Common names: Chi, Chi-chi, Hua-hua
Dog Breed Group: Toy Group
Life span: 10-18 years
Weight: 3 to 6 pounds
Height: 6 inches to 9 inches tall at the shoulder
As with so many breeds, the Chihuahua’s origin is still indefinite, but there are theories of how it came to be. The most common one is that it descended from Techichi, a companion dog favoured by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. Regardless of which theory is true, the Chihuahua that people admired today was discovered in the 1850s at the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from where it took its name. The Chihuahua denominates sassiness and alertness. With an intelligent mind of its own, it can be an excellent watchdog. It is sensitive and thrives on affection and companionship with its owner. Chihuahuas are devoted to their family and can get obsessive in getting plenty of quality time with their favorite people. Despite its tiny size, the Chihuahua is fearless and confident. It can be tenacious and has a terrier-like attitude. Although sometimes they tend to have a spoiled persona, their behaviour is mostly influenced through the way they were trained or the genetic temperament of their parents.
The tiny Chihuahua bids feistiness combined with enduring loyalty to the person it chooses; along with its expressive face, including big, round eyes that show everything it’s thinking. The typical Chihuahua weighs 3 to 6 pounds. There are two varieties of Chihuahua recognized—the smooth coat and the long coat. Unlike other long-haired breeds, long-haired Chihuahuas require minimal grooming. Chihuahua comes in any solid color: fawn, black and tan, chocolate and white, blue and red. Chihuahua of any coat type can also vary in head shape—“apple head” or “deer head”. Apple head Chihuahuas have rounded head, close-set eyes, and relatively short ears and legs. Deer heads have a flat-topped head, more widely set eyes, larger ears, and longer legs.
This breed requires expert veterinary attention because this tiny dog may also come with big health problems including breathing difficulties collapsed windpipe, luxating patellas, congestive heart disease, certain neurological conditions which includes hydrocephalus, lipofuscinosis, a condition in which fatty pigments in the brain cause the progressive loss of brain function and atlantoaxial subluxation, a neck deformity that may require surgery. Dental care is also a necessity on these small dogs, whose jaw size makes for weaker teeth. Although daily brush might prevent problems but feeding a dental diet or using dental chews is an effective approach for owners to avoid consequences of periodontal diseases.
Hypoglycemia on Chihuahua is also a possibility but it can be avoided with adequate nutrition and frequent feeding. However, as in other breeds, overfeeding can lead to obesity and may result in increased rates of joint injuries, tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and shortened lifespan. Chihuahuas are also prone to eye infections and injury due to their protruding eyes. Owners should keep tabs on their dog’s overall condition and consult their vet with any questions or concerns that may arise.
The Chihuahuas may shed with a small amount and is manageable for owners. For the smooth-coat Chihuahua, Weekly brushing with a rubber grooming gloves or soft bristle brush will remove a lot of loose hair and promotes hair growth. Meanwhile, twice a week is recommended for long-coat Chihuahua; using a stainless steel comb to remove hair tangles on the ears, legs, and tail. Since these dogs have big ears, cleaning with solutions and not with cotton buds are recommended. Like other dogs, it is important that nails should be trimmed monthly.
The Chihuahua just loves to play and it can already get enough exercise in a very small space. Chihuahuas do need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily. Simply trotting around and following their owners is enough exercise for this dog. But overexerting the Chihuahua should be avoided.
These dogs are recommended to have a daily amount of ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality dry food a day. Avoid foods with filler products such as corn and low-quality grains and corn and wheat gluten because this will mitigate the skin due to common allergens including corn and wheat. It is also recommended to feed them with kibble as this will help their dental health by keeping their teeth clean. Monitor calorie consumption and weight level. If having concerns about the dog’s weight or diet, consult the vet.
- The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog with an average of 3 to 6 pounds and a height of 6 to 10 inches.
- The Chihuahua has the largest brain-to-body ratio of any breed. Ironically, the world’s smallest dog has the biggest brain.
- Celebrities love Chihuahuas. Rich and famous celebrities including Madonna, Demi Moore, Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Sharon Osborne, and Mickey Rourke were known to have soft spots on Chihuahua.