often confused a long coated Chihuahua to be a Pom.
Once the gene was introduced to the bloodline, no more outside breeding was necessary. Genetics now held the sequencing code for a possible longhaired dog and at that point, Chihuahua to Chihuahua breeding continued on. Over the course of decades, this longer coat became popular. Now, both varieties are considered to be genetically the same breed.
Size 

The long haired Chihuahua has the exact same physical qualities as the short. 

Height is not specified though most Chihuahua are 6-9 inches (15.2-22.9 cm) at the shoulder.

AKC - There is no official minimum weight; The Chihuahua should not weigh more than 6 lbs (2.7 kg) 

UK - 2 to 4 pounds is preferred (.9 to 1.81 kg)

CKC (Canada) Up to 2.7 kg (6 lbs.) with 1.8 - 2.7 kg (4 - 6 lbs.) preferred

FCI (Europe) - 3.3 to 6.1 lbs. (1.5 to 3 kg) 
Life Span

Life span is the same as well and is considered lengthy in comparison to other dog breeds with a range of 14-18 years. Long haired Chihuahuas can live well into their teens with a good quality of life.
Coat Growth

Long Coated Chihuahuas can take a little time to get their full coats, sometimes up to 14-24 months of age. The texture of the coat is soft and can be either flat or slightly curly with or without an undercoat (although most do have 2 coats).

Usually, males have a larger ruff around the neck and more hair than the females do. Also occasionally their ears are heavier and have a harder time standing up. Sometimes the heavy the ears will flop over on the tips, but they can hold them up at will, and the heavy ear can be upright all the time.

Others have the paper thin ears and they have no trouble standing up. The ear that is not upright at a 45 degree angle is a disqualification in the show ring only.
MOST long haired Chihuahuas have 2 coats of fur and are actually smoother to the touch than shorts. They have soft, fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat, which gives them their fluffy appearance. 

Unlike many long-haired breeds, long-haired Chihuahuas require no trimming (hair only grows to a certain length and then stops) and minimal grooming. Contrary to popular belief, it is not true that all longcoats shed less then short haired Chi's. Shedding varies from dog to dog.

For those with puppies, one should know that it may take up to 2 or more years before a full long-haired coat develops.
long coat Chihuahua dog
Care

These are indoor dogs without exception. Even with the longer coat; they should be kept indoors except for supervised play, daily walks and exercise. The slightly longer coat does little to protect against the cold and this variety of Chihuahua should not be exposed to winter weather for any long length of time.

Liking a warm environment, they will often find a cozy place to snuggle up in and go to sleep. Many like to bask in the sunlight that streams through windows. Keep an eye out, as they are very small may choose to take naps under pillows or blankets.

Alternatively, the somewhat longer coat will not cause the dog to overheat in any perceivable shorter amount of time that a smooth coat. For this reason, there is no need to cut the hairs during warmer months.

For both varieties, care should be taken on hot, humid days with outdoor walks limited to mornings and later in the evening when the sun is lowest in the sky. Always bring water and a travel bowl for walks longer than 20 minutes. 

For long excursions, be sure to take breaks in the shade, allowing the Chihuahua to have a short respite from the sun and rest up before continuing.
Behavior and Temperament

There are some that claim there is a difference in behavior, temperament and personality of a long haired Chihuahua. However, the length of coat does not affect such things. 

One reason why this rumor has come to be, is that since each dog is an individual, a person may have a short coat that is very hyper and a long haired Chihuahua that happens to be much more relaxed and easy going. This has nothing at all to do with the length of fur, it is rather the manifestation of each dog's individual personality.

Elements that affect a dog's behavior range from socialization in those very important early weeks after birth, to the type of environment that a dog is exposed to and how he is raised (noise level in the household, implementation of command training, exposure to other dogs and people, and more).
Breeding Information

Can a smooth coat produce a long coat? We here this question a lot; and this often comes up after the fact, when 2 smooth coat dogs produce a litter in which some of the puppies have long coats, thus surprising the owners to say the least.

All Chihuahuas carry a set of genes. The set may be short/short, short/long or long/long. The short is dominant over the long.

If two short coated dogs are paired together, but both have a short/long set of genes -meaning that both carry a recessive long coat gene - they most certainly can produce puppies with long coats.

What can be tricky for some to understand, is how 2 smooth coated Chihuahuas with only smooth coats over several generations can seemingly suddenly have a long coated puppy. The reason for this is that the recessive gene remained hidden for a few generations.

Great-grandparents, grandparents and mother and father all carried the recessive gene. During the breeding of dam and sire, both held that gene and one or several puppies happened to end up with a set of long/long.

Now, stating this, one should also know that 2 long coats can ONLY produce a long coat. This is because both dogs will only have sets of long/long, thus making it impossible for a short coat to appear in any resulting litters.

This explanation is the same reason 2 brown eyed parents can have a blue eyed child. And Blue eyed parents can have only blue or more recessive green eye children.
Grooming a Long Coat

Long coats need do require much more brushing than short coats, but still require moderate grooming. The long coated needs a good brushing and combing once a week.

The one element that will differ is that you will want to take care to search for any mats (tangle hair that knots up), as if they are not taken care of they can grow larger and larger, until you have a big problem and the mat may need to be cut off. 

If you search for any mats at least 1 time per week, you can catch them early and fix them by covering your hands with conditioner and working the mat out by hand, slowly and gently.

The bib or ruff of the long coats may need extra washes as food can become easily attached to that area.

Check the bottom of paw pads. With a long haired Chihuahua, straggly hairs can grow out from between the pads. This can cause discomfort for the dog and additionally it can cause traction issues. Clip any stragglers to be level with the pads.

While there will be light shedding throughout the year, it may increase to a more moderate shed twice per year; especially for that that reside in areas that experience all 4 seasons. 

This happens during the onset of autumn when a change in temperature and few hours of sunlight trigger a shed of the summer coat to a thicker winter coat.

The 2nd noticeable shed will be during the spring time when day time hours increase and temperature rise. The heavy winter coat of the long haired Chihuahua will be replaced by a slightly thinner summer coat.
For females, there will often be a 'blowing of the coat' when entering the heat cycle. This means that there will be extra shedding during that time due to hormonal changes. It is also common for females to “blow a coat” after giving birth.

AKC Long Haired Breed Standard

Although the AKC recognizes only one breed: the Chihuahua, they do recognize two varieties and therefore there are different guidelines regarding the appearance of the coat when showing the dog:
  • The coat should be of a soft texture, either flat or slightly wavy, with undercoat preferred
  • Ears – Fringed
  • Tail – Full and long (as a plume). Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck desired and preferred. (The Chihuahua should be groomed only to create a neat appearance)
  • Disqualification – In Long Coats, a too-thin coat that resembles bareness
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Long Coat Breed Standard

The CKC also calls out for guidelines regarding the coat on the overall body, the ears, neck, feet, legs and tail:
  • The coat should be soft in texture, being neither flat or curly
  • Ears should be fringed
  • There should be a ruff on the neck
  • Feathering should appear on the feet and legs
  • The tail should be plumed
The Kennel Club - UK Long Coat Chihuahua Breed Standard

The KC also identifies how the overall coat should appear, including the ears, feet, legs, ruff and tail:
  • The coat should be a soft texture, never coarse or harsh to the touch and not flat or wavy and never tight or curly
  • There should be feathering on the ears, feet, legs and pants of the hindquarters
  • A large ruff on the neck is desirable
  • The tail should be long and full as a plume
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