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Chihuahua Clothing: Is It a Necessity?

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Does Your Chihuahua Need Clothing

One debate I often hear is whether should chihuahuas wear clothes. The answer is most likely, yes, with some stipulations.

We often have adorable Chis in adorable clothes show up on our Facebook page. Sometimes the pet parents are given a hard time because of those clothes. The usual statement is something to the effect of “Your dog is not a doll to play dress up with” or “let dogs be dogs” or “my dog hates clothes; I would never force her to wear them”.

Dog Clothes - Handmade Dog Poncho from Authentic Mexican Blanket by Baja Ponchos

Dog Clothes – Handmade Dog Poncho from Authentic Mexican Blanket by Baja Ponchos

All of those are valid viewpoints but not really fair to people who choose to dress their Chihuahuas. There are some very valid reasons to dress your dog. And contrary to popular belief, not all dogs hate it. Many dogs love dressing up. I know this first hand (not with my Chi but with one of my big dogs).

Classic Sweatshirt in Lots of Colors

Reasons to Dress Your Chi:

  • Warmth  Chihuahuas tend to get cold easily so it’s a good idea to at least have a sweater or shirt for them to wear in cool weather or highly air-conditioned homes.
  • Protection  Clothes can provide protection from the elements. It can protect them from getting burnt by the sun, or bit by insects, and even lessens the allergens that attach to your dog’s fur. Boots and shoes can protect their paws from hot cement, ice, sharp rocks, and glass, salt, or de-icer chemicals.
  • Cuteness You can’t deny the cuteness factor of a little Chi girl in a frilly dress or a little Chi boy looking dapper in a cute outfit. Many Chihuahuas love the attention they get from looking so cute in their clothes.


Reasons NOT to Dress Your Chi:

  • Your dog hates wearing clothes and totally freaks out when you try to put them on.
  • Your dog easily gets overheated (usually not an issue with Chihuahuas).


Dog Shirt

So do I dress my Chihuahua Lucy? Yes and no. I do have a few beautiful dresses for photo ops and such. But Lucy is long-haired and double-coated. She’s one of those rare chis that gets hot a lot. So though we do have a few sweaters for her, so far, she has never needed them.

Her brothers (a chihuahua-Yorkie mix and 2 Yorkies) wear sweatshirts all winter long. And one of them wears a shirt all year long because he has allergies and having a lightweight cotton shirt on keeps him from scratching.

I really enjoy seeing clothes on other dogs and I enjoy shopping for my boy dogs. You are seeing some of my favorites in this post.

Feel free to click on any of them if you’d like to order one for your Chi. They are all on Amazon and if you order through the links on my page, I Love My Chi gets a small compensation but it doesn’t cost any extra for you.

Warm Cotton Sweatshirt

How to Get Your Chihuahua to Wear Clothes

  • Make it a fun experience by having some treats ready. Give one at the beginning when you pull the clothes out and let your chi smell and check out the clothes. Give another treat or two after you put the clothes on.
  • Praise your dog while dressing them.
  • If your dog doesn’t seem to mind the clothes, just leave them on awhile but if they seem to hate them, leave on for 10-20 minutes and then take them off (all the while praising them for being such a good boy or girl for wearing their clothes and giving a treat here and there. Then try again later in the day for a longer period of time. Over time, your chi will associate clothes with good things and will be used to wearing them.
  • Use easy clothes to start with such as a cotton T-shirt. Stay away from buttons, straps, or multiple pieces of clothing.
  • Make sure the clothes are comfortable, soft, and not binding.
chihuahua-yorkie and yorkie wearing sweaters sitting in sun

When Should Your Chihuahua Wear Clothes

  • If the temperature gets below 45 F degrees.
  • If it’s cold, rainy or snowy.
  • If the ground is very hot or icy (wear booties).
  • If the sun is extremely strong (a light T-shirt for protection).
  • If you are going to be out in inclement weather for longer than 10 minutes.

