Chihuahuas are the tiny giants of the dog world. These mini pups have become #32 in favorites lists, out of more than 2,000 dog breeds. Because of their diminutive size, they can go almost anywhere, including places that bigger dogs may not. But, just how expensive are they to keep?
Chihuahuas are loyal and loving, although they can be snappy if they feel they’re being mistreated or harassed. For this reason, they do best with familiar adults and older children who are gently affectionate and playful. They get along well with cats and other dogs, especially other Chihuahuas, and they enjoy an activity and play. But as true lap dogs, they like nothing better than to view the world from a warm, cozy human lap.
As the national dog of Mexico, Chihuahuas have ancestors that lived in 300 BC among the Aztecs. They tend to be a healthy breed, but may occasionally be subject to a few inherited conditions. With an expected lifespan of 14 – 16 years, these pups stick around a long time and fall within an overall cost range similar to other healthy breeds.
So, how much would it cost to add a Chihuahua to your family? We’ve compiled an outline of average yearly costs for one of these spirited fur babies. Prices and expenses are annual estimates and may vary according to location. Let’s take a look!
How Expensive is Keeping a Chihuahua?
As with some other popular dog breeds, the Chihuahua can come with a big price tag. This depends on their bloodlines and the source. However, maintaining them year after year costs the same or less than most other breeds. They need smaller beds and bowls, less food, smaller doses of medications, and even smaller sweaters! We’ve come up with an annual estimate of basic Chi costs.
- Buying or adopting a Chihuahua: $50 – $2,500
- Vet care (routine/preventative care only): $300 – $800
- Supplies: $275 – $350
- Grooming: $100 – $300
- Training: $300 – $500
- Food: $240 – $360
- Grand total: $1,265 – $4,810
Buying or Adopting a Chihuahua
The cost to acquire one of these sassy, confident puppers will vary. Differences include location, the specific breeder, bloodlines, and markings. Females and males typically go for the same price. The price may also reflect vaccinations, veterinary puppy care, spaying/neutering, and testing performed before the puppy is ready for adoption.
Hopeful Chihuahua pet parents may have to join a waiting list if there are no pups currently available. Some rescues and many breeders establish waiting lists if they don’t have Chis ready to be taken home. Breeders often ask for a deposit to hold a pup from the next available litter.
How the deposit is handled varies with the breeder. It may be held for a puppy from a future breed. Sometimes deposits are not transferable if the potential adopter changes their mind.
Is Buying a Chihuahua Expensive?
The cost of a Chihuahua puppy from a reputable breeder can range from $800 to $2,500. The cost often depends on the quality of the parents, pre-adoption tests and care provided by the breeder and the health and quality of the puppy.
Chihuahua rescue organizations are groups that assist owners and shelters in making their Chis available for adoption. While some dogs are in owners’ or fosters’ homes, potential pet parents apply to the rescue organization which screens them and enters them into the queue. The cost to the buyer can range from $50 to $250 depending on the dog’s age, health needs, and pre-adoption care. Many shelter or rescue Chihuahuas have been spayed or neutered, brought up to date with their vaccines, and microchipped.
While Chihuahuas are healthy overall, they may be susceptible to conditions associated with their breed. Most common is patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), and less likely conditions include hydrocephalus, eye problems, collapsing trachea, cardiac conditions, and dental problems.
Common health conditions
Costs of treating ailments that arise in chihuahuas may vary based on whether the fur baby is being treated by their own veterinarian or a specialist. Some average costs of treating health conditions in a Chihuahua include:
- Patellar luxation: $1,500 – $3,000 per knee
- Collapsing trachea: $350 – $4,500
- Eye conditions: $150 – $750
- Dental cleaning and minor treatment: $400 – $800
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): $5,000 – $10,000
Preventative care costs:
The expected costs for routine and preventative care for a Chihuahua are similar to any toy breed. The first year of puppyhood will cost more because of more frequent testing, worming, and vaccinations.
Source: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS, a member of the Wag! Licensed Veterinary Team.
Preventative care for Chihuahuas can be expensive. And, pet insurance plans usually don’t cover items like vaccinations and parasite prevention. Wellness packages can reimburse up to 100% of the cost of routine exams and diagnostic tests within 24 hours. To find the right option for your pet and budget, check out our wellness plans.
Your new Chihuahua will need some supplies to stay healthy, happy, and comfortable. Beds, collars and leashes, toys, and more keep your pup safe and having fun! Because Chihuahuas typically don’t grow beyond six pounds and eight to ten inches tall, some of your purchases won’t have to be replaced as the pup grows.
