You want a Chihuahua. So far, so good!
You’re well-aware that dogs aren’t cheap… So, you start asking yourself about the price.
Good news! In this article you will find:
- 6 different types of Chihuahuas and how much each of them costs.
- The danger of buying a parvo vaccination from a large animal supply store.
- The health issues Chihuahuas are prone to and how much they can add to your bill.
- And much, much more…
Table of contents
How much do Chihuahuas cost?
The average cost from a breeder ranges from $500 – $2,000. Factors such as breed, gender, and coloring affect the price. Other factors include your breeder’s location, reputation, and the process.
Long and short hair Chihuahuas are the only breeds officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club). The rest are classified as subtypes. Many people still refer to each type as a breed.
Below you will see how the cost can vary between types of Chihuahua. All the prices are average quotes from across the internet.
|Long Hair||$500 – $1,200|
|Short Hair||$500 – $800|
|Apple Head||$300 – $1000|
|Deer Head||$400 – $1,200|
Now you know just how much your new puppy may initially cost you. Let’s talk about how each type differs in appearance. Since each is unique, many people have a favorite type:
They have long straight or wavy hair. Their hair isn’t long locks immediately. Expect to wait a few months while its hair grows. It won’t be long before their long brown, white, or cream-colored locks are flowing. Some mistakenly confuse the Long-Hair Chihuahua with a papillion.
These are sometimes referred to as smooth hair. They have a short and glossy coat. This type looks more like a traditional Chihuahua. Their coats will vary in color. Tan is a very common color though.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Their head looks like an apple. The muzzle and forehead create an” L” shape. The Chi’s eyes typically bulge out of their heads slightly. It’s the classic face you picture when you think of a Chihuahua. Think back to the Taco Bell dog from the early 2000s.
They have a little bit of a longer snout. Their muzzle is more like other dogs. There are far softer angles to their face compared to the apple head. Their smoother angles create a sweet face that resembles a deer.
This breed has a genetic variation that creates a beautiful pattern to its coat. Expect to see patches of black, white, or tan covering their fur. Almost resembling a blotchy Dalmatian. Their hair is somewhat fluffy.
They also typically have bright blue eyes. By far the most unique Chihuahua.
The smallest of the breed, a teacup Chihuahua will weigh no more than 3lbs. They will only get about as tall as 6 inches. They live up to their name, fitting in a little teacup.
These dogs are fragile and delicate with the big personality of a Chihuahua.
Costs of taking care of a Chihuahua
After the initial cost of acquiring your Chihuahua, there are still many costs to consider.
Even though they are tiny, they are sometimes a little bit of a high maintenance animal. You’ll find they are worth every penny though. They give so much more love then they receive.
Chihuahuas take quite a bit of dedication and time. Not to mention the cost behind them.
Are you still wondering if they are the right breed for you? Let’s look at the extra expenses you will come across over the first month, year, and the daily expenses you can expect.
Some of the expenses are essential. Others are just really fun. Afterall, who doesn’t love to spoil their pup?
You have paid for your new puppy. Forked over a pretty penny for the sweet little thing. If you were fortunate enough to stumble across a Chihuahua at a shelter you probably saved hundreds. Not everyone is so lucky though.
They are so adorable and well-loved that they don’t last too long at shelters. They are snatched right up by loving homes. Those who know the value of the breed.
There are however Chihuahua adoption centers in certain areas. Their only focus is on finding Chihuahuas loving homes. They cater to the tiny dogs. Knowing how to handle and care for them properly.
Dog tax/dog license
This depends on the state or town you live in.
Some areas require you to register and pay an annual tax on your dog. There are some areas where this isn’t required by law.
It’s typically only about $20 a year. Although, it could differ slightly in every area.
Without insurance, the typical first-time vaccines are around $20 – $30 apiece for each visit. This doesn’t include the doctor’s fees for the visit. Which can add another $30 sometimes.
Some treatments/medications require multiple visits over the first 6 months of life.
- Heartworm Pills – $20 – $25.
- Rabies Shot – $15 – $20 – Yearly.
- Parvo, Distemper, and the Initial Vaccinations – $20.
Caution: Some people have bought their own parvo vaccinations from large animal supply stores. That is not advised. The vaccine must always be stored at the correct temperature.
You do not know how they were transported to the store. There’s also the question as to how the staff handled them before stocking? Were they left out too long?
Dogs have died because of incorrectly stored vaccines from supply stores.
Flea, tick, and deworming treatments
All three are essential items to bringing your new puppy home.
Some breeders may have already given treatments. Make sure to check with them before giving more medications.
There are over the counter flea/tick collars that cost under $15 and are very cost-efficient.
There is also yearly flea and tick medication that can cost up to $200 a year. Shelling out around $200 may seem like a large amount at one time.
