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Chihuahua – Everything You Need To Know

Chihuahua is a purebred dog that comes with charming looks and various coat colors and types. The Chihuahua is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua in the 1850s and is the world’s smallest dog. Also, the Chihuahua is also the national dog of Mexico. They excel in all dog sport activities, including agility, though small in size. They love to be around their humans and develop a strong bond. Due to this, they also love to follow you everywhere and enjoy shopping trips in tote bags. Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and also fast learners. Although a toy breed, they are feisty and alert. They are also called “purse dogs.” Chihuahuas live long and are great companions to share life with.

Chihuahua Pros And Cons

ProsCons
Apartment friendlyBarks a lot
IntelligentProne to health issues
Easy to groomDifficult to train

Chihuahua Basic Information

  • Name: Chihuahua
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Group: Companion dogs
  • Size: Small 
  • Height: 6-9 inches
  • Weight: 3-6 pounds
  • Coat: Short-haired and long-haired
  • Color: Any color
  • Energy: High – medium
  • Activities: Walking, Agility, Obedience trials
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: Low
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 1-3 puppies
  • Another Name: Nil
  • Original Passtime: Watchdogs, Companion dog
  • Life Span: 10-18 years
  • Breed Recognition: AKC – American Kennel Club, UKC – United Kennel Club

History of Chihuahua

The origin of Chihuahuas is unclear and is believed to be descended from a Central and South American dog called Techichi. More profound research takes us to the Toltec civilization, where Toltec carvings date back to the 9th century with depictions of a dog resembling a Chihuahua. These dogs are called Techichi, and their purpose remains unclear. Later on, the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs and took in these dogs. They were used in Aztec rituals and lived in temples. Chihuahuas were believed to have mystic powers and the ability to see the future. Aztecs also believed that Techichi dogs could heal the sick and guide the souls in their afterlife journey. Aztecs also killed Red Techichi as a custom and cremated the dog with the dead person’s remains.

Around the late 1500s, the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, and the Techichi dog’s existence became insignificant. It is also believed that a small dog from China with no hair or less hair was brought to Mexico by the Spanish traders. These dogs were then bred with the native dogs. However, the present-day Chihuahua was discovered in the 1850s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. And then, the Americans who visited  Mexico brought these dogs into America. Eventually, they started to gain popularity among the American population over the years.

AKC recognized a Chihuahua named Midget in 1904, and Midget became the first Chihuahua to be identified. The popularity of Chihuahuas increased during  the 1930s and 1940s and was associated with the Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. Since then, the Chihuahuas have been one of the popular dog breeds and ranked 11th among 155 breeds recognized by the AKC.

Types of Chihuahua

There are officially two varieties of Chihuahuas – long-haired and short-haired Chihuahua. According to the official statement by the Chihuahua Club of America(AKC’s official breed club), “The Official AKC Breed Standard describes the Chihuahua as a small dog that comes in two varieties or coat types. The difference in coat type (the Long Coat and the Smooth Coat) is the only official description used to identify a difference within this breed. Our standard does not categorize the Chihuahua by size.”

Long-haired Chihuahua: The coat is thin, long, silky, and slightly wavy and not curly. These dogs may or may not have an undercoat. Different parts of the body can have long hair than the other parts. It has to be noted that if the hair is longer and fluffy like that of a Pomeranian, it will not be accepted by the governing bodies of FCI.

Short-haired Chihuahua: The coat is short, smooth, soft, glossy, and can have an undercoat. The hair around the neck and tail is slightly longer than the other parts.

The other types of Chihuahuas that are not recognized by AKC are

Apple Head Chihuahua: They have a round head more prominent than the body with a small muzzle and protruding eyes. The head has a small opening called a molera in the puppies. However, the opening closes over time as the puppies grow up.

Deer Head Chihuahua: These dogs have an elongated head, a narrow snout, and large ears that resemble a deer. The body and legs are also long and heavier than the Apple Head Chihuahua.

