The small stature, big personality, and variety of coat types and colors that the Chihuahua dog breed exhibits are some of its charms. They are among the top ten watchdogs that professionals recommend, are all dogs, and are fully capable of participating in dog sports like agility and obedience. Despite being purebred, you might still be able to find these dogs in shelters and rescues.
Don’t forget to adopt! If you want to bring a dog home, avoid shopping. Chihuahuas require the least amount of grooming and exercise and adore nothing more than spending time with their owners, even inexperienced pet parents. The entire family will get along with them, making them great apartment dogs.
Just make certain that any kids who come over understand how to play gently with a small dog. For a complete list of Chihuahua breed characteristics and information, see below!
Chihuahua Mixed Dog Breed Picture
Chihuahua – Mixed Dog Breed Characteristics
|Adapts Well To Apartment Living||*****|
|Good For Novice Owners||****|
|Tolerates Being Alone||*|
|Tolerates Cold Weather||*|
|Tolerates Hot Weather||**|
|All Around Friendliness||****|
|Affectionate With Family||*****|
|Friendly Toward Strangers||**|
|Health And Grooming Needs||**|
|Amount Of Shedding||**|
|Easy To Groom||*****|
|Potential For Weight Gain||***|
|Easy To Train||****|
|Potential For Mouthiness||***|
|Tendency To Bark Or Howl||***|
|Potential For Playfulness||****|
|Dog Breed Group:||Companion Dogs|
|Height:||6 to 9 inches|
|Weight:||3 to 6 pounds|
|Life Span:||10 to 18 years|
Not just because of his affiliation with a particular fast-food Mexican restaurant, the Chihuahua is a saucy little hot tamale. He is known for being the tiniest dog in the entire world, but inside that diminutive frame may well be the biggest personality. He appeals to both men and women because of his larger-than-life persona. Chihuahuas are playful and active dogs who adore being near their owners.
They travel with them in tote bags when their owners run errands or go shopping, and they follow them everywhere in the house. Chihuahuas frequently develop strong bonds with just one person, and if they’re overindulged, they can become very demanding. Chihuahuas make loving housemates and are intelligent, quick study partners.
They can participate in agility and obedience competitions with the same zeal and success as bigger dogs. They are, however, stubborn little dogs. The best chance of success is if you can convince them that competing or simply following your instructions is enjoyable. When training your Chihuahua, use praise and food rewards as positive reinforcement. Harsh treatment won’t have an effect on him.
It’s crucial to take into account the Chihuahua’s diminutive size when thinking about him. Chihuahuas are adventurous, inquisitive dogs. They have managed to get out of yards through tiny gaps in the fence and can fit in spaces other puppies and dogs can’t. Additionally, despite the fact that they frequently rule the territory, larger, more boisterous dogs may unintentionally hurt them.
Because of the potential for harm to a young child, chihuahuas are not advised for households with children under the age of eight. No matter how your family is structured, it’s crucial to socialize your Chihuahua with people, other animals, and children. Chihuahuas are good watchdogs because they are distrustful of strangers, but they must learn how to interact with people nicely.
The Chihuahua needs constant supervision in unfamiliar situations, while out for walks, and when they are in the yard. It is also important to keep in mind that Chihuahuas often lose sight of their small size and will defend themselves against a larger aggressive dog. The Chihuahua is an excellent go-anywhere companion thanks to his personality and distinctive size.
Many claim that once you share your life with a Chihuahua, there will be no other dog breed for you. People who live with them become devoted to them.
- Pick a breeder of Chihuahuas who can provide patella and heart clearances.
- Expect to care for a Chihuahua for up to 18 years because they are a breed with a long lifespan.
- Chihuahuas are prone to shivering in cold, excited, or fearful conditions. If it’s cold or rainy outside, give your Chihuahua a sweater or coat to wear.
- If they are not socialized as young dogs, chihuahuas may not be friendly to other canines. The fact that Chihuahuas don’t back down from other dogs can be problematic if they come across a large aggressive dog.
- Keep an eye on your Chihuahua when in the yard. He might come under attack from a hawk, other raptors, big dogs, or coyotes.
- Chihuahuas can be wary of new people. Pick a pup that was born and raised in a household with lots of human contact.
- The best dog to have when you have young children is not a chihuahua. Chihuahuas are delicate dogs, so a young child playing with one could cause injury. Most breeders won’t offer puppies for sale to families with children under the age of eight.
- Ear wax buildup and dry skin can be problems for Chihuahua ears.
- Although chihuahuas make happy pets, they do require 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise and can live much longer than you might think. Keep an eye on your Chihuahua so that he doesn’t exhaust himself, especially when he’s a puppy.
