The Chihuahua (pronounced "chiwawa") is a tiny but confident dog that loves giving and receiving attention. Despite its petite and fragile appearance, the breed is quite bold and can even be considered brazen. Its wide eyes and big ears are quite possibly its best-known features. The ears are usually erect and very large in relation to its small head and body. The Chihuahua has a unique personality and can be a quite affectionate, loyal companion dog.
Size: 2-6 pounds
Coat & Color: Chihuahuas can have smooth coats or long coats. They are seen in many colors, either solid or a combination of two colors. Most common colors include black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate and red.
History of the Chihuahua
The Chihuahua originated in Mexico and was developed in the state for which it was named. A likely ancestor of the breed was the Techichi, a sacred dog of the ancient Toltecs. However, ancestors of the Chihuahua may have been present earlier than the ninth century. Some believe that the smaller size of the breed may have resulted from crossing with Chinese Crested dogs.
First registered by the AKC in 1904, the Chihuahua is one of the oldest breeds on the American continent and one of the smallest breeds in the world. The Chihuahua is also a very popular dog breed, probably due to its tiny size and big personality.
Caring for Your Chihuahua
The sassy attitude of the Chihuahua demands proper socialization and in-depth obedience training. Without adequate socialization, the breed can become fearful and defensive (especially around new people or animals). An untrained Chihuahua can act defiant and defensive towards their owners and other people.
Though stubborn at times, the breed is smart and can become well-behaved with dedication and consistency from its owner. It is also essential that you teach your Chihuahua to tolerate being handled at a young age (especially for things like nail trims).
Smooth coat Chihuahuas need little more than basic routine grooming due to their short hair. However, the long coated variety requires more frequent grooming, especially routine hair brushing. Due to their small size, the Chihuahua's nails don't wear down naturally. It's important that you trim the nails regularly to keep them from becoming overgrown and uncomfortable.
It is absolutely essential for your Chihuahuas to get regular exercise. Many people underestimate the exercise needs of smaller dogs. The Chihuahua has a moderate to high energy level and may develop behavior problems if not given enough activity. Chihuahua's don't need much. Exercise and mental stimulation will help maintain your dog's mental and physical health.
Chihuahua Health Problems
However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
Is a Chihuahua Right for You?
The Chihuahua's affectionate and attention-loving nature makes it a snuggly dog that enjoys being carried around and pampered. Some don't even mind being dressed up in cute little outfits (but others hate it, so be careful).
When raised and handled appropriately, the Chihuahua can make a wonderful companion for many kinds of families. Not all Chihuahuas will automatically get along with children, but they can sometimes be trained and socialized to get along with kids.
Do you want a Chihuahua? If you would like to share your life with an adorable Chihuahua, take the time to do your research first.
Talk to your veterinarian, other Chihuahua owners, reputable Chihuahua breeders, and Chihuahua rescue groups to learn more.