Dog Breed Guides

THE CHIHUAHUA

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The Chihuahua originated from Mexico and is named after its home state. Although its history is vague, it is believed that both the Toltec and the Aztec cultures raised small dogs called the Techichi. Many believe this breed is one of the ancient ancestors of the modern-day Chihuahua.

Brief History
The Techichi was refined by the Aztecs into a smaller dog breed over time and became an important part of their culture. This hardy little dog lived in small villages in the mid 1800’s when travelers from the U.S developed a liking to them in Mexico. The first Chihuahua was registered in 1908 with the AKC.

Physical Features
The Chihuahua is a compact little dog and often slightly longer than they are tall. This very feisty breed has a large, rounded skull with a short pointed muzzle and large, full eyes. Their ears are large and erect with outward-pointing tips. This breed has a long, thin tail which is either carried up or in a loop over their backs.

The Chihuahua typically has either a longhaired or a short, smooth coat. They also have a large ruff around the neck and feathering on the tail, feet, and legs.

This breed may be any color with a solid, marked or splashed coat. The most common coat colors found in Chihuahua’s are fawn, sable, red, black and tan, tricolor, and brindle.

Average Height:
6-9 inches

Average Weight:
2-6 pounds

Life Expectancy:
12-20 years


Temperament
The Chihuahua has a ‘terrier-like’ attitude — a small dog with a big attitude! The Chihuahua is extremely alert, barks a lot, and is very sensitive to noise. This breed needs plenty of socialization around other dogs, animals and people from puppyhood.

The Chihuahua also does well with positive training which helps them socialize with other dogs and people. That said, this very self-reliant dog breed does not do well with children and prefers a relaxed household with an elderly adult.


If socialized from a young age, the Chihuahua is great with other animals, dogs and people, but will still need plenty of time to feel comfortable. If you’re looking for a feisty, yet sensitive buddy, the Chihuahua might be the companion for you.

This sensitive breed will need time to adjust to new surroundings and will be very nervous at first. It may take a few weeks for them to adapt, but once they’ve settled down, there’s no turning back. They have some big personality, loving companionship and lots of laughs.

Special Needs
This breed tends to get scared very easily and does not like loud noises. Pet parents need to be careful that Chihuahua does not run away when off-leash. Early socialization with other dogs, people and animals is highly recommended. Chihuahuas also tend to bark a lot when afraid.

Possible Health Concerns
The Chihuahua is an active dog breed that may be susceptible to the following:

Heart Problems. Mitral Valve Disease also known as MVD occurs when the mitral valve thickens and degrades over time. Coughing and difficulty breathing are symptoms.
Eye Diseases. Dry eye is a common eye problem in this breed and has the potential to cause blindness. Consult with your veterinarian if you notice excessive blinking, sticky or red eyes.
Patellar Luxation. This happens when the kneecap is dislocated. If left untreated it can lead to arthritis.
Exercise
The Chihuahua needs regular daily walks and off-leash trips to the dog park. Although this breed is small, exercise is crucial for good health and mental stimulation. That said, the Chihuahua enjoys going everywhere. Trips to the mall, bookstore and grocery store are always welcome! This breed also enjoys hanging out at home and is very easy to look after.

Nutrition
Some Chihuahua’s pick up weight easily, and can quickly become obese. Pet parents should never underestimate the importance of a well-balanced diet. Chihuahua pet parents should assess their dog’s activity level, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he or she may be prone to. Consulting with your veterinarian about the best high-quality food options will help to give your Chihuahua a longer and healthier life. Providing your Chihuahua with fresh fruits, salmon, chicken, vegetables, minerals and fiber are a plus.

Grooming

The Chihuahua does a fair amount of self-cleaning. That said, daily grooming is always recommended along with regular bathing, brushing teeth, ear cleaning, and nail trimming. Visits to the veterinarian are recommended for teeth cleaning twice a year. Dental hygiene is crucial in small dogs. The Chihuahua enjoys being bathed, and if long haired, does well at the groomers. Occasional shedding may occur!