I can almost hear you asking, do Chihuahuas really need clothes? Chihuahua clothes are not just for fashion statements.

In fact, you’ll learn from this article:

  • 7 reasons why Chihuahuas need clothes.
  • Why Chihuahuas don’t thrive in the cold weather.
  • How cold is too cold, and how hot is too hot for a Chihuahua.
  • What to keep in mind when choosing your Chihuahua’s clothes.
  • And many more…

Table of contents [show]

Do Chihuahuas need clothes?

Chihuahuas need clothes especially when it’s cold. Their small size, thin coat and skin are no match for the cold weather. They lose body heat easily so they shiver or shake. Wearing clothes will help them stay warm.

Do Chihuahuas like to wear clothes?

Some Chihuahuas like to wear clothes, but others don’t. Chihuahuas hate clothes if these are too tight or uncomfortable. But some Chihuahuas can be taught to love wearing clothes. They could get used to wearing clothes if they started young.

7 things you should know about Chis and clothing

#1: Clothes keep Chihuahuas warm

With their tiny bodies and thin skin, Chihuahuas get cold easily. 

Chihuahuas are the world’s smallest dog breed. They weigh as little as 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms), according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

It’s no wonder they shiver so easily compared to larger breeds. Thus, they need all the help they can get to keep warm.

Including wearing clothes. Clothes will help your Chi retain body heat.

#2: Clothes keep Chihuahuas dry

Chihuahua With Clothes

In order to keep warm, Chihuahuas have to stay dry.

A weatherproof jacket or raincoat is a huge help. It protects your Chihuahua when it’s snowing, drizzling or raining.

These types of clothing also help protect your pooch from hypothermia. 

Hypothermia is excessive heat loss. That’s due to exposure to low environmental temperature.

Caution: Young, old and sick dogs are more likely to get hypothermia. They are unable to fully regulate their body temperature.

#3: Clothes protect against sunburn

Chihuahuas thrive in warmer climates. Does your Chi love spending time outdoors?

Clothes protect them not only when it’s winter.

Being exposed to the sun for long periods of time can burn their skin. Worse, it may increase their risk of skin cancer.

#4: Clothes protect against skin allergies

Allergens can be found anywhere. 

Clothes serve as a barrier between your Chi and their environment. They are less likely to get contact dermatitis.

#5: Clothes protect your Chihuahua against insects

With clothes, your Chi has better protection against insects.

Your Chi is exposed to a lot of pests on a daily basis. The usual fleas and ticks, mosquitoes, ants and bees.

Clothes are added protection against these.

#6: Shoes protect your Chi’s paws

Boots and shoes are not just for fashion statements. 

They’re for protection, too. 

While walking, they’re exposed to sharp rocks, sticks, gravel and more. 

In summertime the pavements are hot. In winter, the pavement is covered in ice and chemicals that melt the ice. 

These chemicals are dangerous if your Chi ingests them.

A word of advice, though. Get your Chi used to wearing shoes. 

Or they’ll end up doing the mannequin challenge every time they have the shoes on.

Like what Pancho did the first time wearing

YouTube video

He looks so adorable, though. 

#7: Clothes minimize shedding

Shedding will happen, come hell or high water.

But, you can at least minimize it. 

You’d rather deal with your Chi’s shirt that’s full of shed fur. Instead of the fur ending up on every piece of furniture.

Your Chi and the weather

Chihuahuas originated from Mexico, where many parts have a dry climate. 

Thus, they’re no strangers to warm weather. 

But this is not to say that Chihuahuas are safe when it’s too hot. They are at risk of heat stroke, sunburn and other skin problems.

Why Chihuahuas don’t tolerate the cold weather

There are several reasons why. 

First, Chihuahuas belong in the brachycephalic breed. 

Brachycephalic dogs have short noses. Short noses mean decreased air-intake.

This makes regulating body temperature more difficult for them.

Second, Chihuahuas lose heat quickly compared to other dogs. As I’ve mentioned, a Chihuahua’s small size, thin coat and skin provide no protection against the cold.

