The Chihuahua is a distinctive breed known for its small size – in fact, it is the smallest breed of dog in the world. Information on the origins of the Chihuahua is mixed, but the general consensus is that they come from the Chihuahua region of Mexico. They were considered holy in many ancient civilizations and were used in religious ceremonies. Upper class members of these societies prized the Chihuahua as pets.
The exact origins of the Chihuahua are unclear, but some signs point to it being a descendant of the Fennec Fox. Another possibility would be that the breed came from the Techichi, a dog found in the ancient Toltec civilization. The indeterminate origin of the Chihuahua, however, certainly doesn’t faze enthusiasts. The breed’s small size makes it a favorite among toy-dog lovers and since it was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1904 has steadily gained popularity ever since.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Chihuahuas are tiny dogs. In order to conform to breed standards a Chihuahua must weigh less than six pounds, and preferably between two and four. There’s no standard for height, but generally the breed stands less than 38 centimetres tall.
A Chihuahua can have either a long or short coat. A longer coat is usually quite soft and smooth, while a shorter coat will have a velvety texture. Surprisingly, a short coated Chihuahua will shed much more than a long coated one as a long coat may take up to two years to grow in. The long coat has a very soft, downy undercoat, which may make the dog look a little fluffy.
Colours for Chihuahuas are mixed to say the least. They can be black, white, red, blue and anything in between! They can be spotted, brindle, or tri-colour, all of which are accepted as standard.
Chihuahuas have a reputation for being “yappy” which is usually not because of something that’s wrong with the breed, but instead a result of improper training. Because of their small size many people allow Chihuahuas to get away with things that larger dogs would not be able to do. Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal and tend to latch on to their owner very quickly and exclusively. This can cause problems for other family members or house guests, especially children. This breed is not recommended for children unless the dog has been well trained.
As a puppy a Chihuahua finds himself at risk for some health problems. The reason for this is because Chihuahua skulls are not completely formed when they are born. They have a soft spot at the top of their heads called a molera which will fill in as they grow, but care needs to be taken until it does.
Chihuahuas need to be walked regularly, not for exercise as much as for mental stimulation. Take care not to slip into the habit of carrying them everywhere because they are so small, they still need exercise! Do not overfeed Chihuahuas as they will gain weight easily and be very cautious with substances that are poisonous to dogs such as chocolate. Chihuahuas are so small that that a tiny amount could prove to be fatal. Chihuahuas can also be prone to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar and therefore need to be fed on a regular basis.
Chihuahuas are not generally known for being social with other breeds of dogs, but do get along well within their own kind. They crave attention from their owners and have tendency to be a little hyperactive – another reason for ensuring that the required exercise is given.