Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breeds that were first bred by the Toltec people in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
These tiny dogs are cute, active, and affectionate and have several other positive traits. But is this sweet little dog suitable for households where people have dog allergies?
Do Chihuahuas shed? And if you or a loved one has pet allergy but have your heart set on a Chihuahua, then can you live with one?
I will cover these and other related topics about Chihuahuas and living with one when you have a dog allergy.
Also read: What are Chihuahuas Allergic To
Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
No, Chihuahuas are not a hypoallergenic dog breed. In fact, they shed throughout the year.
If you have been following our blog, then you might have checked out our guide on Do Chihuahuas Shed a Lot? and you probably know that both varieties of Chihuahuas, long hair and short-coated, shed throughout the year. They also shed more during spring and fall to prepare their coat for the upcoming weather.
What this means for allergy sufferers is that Chihuahuas do produce dander (the dead skin cells – which is what triggers pet allergies in humans.)
So if you are planning on buying or adopting a Chi but suffer from severe pet allergies to the extent that you suffer asthma attacks or need an Epi-pen, then you may want to reconsider your decision.
The good thing is that people with mild dog allergies can still live with Chihuahuas provided they follow some basic precautions. I will be discussing this in detail, later on in this guide.
Are Chihuahuas Bad for Allergies?
Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic dogs.
If we talk about purebred Chihuahuas – these dogs were bred from the Techihi dogs thousands of years ago. Thus, they were definitely not bred for people with allergies unlike some of the hypoallergenic mixed breeds or designer dog breeds developed in recent times.
However, compared to many double coated dog breeds that shed heavily, Chihuahuas definitely shed a lot less. This means that if you compare the shedding of a Chihuahua with that of a double coated dog such as a German shepherd or a Golden Retriever, then naturally, a Chi would produce a lot less dander.
No such thing as hypoallergenic dogs
It is important to remember here that there is no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic dogs – no dog breeds are 100% hypoallergenic. Even a so-called hypoallergenic breed will still produce protein particles that trigger allergies in humans.
Moreover, it is not just the shed fur that contains the said protein particles; even dog saliva and urine contain it. So if a person with pet allergy were to come in contact with these dog fluids, it could still trigger his/her symptoms.
So are Chihuahuas better for allergy sufferers?
To answer the question, are Chihuahuas bad for allergies, the answer is that they are not hypoallergenic but they definitely shed a lot less than most double coated dogs and that might make them slightly better for households with pet allergy sufferers.
Size does matter
We must mention here, the fact that Chihuahuas are tiny dogs.
When it comes to pet allergies, the size of the dog does matter. After all, a large dog weighing over 70 lbs. will produce a lot more allergen-laden saliva and dander than a tiny dog like the Chi.
Also, to reiterate, there are ways around this issue and with proper grooming and other precautions, allergy sufferers can safely live with a Chihuahua.
Bottom line – it is possible to live with a Chihuahua if you have dog allergy.
Are Long Haired Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
No. Longhaired Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic and this variety of Chihuahuas sheds as much as the short coated variety.
Both coat types also need regular grooming and brushing.
The thing with long haired Chihuahua is that the longer hair is just more visible and you might think that they shed more. In reality, the shedding is similar in both varieties and it is more or less standard throughout the year.
In case you or a family member suffers from allergies, then you simply need to groom your long haired Chi daily to trap and discard all the shed, loose hairs.
Also, long-haired Chihuahuas tend to shed slightly more during the fall and spring months. So you will have to take special care during these months and also clean the house well to eliminate hair and dander.
With these basic precautions, you could easily live with a long haired Chi despite having pet allergies.
Are Short Haired Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
Many people erroneously think that short haired Chihuahuas are better for allergies than long haired Chihuahuas.
On the whole, this isn’t the case. Short haired Chihuahuas also shed all through the year and need daily combing and grooming as much as long haired dogs.
As stated earlier, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
That is why, whether or not you have a hypoallergenic or non-hypoallergenic breed, you/your family members will still have to follow precautions like daily grooming and cleaning to minimize contact with the allergy-producing proteins in the environment.
Again, compared to many larger double-coated breeds, a tiny short-haired dog like short-haired Chihuahua will be a better choice for severe allergy sufferers since the quantity of dander and saliva they produce will be lesser than that produced by some of the larger double-coated dog breeds.
Are Teacup Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
The teacup Chihuahua breed is not a recognized dog breed by Kennel Clubs.
It is simply a variety of Chihuahuas that is smaller than the average or standard-sized Chi.
In fact, kennel clubs are urging responsible breeders to stop breeding these tiny teacup or ‘micro’ dogs because they usually have more number of hereditary and non-hereditary health issues. Also, many birth defects arise in these small dogs which tend to go unnoticed in the beginning.
Unfortunately, many breeders, puppy mills, and puppy-selling websites are selling teacup and micro Chihuahua to gullible buyers under the guise that they are better for allergy sufferers.
This isn’t the case.
Please note that even the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has clearly stated that no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
So please avoid buying teacup Chihuahuas unless you want to encourage these unethical breeding practices and puppy mills.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dog Allergy in Humans?