- Toys: $50 – $90
- Walking supplies: $25 – $75
- Grooming supplies: $15 – $100
- Food/water bowls: $20 – $35
- Bedding: $25 – $35
- Crate: $20 – $40
Chihuahuas come in two types: smooth coat and long-haired. Grooming costs are minimal. They require weekly brushing and occasional baths for the smooth-coated pups. The long-haired variety should be brushed more often, up to several times a week. Also, both should have their nails trimmed regularly. If started early, most of these dogs will tolerate grooming at home.
Heavy shedding is not a problem with these pint-sized pups. For the long-haired variety, brushing a few times a week will be enough to keep their fuzz at bay. Short-haired Chihuahuas shed minimally. Wiping them down once a week with a moist cloth and brushing briefly is all they need.
Professional grooming for these babies will cost about $200 – $300 a year. These grooming estimates will vary depending on where you live.
Chihuahuas are bright and will usually happily learn basic dog manners from their pet parents. However, at times, they may act more like a terrier, becoming impulsive and even a little stubborn. Making a game out of training efforts is right up their alley.
At these times, it makes sense to enroll them in a group puppy and/or obedience class. Socialization is important to these guys to teach them how to play nicely with other dogs. Without adequate socialization, these little Napoleons may become fearful or aggressively protective. A group class also helps them learn from other dogs, in their own language, how to get along in the dog world.
Group training classes in a facility for four to six weeks may range from $125 – $300. A one-on-one trainer will charge $90 – $400 per session. Online classes may work best for you and your wee one at a lower cost of $$90 – $350.
Another option is in-home training with a professional who can cater the experience to your needs. In-home dog training with Wag! costs an average of $60 an hour. Meanwhile, digital training averages about $29 – $33 for a 30-minute session.
Chihuahuas will do well on about a cup a day, in two servings of ½ cup each of high-quality dog food. If they’re treated too often or given human food scraps, they may become overweight. At a cost of about $240 – $360 per year, expensive food is an area where you can save. These are estimates, and costs may be different where you live.
Other Expensive Costs
Chihuahuas don’t like being left home all day while Mom and Dad are at work. To help them cope with loneliness and lack of interesting things to do, doggy daycare, daily walks, sitting visits, or boarding may be the solution. There are wide-ranging prices for these services in various places in the country. So, keep in mind these annual costs are estimates.
- Doggy daycare (1 full day per month): $200
- Dog sitting (1 week per year): $240
- Dog boarding: (1 week per year): $275
- Dog walking (1 week per year): $300
If your budget could use a little respite, you can save money by booking on-demand or scheduled professionals through the Wag! platform. Affordable dog walkers, dog sitters, and dog boarders can be found by downloading the Wag! app!
Tips for saving money
Annual costs for a Chihuahua may not be as high as for some other breeds, but they’re still expensive. Being owned by one of these Mexican cuties needs expenses to be budgeted realistically so there are no surprises. Here are a few tips for shaving a bit off the total so you can buy your pup a new sweater or engage in some new activities.
#1. Invest in pet insurance.
Unexpected illness or injury can decimate savings accounts and sometimes make health care decisions difficult for pet parents. If one or both of your pup’s knees need medical care or surgery, hundreds of thousands of dollars may be spent to make them healthy again. A pet insurance plan may help alleviate some of the total up to 90%. Start comparing pet insurance plans and save more than $270 a year on expensive veterinary care.
#2. Groom your Chi at home
Grooming reinforces the bond between a pup and their parents, and if you’re able to do it at home you can save. You’ll only need to make a one-time purchase of a brush, shampoo, and nail clippers, and a few minutes weekly to keep them in tip-top shape.
#3. Adopt your Chihuahua
Forgo the expensive price tag of a Chihuahua from a breeder by exploring their availability at shelters, Chihuahua rescues, and other agencies where adoption costs are significantly less. Saving a life and providing one of these precious dogs with a fur-ever home is priceless.
#4. Create toys and puzzles for DIY fun
The intelligent Chihuahua loves figuring out games and puzzles but with the array at pet stores, it’s hard to choose and their expensive prices may let you buy just one. It would be more economical and fun to make DIY toys and puzzle games out of items you already have at home, like fabric strips from old clothes, paper towel tubes, and treats.
#5. Investigate wellness plans to afford preventative care
Chihuahuas, like all dogs, will remain healthy and happy if they visit the vet on a regular basis, and receive their preventative vaccines and parasite protection. Puppies, adult dogs, and seniors have different needs, but every life stage will benefit from preventative and early detection care. A comprehensive wellness plan helps pay for these services that pet insurance generally doesn’t cover, so these sassy pups will be with you for a very long time.
Are you contemplating making a sweet Chihuahua part of your family? Knowing how to take care of these precious pooches can help you decide if this breed is for you. If you still have questions about owning a Chihuahua, chat with a vet professional today!