- If you let them, chihuahuas will rule your life and have larger-than-life personalities. When bored, they can be destructive, and if their diet is fussed over, they can develop picky eating habits. In the event that you don’t establish ground rules and abide by them, your cherished pet may ask you to leave your cozy chair.
- Never purchase a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet shop if you want a healthy pet. Find a reputable breeder who evaluates the temperament and genetic health of her breeding dogs.
The Chihuahua’s origins are unknown, as they are for many breeds, but there are two theories as to how they came to be. The first is that he came from the Techichi, a breed of dog native to Central or South America. When we consider the evidence that suggests the Chihuahua originated in Central and South America, we are forced to consider the Toltec civilization.
Toltec carvings from the ninth century C.E. exist. that show a canine with ears that are similar to those of the Chihuahua and a round head. The function of these dogs, known as Techichi, in Toltec society is unknown. The Techichi were assimilated into Aztec society after the Aztecs defeated the Toltecs. Many of the dogs were used in Aztec rituals and lived in temples.
The Techichi, according to the Aztecs, possessed mystical abilities, including the capacity to predict the future, heal disease, and safely transport the souls of the deceased to the underworld. A red Techichi would typically be killed and cremated alongside the deceased. The Techichi were a source of food and fur for the Aztecs as well. In the late 1500s, the Spanish overthrew the Aztecs, and the Techichi vanished into obscurity.
The second hypothesis is that Spanish traders brought small, hairless dogs from China to Mexico, where they crossed them with small, indigenous dogs. Whichever explanation is true, the shorthaired Chihuahua we know today was found in the 1850s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from which he got his name. The little dogs were brought home by American visitors to Mexico.
A Chihuahua named Midget was the first of his breed to be registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904 as they started being shown in 1890. Papillons or Pomeranians were likely bred with to produce the longhaired variety. The breed experienced a surge in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s thanks to its association with Latin music bandleader and dance king Xavier Cugat.
The Chihuahua has been one of the most well-liked breeds recognized by the AKC since the 1960s. They currently hold the 11th place among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC.
A Chihuahua typically weighs 3 to 6 pounds. There are smaller Chihuahuas, but they typically have poorer health. Chihuahuas are also capable of being overweight, with some weighing 12 pounds or more. These may be wise selections for families with kids.
The brash and self-assured Chihuahua is frequently compared to a terrier. He makes a great watchdog because of his keen sense of awareness and mistrust of strangers. Being sensitive, he enjoys attention and company. Although they are typically willing to make friends with new people if properly introduced, chihuahuas frequently form close bonds with a single person.
At first, though, be prepared for them to be a little reserved. If they are not properly socialized as puppies, chihuahuas can become timid. Chihuahuas, like all dogs, require early socialization, or being exposed to a wide variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they are young. In order to ensure that your Chihuahua puppy develops into a well-rounded dog, socialization is important.
Although the Chihuahua has no significant health issues, like all breeds, he may be born with or develop certain conditions. Even though not every Chihuahua will contract one or more of these illnesses, it’s still important to be aware of them so you can ask informed questions of breeders and know what to look for as your Chihuahua ages.
You can ensure that you get the healthiest Chihuahua by purchasing from a reputable breeder. Before you bring home a puppy from a reputable Chihuahua breeder, he will have received his shots and deworming. Responsible breeders test their breeding stock for genetic conditions specific to the breed, such as luxating patellas (bum knees) and heart disease, and only use physically sound, mature (at least 2 years old) dogs.
Both parents should have health certificates, which are proof that a dog has been examined and found to be free of a specific condition. You can anticipate seeing Chihuahuas with Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) heart and patella clearances. You can check the OFA website (offa.org) to confirm health clearances.
Dogs under the age of two do not receive health clearances. That’s because some health issues don’t manifest themselves until a dog is fully mature. Because of this, it’s frequently advised to wait until dogs are two or three years old before breeding them. The following ailments could have an impact on Chihuahuas:
- Patellar Luxation, also referred to as “slipped stifles,” is a problem that frequently affects small dogs. It is brought on when the patella, which consists of the femur (the thigh bone), patella (the knee cap), and tibia (the calf), is not lined up properly. This results in a skip or a hop in the gait or lameness in the affected leg. Although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always happen until much later, the condition is present at birth. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can be brought on by the rubbing that patellar luxation causes. There are four levels of patellar luxation, from grade I, a rare luxation that only temporarily impairs the joint, to grade IV, where the tibia is severely turned and the patella cannot be manually realigned. The dog appears to have bowlegged legs as a result. Surgery may be necessary to correct severe grades of patellar luxation.
