Santa Barbara, California
Camp Verde, Arizona
Tennessee, United States
Thabazimbi, South Africa
Breed group: Toy Group dogs
Other name(s): Chi; Chihuahueño
Country / place of origin: Mexico
History: Chihuahuas have the rare distinction of being both the oldest breed on the American continent, but also being the smallest known breed in the world. The Chihuahua is native to Mexico, and is believed to be related to small dogs kept by the Aztec Indians. Specifically, the modern Chihuahua is believed to be the result of the breeding of the Mexican Hairless Dog or Techichi, and miniature dogs of Chinese origin brought to the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries by the Spanish Conquistadors, possibly the Chinese Crested. Other theories maintain that the Chihuahua has been around for centuries and originated in Africa; these theorists offer as evidence the remains of a very tiny dog that was uncovered in Egypt and which shared physical characteristics of the Chihuahua. The breed is named after the Mexican State of Chihuahua, where the earliest members of the breed were found.
Details: Ideally, the Chihuahua should be a tiny dog with a well rounded, or “apple domed,” skull. They have large, fully eyes that should not protrude, the ears are large and of an erect type, the muzzle is rather short and somewhat pointed, and the nose should be self-colored in the black, blond, chocolate, blue and mole colorations, although a pink nose is allowable in the blonds. The Chihuahua is known for its pert expression.Chihuahua puppies have a soft spot, known as a “molera,” on the top of the skull which typically closes with bone growth by the time they are adults. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, which is known as being “cobby,” their tails are sickle-shaped and arch up over their backs, their legs are square and straight, and they have a dainty little foot with an obvious split between the toes. The Chihuahua always looks like a tiny dog on a big mission.
Average height and weight (mature size and weight): 6-9 inches, 2-10 pounds
Color / coat variations: The Chihuahua has two types of coat: smooth or long. The smooth-coated Chihuahua coat has a soft texture that is occasionally “whiskery” to the touch, is glossy, and lies close to the skin; though short, the coat should be very dense.The long-coated Chihuahua typically has an undercoat; the soft outer coat hair can be straight or wavy; the tail will be long and plumed, the ears will be fringed, the legs and feet will be feathered, the hind legs will have pants and the neck will have a large, thick ruff.
Lifespan: 15-22 years
Litter size: 1-5 puppies
Grooming and shedding: The long-coated Chihuahua should be combed daily to keep the undercoat under control and to ensure no knotting of the hair. The smooth-coated Chihuahua should be occasionally gently brushed or wiped with a damp cloth. Both types should be bathed about once a month and care should be taken not to get water into their ears.It might seem like the reverse should be true, but the long-coated Chihuahua is known to be less of a shedder than the smooth-coated Chihuahua. Many people who are unable to have a companion dog due to allergies or asthma find themselves quite capable of tolerating a Chihuahua. Check their ears regularly and keep their nails trimmed.
Food habits: Some Chihuahuas can be very food aggressive; they are known for being picky eaters, so ensure that you are giving your Chihuahua the right food. Snacks and table foods are strict no-no’s for this breed.
Climate and environment: The Chihuahua despises being cold and will shiver. They will take comfort in a warm sweater in colder weather and generally are not opposed to wearing one. Chihuahuas only make good apartment dogs if the owner is willing to put in the time and energy to train them well. Being good watch dogs they might make neighbors a little nutty otherwise with their barking.
Behavioral aspects: Chihuahuas are devoted to their people and are a very loyal, graceful and amusing little dog. They are known to be reserved, and even skittish, around unfamiliar people. Despite their tiny size, Chihuahuas are excellent watch dogs, and will alert their owners to anything that is taking place.The Chihuahua makes an excellent companion dog. They are very lively, inventive, proud and courageous. He’s very bold for such a small dog and quite strong-willed. Chihuahua’s tend to be one-person dogs and can be so attached and loyal to their person that they develop jealousy issues. They are suspicious of strangers and most will follow every their owner makes in such a situation. The key to all aspects of a rewarding friendship with your Chihuahua is in the early training and extensive early socialization. Though some may find the Chihuahua somewhat difficult to train, they have a high learning rate and will respond well to positive reinforcement training.
