Other names: Chi, chi chi
Dog Group Kennel Club: Toy (AKC, KC)
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world and was named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. There are 2 distinct breed types, the long coated and the short coated. Coat colours include: any solid colour or mixture. Identical otherwise, both can be born in the same litter. They are recognised as two separate breeds. They are fine-boned but muscular dogs, with big dark eyes, an apple shaped headed, and with large trademark ears.
Weight: 2 – 6 lbs
Average Life Span: 15 years
Chihuahuas are graceful, bold, alert, affectionate little dogs who are extremely courageous for their size. They become very attached to their owners making them great lap dogs. Despite their size they make excellent watch dogs. They are not recommended for families with small children as they are far too fragile to withstand rough and tumble play. Would be best suited for couples are families with teenage children. Overall they are good companion dogs.
They may be slightly difficult to train, but they are intelligent, learn quickly. If training is started in early puppy hood they respond well to proper, gentle (positive reinforcement) training. They are known to be difficult to house train. It is recommended to socialize your Chihuahua as a pup to avoid excessive aggressiveness with other dogs and strangers.
The long coated needs a good brushing and combing once a week. Short haired should be brushed gently or wiped with a damp cloth. Check ears regularly and keep nails trimmed.
Chihuahuas are lively and energetic but only need time to play with toys or a very short walk to be healthy and happy. It is recommended that Chihuahuas wear a harness instead of a collar due to their fragile tracheas (windpipes.) In colder weather they will need a jumper or coat when going for a walk to keep them warm.
Chihuahua Health Issues
Luxating PatellaSlipping knee joints (also referred to as luxating patellas, slipped stifles) are a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slips out of its groove and moves against the thighbone (femur) instead of along its natural groove. Although this has been found to be a heritable condition, small, active breeds are likely to aggravate it through the course of their natural activities (jumping up and down) around taller objects such as furniture.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This problem can happen at any age, although small, young Chihuahua puppies have a higher potential for developing hypoglycemia. Symptoms: Lethargy, lack of coordination (stumbling, falling, staggering), followed by coma and death if not treated.
Diet Chihuahuas, need essential fatty acids which are good fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6 that help build cell membranes in the body. Without them, the body’s chemical structure will not function as well. Omega 6 is one fatty acid that cannot be made by your Chihuahua’s body. Therefore, you should ensure your Chihuahua is getting Omega 6 in its diet for optimal health.
To determine if your Chihuahua has a deficiency in fatty acids, check its skin to see if it is flaky and if the coat is dull, greasy, or has a course texture. If you notice these things, you can be relatively certain your Chihuahua is not getting enough essential fatty acids. Always ask your vet for advice.
Climate Chihuahuas prefer warmer temperatures and really enjoy sunbathing (just beware of the dangers of heatstroke). They don’t tolerate cold well at all. If you have to take them out in the cold, try putting a “doggie” sweater or coat on them to help keep them warm
Much of the Chihuahua’s history is speculation and theory, although everyone agrees on some matters. The Chihuahua is named for the Mexican State that borders Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is believed that the breed descended from the Techichi, a small canine that dates back to Mayan times (around the 5th century AD).
The Toltecs (the people that conquered the Mayans) are believed to be the first to domesticate the Techichi and brought the canine into the home as pets and also used them for religious purposes. After the Aztecs became the ruling class of Mexico, they also used the dog as a companion and in religious ceremonies. This has been learned due to the writings in Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec writings in tombs, temples, and pyramids. Also, remains of the small dogs were found in graves in both Mexico and the United States so this could back up the religious theory.
The dogs were found in the state of Chihuahua in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes, and are thought to be the ruins of the palace built by Emperor Montezuma I. The relics and remains of the Techichi indicate that the breed was longhaired and mute, very different from the modern Chihuahua. The Aztec wealthy and clergy thought the Techichi to be sacred while the lower class had little use for the dogs and sometimes used them as food.
When the explorers arrived in the New World it is believed the Techichi bread with a dog that was brought over and the result is the Chihuahua that we have today. The tiny modern day Chihuahua has gone through many changes and become very popular since their discovery. The American Kennel Club first registered the Chihuahua as a breed in 1904. Color variations are limited only by the imagination. The smooth coated variety is still the most publicly recognized, but the long-coat variety has increased in numbers and popularity.