Chihuahua :Dog Breed Information & Care

Chihuahua :Dog Breed Information & Care

The Chihuahua is a small dog with a big personality who enjoys both giving and receiving affection. Despite its diminutive stature, this breed is feisty and unafraid. It boasts distinct features, like wide eyes and ears that are usually erect and very large in relation to its small head and body. Despite its diminutive size, the Chihuahua can be a loving and devoted companion dog.

Chihuahuas come in a tiny package, but have big personalities they’re not afraid to flaunt. While they are a charming breed, “Chis” (as owners affectionately call them) have a tendency to be a bit sassy. The Chihuahua Club of America actually refers to the breed’s expression as “saucy.”

But for all the sass and sauce, this toy breed is a devoted companion. Linda George, chair of the Chihuahua Club of America’s Judges Education Committee, says, “Chihuahuas are very loyal, loving pets.” “Chihuahuas that I have bred and raised usually remember me years after they have gone to another home.”

Their appearance, including their coloration and markings, can vary greatly. Chihuahuas come in a variety of solid colors, including black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, and silver. Additionally, they can be a variety of colors and patterns, such as chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white.

Chihuahua heads can also vary: They can either have a rounder apple head or a deer-shaped head, which is narrower with a longer snout. And despite their small stature—they weigh anywhere from 3–6 pounds—Chihuahuas have big brains, making them quick-witted and easy to train. But because of their small bladder and strong-willed personality, they’re not particularly easy to house train.
Chihuahuas vary in appearance, as some have a shorter, smooth coat, while others have a longer coat. They also tend to live longer than many breeds: Owners can expect to care for their Chi for up to 18 years.

Often underfoot, they are active dogs who enjoy being close to their owner. Chihuahuas make excellent watchdogs because of their tendency to be suspicious of strangers. More than just a “purse dog,” Chihuahuas are a very alert breed that loves to be on the go with their owners. It’s going to be a big day for your Chi, so get ready to have a lot of “ohhhh” and “awww”s.

History

There are two main theories as to where the Chihuahua originated. One theory holds that Chihuahuas are descended from the techichi, a larger version of the Chi that dates back to the 9th century and the Toltec civilization in Central or South America. The Toltecs were conquered by the Aztecs, who then made techichi prominent in their society, as they believed the dogs had mystic powers—including the ability to see the future, heal the sick, and safely guide the souls of the dead to the underworld.

Techichi lived in temples, were part of many rituals, and were buried with the dead. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in the late 1500s, the techichi was all but lost to history and memory. The dogs lived in remote villages, and when they were discovered by Americans visiting Mexico in the mid-1800s they were found mostly in the State of Chihuahua, thus gaining the name we know the tiny dogs by today, according to the CCA.

According to the second theory, small Chinese hairless dogs that had been brought to Mexico by Spanish traders were bred with small native dogs. Some say that perhaps Christopher Columbus played a role. Longhaired Chihuahuas are thought to have descended from papillons or Pomeranians, but shorthaired Chihuahuas have their origins here. Whatever the case, we do know that ancient artifacts have depictions of Chihuahuas painted on them.

Beppie, the first Chihuahua registered with the American Kennel Club, was born in 1908. Chis gained popularity as pets during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s—with help from famed musician and bandleader Xavier Cugat, who famously waved his baton with one hand while he held a Chihuahua with the other.

Appearance

Variety is the name of the game when it comes to how Chihuahuas look. Coats can be classified in two ways: as smooth or as long. Smooth coats are shiny and fit close to the body with a ruff of thick, longer hair at the neck. In addition to the plumed tail and an ear fringe, the longer coats typically have flat or slightly curly, soft fur. Long-haired Chihuahuas also have a ruff on the neck and longer hair on their feet, on their legs (which is referred to as “pants”), and on their stomach (called a “frill”).

Their appearance, including their coloration and markings, can vary greatly. Chihuahuas come in a variety of solid colors, including black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, and silver. Additionally, they can be a variety of colors and patterns, such as chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white.
Chihuahua heads can also vary: They can either have a rounder apple head or a deer-shaped head, which is narrower with a longer snout. And despite their small stature—they weigh anywhere from 3–6 pounds—Chihuahuas have big brains, making them quick-witted and easy to train. But because of their small bladder and strong-willed personality, they’re not particularly easy to house train.

Temperament 

Lapdogs through and through, Chihuahuas can’t get enough time with their people. If they aren’t snuggled up with you, they may be cuddled up under a blanket or curled up in a corner. And/or they’ve managed to find some sunshine and are enjoying it.

Chihuahuas, according to their owners, are excellent conversationalists who will let you know if anything unusual is going on in the house. They are excellent watchdogs—thanks to their bold personalities and terrier-like attitudes—as they are suspicious of strangers.