The benefit is that then you won’t need to worry about keeping track of monthly treatments. No oily messes. No forgetting. It is really worth it in the end.
Deworming is around $15 and maybe needed a few times. This is a treatment often given to the pups by the breeder but could need to be repeated at any time. Dogs can get worms at any age.
You want the best for your body so why should your pet be any different. A portion of high-quality dog food can cost around $20 to $60 a bag depending on the size.
A Chihuahua might take a month to get through a bag. Some even take a couple of months depending on their size and the size of the bag of food.
Always make sure your dog is well-fed. Not overfed. Your bag of food will have portion guidelines on it.
Also make sure the food is small enough for your dog to eat without trouble. Feeding a toy-sized dog large breed food can lead to choking or broken teeth.
Your Chihuahua will also enjoy wet food on occasion. Many people use a combo of both hard and soft foods.
Everyone likes a little treat now and then. Even our four-legged fur-babies.
If you are trying to train your new puppy, treats are particularly useful. Like the food, it’s a good idea to make sure they are made for little dogs though.
A typical pack of high-quality treats could cost around $5 – $20. They will last differently for every dog. How long a container lasts will also depend on if you are using them for training.
One tip to manage both calories and budget is to break treats in smaller pieces.
You can even make your own dog treats. Homemade treats leave you with no guessing about what’s inside.
Homemade treats also cost next to nothing. You probably have all the ingredients to create a healthy snack for your pup in your pantry.
These are all ingredients either found in your kitchen or very affordable to purchase at any store.
Some owners love to get big fluffy beds for their new pups.
Chihuahuas can be a very snuggly pet. They love to be close to their owners. Don’t be surprised if you find them snuggled between your legs. You put off warmth that they can’t resist.
It’s rare, but some Chihuahuas actually won’t like to be cuddled. They will come to you when they want attention. Don’t expect them to crawl up on your lap often. They like love on their own terms.
If your pup likes a little space, you will need to get them their own bed. For dogs so small, beds are fairly inexpensive. You can find beds ranging from $15 – $40 for a fancy one.
If you let your dog sleep in your bed, they may need stairs. Yes, you can pick them up. The concern is more about them falling out of the bed. Or worse. Trying to jump off of the bed.
With stairs, they can safely get on and off the bed.
Leash, collar, harness
It’s pretty common to have a harness for such a small pup. It makes you feel your dog is safer and won’t easily slip away.
Leashes are required if you will be walking your dog. Many towns have leash laws. Unless you want a ticket, the leash law must be obeyed.
All three items are typically around the same price. They can be found as low as $5 and go all the way up to $30 apiece. It all depends on just how blingy your dog needs to be.
Every puppy needs a toy to play with. No matter where you choose to buy them, there are toys available for any budget.
You can find toys ranging from $1 up to $25. There are thousands of different toys to choose from.
Chihuahuas love to have companion stuffed animals. This comes in handy for the short times you may be away. It can help calm their separation anxiety.
Caution: Rope toys have been known to come apart. When the dog then swallows the loose threads it often results in bowel injuries.
Also, some stuffed toys can be easily ripped apart. Chihuahua’s tiny teeth can tear small holes in plush toys that aren’t reinforced. Once they have a hole torn, they rip stuffing out. As you can imagine, this creates a choking hazard.
You may laugh it off or think dog insurance is a joke. Nope, it’s a real thing. Some dogs are not prone to illness and rarely have vet trips. While other dogs will almost always have issues come up.
Because they’re so small, Chihuahuas can easily get into something harmful or have an injury. The resulting surgeries and vet trips can add up to thousands of dollars.
Paying $10 a month or at the very high end, $100 a month, is well worth it.
You never want to be in a situation where you are worried about a bill instead of your dog. Where you find yourself searching for a vet who will see your dog. And, you end up paying thousands out of pocket.
Insurance will cut the worry out of the equation.
If you have a long-haired Chihuahua it may seem overwhelming to think about grooming it yourself.
Thankfully, there are thousands of groomers all around the world. Even short-haired dogs can be groomed. Short hair is easier to learn to do yourself though.
Although, over time you can learn to groom your own dog to save money. Even so, it seems most owners would rather leave it up to someone else.
Not only do they worry about ruining their Chihuahuas precious coat, they also are concerned about cutting their baby’s nails too short.
The price of grooming ranges greatly from town to town. For a typical grooming visit, the cost will range from $30 – $100. The quality of the service, items included, and the location explain the price variances.
Most Chihuahua parents dream of all the adorable outfits they’re going to get their tiny new puppy.
Showing off a little style is part of your pup’s personality. You also want to keep your dog warm in cooler months. There are even shoes for winter to protect their paws from de-icing chemicals.
You can find clothes in pet stores and there are many places online.
Most places sell dog clothes for the same price as baby clothes. Ranging from $5 – $50. An outfit can be found for every budget.