If you are allergic to your Chihuahua or any other dog or cat, then it might cause an inflammatory reaction in your nasal passage resulting in the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Itchy skin, itchy throat.
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty sleeping
- Post-nasal drip
- Swollen eyes and face
In extreme cases in asthmatic people, dog allergies could trigger an asthma attack like wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest, coughing, etc.
Can you Build Immunity to Dog Allergy?
Yes, there is a high chance that you could build your immunity against dog allergies.
Immunologists and allergy experts believe that getting a Chihuahua when you or a loved one has pet allergies could exacerbate the allergy but it might also help you kick the same allergies to the curb by developing immunity against them.
A pet allergy develops in an individual when his/her system constantly encounters pet proteins several times before deciding it is hypersensitive to those proteins.
Once you bring home your Chihuahua (or any dog, for that matter), your immune system becomes tolerant of that protein so you no longer react to it.
However, this isn’t 100% predictable. After all, no two individuals are the same so, one cannot say who will develop tolerance and whose allergies will worsen.
Immunologists recommend taking the following factors into account when considering getting a Chihuahua home when you know you are allergic to pets:
1. Severity of your allergy symptoms
If simply thinking of a dog or cat makes you break into hives or if you need to carry an Epi-Pen around to prevent serious allergic reactions like asthma attacks, wheezing, constant sneezing, etc., then please do not bring a dog/Chihuahua/cat home.
2. Whether you had a dog at home while growing up
Your allergy will be a lot less pronounced if you have had a dog growing up. Chances are that kids who grow up with dogs will suffer a lot less from pet allergies in adulthood.
3. Genetic factors
If your parent/s had allergies to pets, then chances are that you might suffer from them too. Allergic reactions often have strong genetic roots.
If you have brought home your Chihuahua only to discover that you are severely allergic to it, you can work with an allergy-specialist or take allergy shots to desensitize yourself to your pet to make the allergy symptoms disappear.
In the next section, I will describe in detail how you can live with a Chihuahua even if you are allergic to it.
How to Live with Chihuahua if you or someone you Love has Allergies?
The key to living with a Chi when you have allergies is to minimize your exposure to allergens in the environment. This means reducing contact with your dog’s saliva, dander, and dog hair.
Here are some steps to take:
1. Bathe your Chihuahua frequently
Bathing can considerably reduce the shed hair in the environment. Brush your Chihuahua before you bathe it so as to further remove the loose undercoat.
Bathe your pet with a vet-approved shampoo to minimize shedding. Remember that excess bathing could dry your Chihuahua’s skin which could cause itching and worsen dandruff and dander. So, work out a bathing schedule that suits you and your pet.
2. Groom your pet daily
Both the long coat and short coated Chihuahuas need daily brushing.
Wear gloves and mask while brushing your pet to minimize contact with dander and prevent inhaling of the allergens.
3. Wipe your pet after walks
In addition to dander and saliva on its body, your Chihuahua might also bring home allergens from the outdoors.
Always wipe your pet’s paws to remove grass, dirt, pollen, and mold. You can use pet wipes or baby wipes for this task.
4. Clean your home frequently
Invest in a pet-hair cleaning vacuum and air filters. These come with HEPA filtering systems that remove nearly 99% of environmental allergens.
Also, wiping your furniture and hardwood floors with a damp cloth can also eliminate dander, pollen, dust, and other allergens to minimize symptoms. Vacuum at least 2-3 times a week paying special attention to rugs and carpets. This will reduce your contact with pet allergens.
FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
1. Which dog breeds are hypoallergenic?
No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. Having said that, there are some dog breeds that are better for allergy sufferers like Poodles, Bichon Frise, Yorkshire terrier, Labradoodles, etc. These dogs are known to have less-than-average shedding. Resultantly they produce less dander and their coats also capture less outdoor allergens which makes them better for people having severe allergies.
2. What are the worst dog breeds for allergies?
Some of the worst dog breeds for allergy sufferers are double coated dog breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, etc.
Also, some dogs like Dalmatians and Doberman Pinschers are susceptible to skin issues and that means more scaling, itchy skin, dandruff etc. These could increase the dander in your environment.
Then there are dogs like Basset Hounds, mastiffs, and Bulldogs that drool tremendously and produce a lot of saliva. These too could be bad for pet allergy sufferers.
3. Which dogs are best for asthmatics?
There are some hairless dogs such as the Xoloitzcuintli and Chinese Crested that are considered ideal for asthmatic people or allergy sufferers. Maltese, Portuguese water dog, and Afghan Hounds are also good choices because of their special coats that shed less than average dogs.
Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?
No, Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic. However, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic since all dogs shed to varying degrees.
The Chihuahua breed – both long haired and short coat varieties – shed little-by-little all through the year. So they may not be the best choice for severe dog allergy sufferers.
Having said that, there are ways to manage your allergies when living with a Chihuahua. This includes frequent grooming, brushing, and bathing of your pet while also minimizing the dander in the environment through frequent vacuuming and dusting.