The Consummate Lapdog and Ultimate Companion
Toni Grzunov - Last updated on June 21st, 2021
All you need to know about the Chihuahua
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 Appearance of the Chihuahua
The looks of a Chihuahua can wildly differ from one to the other. Of course, they all share those famously large eyes and ears, but other traits offer quite a bit of variety!
These pooches have two different coat types, smooth and long. Smooth coats fit very close to the body and look shiny and neat. They do have a small ruff of thick hair around the neck area. This hair is longer than the rest of the coat.
On the other hand, long coats feature a soft fur that can be straight or wavy. Dogs with this type of coat usually have a plumed tail and a fringe of hair on their ears. They also have hair on their feet and stomach, the former resembling a pair of pants. Chihuahuas with this type of coat also have that same ruff on the neck as the ones with a smooth coat.
The heads of Chihuahuas can also look wildly different. Some dogs have a round-shaped head, while others have a narrower head with a longer snout that resembles the head of a deer.
The eyes of a Chihuahua are round, large, and set wide. It is hard not to notice them and how gorgeous they are. Their color changes depending on the coat color. Another trait this breed is known for is the large ears. They almost seem too big for the bodies of these pups. They stand up straight and are set at an angle.
What colors does a Chihuahua come in?
When it comes to colors - anything goes. It even says so in the breed standard! The coat colors of these pups can definitely be wildly different. Some Chihuahuas are solid-colored, while others are tricolor, brindle, merle, or spotted.
Some of the more common coat colors include:
- Blue and white
- Blue fawn sable
- Cream Sable
- Black and tan
- Gold sable
All about the Chihuahua personality
Chihuahuas are extremely brave and proud by nature. They also love showing affection and are incredibly energetic. If your pet Chihuahua is properly socialized it will behave really well and show loyalty to you and your family.
These dogs truly make for wonderful pets. However, at times you will need to be firm with them! Chihuahuas look cute and are really small, so most owners usually pamper them and let them get away with doing naughty things.
Most people would punish larger dogs if they did things Chihuahuas get away with, but because of their cute looks and size, these pups are allowed to pull off various wacky stunts. Make sure to avoid doing this whenever possible.
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 the 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.
Is a Chihuahua easy to train?
Since these pooches are so intelligent, it comes as no surprise that they are easily trainable. Seriously, training your Chihuahua will be a joy for you and your pet. These dogs are independent and can be strong-minded, but if you start with training early, you won’t notice these traits.
Gouse training is extremely easy with them as well. If you get them used to a routine as puppies they will follow it forever, just make sure to give your Chihuahua access to outside space.
The trainable nature of Chihuahuas is one of the reasons they are so popular. The fact that they easily become incredibly loyal means that training recall won’t be an issue for anyone.
These pups are always alert and love to please their owners. Positive reinforcement will be the best training method of choice with Chihuahuas. Always make sure to have a treat at hand when training with your pet.
These dogs are aware of how cute they are and know how to take advantage of it, so you need to know how to take a firm stance and show who’s in charge. Don’t let your pet get away with anything, even when it is still a puppy. Be firm but gentle.
How much Grooming does a Chihuahua need?
The amount of grooming a Chihuahua will need largely depends on the type of coat it has. Those with a smooth coat won’t require much grooming at all and will make do fine with the occasional brush to keep the coat shiny.
On the other hand, long-coated Chihuahuas will require regular brushing and more care. Some might even take them to a professional groomer every few weeks, although that isn’t really necessary. If you brush the coat regularly at home you will prevent mats and your pet won’t shed around your house.
Since these pups do shed relatively common, they are not considered hypoallergenic. They manage to produce enough dander that it can become an issue for people that suffer from allergies, so avoid Chihuahuas if you are allergic!
Since these dogs are small, they can be prone to feeling cold, especially the smooth-coated Chihuahuas. They will need a warm bed or a coat in colder climates. You may see your pet shiver in the cold, but also when it’s stressed or excited.
Bathe your Chihuahua regularly, and make sure to pay attention to dental care. Brush its teeth every other day using a doggy toothpaste picked by your vet.
Chihuahuas have nails that grow extremely fast, so you should trim them regularly. If they grow too long it may become painful for your pet, and you want to avoid that. Trim the nails if you can hear them clicking on the floor when your pet is walking.
The Living Environment of the Chihuahua
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.
The Health and Nutrition of the Chihuahua
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 behaviour, 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.
Where does the Chihuahua come from?
The history of these tiny dogs is not completely clear, but there are two main theories about where they come from. The first theory states that Chihuahuas descended from a dog that originated in Central or South America.
This dog was known as Techichi and was a bit larger than the Chihuahua. This breed dates all the way back to the 9th century and the Toltec civilization in Mexico. The Toltecs were conquered by the Aztecs who then made the Techichi a part of their culture.
They believed these dogs had mystical powers and that they could see the future and cure disease. The Techichi lived in temples there and took part in various religious rituals. The Aztecs even buried the dead with these dogs.
In the 1500s the Aztecs were conquered by Spain and these dogs were forgotten. They were re-discovered by Americans visiting Mexico in the 1800s. Since they were mostly found in the State of Chihuahua, the breed was named by it.
The second theory states that these small dogs were brought to Mexico from China by Spanish traders. They bred with small native dogs there and we got the Chihuahua we know today. This theory is a bit shorter! It also includes Christopher Columbus as one of the possible explorers that brought the dogs over.
Whichever theory is true, we can be sure that these dogs have existed for quite some time. They gained popularity in the first half of the 20th century and were registered by the AKC in 1904.
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Questions people often ask about Chihuahuas...
+Is the Chihuahua aggressive?
+Does the Chihuahua bark a lot?