Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by themubbi63

What’s a tiny dog breed with a particularly lively and feared personality? Yep, it’s the chihuahua dog. These Mexican dogs can be quite scary for their small size and often get a bad rep for being barky and bitey. And while it’s true that they’re not the easiest of dog breeds, there’s much to recommend. After all, they’re one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world. So let’s have a look at the chihuahua as a breed.

History

Where did the chihuahua dog come from, you might ask? Were they always bred to sit in purses? Was that their entire purpose? If that’s the case, why aren’t they more docile and friendly? The truth is that the chihuahua, which has become a national symbol for Mexico, is an old breed. In fact, it’s one of the oldest breeds in the Americas and they originated in the ancient American kingdoms, long before the European settlers came to the continent.

Native American dogs aren’t common. Some of the only breeds that still exist today are the chihuahua, the Alaskan malamute, the Peruvian Inca orchid and the Xoloitzcuintli. In fact, the ancestors of these dogs crossed over from Siberia as far back as 10,000 years ago during early human migrations. They’ve been isolated since then, until the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans. Because of this lack of mixing, these truly American dogs have unique genetic signatures.

While the ancient Toltecs of Mexico had dogs that were probably the ancestors of modern chihuahuas, it was the Aztecs who took these ancestors – Techichi – and made them the smaller, lighter version that we know today. Colonial records have mentioned small, hairless dogs that were owned by the native people. They only came to be known as chihuahuas in the 1800s, because they were plentiful in the area known as Chihuahua dog. The American Kennel Club registered them as a breed only in 1908 – the first one being a little fellow known as Beppie.

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Appearance

Chihuahua dogs are small dogs, the smallest breed recognized by some clubs. But they can vary in looks quite a lot. The one consistent thing? Current breed standards specify that they must have an apple shaped head or apple dome skull. Earlier, there used to be a variation known as deer head, which had a flat topped head and more slender physique. While these kinds of chihuahuas are still found, they aren’t as popular as the apple heads. 

Chihuahuas can be found in virtually any color and pattern. They can be solid colored or marked or splashed. They come in a variety of brown, white and cream shades. They also come in longhaired or shorthaired varieties. With large round eyes and round erect ears, the head of the chihuahua dog can often feel larger than its body but that only adds to the cuteness factor.

Chihuahua Dog Size

Chihuahuas are some of the smallest dogs ever bred. Breed standards don’t exactly have a height noted for a chihuahua, only a weight. The height, however, usually ranges between 6 and 9 inches (15 – 23 cm). That’s not to say that some dogs can’t grow bigger. Chihuahuas ranging from 12 to 15 inches (30 – 38 cm) have also been found.

Weight is a stricter measure, since breed standards say that a chihuahua dog should weigh between 4 – 6 lb (1.8 – 2.7 kg). In fact, show dogs strictly cannot weigh over 5.9 lb (2.7 kg). Pets that aren’t meant to be show dogs do often surpass this range and might even be above 10 lb (4.5 kg), depending on their bone structure and obesity.

AnimalHeightWeight
Chihuahua dog6 – 15 inches (15 – 38 cm)4 – 10 lb (1.8 – 4.5 kg)

Temperament and Behavior

Chihuahuas are pretty notorious for their behavior, being quite aggressive in their behavior towards people and other dogs. They’re known for being especially intolerant of children. However, all of these things are exactly what makes the chihuahua a great guard dog. They’re very alert by nature and are often compared to terriers as far as personality and behavior is concerned.

The chihuahua is actually quite affectionate and loyal to its own family but is very wary towards strangers. They may be timid and reserved, especially if they haven’t been socialized well as puppies, but a chihuahua can warm up to people with repeated exposure. Proper socialization from a young age helps curb a lot of the behavior problems of a chihuahua. However, they’re happiest with their masters and their own family.

You should make note of the fact that chihuahuas do not do well with children, just like most small dogs. They consider them a threat. They’re also pretty clannish by nature and don’t tolerate other dogs or other animals. A chihuahua dog is generally only comfortable with another chihuahua.

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Health and Exercise

Unfortuantely, the chihuahua dog is predisposed to some neurological diseases genetically, such as muscular dystrophy, congenital deafness, neuroaxonal dystrophy and congenital hydrocephalus. They might be susceptible to congenital heart defects and a heart murmur. One of the most concerning issues is patellar luxation which can cause lameness or a strange gait. It’s a problem with many small dog breeds.

You’ve got to be careful about getting your puppy from a good, reputable breeder if you want to avoid all of these defects. Even so, there’s never any guarantee that your pup won’t have a predisposition to some kind of ailment. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is also an issue with all toy breeds.

Chihuahuas are energetic and active dogs and need a lot of exercise despite their small size. Adequate exercise also prevents obesity and all related problems. They really enjoy walks and playtime around the yard. Games of fetch and chasing squirrels are a chihuahua’s favorite activity.

Grooming Needs

The grooming needs of a chihuahua dog aren’t very high. Brushing weekly works just fine for both the shorthaired and longhaired varieties and they don’t need more than one bath a month. They might shed more heavily during spring and fall since they do have an undercoat. Regular brushing during this time helps. Cleaning the ears of a chihuahua dog is important although you shouldn’t venture deep beyond the parts of the ear that you can see.

Conclusion

The Chihuahua’s fiery spirit and unwavering loyalty make them a captivating breed. With proper training, socialization, and responsible ownership, these little Mexican charmers can thrive in loving homes.

FAQs

What health concerns do Chihuahuas have?

Reputable breeders are important to avoid genetic issues like patellar luxation and heart defects. Regular vet checkups are crucial.

How much exercise does a Chihuahua need?

Despite their size, Chihuahua dog are energetic! Daily walks and playtime help prevent obesity and behavioral problems.

Are Chihuahuas good with children?

Generally not. Their small size makes them fragile around rough play, and they can be intolerant. Consider a larger breed for families with young kids.

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