Breed Basic Information
- Lifespan: 14 - 18 years
- Height: 6 - 9 inches
- Weight: 6 - 6 pounds
Medical Conditions Seen
- Chronic Valvular Disease
- Patellar Luxation
- Tracheal Collapse
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Lens Luxation
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Pulmonic Stenosis
- Joggin Partner
- Lap Dog
- Good with Children
- Warm Weather
- Cold Weather
- Grooming Requirements
- Ease of Training
- The Chihuahua very likely descends from a combination of an ancient Central and South American dog called the Techichi, and Chinese dogs brought to Central America by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1600s.
- Evidence exists of tiny dogs in Central America at the time of the Conquistadors. Following that time, there is a 300 year gap before the next recorded mention of them, when three tiny dogs were discovered in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1850.
- Origin of the two coat varieties is controversial, with some reports that the earliest discovered Chihuahuas were actually long coats. In fact, the Techichi may have had a moderately long coat.
- Other theories contend that the long coated variety came from crosses to the Papillon, Maltese, or Yorkshire Terrier once the breed came to the attention of American fanciers.
- The AKC recognized the breed in 1904. The first registered Chihuahua was a smooth coat, and the smooth coat has remained the more well-known variety.
- The Chihuahua is considered to be one breed with two varieties, which means that they compete in separate classes at dog shows but can be interbred with one another.
- The long coat results when a dog has two recessive genes for long hair. Smooth Chihuahuas may have either one or two dominant genes for short hair.
- By 1964, the Chihuahua had become the third most popular breed in America, but still, most of them were smooth coats.
- The Chihuahua has consistently remained one of America's top breeds since then, currently ranking 11th in AKC popularity. The long coat seems to be increasing in popularity slightly, although no statistics are kept on this.
- Makes both a devoted lap dog and saucy playmate.
- Fairly playful with family children, but children must be supervised because they could easily hurt such a small dog.
- Tends to be a one-person, or at most, one-family dog.
- Reserved toward strangers.
- Early socialization so that it willingly accepts new people is important.
- Good with other dogs and pets, but can foolishly challenge larger strange dogs.
- Some can be overly bold, while others can be overly timid.
- Learns quickly, but tends to have a stubborn streak.
- Does not do well with force-based training methods, but is very good with reward-based training involving food.
- Housetraining can be more challenging than with many other breeds.
Suggested Excercise Needs
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- Although many of its physical exercise needs can be met with indoor games, it still needs the mental stimulation of walking and sniffing outdoors.
- A walk around the block once or twice daily will meet its outdoor needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
- Many Chihuahuas can be trained to use indoor potty systems.
- Dog parks are not generally a good idea unless only small dogs are allowed together.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Excursions in a doggy purse can provide supplemental entertainment.
- Chihuahuas can swim, but most aren't crazy about it. They can, however, use a kiddy pool as a swimming pool.
- Chihuahuas, even long coated Chihuahuas, hate the cold. Because of their small size, they lose body heat rapidly. The coat has little undercoat, so it does not store heat well.
- Coat is soft and either straight or wavy, with fringed ears.
- Brushing two to three times a week will prevent tangles and mats.
- Shedding is average.
- The breed is prone to periodontal problems, which can be prevented in large part by regular tooth brushing.
Suggested Nutritional Needs
- Chihuahuas have a tendency to become obese, which may go unnoticed under the long coat.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Remember, it does not take much food to feed such a small dog, and small snacks can easily add too many calories.
- Chihuahua puppies should be fed often to prevent hypoglycemia, a serious condition to which very small puppies are prone. Frequent small meals of high protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates may help guard against this condition.
Did you know?
- Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
- Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
- Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.
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