- Hypoglycemia: All toy breed puppies may experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. [Note: I’ve left this section marked as a toy breed. Chihuahuas, yorkies, beagles, and mini dachshunds are examples of small dogs that fall into the category of “toy size” dogs. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages but can be fatal if left untreated. Breeders and owners of toy breed puppies must be aware of the warning signs and symptoms because veterinarians sometimes mistake this illness for viral hepatitis or encephalitis. A hypoglycemic puppy will sluggish down and become listless before shaking or shivering. Get him to the vet right away and put some honey under his tongue. He’ll eventually pass out, have convulsions, go into a coma, and die if the situation is allowed to continue. It’s an emergency if your Chihuahua is limp and has grayish-blue gums and a tongue. When toy puppies don’t have enough fat reserves to supply enough glucose during stressful situations or when they skip meals, hypoglycemia happens.
- Heart murmurs are brought on by an interruption in the blood flow through the heart’s chambers. They serve as a warning sign for potential heart diseases or conditions that require monitoring and care. One is considered to be very soft, and five is considered to be very loud when grading heart murmurs. The dog might need medication, a special diet, and less exercise if the disease is obvious, as determined by x-rays and an echocardiogram.
- Pulmonic Stenosis: This congenital heart disease develops when the pulmonic valve is malformed, obstructing blood flow through the heart. Because of this, the heart may have to pump more forcefully and grow bigger, which can cause heart failure. The severity of the disease will determine how it is treated. There is little to no obstruction in mild cases, so no treatment is required. Surgery is advised if the disease has severely affected the dog, but the procedure depends on where the blockage is located.
- Collapsed Trachea: This condition, which is similar to a soda straw being drawn on too forcefully, is brought on by the rapid inhalation of air, which flattens the trachea and makes it difficult for air to enter the lungs. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Dogs with this condition exhibit an abnormality in the chemical composition of their tracheal rings, which causes the rings to lose their stiffness and lose their ability to maintain their circular shape. This condition may be inherited; it occurs in certain breeds.
- Hydrocephalus: The buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain as a result of a birth injury, obstruction, or congenital defect can put pressure on the brain. The head appears swollen or enlarged, but an ultrasound can be used to confirm the diagnosis if necessary. Hydrocephalus has no known treatment, but in mild cases, steroids can help lower fluid pressure. The fluid from the brain can also be redirected to the abdomen using a shunt. Chihuahua purchases should be postponed until the age of four months because puppies with severe cases typically pass away before that.
- Open Fontanel: The top of a Chihuahua’s head has a soft spot from birth. Normally, the soft spot closes, much like a baby would, but occasionally, one won’t completely close. Handle these dogs with caution. A careless blow to the head can be fatal.
- Shivering: Chihuahuas frequently experience shivering. It’s unclear what causes them to tremble or shiver, but it typically happens when a dog is nervous, stressed, or cold.
Despite being a small dog, the Chihuahua still requires training and exercise. It can be surprising how much energy an adult Chihuahua has. In the backyard, he will chase squirrels incessantly and is eager to play as long as you are. Chihuahuas enjoy strolls, supervised yard romps, and toy retrieval. It’s critical to prevent overexertion in them because they’ll keep going until they drop, especially on hot days.
Chihuahuas should never live outside, despite the fact that they love to play outside. They are not protected from large dogs or raptors like hawks or coyotes that might enter your yard. They were raised to be companions, and you are the ideal environment for a companion. Chihuahua training can be a fun task.
They excel in a variety of dog sports, including agility and obedience, but even for a Chihuahua who is strictly a companion, puppy kindergarten and basic obedience classes are crucial. Your Chihuahua will socialize with many different dogs and people in class and learn the manners that all dogs should know.
As long as you take your Chihuahuas out frequently and according to a regular schedule, they are just as simple to housetrain as any other breed. Puppies need to go outside right away when they wake up in the morning, right after every meal, right after naps, right after playtime, and right before bed. When you can’t watch them, putting them in a crate will teach them to control their bladder and stop them from having accidents in the house.
If they are not crated, schedule a one- to two-hour break for them and avoid crating them for longer than two to four hours at a time, unless it is overnight. Crate training is a gentle way to make sure that your Chihuahua doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t, in addition to housetraining. Chihuahuas, like all dogs, can be destructive when they’re young.
Although they may not cause as much harm as a Lab puppy, those tiny teeth can still leave their mark. Early crate training will also prepare your Chihuahua to cope with confinement if he ever needs to stay in boarding or be hospitalized. But never leave your Chihuahua inside a crate all day. He shouldn’t stay there for more than a few hours at a time, unless he’s sleeping at night, as it’s not a jail.
Chihuahuas are household pets, not animals meant to live confined lives in kennels or crates. Your Chihuahua will quickly learn anything you can teach if you train him using positive reinforcement methods like food rewards, praise, and play.
Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of premium dry food per day is advised.
NOTE: The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by his size, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity. Like people, each dog is unique, so they don’t all require the same amount of food. A highly active dog will require more than a couch potato dog, which should almost go without saying. The kind of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into the bowl. See our recommendations for selecting the best food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on how to feed your Chihuahua.
Coat Design and Maintenance
There are two different coat types for chihuahuas: smooth and long. A ruff of thick, longer hair on the neck and a smooth, shiny coat that fits close to the body describe the smooth-coated Chihuahua. The tail is furry, and the hair on the head and ears is sparser. A soft coat that is flat or slightly curly covers the long-coated Chihuahua.
On the body, it is almost as smooth as a Chihuahua with a smooth coat, but the ears are hairier, and the plumed tail spreads out over the back like a fan. Additionally, he has feathering, or longer hair on his feet, and a ruff around his neck. Long hair that resembles pants is called that, and it covers the hind legs as well.
A frill of longer hair is present on the stomach. Chihuahuas can be found in a variety of colors and markings in addition to having two different coat types. They can have one solid color, such as black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, or silver, or they can have a tricolor pattern, such as chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white, or they can have a variety of other markings, such as spots, brindles, or merles.
For all colors, shades range from extremely light to extremely dark. A wash-and-go dog is the Chihuahua. It only takes a few minutes per week to groom him. For a Chihuahua with short hair, brush him once a week with a rubber grooming mitt; for a Chihuahua with long hair, use a pin brush. A flea comb with fine teeth can help get rid of any loose or dead hair.
Chihuahuas shed sparingly all year long, with the possibility of slightly heavier shedding (a relative term for a dog this small) in the spring and fall. The undercoat of a longhaired Chihuahua may shed in small clumps. The control of shedding can be improved with routine brushing. A Chihuahua shouldn’t require a bath more frequently than every two to three months with regular brushing.
Use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid drying out the skin and coat. When you are grooming your Chihuahua, it is important to pay attention to the ears. Clean the inner ear with a cotton ball and a cleanser that your veterinarian has recommended if you notice wax or smell an odor. Avoid going past your field of vision and into the depth of the ear. Rub some baby or coconut oil onto the ears if the edges are dry.
Under their eyes, some Chihuahuas get tear stains. There are products available to remove the stains, and you can carefully wipe the eyes to remove discharge. The nails on a Chihuahua grow quickly. Keep them neat and trim. They are too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. The process of trimming your Chihuahua’s nails will be less stressful the earlier you start. Check the pads for any injuries or foreign objects at the same time.
Chihuahuas, like many small breeds, are prone to having bad dental health. Their mouths can remain healthy by brushing their teeth. To get rid of tartar and bacteria, brush your teeth every day, or at least twice or three times a week. Start early for your puppy to get used to it.
While grooming, keep an eye out for sores, rashes, or infection-related symptoms like redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, or eyes, as well as on the feet. Eyes should be clear, without redness or discharge, and ears should have a pleasant scent and not have too much wax or other debris inside. You can identify potential health issues early on thanks to your thorough weekly exam.
Kids and other animals
Although many Chihuahuas adore kids, pairing a small dog with a young child can go horribly wrong. If he’s not held properly, a Chihuahua may jump out of a child’s hands and hurt himself, and he won’t be afraid to defend himself if he’s being mistreated. For fear of the dog being hurt, many breeders won’t sell puppies to families with young children.
Chihuahuas thrive in households with calm, older kids who are familiar with how to interact with them. Make it a rule that young children may only sit on the floor and hold or pet the Chihuahua. Always supervise any interactions between young children and dogs to prevent biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s part, and always teach kids how to approach and pet dogs.
Teach your child to never disturb a dog while he is sleeping or eating, or to attempt to take the dog’s food. With a child present, no dog should ever be left unattended. Your Chihuahua should always be exposed to children when he is young, even if your family doesn’t have any, so he won’t be afraid of them if he meets them in the future.
Just be careful to watch over everything. If socialized early on, chihuahuas get along well with other household pets, including cats. The fearless Chihuahua frequently dominates larger dogs than himself, which may or may not cause issues. The smallest dog frequently assumes the role of leader.
Chihuahuas are frequently bought without a clear understanding of what it takes to own one, and as a result, these dogs frequently end up in the care of rescue organizations and require adoption or fostering. Because their owners got a divorce or passed away, other Chihuahuas wind up in rescue. A Chihuahua adult adoption has many advantages.
Dogs in their adult years are frequently already housebroken, have received some obedience training, and have passed through the destructive puppy stage. A Chihuahua can be adopted as an adult dog and can provide you with a lifetime of companionship because of their long lifespan.