Pear Head Chihuahua: They have a bigger body and flat skull with large muzzles. Their head is pear-shaped and thus is called a Pear Head Chihuahua. This Chihuahua type is uncommon and is developed by the breeders.

Teacup Chihuahua: They have tiny bodies and are small enough to fit inside a teacup. They resemble an Apple Head Chihuahua and are a miniature version of the Standard Chihuahua.

Fawn Chihuahuas are called so because of their beautiful fawn-color coats. They have different varieties of fawns, such as sable fawns and blue fawns. They also come with different markings. They can be both short-haired and long-haired.

Chihuahua Highlights

  • Chihuahua dogs have a long life and live for 18 years.
  • Chihuahuas need extra care during cold and wet weather. They are prone to shivering in cold weather or when excited and scared.
  • They need early socialization as these dogs are not friendly with other dogs.
  • Chihuahuas cannot be left alone in the backyard as hawks, bigger dogs, or coyotes can attack them due to their small size.
  • They are not great with strangers and need training and a lot of interaction.
  • Chihuahuas have big personalities and can boss their humans around the house. They need puppy training with commands and can be destructive when bored.
  • Chihuahuas weighing less than 3 pounds can have a short life span.
  • Chihuahuas are not just gentle lap dogs. But they can also be fierce and terror-like.

Chihuahua Personality

Chihuahuas are small toy breed dogs that grow 6-9 inches and weigh around 3-6 pounds. They come in two types of coats – long-haired and short-haired. Long-haired coats have soft fur that is flat and wavy, with a fringe seen at the ear and tail. Short-haired have smooth and shiny coats with thick long hair on the neck. They are not hypoallergenic and may or may not have an undercoat. The coat colors include black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, silver, or a mix of shades of all colors. 

The coat color can also be tri-color, including brindle, spotted, and merle. Chihuahuas also vary in the size of their head, and they can be apple-shaped heads or deer-shaped heads. The eyes are round and dark with erect and long ears. The tail is long and fringed. Their tiny body adds to the cuddly look and is a perfect lap dog of all times. Their overall appearance is feisty yet graceful, compact with saucy expressions, and moves swiftly with gentle steps.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Family-friendlyHigh
Kid-friendlyHigh
Dog-friendlyLow
Stranger-friendlyLow

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingHigh
Good for new ownersMedium
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceLow
Heat toleranceLow

Chihuahua Physical Features

Head: The skull is round and eyes are round, dark, full with saucy expression. The eyes can also have a ruby color. The ears are long and erect. The muzzle is short and slightly pointed. The cheeks and jaws are lean. The nose is either self-colored or black. They have a scissors-like bite with sharp teeth.

Neck: The neck is slightly-arched and gracefully sloppy.

Topline: The topline is level and firm. They have a deep and muscular chest.

Body: The body is compact with well-spring ribs.

Tail: The tail is moderately long, full, and fringed.

Forequarters: The shoulders are lean and support the forelegs giving free movement at the elbows. 

Hindquarters: The hindquarters are muscular, firm, and sturdy. Feet: The feet are small and dainty with split-up toes. The dewclaws can be removed.

Coat: The coat is either long-haired or short-haired.

  • Long-haired – long, smooth and wavy with an undercoat
  • Short-haired – smooth, soft, glossy, and undercoat is possible with heavier coats.

Color: Any color- solid, marked, or splashed.

Gait: The action is free, sturdy, and firm with well-balanced movement.

Chihuahua Temperament

Chihuahuas are perfect lap dogs and make great companions. They love to be around people and enjoy snuggles and cuddles any time of the day. They are highly vocal and great conversationalists. They are feisty, alert, and bark a lot. Due to their compact size, they are adaptable to carry anywhere in a tote bag. They make an excellent watchdog and have bold personalities but are wary of strangers. They don’t do well with other dogs in the household. 

