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The Chihuahua: origin and specific characteristics

Updated on June 14, 2011

Baby Chihuahuas


The chihuahua, nicknamed Chi Chi, is the smallest dog in the world. "Chihuahua" originated from Mexico, named after the state of Chihuahua. According to legends, they were involved in the religious worship of the Aztecs. Chihuahuas are the oldest breed in the world. It was only bought to Europe around the end of the nineteenth century.

Two different coats

long coat(left), smooth coat(right)
long coat(left), smooth coat(right)

Size, Appearance, and Life Span

The Chihuahua breed can weigh anywhere from 2 - 6 pounds, and be 6 - 9 inches in height. There are two varieties of the Chihuahua: long, and smooth coat. Chihuahuas live span is usually 11 - 18 years.


The chihuahua is a tiny toy sized dog.  The body is longer than its tail; the head is rounded and apple shaped.  Their muzzle is short and pointed.  Puppies have a soft spot on the top of their skull called a "modera" which usually closes after adulthoood.  They have large round eyes that are set well apart.  They are dark, ruby, and might be lighter on white dogs.  Their tail is long and sickle-shaped, either curled over the back or to the side.  All colors both solid, marked, or splashed are accepted.  Colors include, but are not limited to, black, white, chestnut, fawn, sand, silver, sable, steel blue, tan, and parti-color. 

Temperment & Personaliity

The Chihuahua breed is devoted, swift, grateful, and alert. They are courageous, extremely lively, proud, adventurous, and enjoy affection. They require a lot of human attention and love. They are also brave, cheerful, and agile. Chihuahuas are loyal and become attached to their owners. Some like to lick owners faces. Some chihuahuas may be difficult to train, but they are intelligent, learn quickly, and respond well to proper positive reinforcement. (firm but gentle) They make very good companions for the elderly. Something to remember, Chihuahuas are not suited for small children. This isn't because they are not good with kids, but because most people treat a chihuahua differently than they would a large dog. They are small and dainty, but saucy, strong willed, and can bite if provoked. They are fairly dog aggressive, and need proper socializing. They are very adaptable and hardy. They are sensitive to cold temperatures, therefore should not live outside. They can also suffer from a heatstroke.

It may be cute for a tiny five pound dog to put his paws on your leg, but this is allowing dominant behavior. If you allow this little dog to be your pack leader, he will develop many behavior problems. This includes jealousy, aggression with other dogs and sometimes humans. They will become suspicious of people except for their owner, and when strangers are present, they will follow their owners every move, keeping as close to them as possible. A chihuahua who is pack leader of their humans may snap at children.


Westland Giftware Mwah Magnetic Chihuahuas Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, 3-1/2-Inch
Westland Giftware Mwah Magnetic Chihuahuas Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, 3-1/2-Inch

* Kissing Chihuahua salt and pepper shakers

* useful and cute

* collectible

* ceramic and dishwasher safe

* item weight: 2 pounds

* magnetic noses keeps these dogs togehter

* 2.5 inches high



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    • magnoliazz profile image

      magnoliazz 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great hubs, and wonderful advice too, children and these little dogs are a bad match. They will nip and bite the kids, and the kids could injure these delicate little dogs....however, I had one of these little guys when I was 5 years old, and that dog loved me and I loved him! He lived for alomost 15 years, he was even with me when I was first married! After all these years, I still miss that little guy. I know he will be waiting for me when my life comes to an end! I will have a lot of animals waiting for me! That's the problem, our life span is so much longer than our pets. Rabbit and guinea pigs are only here for 5-8 years....its hard to lose them so soon.

      I love animals! they are so innocent, and they are at our mercy. There are so many unwanted pets, and that is just wrong. A pet is a memeber of your family. If you get a pet, you should plan on having that pet for the rest of its life.

    • kgnature profile image

      kgnature 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Aren't chihuahuas wonderful? I have 3, but they are rescues and there is no way to know how much "chihuahua" they really are. One I'm sure is a mixed breed since he has grown to almost 17 pounds, but he still has his good chihuahua looks. One looks like a twin to the dog in your long coat picture, and the other looks like a 4 pound doberman. The are the joy of my life. Sometimes I think chihuahuas are a different species--not really dogs at all.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Nice hub. I am a dog lover too, and have friends who have dogs of this breed. What you wrote is very true of their dogs. Good job in few words.

    • 07Angel01 profile image

      Diane Marie 7 years ago from Broomall, PA

      the voice: thank you for looking at my hub and giving me a rating. I will be sure to check out some of yours :)

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

      beautiful pet hub first rate thanks