Tiny and fragile but alert and bold, Chihuahuas are the world's smallest breed. They are named after the Mexican state from which the breed was first exported. A popular little dog that doesn't require much exercise, the Chihuahua is the ultimate lap dog. Both the short-haired and more temperature-resistant long-haired variety offer humor, comfort and companionship. Their coats come in many colors from white to black-and-tan and many colors in between. Grooming is minimal for the short coats and more frequent for the long coats. Chihuahuas weigh from 2 to 6 lbs. and stand 6-9" at the shoulders. Contact the dog breeders below for your next family friend.
The Chihuahua has been around for generations, first recognized in 1904 by the American Kennel Club. This tiny dog is the smallest of all breeds and must weigh no more than 6 pounds to conform to AKC standards, although some who are simply pets are bigger than that. If well socialized, Chihuahuas are very friendly and extremely intelligent. Properly trained, they are very obedient and respond well to commands. However – and this is very important – they can easily be inadvertently spoiled by innocent owners who think that because they're so cute and tiny, they should be pampered. These little dogs can be powerhouses of misbehavior. It's therefore important to treat your little pet with exactly the same firmness and direction as you would a larger dog.
The Chihuahua has an ambiguous history, although most agree that the breed originated in Mexico. It may have descended from the Techichi dog, the animal that functioned as a companion for the Toltec civilization in Mexico. Another possible country of origination is the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean.
A predecessor to the Chihuahua was reportedly found in 1850, near Casas Grandes, in Chihuahua, Mexico. That's where the breed of today gets its name. Most artifacts relating to Chihuahuas, though, have been found near Mexico City. Casas Grandes was home to a site that held an artifact pot showing the variety of Chihuahua called "deerhead” dating back to about 1100 to 1300 A.D. This relic illustrates just how long this breed has been around, with its presence in Mexico documented for almost 1500 years before Europeans set foot on Mexican soil. Some believe that the dog has some of its ancestry in the fennec fox, a tiny animal with similarly large ears and huge, luminous eyes that compare to those of the Chihuahua. Some experts first thought that the modern-day Chihuahua was much smaller than its predecessors, but this has been disproven.
Regardless of how it actually came to be, the breed was an instant hit in the United States, and has remained consistently popular, especially after its recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1904. Today, the Chihuahua is a member of the AKC Toy Group and ranks among the top 25 dogs in breed popularity.
The Chihuahua is a miniscule dog, weighing no more than 6 pounds at standard. Their eyes are huge, round, and very intelligent. They resemble the large, luminous eyes of a doe, hence referred to as “doe eyes.” They have large, erect ears and tails that curl over the back or to the side. Chihuahuas can have either short, sleek coats or long, wavy coats. All colors, including white, black, fawn, chestnut, sable, silver, stand, black and tan, parti-color, and steel blue are accepted under formal standards.
By their nature, Chihuahuas are courageous, affectionate, proud, and energetic. As long as they're properly socialized, they are very well-behaved little dogs that are ever loyal to their owners as ideal pets. However, it is of the utmost importance especially with Chihuahuas that you take a firm hand with your little friend. Because they are so "cute," and so tiny, owners often make the mistake of babying them and letting them get away with things a larger dog would not be allowed to do. A word to the wise: Don't.
If you do this, you run the risk of creating a small terror who simply will be a spoiled rotten brat. Your little pet will become suspicious of strangers, and will not let anyone approach it (except for you...perhaps!) It may decide that it is the pack leader over you, which is a bad thing for any dog, but especially for a Chihuahua. If you let your little dog rule the roost, so to speak, you have basically saddled yourself with a tiny monster you'll have to watch forever.
Although Chihuahuas are small and therefore may be seen as less dangerous even if they behave badly as compared to larger dogs, they can certainly still bite, and be a danger especially to small children. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you socialize your pet from the first day to be well-behaved and obedient to you, and to know its bounds. You should always be alpha leader in your "pack," and your little pet should always know who is boss.
That said, properly socialized Chihuahuas are simply delightful and personable little friends for both owners and friendly strangers alike. They're extremely devoted, and they want nothing more than to be your little shadow. They are the consummate lapdog and ultimate companion, because you can literally take them with you almost anywhere.
The Chihuahua can live just about anywhere because of its tiny size. Socialized properly, it behaves very well with small children, although small children especially should be carefully taught to handle this delicate little creature with care. Although they are sturdy for their size, they're still tiny, and they can be injured quite easily with rough handling. The Chihuahua can be a perfect companion to a solitary owner or a large family, again as long as proper care is taken to protect its fragility. They don't like the cold and prefer warmth, but this can be quite easily handled by dressing your little pet in dog sweaters or other cold-weather gear.
While it is commonly believed that Chihuahuas don't need exercise, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that your Chihuahua will benefit from exercise on a daily basis. Because your pet is so small, it's tempting to carry your Chihuahua with you wherever you go instead of letting it walk – but your pet needs exercise! Not only does it need exercise purely for its physical release of excess energy, but because it fills the primal need for a dog to walk. In addition, because your dog needs to know you're the pack leader, putting it on a leash and then taking charge will show it who is boss. If you don't take your dog on a daily walk as any dog needs to do, it may become neurotic, snappish, and unhappy.
As with many purebred dogs, the Chihuahua is prone to quite a few health problems, including rheumatism, gum disease, and eye problems like glaucoma and corneal dryness. Since Chihuahuas' eyes protrude, they can be prone to injury if not protected. Some Chihuahuas are predisposed to a condition called a molera, which is an open spot in the skull. The molera opening is normal in newly-born puppies, but closes as the puppy gets older, in most cases. Until a puppy is about six months old, great care should be taken to protect the head. If the molera does not close, surgical intervention may be required.
They may also be prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which is especially dangerous for puppies. As with other small breeds, they may also develop a luxating patella, where the kneecap slips out of place because of improper formation. Finally, they also have dental issues, and must undergo regular dental care. Chihuahuas can be picky eaters. Typical of hypoglycemic behavior, they may constantly eat small quantities of soft food, which can be detrimental to the health of their teeth, resulting in an infection and decay if owners do not watch closely. Because of this, regular dental care is a must.
Chihuahuas can be picky eaters. Typical of hypoglycemic behavior, they may constantly eat small quantities of soft food, which can be detrimental to the health of their teeth, resulting in an infection and decay if owners do not watch closely. Because of this, regular dental care is a must.
Nonetheless, Chihuahuas are quite hearty and healthy as long as their known health problems are addressed, with an average life span of 10 to 17 years, assuming proper veterinary care and physical handling.
AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Chihuahua.
Retrieved March 18, 2012.
Retrieved March 18, 2012.
Retrieved March 18, 2012.
Group Classification: Toy Group
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Moderate Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 6 pounds
Height M: 6-9 inches
Weight F: 6 pounds
Height F: 6-9 inches
Litter Size: 1-4 puppies
Life Expectancy: 14-18 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Any solid, marked, or splashed color.
Chihuahuas are not outside dogs. They are as comfortable in an urban apartment as they are in a country home. Due to their size, they should never be left unattended outdoors as they can become easy prey to birds and other wildlife. This breed is a popular choice among novice or first-time dog owners.