However, Chihuahuas can get along with people and other dogs with early socialization. They are intelligent, willful, and quick to learn anything. They are also brave and curious and love to explore new things. They do well with children but should not be left unsupervised with small children as they may get injured while playing due to their small size. Their overall temperament includes:

  • Loyal
  • Alert
  • Affectionate
  • Companion dogs
  • Lively
  • Attentive
  • Bright
  • Intelligent
  • Curious
  • Stubborn

Chihuahua Training

The Chihuahuas are intelligent and stubborn and make training quite tricky. Like any other dog, they need early socialization and puppy training classes. The training requires patience and consistency during the period. They are sensitive to any adverse reactions and need positive reinforcement while training. They love being around people, and treats and cuddling do wonders while training. They are active and look forward to the training sessions, playing fetch, which helps in training regarding behavioral corrections. They do not respond to harsh commands, hence lots of praises, cuddles, and treats can help during the training. Obedience training and socialization help in behavioral correction and bring out the best in any dog. Chihuahuas become bored quickly; hence it is necessary to keep the training interesting. Their Training can include the following:

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Trainability Overview

Easy to trainHigh to medium
IntelligenceHigh
Prey driveMedium
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh to medium
Wanderlust tendenciesLow

Chihuahua Exercise Need

Chihuahuas have tiny bodies but are highly active, energetic, and get enough exercise. A daily routine of 30-60 minutes of exercise is ideal for keeping the dog’s mental and physical stimulation intact. Walking 2-3 times a day with a bit of running and play keeps the dog happy and healthy. They excel in activities like agility and flyball. They enjoy running, walking, hiking, agility, and indoor games. A proper exercise routine helps the dog with the following benefits.

  • Social interaction
  • Weight Control
  • Stress Relief
  • Behavioral Corrections like excessive chewing, persistent barking
  • Brain stimulation
  • Strengthening Muscles
  • Routine Toileting
  • Mental health and happiness

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsLow
IntensityLow
PlayfulnessHigh

Chihuahua Grooming

Chihuahuas come in two types of coats, long and short. They shed low and can have seasonal shedding during the spring. They are easy to groom, and the coat needs to be brushed 2-3 times per week. The short-haired can be brushed with a rubber grooming mitt, and the long-haired can be brushed with a pin brush. Brushing helps remove matted hair and pull out the loose fur during shedding. 

One of the essential parts of grooming is bathing which keeps the dog clean. However, frequent bathing causes dry skin and itches. Bathing your dog using canine shampoos with pH. balance. Pet wipes will keep your dog’s coat fresh, clean, and shiny. They can also be bathed once a week. However, daily brushing helps to keep the fur from knots and tangles.

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They are prone to collect ear wax quickly. Hence, Ears should be cleaned and regularly checked as they are prone to ear problems. Brush their teeth daily to prevent plaque and other dental problems. Never brush the teeth with a stiff brush as it will harm the gums and teeth. Also, make sure to use dog-friendly toothpaste. 

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Also, clean their eyes and trim their nails as a part of everyday grooming needs. Their toenails need to be checked once a week as longer nails may harm and injure the dog. You can trim the toenails with a commercial dog nail trimmer or with the help of a vet or professional groomer.

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Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow 
Amount of sheddingLow

Chihuahua Health

Chihuahuas are healthy and active dogs. Yet, it’s always wise to be aware of the health conditions they are prone to. 

Health Overview

General healthLow
Weight gain tendenciesHigh to medium
SizeSmall 

Patellar Luxation: It is also known as “slipped stifles,” a common problem in small dog breeds that is caused when the patella, which has three parts-the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not correctly bounded. This leads to lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, like a hop or a skip. This condition is caused by birth, although the misalignment or luxation does not always occur much later. In addition, the rubbing caused by patellar luxation leads to arthritis. There are four patellar luxation grades, ranging from phase I, an occasional luxation causing unstable lameness in the joint, to grade IV, where the turning of the tibia is heavy, and you cannot realign the patella manually. This gives your dog a bow-legged appearance. Uphill grades of patellar luxation may require surgery.

Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a disorder that can affect several tiny dog breeds, including Chihuahuas and their mixed breeds. When a dog’s blood sugar level drops too low, hypoglycemia occurs. This occurs most frequently after an exercise session, when the dog skips a meal, or when the dog witnesses an exciting occurrence. If you suspect your dog is suffering from hypoglycemia, make an appointment with your veterinarian. 

Heart Disease: Heart Diseases might cause abnormal heart murmurs and heart rhythm. You can diagnose this condition through an X-ray, an ECG, or an echocardiogram. Treatment depends on the cause and ranges from medication, dental care, and weight control. 

Collapsed Trachea: A dog’s trachea (windpipe) is a muscular tube supported by soft cartilage rings. On its way to the lungs, the trachea travels through the dog’s neck. When a dog pulls too hard on a collar or chokes a chain, it can cause tracheal collapse. On the other hand, many little dogs are born with malformed or weaker tracheal cartilage. This can cause the windpipe to collapse, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. 

Hydrocephalus: This is a comparatively rare disease experienced by smaller canines. Dogs with this disease have cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside their heads that cannot drain. This puts a lot of pressure on the brain, leading to lousy vision or blindness, seizures, restlessness, trouble learning commands, and coma.

Open Fontanels: Moleras are present when chihuahuas are born. Chihuahuas have this as a standard. However, because your dog is a mix, you should have it examined. A hole in the skull caused by incomplete closure is known as an open fontanel. Dogs should be able to close the hole in 9 to 12 weeks. If not, you’ve got an open fontanel.

Spay or Neuter: In spay, the ovaries or uterus in females is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the male dogs are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

Recommended Tests for Chihuahua

  • X-Rays 
  • CT Scan 
  • Eye Examination 
  • Physical Examination 
  • Blood Work
  • Vet-certified proof of genetic testing

Chihuahua Diet and Nutrition

Chihuahuas need high-quality food, and they should eat 1/4 to 1/2 cups of meal every day. Each puppy is distinctive, and the correct amount and quality of food depend on their age, weight, activity level, health, and more. The meals can also be split into two 2 cups daily. They are prone to obesity, and hence overfeeding must be avoided. Bulldog Poodle Mix pups can be given dry food, wet food, or a combination of both. Make sure the diet contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, chondroitin, and glucosamine. They can also be fed with fruits and vegetables that give carbohydrate energy. Never hesitate to consult a vet to meet your pup’s dietary requirements to keep them happy and healthy.

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Chihuahua Living Condition

Chihuahuas love to be around their humans, follow them all day and night, are adaptable, and can live in apartments with sufficient exercise or homes with bigger yards. They love outdoor activities like walking, running, playing, hunting, and visiting dog parks. They have surprising energy levels and love to chase squirrels and small animals endlessly. When allowed in a backyard, the place should be adequately fenced as they may wander through small gaps. 

Chihuahuas should not be left alone in the backyard as they can be attacked by birds, dogs, and other bigger animals. They do not do well with other canines and need training and love the attention of their owners by developing strong bonds. They suit homes with smaller kids and strangers with early socialization. Chihuahuas are sensitive and prone to destructive behavior when left alone. They do not tolerate cold and hot weather conditions and need extra care. They need to be dressed in an extra coat to keep them from shivering due to the cold and wet temperatures. They enjoy companionship, playtime, training, praises, and cuddles.

Adding Chihuahua to Your Family

Things to Remember Before Adding Chihuahua to Your Family

It is best to get a Chihuahua from a reputable breeder to prevent unavoidable circumstances like health disorders and provide you with vaccination certificates. It is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure his health and happiness. Always remember the following red flags to avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills.

  • Puppies are available around the year.
  • You can choose from a variety of litter that is always available.
  • One will be promised any puppy they want. 

Cost of a Chihuahua Puppy

The cost of a Chihuahua ranges from $375 and $2420

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