Obedience training is highly recommended for your Chihuahua. These dogs are tiny, but mighty. And they are typically strong-willed.
As is true of any breed, your Chihuahua can develop bad behaviors if not properly trained. The cost of training varies depending on where you live.
A private owned training facility will set their own prices. Pet stores are typically priced the same in every state.
- Petco – $110 for a 6-week training course. Your dog will learn all the basic commands. Their site mentions specials often though.
- PetSmart – $120 for a 6-week training course. Each class is 1 hour long. They offer several different courses. Each course is $120 – Easily could add up to $500 if you went through most of them.
- Puppy – learning the basic commands, walking on a leash, and having fun with other pups.
- Beginner – If your dog isn’t a puppy anymore but really needs to start classes. This is the class for them.
- Intermediate – If your dog already knows basic commands this just takes it a step farther.
- Advanced – Helps teach your dog to have quicker and more accurate responses to commands. Works on how the dog acts when out of the home also.
- Therapy – Teaches you and your dog the skills needed to have your dog evaluated. After this course, your dog could be on its way to becoming a therapy dog.
Summing up the expenses
Here is a chart to view the low end to high end of the cost of having your new puppy. Both columns represent averages assuming you haven’t purchased a $10,000 merle puppy.
|Category||Average Low||Average High|
|Adoption – Purchase||$100||$2,000|
|Tax and License||$10||$30|
|Flea, Tick, Deworming||$30||$290|
|Leash, Collar, Harness||$15||$90|
Is a Chihuahua a good pet for you?
Chihuahuas are not for everyone. They require a lot of time and patience. They have some wonderful traits and characteristics. And, they also have some not so wonderful qualities.
Chihuahuas can develop behavioral issues if left to do their own thing. They need guidance. A lot of guidance.
This is why we emphasize the training expense for considering how much your Chihuahua will cost.
You may choose not to pay for training courses. That’s fine. There are many books and articles online that will train you how to train your dog. Although it will take a lot of extra time, training a dog is worth it in the end.
Chihuahuas are known to be very uneasy around strangers. Make sure you socialize your new puppy regularly. They should be introduced to many different people and environments. This will help them feel secure, so they don’t become scared as easily.
Chihuahuas can be full of stubbornness, confidence, and intelligence. A not so wonderful combination sometimes. If you allow it, they will outsmart you while being too stubborn to obey you. Don’t confuse “cuteness” with disobedience.
They are also known to suffer separation anxiety. Chihuahuas love their companions. If you work long hours having a dog walker or dog sitter would be beneficial for your fur-baby.
No need to worry, your puppy can live a very long life. On average as long as 14 – 16 years. Chihuahuas can outlive most other breeds of dogs. Some even live to be closer to 20 years old.
Chihuahuas with the deer shaped head typically have far fewer health problems. The apple head type, however, has quite a few health concerns to watch out for.
Apple head Chihuahuas have short muzzles which can create breathing issues. Also because of their flatter face, they can suffer from severe respiratory diseases.
The apple heads will also have trouble with overheating. When they become too hot, they can’t control their temperature. They will not be able to cool down. Creating a life-threatening situation.
The list of issues doesn’t stop there for the poor apple head breed. Their tracheas can also collapse. Many think it because of their shorter neck.
They are also prone to getting eye infections. Because their eyes protrude so much, eye injuries are fairly common.
These health challenges can add up to hefty veterinarian bills adding to your overall investment in your Chihuahua.
Chihuahuas are highly active dogs. They need regular walks or a yard to roam around. They need at least 20 minutes of exercise a day
One definite plus is they are not big droolers.
Chihuahuas with an apple head are more prone to snoring though. Their shorter muzzle creates this issue.
They are the smallest breed of dog in the world. Their body is a little longer than it is tall. Typically, they have a tail that curls up. Almost like a pig’s tail.
They absolutely love and need to be around other animals or humans.
There are many foods that are harmful to dogs. Those dangers are compounded even more so for a very small breed of dog. They will have more issues passing foods that are toxic to them.
A typical Chihuahua usually eats less than a cup of food a day. Every dog is different though. It is not a one size fits all type of thing. Their activity level and their size all play a big factor. You will find out what works for your puppy.
Make sure the food is small enough. This can easily be overlooked when you’re shopping for high-quality dog food. When the pieces are too large it’s difficult, even dangerous for them to eat. They could choke on them.
Look for dog foods made just for small breed dogs. When looking for a treat they also need to be small. Soft or chewy treats are very easy for tiny dogs to eat.
We talked earlier about mixing hard and soft dog food. Although it’s tempting to pamper your little pup, it needs some of the hard food to help promote tooth and gum health.
I recommend you invest in dental hygiene tools. When you brush your dog’s teeth, always do so with dog toothpastes. Th reason why human toothpaste is out of question is because it can harm your beloved pooch.
