Known as the smallest dog breed in the world, the Chihuahua is a popular breed. You either love them or you don't. Chihuahua owners adore them and can easily become obsessed with their loveable, loyal personalities. These mighty warriors can be the most adorable dogs you have ever seen but they will show off their large, aggressive dog, alter ego if they are in a protective mood. Living with a Chihuahua can be a lifestyle all it's own.
Many years ago I shared an experience with a Chihuahua that left me with the opinion that the dog breed was not one that I wanted in my life. I said they were mean and aggressive and wanted nothing to do with the breed. My daughter, however, had a different opinion and wanted a Chihuahua more than anything else in the world. Wanting to make my little girl happy, and after plenty of research, I finally agreed to bringing a Chihuahua into our family. Within five minutes of that tiny, adorable six week old puppy being in my presence I fell in love and have to admit that I love Chihuahuas. My original opinion of the breed was based on an unruly dog that was not socialized properly. From the first day, Ziggy, our black and tan Chihuahua became our family favorite and there wasn't a person that came through the door that could resist his sweet, loving personality. We have since welcomed an older fawn and white Chihuahua into our lives and love her dearly. We rescued a Chihuahua that needed a loving family and safe, attentive home. She was found on the highway, most likely dropped off because she wasn't a cute young dog any longer. She has health issues and dental disease and is in her twilight years. We don't mind that she requires more attention and care, and we love our Princess with all of our hearts.
A Little History Of The Chihuahua
The Chihuahua breed history dates back to 100 AD, and is thought to be a descendant of the Techichi, which is a dog that dates back to 300 BC. The Techichi was a dog that was loved by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. The Techichi was a companion dog in death and was used in religious rituals, where it was buried with family members to guide the soul to the underworld. The Chihuahua gets it's name from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in Mexico. located in Northwestern Mexico. The Chihuahua breed in one of the most popular breeds in the United States today, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904. This breed of dog falls into the toy category within the kennel clubs. There isn't a lot of information on what the breeds evolution has been regarding it's purpose. The behavior of the Chihuahua has been compared to terrier breeds, which is a breed that is energetic and feisty with a penchant for hunting.
Do All Chihuahuas Look The Same?
Chihuahuas are one breed that vary in their looks more than some breeds. You will see in their faces there are a lot of differences and in height and weight. The Chihuahua is small and weighs very little. Their small size makes them more fragile than larger dogs. A lot of people like to put them into purses and carry them everywhere they go. It's not ideal to keep a Chihuahua in a small confined space like a bag, it's not good for their joints to be in a fixed position for long periods of time. They are best on a lead where they are walking and getting adequate movement for their bodies.
The kennel club uses standards for sizes and weights on dog breeds. The standard size, of the Chihuahua breed, is nine inches tall or less, and six pounds or less in weight. Some Chihuahuas may be taller than nine inches and weigh slightly more that six pounds, but using the kennel club standards can give you an idea of ideal weight for your dog. Their bodies are long and slender with a curved tail. The have very distinctive ears that are sharply pointed and stand up erect. You can tell a lot about their mood by the movement and position of their ears. They have protruding eyes and can be prone to eye injuries and watery eyes due to allergens in their environment.
Because they are small they don't hold their body heat as well as larger dogs. They do well in warmer locations and if in a colder zone require a sweater to help maintain healthy body heat.
Chihuahuas come in many different colors and there are two kinds of coats on a Chihuahua, long hair and short hair. Their hair can be very short and flat to almost wavy and the long hair is easily groomed and needs brushing regularly. This breed does shed, but the shedding isn't extreme.
There are two kinds of Chihuahua based on the shape of their head. There is the “deer head” and the “apple head”. The deer head Chihuahua has a longer snout and a less rounded head. The apple head has a shorter snout and a prominent rounded forehead. Chihuahua puppies sometimes require cesarean section birthing due to the large size of the puppies head.
Long Haired Chihuahuas vs. Short Haired Chihuahuas
Long Hair Chihuahua
Short Hair Chihuahua
Long silky hair, helps keep them warm
Short, flat, soft hair but gets chilled easily
Must be brushed often
Brushing isn't require for coat care
Can get tangled and matted and require professional grooming
Does not require professional grooming
Deer Head and Apple Head Distinctions
Tell Me About Chihuahua Personalities
The small build of the Chihuahua doesn't hold it back. These little dogs are loyal and protective and will rise up and take on any sized competitor. With this sort of personality it's important to protect the dog when arguments arise with other dogs. Chihuahuas can get along with other dog breeds in it's family, but it really never bonds completely, preferring the company of it's own breed. If you have more than one Chihuahua and other dogs in the home, you will see how they prefer to pal around with their own kind more than others. Perhaps it is because of size, but you will see your Chihuahua showing off it's snobbish attitude around other dog breeds.