How cold is too cold

Chihuahuas are always cold. 

That’s the observation of many Chihuahua owners. 

One owner shares on a forum that her Chi begins sleeping under the covers instead of on top. She lives in south eastern US, where it gets really cold in winter.

Another owner observes that her Chi shivers when cold. Particularly when it gets cold in the fall.

Yet another owner notices that even though her Chi is 13 pounds (5.9kg), he is cold-sensitive.

If you’re bringing your Chi outside, always consider how cold it is. And whether your pooch can deal with the cold.

The Petplan Pet Insurance put together a chart on safe temperatures for your dog. So before you go out, look at the chart first.

pet temperature and symptoms chart

How to know if your Chi is too cold 

Look for the following symptoms:

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  • Barks or whines.
  • Appears lethargic.
  • Shakes or shivers.
  • Lifts paws off the ground when outside.
  • Prefers lounging instead of playing around.
  • Sleeps under the blankets instead of on top.
  • Doesn’t want to come out from under the blankets.

Sunshine lovers

Chihuahuas are chipper in warm weather.

But it’s a myth that they can handle heat better than other dogs.

Heat will affect them just like any other dogs.

For one, they’re at risk of heat stroke if under the sun for too long. Their being brachycephalic is to blame here.

They can also get sunburned easily.

Warning: Do not take your Chi out between 10am and 4pm. This is the hottest part of the day. Make sure they have access to plenty of clean, fresh water.

If you want to know if it’s safe for your Chi outside, consult the following chart

how hot is too hot for pet

9 tips to get your Chihuahua comfortable with wearing clothes

#1: Start ‘em young

If you want your Chi to love dressing up, teach them young.

Not all Chihuahuas will love wearing clothes, though. And you can’t do something about it even with lots of practice.

But there is a bigger chance of them getting used to it when done early on.

Just like what one Chi owner did. She introduced clothes to her Chi when the dog was a pup. And now the dog doesn’t mind wearing clothes at all. 

Wearing clothes seems as natural to the Chi, as writing is to a kid who was taught how to do it in school. 

#2: Choose comfortable clothes

Humans mostly dress for comfort. That should be the same principle when it comes to your Chihuahua.

Plus, they’ll love clothes where they can move freely.

If it’s the first time they wear something, check their body for irritations. Irritations mean they are allergic to the fabric.

Also, check for chafing. Chafing means the clothes are tight.

In addition, pay special attention to skin where clasps and latching mechanisms are.

#3: Start with simple clothes

The idea is to get your Chi used to clothes. 

Thus, slowly introduce them to simple clothes such as shirts. If possible, get shirts that can be worn and removed easily. 

If your Chi doesn’t try to remove the clothing, then success!

If they’re used to simple clothes, then you can move on to complicated clothes. By complicated, I mean clothes with buttons, straps or latching mechanisms.

But in general, try to choose comfy and practical clothes. This will ensure there’s less to no friction when putting them on. 

Lissa’s first winter jacket

For example, when I and Lissa (my longhaired Chihuahua mix) were shopping for a winter jacket today, I chose one with a zipper. In the end, that is.

Previously we tried 2 other jackets. Both of them were with buttons and that slowed down the process. 

So, the third one had me with ‘zip’… and voila! 

No need to struggle getting the buttons right. Or stressing out if you’re in a hurry.  That’s what I call perfect.

#4: Avoid pulling or tugging at legs

Pulling or tugging at your Chihuahua’s legs will annoy or hurt them.

Which will make them hate dressing more.

Some Chi will hate putting their legs through holes. If that’s the case, get them clothes without sleeves.

Note: Have lots of patience when encouraging your Chi to wear clothes. 

#5: Do not buy tight-fitting clothes

old chihuahua wearing a jacket

Tight-fitting clothes will restrict your Chihuahua’s movements. 

They won’t be able to run or play freely. They’ll probably spend more time scratching at their clothes than playing.

As such, buy clothes according to their size. It’s very important to get them clothes that are snug but not tight.

#6: Their clothes should facilitate ease of peeing and pooping

Your Chi’s clothes shouldn’t make it difficult to do their business.

