Chiweenies are a crossbreed mix between Dachshunds and Chihuahuas. They are a designer dog breed and became popular in the late 1990s. Depending on their coat type, both parent breeds are seasonal shedders, and this type of shedding would also be standard for your Chiweenie.
So long as your Chiweenie is in good health, expect to brush their coat a couple of times a week to collect any loose hair and daily brushing for long hair to prevent matting.
Most of us don't know why our pets shed their coat. Unfortunately, it can't be stopped, but it can be managed.
Dogs shed their coat as part of a natural cycle. However, the amount of shedding varies depending on factors like hormones, gender, environment, stress, health, diet, genetics, and whether the pet is spayed or neutered.
Dogs can grow several strands of hair per follicle, unlike humans, who only produce one. Pet coats protect the skin and help regulate body temperature. When the coat is wet, the hairs coated in oil prevent water from getting down to the skin. Hair and fur can also act as armor to defend against injuries.
There are two types of coats for dogs: double-coated and single-coated. Double-coated dogs have a topcoat and an undercoat, while single-coated dogs just have one topcoat. Double-coated dogs typically shed more hair than single-coated dogs.
Chiweenies come in many different looks, whether long or short coats, due to the variety of their purebred breeds.
There are a variety of coats a Chiweenie may have, and it all depends on what characteristics have been passed on to the offspring, whether that be short, medium, wiry or silky.
The Dachshund is a seasonal low-shedding dog that has three types of coat. They have smooth, long, and wire-haired coat types. Short and dense coats which are soft to the touch. Silky, mid-length coats and wiry mid-length coarse coats.
The Chihuahua, also a seasonal low-shedding dog has two types of coats: short, dense coats that are soft and glossy or smooth and long coats that are rough in appearance.
The shedding cycle of dogs is affected by environmental temperatures. Hormones, nutrition, stress, and genetic factors also play a role in the cycle.
If we look at the Dachshund, the three coat variations differ when shedding. Smooth-haired Dachshunds shed little and often due to the short coat. They are single-coated.
The long-haired Dachshunds are by far the biggest shedder and are double coated. Whereas if wire-haired, there is even more variation as the softer the hair, the more likely they are to shed than the coarse wire-haired.
The wire-haired is also double coated with a thick undercoat that must be stripped once or twice a year to make way for new healthy hair.
If we look at the Chihuahua, both long and short-haired can be single or double-coated. The single coat sheds less.
Therefore, Chiweenies can be a real mixed bag when it comes to shedding. As with all hybrid dogs, the resulting pup depends on the type of coat each parent has. One thing we can be sure about is that Chiweenies shed. In addition, they will shed their coats when temperatures change.
So depending on hair length, brush a few times a week to collect loose hair and brush daily if the hair is longer to prevent matting. Be aware that longer-haired Chiweenies may need professional grooming, which is a further expense.
Shedding is not the same as hair loss. Shedding is natural and part of the dogs' natural cycle. It can be light or excessive depending on several factors, including the time of year and the temperature outside. Hair loss is excessive shedding but is linked to an unnatural source.
What problems do Chiweenies have that could cause excessive shedding?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, in Chiweenies that is not due to normal shedding should be investigated by your veterinarian and have your dog physically examined. In addition, here are some medical disorders that your Chiweenie may have genetically inherited from their purebred parents that can cause your Chiweenie to lose hair:
- Hypothyroidism. The most common hormonal medical issue that Chihuahuas are at risk to also can affect the Dachshund. A common sign is abnormal hair loss depending on what genes have been passed on to your Chiweenie. Chihuahuas are prone to alopecia, where the hair will not grow back. The coat will be thin, and the hair will easily fall out. Affected areas are usually the throat, chest, underbelly, and inside of the legs.
- Cushing's Disease. A symptom of this disease is hair loss, of which Dachshunds are at a higher risk.
- Acanthosis Nigricans. Dachshunds can mainly be susceptible to this disease. The coat will darken and thicken, and may lose hair.
- Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) gene affecting fawn or blue coat. This is an uncommon condition, and according to the Institute of Genetics, both parent breeds, Dachshund and Chihuahuas, can suffer from some form of CDA. You will notice the hair becoming dry, brittle, and dull, their coat resembling 'moth-eaten' patches due to hair loss. The dry skin can lead to bacterial infection if not treated. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. However, the gene and variants causing the coat color dilution have been identified, and testing kits are available.
Ethical professional breeders will breed from good quality parents, and only the very best dog breeds will be used to produce healthy puppies. You want your Chiweenie to have the best healthy life and not have as many genetic or inherited problems as their purebred dog. So make sure you research and check your breeder's credentials.
Most common hair loss disorders can typically be caused by a fungal infection, insect or lice bites, or maybe by a bacterial infection. Displaying symptoms such as itching, licking, and signs of redness in the afflicted area could be allergy related.
Psychological distress due to allergies or trauma may cause a sudden loss of coat hair, or it could be as simple as using harsh products on your dog. The best advice is to take your Chiweenie to have a physical examination by your veterinarian to determine the cause of hair loss and implement the proper treatment plan.
Can diet cause hair loss?
If you notice thinning or balding of your Chiweenie's coat and you have been assured by your vet that there are no underlying health issues, your dog is healthy, and a cause can not be determined, all is not lost. It may be due to their diet.
Maybe your Chiweenie is lacking the correct nutrients in their diet, as changes in diet may be a factor in the condition of your Chiweenie's skin and coat. Why not take a look at the food your dog is eating? If it is of low quality, your Chiweenie may be lacking nutrients such as essential amino acids found in protein.
Nutrients such as fats, vitamins, and minerals play a vital role in your dog's skin and hair health. If there is insufficient protein in the diet, hair may be affected by becoming dry and brittle, making it fall out. Ensure your dog is eating the required nutrients and follow feeding guidelines. If you are unsure, discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.
A dog's skin, along with protein, also needs fats to maintain healthy skin cells and provide insulation. A layer of fat protects the cell membranes to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering. Fat also helps with preventing moisture loss from your dog's coat.
You could consider supplements containing essential fatty acids omega 3, 6, and 9 that can play a role in restoring the skin and coat to good condition. They help to reduce inflammation and may also help in controlling any shedding.
How to care for your Chiweenie's coat
Introducing your Chiweenie to grooming each day from an early age will get them used to the sensation. Make grooming sessions short to gently ease them into the experience, and don't forget to reward them for being obedient.
Brushing your dog's coat not only gives them a good massage, but you will probably get to areas your dog cannot reach. In addition, it will stimulate the natural oils to keep the coat smooth and remove loose hair.
The more you brush your Chiweenie, the more loose hair is removed. Brushing will also help to keep long hair from matting to ensure it does not become a problem.
A rubber brush will remove undercoats if smooth coated. A slicker brush and a comb are best for all other coats. Finally, a bristle brush will eliminate any debris on the coat.
The Chiweenie is a moderate seasonal shedding dog, which may shed differently at different times of the year. A medical condition could lead to hair loss if your Chiweenie is shedding excessively. You may have to consult your veterinarian for advice if you suspect any issue other than normal shedding. The Chiweenie is a very loyal and playful companion dog and comes highly recommended.