Chihuahuas tend to choose their owner, we don't choose them. They decide who they like best and that person becomes the dogs favorite and it will be loyal, loving and protective to their person. So, when deciding to bring a Chihuahua into family know that it may not be “your” dog after it settles in and chooses it's family member. The temperament of the Chihuahua can be moody, and small children and this dog breed may not be a good mix. They can snap and bite, and with their small, fragile body they can also be injured easily if not careful. If children are a little older, calm and patient, then this breed may fit into a family better. Once a Chihuahua is introduced into a family it is very important that the dog is socialized well around people and other animals. If a Chihuahua does not start out with a lot of socialization and behavior training the dog can end up an unruly, aggressive dog that is only loving and fun for the one person it identifies with in the house. These little dogs make up for their size with their bark. They will tell everyone is there is something amiss with a lot of barking. Make sure that noise isn't an issue when inviting this breed into the home.
Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia In Chihuahuas
To recognize if your Chihuahua puppy is having a hypoglycemia situation look for symptoms such as:
- A staggering gait
- Acting listless
- Signs of muscular weakness and tremors in the face.
If you see that your Chihuahua puppy is exhibiting symptoms of hypoglycemia rub honey or corn syrup on the puppies gums and the roof of their mouth. You can get glucose paste to keep on hand if your puppy has trouble with this condition.
Do Chihuahuas Require A Lot Of Exercise?
Chihuahuas don't require a lot of space and make wonderful pets for apartment dwellers or people that live in tight situations. They are perfect lap dogs and are content to curl up next to their owner and keep warm during any season. Chihuahuas tend to gain weight easily and become overweight. It's best if they get a short walk every day to help them maintain their ideal weight and walking helps burn energy and maintain healthy joints. They should be fed a healthy dog food in small amounts a few times a day and limited treats. Chihuahuas can be finicky eaters, sometimes mixing wet food with dry food helps them to accept their food easier.
Chihuahua puppies are prone to hypoglycemia. This can occur in ages between six to twelve weeks old. This means their blood sugar drops and can drop into dangerous areas that could lead to death. It is best to feed them a few small meals each day to maintain their blood sugar levels and watch them during exercise to make sure they aren't getting overly exhausted. Other situations can cause hypoglycemia such as stress, cold, missing meals or illness.
Do Chihuahuas Have Health Issues?
Chihuahuas can acquire some health issues. Owning a Chihuahua requires having a regular veterinarian for medical care. These dogs require attention for dental care and in birthing if you are planning to breed your dog. Also, Chihuahuas are born with a mollera, to allow for easier birth because their heads are so large. They are the only breed of dog that are born this way. Just like a human baby is born with a soft spot on the top of their head, Chihuahua puppies are born the same way with a soft spot called a mollera. By the time the puppy grows into an adult the bones of the skull grow together and there isn't usually any danger, however when they are young care needs to be taken with puppies.
Good oral care such as brushing their teeth and gums regularly is required to avoid dental disease. Occasional teeth cleaning from the veterinarian helps maintain their healthy mouth. Chihuahuas tend to have dental issues and as they age can lose teeth and live with pain if their oral hygiene is poor and not cared for properly.
Chihuahuas can have breathing difficulties and a collapsed trachea is a health concern. They are also prone to bronchitis and seem to snort like they have a stuffed up nose, especially when excited.
The Chihuahua breed is known for a genetic issues called a luxating patella. All dog breeds are susceptible to this condition but the Chihuahua breed is notorious for this condition. The luxating patella condition is when the knee slips out of position and causes the dog to hold the leg up and into one position until the muscles relax and the knee can slip back into place. In some situations medical care can be required.
Chihuahuas can also be prone for heart conditions such as murmurs and pulmonic stenosis. Keeping the dog from getting overweight can help prevent some of these health conditions. Any dog can be prone to health issues so if you love the breed and want to own a Chihuahua, don't let health warnings put you off, just make sure you have a great veterinarian. The average age of this breed is fifteen years, so there is a long commitment to owning a Chihuahua as well as any dog breed.
Is A Chihuahua For Me?
Investing in a dog of any kind requires commitment. There are expenses and time constraints and it's not unlike having a small child. When a dog comes into your life you have to be willing to spend a lot of time on care and training. There will be medical expenses as well as regular check ups to keep them healthy. You can't just jump into the car and go do things without making sure an animal is cared for while you are gone. Dogs live for many years and will be part of your family for a very long time. Before making the decision to get a Chihuahua or any dog, consider all the factors. There are so many dogs in shelters that are put to death each year because people got a dog and didn't want to invest into their lives. If you can, rescue a dog and give it a second chance at life. If you are wanting a puppy, make sure you purchase your dog from a reputable breeder.
If you are ready to bring a Chihuahua into your life, and you think this breed is the perfect dog breed for you, than you are embarking on a wonderful life with an amazing dog. I suspect that once you fall in love with this dog breed you will have a Chihuahua obsession like the rest of us owned by Chihuahuas.
Chihuahua Rescue and Transport
- Chihuahua Rescue and Transport, Inc. - nationwide Chihuahua Rescue group
CRT is a national foster-based rescue group that places Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes in approved homes.
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