The average person knows Chihuahuas are a fairly small dog. Just how big do they typically get though? On average they will range it from 6 to 9 inches. Some will get as big as 15 inches though.
They will not be a very big dog at all. In fact, they are known to be the smallest breed in the world.
Different types of Chihuahuas are smaller though. Teacups are only around three pounds and get no larger than 6 inches. There is no set size for the teacup type.
Where should you buy a Chihuahua?
There are many places to find a new four-legged family member. Between many reputable breeders, rescues, shelters to backyard breeding. We will break down the best way to get a healthy, well taken care of the puppy.
Always be sure to do research before buying a dog. If you are spending thousands of dollars you need to make sure they are a reputable place. It is important to know that you’re not supporting a puppy mill.
All animals should be well taken care of.
Shelters and rescues
Sometimes the simplest place to look for a new dog is the shelter. You will be saving a dog by giving them a loving home. The dog will typically have all its shots, vaccines, and has usually been fixed before adoption.
Some rescues specialize in Chihuahuas. These places are typically set up to be “little dog” friendly.
Shelters, on the other hand, house all sizes of dogs.
You will save money at shelters or rescues while still getting a dog you will love.
If bloodline and papers are not important to you, rescuing a dog is a win-win. A dog will get a great home and you get a sweet Chihuahua.
Breeders are a great choice if you want to choose your puppy and know its history.
A breeder is also the place to go if you want to have a full-blooded Chihuahua with papers. The CCA or Chihuahua Club of America actually has a website with a list of every breeder they consider reputable. These breeders have all signed a code of ethics.
You can look for breeders in your state. It is very convenient.
Some breeders let you walk around their facility. You can even see the mom and dad. All of this can happen before you purchase a puppy. It’s a good way for you to know exactly what you are getting.
As mentioned above, prices breeders charge varies. You will want to get a clear understanding of what the breeder is and isn’t providing for the fee they are charging.
We’re going to tell you upfront that we neither recommend nor support anyone going this route.
These operations are terrible. They aren’t typical, follow all the rules. You may think you are getting a deal, but you will most likely pay more in the long run.
Backyard breeders, also called puppy mills, are known for their poor living conditions. Their dogs are:
- Not properly fed.
- Kept in unclean crates.
- Not given proper vet checks.
- Bred far too many litters for one dog.
Saving a few hundred dollars isn’t worth it. The dog you are getting is unlikely to be a purebred and is likely to have serious health conditions.
Consider too, if they skirt around the rules for responsible breeding, what’s to say they aren’t lying to your face. Stick to the reputable breeders.
The list is endless on the reasons to stay away from backyard breeders. They should always be reported.
Backyard breeders are not to be confused with your friend Nancy down the road, whose dogs accidentally had a litter.
If she wants to sell or give them away and you are worried. These scenarios are rare and typically fine.
The type of people that didn’t get their dogs fixed and have an accidental litter are not close to backyard breeders. They love their animals.
What to expect from your Chihuahua
You have bought all of the supplies. Your sweet puppy is home. Now what?
As mentioned above your new puppy may be a little cautious of its surroundings at first.
Let your puppy explore and praise him or her. They will be comfortable in no time.
This is precisely what happened after Lissa entered our doorstep…
She was a bit uncomfortable at first but the moment she walked in, we started saying ‘Lissa, hey, Lissa!’ cheerfully. In just about 3 minutes she raised her tail up and started licking our hands and faces.
So far, so good. But it’s also important to mention that you should keep anything you don’t want them getting into out of their reach. Especially anything that could harm them.
Once, Lissa had knocked over a glass jar and broken it. Luckily, she was unharmed.
But hey, you never know… The glass jar was in a bag. And part of the bag was showing over the table. So by jumping to get it, the deed was done…
So, unless you can watch them 24/7 its best to have baby gates or a dog pen. This way they can be contained in a safe area while still having a little freedom to roam about.
They typically love to touch and be very close to their owners. Some rarely will want their own space. For the most part, you will have a loving, cuddly puppy. You will have a lifelong companion.
Your Chihuahua may be your smallest family member, but it will protect you like no other. It’s true – Lissa goes above and beyond to make sure no one is getting close to us when we’re sitting at a bench in the park. Or when we’re having a picnic.
Besides that, Chihuahuas are intelligent, eager to please, and can be easily trained. Well, at least before their stubbornness sets in. Even at that point, positive reinforcement goes a long way.
And let’s not forget socialization. Through proper socialization, your Chi will become happier and well-behaved with other dogs (for the most part at least).
Whether it’s lying with you on the couch or snuggling with you in bed. It doesn’t matter to them. As long as you are close to them.
You will find that regardless of the cost, you’re glad your Chihuahua is yours.