If they’re wearing pants, skirts or dresses, remove them before letting them outside. Otherwise wet or soiled clothes will make them uncomfortable.

#7: Talk to them in a soothing voice

Trust me, this works.

While dressing your Chi, talk to them in a calm, soothing voice. It helps calm their anxiety when it comes to wearing clothes.

And don’t forget to give them praises when they let you dress them. Plus a treat or two.

#8: Do not force your Chi

Whether you like it or not, sometimes your Chi will hate dressing up.

If they’re not in the mood, or they hate it altogether, do not force them. They’re probably anxious about the whole thing. 

Or they are not comfortable wearing anything over their fur.

This is Pancho the Chihuahua. He really doesn’t like the coat his owner put on him

YouTube video

If your Chi is like Pancho, take your time. Always give them encouraging words. And high-value (understand mega tasty) treats.

#9: Reward

Don’t forget to reward your pooch if they allow you to dress them up.

Reward them as well before and after dressing them up. Make use of yummy treats and don’t be stingy with praises and affection!

They’ll soon associate dressing up with the good stuff.

Lissa’s jacket adventure

My long-haired Chihuahua mix Lissa is very well-behaved. She knows I mean well even if I do crazy stuff (like dressing her up) from time to time.

So, when we were trying out different jackets, she stood calmly. Until a certain point though.

Just before we were about to try the last one, she ‘escaped’ and started roaming the pet store. I ended up going after her – all in vain.

She was close to exiting the store when a customer opened the door to go out. At this very moment my eyes became as huge as pancakes and I almost screamed ‘NO’.

Luckily, the man saw my reaction and was quick to close the door behind him. But Lissa didn’t come close until… we gave her dog cookies.

After she had a taste of one, she was A-okay with letting us dress her up again.  

This served as a reminder why it’s always good to have a dog cookie or two when attempting something new. That’s one trick to make your dog more cooperative. 

A selection of clothes for your Chihuahua

When it comes to Chihuahua clothes, the possibilities are endless!

From shirts to fancy costumes, there will be something for your Chi.

The clothes you get your Chi depend on these factors:


There is no one-size-fits-all for Chihuahuas. That’s because their sizes vary even if they’re small. 

For instance, a teacup Chihuahua is only 1 to 2 pounds (0.45 – 0.9 kilogram). Naturally, they are smaller than a 6-pound (2.7 kilograms) Chihuahua. 

Get your Chi’s weight, length and height before buying them clothes.


Clothes made of 100% cotton are mostly the best choice. These are soft and easy to clean. 

But when it’s snowing or raining, the best material is polyester or nylon.


There are clothes for warm weather and cold months. 

For summer and spring, your Chi will be comfortable in a lightweight shirt. They can also wear dresses. 

Come winter and late fall, they’ll need thicker apparels. Jackets, sweaters, coats and parka are your choices. 

But for days when you just can’t resist dressing them up, there are tutus, dresses and vests.

If the air conditioning in your house is on, your Chihuahua may get cold. Dress them in a comfy sweater.

How to find the right jacket/sweater

The right jacket for Chihuahua

Is it cold and you need to take your Chi outside?

Whether it’s a jacket or a sweater, it has to cover their neck and belly. It must also provide protection from neck to tail.

But the question now is, jacket or sweater?

The answer depends on where your Chi will wear it. And when. 

Sweaters are best worn indoors. These are usually not waterproof. 

A Chi owner shares that her Chi wears a sweater in fall. Another owner says that her Chi needs a sweater inside the house. Her dog easily gets cold.

If you plan to get your Chi a sweater, you might want this hoodie. It comes in many sizes.

What’s more, your Chi can pee and poop while wearing it. And be fashionable while at it.

But if you want a simple one, here’s a cute fleece sweater.

Jackets or parka, on the other hand, are best when going outside. 

There are weatherproof jackets lined with fleece to keep your pooch warm outdoors. Just like this Kuoser reversible jacket.

Depending on how cold it is in your area, get a thick jacket for your Chi. They need all the warmth they can get.

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