TIP: Whatever piece of clothing you buy, make sure there is enough room for your dog to pee and poop without getting it on the clothing.

So to answer the question, “Does my Chihuahua need clothing?” the answer is yes, but it’s really up to you.

I believe Chihuahuas being the cold-natured little critters they are, do need some clothing, at least enough to be comfortable and warm. The rest is up to you and your Chi.

We have some other clothes-related posts you may want to check out:

Do you dress your Chi? Why or why not?

Here’s some more chi things you may want to check out:

Cathy signature Chi


Wednesday 15th of December 2021

My chi Zoey is 12 and I recently had purchased this pink sweater for her and the part around her belly is snug right to her but not uncomfortable. I have noticed a difference in her anxiety level while wearing this. She has been much calmer. She gets upset if I try to take it off to wash. So glad I got it. Thanks Noreen and Zoey


Wednesday 15th of December 2021

That's great to hear Noreen. That reminds me of thunder shirts that are tight shirts you put on dogs to calm them down,


Saturday 14th of November 2020

I went to the store 2x the same day for the right garment for mine, who was showing how cold it is by not coming out of the blanket. So happy, running around and prancing, back to normal! Gets pretty cold here🐶


Sunday 15th of November 2020

Yes, some people seem to think it's mean or unnatural to dress a chihuahua not realizing they really need the extra warmth clothing provides. It's not cold here yet so I haven't needed to dress my chis, but my tiny yorkie was shaking a lot in the early mornings, so he is now wearing his sweatshirt.

Gina Laurie Whitford

Saturday 14th of November 2020

The link for the tutu dress goes to clasps not the dress, just wanted to let you know


Saturday 14th of November 2020

Thanks Gina, I fixed it.

Leon gonzales

Saturday 14th of November 2020

My name is prince Brandon young, 4 yrs old), energetic, happy dog and friendly.. I’m wearing my holiday outfit..


Saturday 14th of November 2020

Good for you! I bet you are very handsome!


Saturday 12th of October 2019

Just discovered this site while researching whether clothes are okay for my little chi. We live in Florida and we've mainly done big dog rescues, but this little girl was found abandoned in a pumpkin patch last year at just 8 weeks old, and even though we have two heat big lab mixes, we all fell in love with her (including the big guys!). My sister have us a couple of smaller shirts and sweaters her wiener dogs had outgrown. We put them on her a few times, has a laugh and put them away in a low drawer. I'd forgotten them during the hot summer, but Ms. Gizzy - who just turned one year old, has been caught multiple times dragging the cute little tee shirts out of the drawer. Then she started actually bringing things to me! I finally - dumb human that I am - realized that in the turned up to the max air conditioning, she was often cowering under blankets on the bed instead of running around playing! So it started to dawn on me, and now I've been haunting eBay and Amazon searching for deals, but my "wish list" right now runneth over with too much adorable couture and I'm faced with paring down before I buy and break the family budget ?. She seems to favor little fleece shirts and little dresses and tees over sweaters but now winter is coming. My question, do you dress your dogs indoors, and what seems the most practical and comfortable for your chi? I wondered about the little sleepers that have leg covering, but are they really practical for a (very!) active dog? She seems to get very cold sometimes and is obviously a budding fashionista! They say dogs are color blind, but Ms. Gizzy seems to favor bright colors and patterns. I will add that as far as the big dogs are concerned, she rules the pack! They continue to be mystified by her and a little cowed. I have to watch that she doesn't chase them down the hall when the food comes out, even though she is, herself, a dainty eater (another issue we face with our first tiny dog). I will add that the guys seem to love dressing up for special occasions and holidays and I believe our older guy would dress and preen every day if he weren't such a shaggy thing! He seems envious as the boxes come in from Amazon! So, Thats our "dressing chi" story so far. I just hope I can navigate all the cuteness and pick out a little wardrobe that is practical for her needs. Any suggestions are welcome!