With children: Knowing there are exceptions to every rule, Chihuahuas just are not the right dog for people with small children. Being too small to effectively get away from the teasing of a child, the Chihuahua is well known to resort to her best defense: snapping and biting. Because of their high-strung nature, the noise levels and general busy atmosphere that comes with having small children is often too much for the Chihuahua to handle; and, of course, the delicacy and easy breakability of the Chihuahua is a huge consideration in subjecting one to a home with children. Again, extensive early socialization with many people, including children, will go far to creating a more secure adult Chihuahua.
With other dogs and animals: Despite their diminutive size, Chihuahuas can be very fierce and aggressive toward other dogs and they don’t have the necessary mass to back up their aggression! Extreme care should be taken when your Chihuahua is around other dogs – remember, he is the smallest dog in the world. This is yet another area in which that early and extensive socialization process will pay off. Introducing your Chihuahua puppy to many other dogs, utilizing a safe environment, will go far to reducing his hostility toward other dogs. Many Chihuahuas would rather have the company of another Chihuahua or two rather than a dog of a different breed; this works out well in play situations and avoids potential injury due to the exuberance of a larger dog.
Training and learning rate: Chihuahuas are very intelligent and are rated high in learning rate. However, being highly intelligent often equals "hard to train" for a novice. They are NOT an easy dog, and are very good at manipulation.
Agility: Chihuahuas can actually make great agility dogs and have fabulous stamina, but like anyone, need to practice regularly to keep their fitness levels up. Of course, the Chihuahua is also the ultimate lap dog.
Affinity to water: Other than being agreeable to the infrequent bath, Chihuahuas are not generally known to have an affinity to water.
How noisy are they: Chihuahuas are very alert and virtually nothing gets past them. As a result, some do love to bark. This behavior should be corrected during puppyhood with gentle redirection and positive reinforcement.
Exercise: In spite of their difficulty in being able to keep up with rigorous games or, for example, an activity such as running alongside while their owner bicycles, Chihuahuas are busy little dogs. Playing will take care of most of their exercise needs, but a Chihuahua, though tiny, is still a dog and has a dog’s instinct to walk. If you don’t have a backyard for your Chihuahua, a daily walk and off-leash running and romping in a safe area, will fulfill this need.
Health issues: The Chihuahua is born with a “molera;” a soft spot in the skull. This spot typically hardens during the first half-year of life, but it is essential to protect the puppy’s brain from injury until the skull fully closes. Hydrocephalus (swelling in the brain caused by the inability of cerebrospinal fluid to drain) is common in the Chihuahua. The hydrocephalic Chihuahua will have multiple soft spots in his skull because of the skull plates being unable to fuse due to the build-up of the excess cerebrospinal fluid. It may be difficult to distinguish, as all Chihuahua puppies tend to have large eyes, but the pressure from this fluid build-up does put pressure behind the eyes causing the eyes to bulge. The hydrocephalic puppy has a larger head than others in her litter, grows more slowly and does not develop or move as quickly as her littermates. Many breeders advertise “applehead” Chihuahuas. This should not be confused with the “apple dome” their head is supposed to have. Most appleheaded Chihuahuas are hydrocephalic to some degree or another.Other health issues affecting the Chihuahua can be tracheal collapse, luxating patella, heart problems, eye problems (such as secondary glaucoma and corneal dryness), and, due to their tiny size, hypoglycemia. Their bones are fragile and easily broken. Stress related issues and colds are not uncommon. Care should be taken to monitor your Chihuahua’s molera to ensure that it closes properly as some never close, thus creating the necessity of always protecting the head from injury that will harm or damage the brain.
|I am incredibly happy with my dog||4.0|
|My dog is exactly the right dog for me||3.4|
|I love my dog||4.5|
|I am very attached to my dog||4.1|
|Quick to learn and train||3.0|
|Doesn't bark a lot||2.0|
|Easy to groom||4.0|
|Safe with small pets||3.4|
|Great guard dog||2.4|
|Great watch dog||3.6|
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