Breed: Chihuahua

Suggested tests: Cardiac, knee
Avg Size of Female: Height: 6 – 9 inches, Weight: less than 6 pounds
Occasionally seen: None
Avg Size of male: Height: 6 – 9 inches, Weight: less than 6 pounds
Major concerns: None
Note: A soft spot (molera) in the skull (due to incomplete fontanel closure) is a common breed trait.
Life span: 14 – 18 years
Minor concerns: Pulmonic stenosis, hydrocephalus, patellar luxation, KCS, hypoglycemia

Brief History on Chihuahua Origin

One story suggests that this breed originated in China, and was eventually brought to the New World by Spanish traders. It was at that time they began crossing it with other very small, native dogs. Another theory suggests that the breed was first created in Central and South America, and that it was a close descendant from a native dog called the “Techichi.” Supposedly it was a firm belief that a small, red colored dog could guide the soul to the underworld. Therefore every Aztec family was known to keep such a dog in their household. There is also a possibility that the Techichi dog was used as a source of food by the Aztecs and Toltecs. However, it is also said that the Techichis were very much cared for and cherished by their families. Most likely, the beginning of the Chihuahua breed is probably a combination of these theories. Although, the era of its true origin is unknown. Another theory states that in the 16th century, when Cortes conquered the Aztecs, these little dogs were abandoned. It was about 300 years later, three of these tiny dogs were found in Chihuahua, Mexico. While a handful of them were brought to America, they did not gather much of a reputation. It was only when Xavier Cugat made his Chihuahua a constant companion when appearing in public, that the breed finally captured the attention of the American public. After that, the dog quickly became very popular and recognized. It’s  popularity in the United States continues to this day.

Chihuahua Breed Appearance

Graceful and small in size, the Chihuahua is slightly longer than it is tall. Its front legs are straight and feature very small, dainty feet with cushioned pads. The hindquarters are small but toned. The head has a large rounded skull. While the eyes of this breed are full and glossy, offering an expression of feistiness. The ears are large, triangular and held erect. The short muzzle is slightly pointed with little, lean jaws. The short and slightly arched neck slopes gracefully into the shoulders. The tail is well-proportioned in length, and it is carried over the back confidently. The gait of the Chihuahua is best described as assured and poised. The smooth coat variety is sometimes firm in texture and glossy in appearance. The long coat is much softer in texture, and it is normally straight or slightly curly. The long coat also features fringed ears and a plumed tail. The coat of either smooth or long can be found in any color and be solid, marked, or splashed.

Chihuahua Breed Temperament

The Chihuahua is one of the most popular toy breeds to this day because of their cheeky personality and their everlasting dedication to their owner. This breed is known to be aloof with strangers and can at times become jealous if your focus and attention is directed elsewhere. Though it is generally good with other dogs and non-canine pets in the household. This breed should be socialized at an early age to prevent aggressiveness with other dogs, and also to help with timidity with strangers. The Chihuahua has been known to be temperamental and does not tolerate being teased. It may snap at children if they are persistent with bothering it. This breed of dog is best for homes with older, understanding children. This is an eager-to-please and intelligent dog that is quick to learn if a gentle, positive training technique is used. Some Chihuahuas may be difficult to housebreak, and many owners decide to settle on paper training this breed.

Chihuahua Breed Maintenance

Coat care for the smooth Chihuahua is easy to maintain. Simply brush or wipe the coat with a damp cloth occasionally. Caring for the long coat Chihuahua is also quite simple but requires a bit more care – just brush it a couple times a week with a soft bristle brush. Both smooth and long haired Chihuahuas can be bathed about once a month, but take care and be sure to try to prevent water from getting in their large ears. The nails should be trimmed on a regular basis to prevent them from getting too uncomfortably long. Lively and adventurous, the Chihuahua gets plenty of exercise indoors. Although they do also enjoy sniffing and exploring outdoors, and it should be kept on a leash for it’s safety. It is very sensitive to the cold, and it will seek out warmth. A doggy sweater is definitely a good idea to have them wear on cooler days of the month. This breed is very ideal for apartment living due to it’s size and ability to tucker itself out indoors. While it may be tempting to carry this little dog in a purse or in your arms, it should be walked to keep it from becoming unhealthy or overweight. A body harness is suggested and recommended over a neck collar, as it is safer for this dainty breed’s trachea and throat area.

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