The Chihuahua is considered the smallest dog in the world. Its diminutive appearance has nothing to do with being fragile because it is a compact, astute, funny and observant dog. Originally from Mexico, this dog is par excellence a perfect companion dog.
- Weight: Between 2.2 to 6.6 lbs.
- Height: Although the breed standard doesn’t specify height, Chihuahuas typically have a height at the withers ranging from 6 to 10 inches.
- The standard dictates that the length should be slightly greater than the height at the withers.
- Coat: There are two variants of the breed: the short-haired Chihuahua and the long-haired Chihuahua.
- Short-haired Chihuahua: Possesses a short coat that may be slightly longer on the neck and tail, with a soft and glossy texture.
- Long-haired Chihuahua: Its coat is silky and fine, which can be straight or slightly wavy, with a light undercoat.
- Neck, ears, feet, and tail are characteristically feathered with hair. Colors: The FCI breed standard accepts all colors and combinations except for the merle color. Merle in Chihuahuas is associated with a gene that may lead to health problems.
- Solid colors and various color combinations are common, including black, blue, brown, sable, chocolate, fawn, white, red, silver, gold, lavender, and cream.
- Chihuahuas with spots and mottling can also be found. General Build: The Chihuahua has a compact and balanced body, with muscular back and legs, and a broad and deep chest. Characteristic apple-shaped head typical of the breed. Slightly upturned nose with any allowable color. Short, sharp-pointed muzzle. Scissor bite in the jaw. Large, round, bright, and expressive eyes, generally dark, but lighter shades are allowed. Semi-long, arched tail carried over the back. The Chihuahua’s signature ears stand at a 10:10 position when viewed from the front, meaning they have a 45-degree tilt and should be firm and large.
The Chihuahua, or Chihuahueño, is a small yet courageous and determined dog. It is always alert and restless, observant, lively, and vigorous.
Despite its appearance, this breed is robust. Chihuahuas are known for their intelligent and willful character.
They are highly observant and clever dogs that often seek to get their way. They are protective and exhibit a “big dog” attitude despite their small size.
Chihuahuas form strong emotional bonds with their owners and are loyal, affectionate, and playful.
The Chihuahua with Children: Due to its small size, Chihuahuas are not recommended for households with very young children who might handle them roughly and inadvertently cause harm.
Puppies can be socialized for peaceful coexistence with children while teaching kids to handle them with care and respect.
Daily Walks and Activity: Their small size allows them to exercise and run in confined spaces. They are active and playful dogs that require daily playtime and one or two short walks to stay in shape and maintain good mental health.
Coat Care: Short-haired Chihuahuas only need brushing a couple of times a month, while long-haired Chihuahuas require weekly brushing to keep their coat silky and tangle-free. During shedding, more frequent brushing is advised to remove loose hairs. Shedding from short hair can be more bothersome than long hair due to the hardness and difficulty of cleaning. Fortunately, their small size results in less shedding volume.
Baths: Full baths with specific shampoo should be given every three weeks. You can wipe them down with a damp cloth or a pet wipe after walks or when necessary. Excessive shampoo use can dry out their skin.
Feeding: Diet should be tailored to their age and breed. Providing age-appropriate kibble ensures they get the necessary nutrients for each stage of their development and ensures the kibble size is suitable for their jaw. If you prefer an alternative diet, such as wet food or a BARF diet, consult a veterinarian to meet their nutritional needs.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Chihuahua:
- Its small size makes it adaptable to any living space.
- It can exercise indoors, with short walks providing sufficient physical activity.
- It can be carried everywhere in your arms or in a small dog carrier due to its low weight.
- It makes for an excellent companion.
Disadvantages of Chihuahua:
- It is a yappy dog, and its high-pitched bark can be annoying.
- Shedding, though minimal in volume, can be bothersome during shedding seasons.
- Tendency to become bossy or overly anxious if not properly trained.
As mentioned earlier, Chihuahuas are very small but not inherently fragile. In fact, they generally enjoy good overall health.
However, certain health issues are more common in this breed, such as:
- Cardiac problems like patent ductus arteriosus or mitral valve disease.
- Eye diseases.
- Patellar luxation.
- Idiopathic epilepsy.
It is recommended to have evaluations conducted by an ophthalmologist, a patellar evaluation, and a cardiac evaluation to rule out any anomalies.
The best assurance of health is to acquire a Chihuahua from reputable breeders who prioritize their health in breeding practices.
History and Origin
The origins of the Chihuahua have been the subject of much debate. The most widely accepted theory suggests that it is a descendant of the Techichi, a dog raised by the Toltecs, who were precursors to the Aztecs.
The Techichi was a small and sturdy dog with long, mute hair. Evidence of the Techichi’s existence can be found in stone engravings from ancient Toltec constructions. These engravings exhibit similarities between the Techichi and the Chihuahua.
The name “Chihuahua” is derived from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, which is the birthplace of this breed. Speculations about possible crosses with hairless dogs from Asia, similar to the Chinese Crested and the Papillon, have also circulated.
Today, Chihuahuas are smaller than their historical counterparts, which is the result of American breeders’ efforts to achieve the best miniature dog breed through selective breeding.
The first Chihuahua registered with the American Kennel Club was in 1904, and it was named “Midget”.
The American Chihuahua Club was founded in 1923.
Chihuahuas arrived in Europe after World War II. In 1959, the breed was officially recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), and its most recent official standard was published in 2019.
The Chihuahua belongs to Group 9 of Companion Dogs, Section 6 in the FCI classification.
We hope you have enjoyed the article, and that it gives you some clues as to whether this breed suits your needs. In the following link, we offer you some other very small breeds for you to take a look at.