As with all puppies, it’s important to socialize your Chihuahua puppy early on so that she’ll be less yappy as an adult when meeting new people, animals, and situations. Typically, Chihuahuas bond to an individual person. They can warm up to others once properly introduced, but they do so on their own timeline.

Chihuahuas also appear to be aware of the attention they attract due to their attractive appearance. Make it clear to your Chi that you’re in charge from the get-go. Don’t do anything that will be considered unacceptable by the time your Chihuahua puppy reaches adulthood: If you allow their brash personalities to take control of your life, they will.

So be consistent in your expectations and use positive reinforcement training. Boredom can lead to undesirable behaviors, including picky eating. Be sure to teach your child the rules of the house from an early age and to stick to them.

The Basic Requirements of Life

No dog owner wants to take their chihuahuas outside in the rain or cold, and the breed is no exception. “If you don’t like taking the dog out on cold winter days, Chihuahuas are ideal since they can be taught to use a litter box or wee wee pad,” George says. When you do take them out to do their business or to get some exercise, don’t leave them alone in the yard: They could be attacked by a bird of prey or other larger animal.

Chihuahuas will definitely rule the roost, so to speak. Keep in mind Chihuahuas, as with any dog, can get into trouble if they haven’t been socialized from a young age. If they get into a yappy argument with another dog, even a much larger one, their spunky nature means they won’t back down. Having said that, if they are properly socialized, they will get along with other dogs (especially other Chihus) as well as cats in the house just fine.

As charming as Chihuahuas are with their owners, they can be suspicious of humans they don’t know. And although they can get along with older children, they’re not an ideal dog for families with super young kiddos, as they are just too fragile for toddler playtime. A Chihuahua may leap from a child’s hands and injure herself if she’s not being held correctly, so make sure to supervise your kids around these tiny pups and teach them how to interact with small animals.

Care (Chihuahua)

“Chis are easy to care for,” George says. Grooming is minimal, even for dogs with long coats. Brushing and bathing are required for Chihuahuas with smooth coats on a regular basis. Brushing your chihuahuas’s long hair at least once a week will help keep it free of mats and tangles. Both coats don’t shed much, except minimally once or twice a year.

George also recommends brushing their teeth at least every other day, as poor dental care can lead to other health problems. Thier nails, which grow quickly, should be trimmed regularly for all Chihuahuas. And if your pup develops tear stains beneath her eyes, you can carefully wipe them to remove discharge.

Their tiny size doesn’t do much to keep them warm, so naturally, Chihuahuas don’t tolerate the cold well. You may also see them shiver when they’re overly excited or stressed. Chihuahuas, on the other hand, are natural-born fashionistas, and as such, will not object if you dress him in a sweater or coat.

It’s important to provide the right amount of high-quality food for your Chihuahua’s age when it comes to dinner, as they are prone to becoming overweight. For more information, talk to your pet’s veterinarian.

Even if your chihuahuas is older, you may be surprised at how much energy he still has. Up for playing as long as you want, Chihuahuas enjoy walks, supervised romps around the yard, and retrieving toys. As energetic as they are, it’s best not to let them overexert themselves, especially in the heat.

Chihuahuas require 20–30 minutes of daily exercise, but you can easily meet this requirement by having them follow you around the house the entire time you are home (which just so happens to be a favorite pastime). Chihuahuas are also quick learners and can compete in agility and obedience trials with the same enthusiasm and success as larger dogs.

Exercise 

Many people underestimate the amount of exercise that smaller dogs require, and this is especially true for Chihuahuas, who should receive at least 30 minutes of vigorous play each day. Chihuahuas have a moderate to high energy level and may develop behavioral problems if not given enough activity. Exercise and mental stimulation will help maintain your dog’s mental and physical health. Stay aware when you are walking a Chihuahua, as they can be aggressive toward larger dogs if not properly trained. It’s possible that you’ll have to stay on the lookout for danger in order to keep an eye on your dog.

Grooming 

Because of their short hair, smooth-coated Chihuahuas require little more than basic routine grooming. Regular brushing of the long-haired Chihuahua varieties is especially important, as they require more frequent care due to their thicker coats. Smaller dogs’ nails don’t naturally wear down, so regular nail trimming is necessary to prevent overgrown and uncomfortable nails in Chihuahuas.

Training

As a result of their feisty nature, Chihuahua puppies need to be raised in a structured environment and undergo extensive obedience training. When it comes to meeting new people or animals, the breed can become fearful and defensive if it isn’t properly socialized. An untrained Chihuahua can act defiant and defensive towards its owner and other people. Despite their stubbornness, this breed is intelligent and can be trained to be well-behaved if given enough time and effort. It’s also essential that you teach your Chihuahua to tolerate being handled at a young age, especially for things like nail trims and grooming.

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Health (Chihuahua)

Generally speaking, these tiny pups are in good physical and mental breed. Most Chihuahuas live to be at least 10 years old and can live to be an impressive 18 years, but they may develop health issues as they age.

Some potential health issues to be aware of, according to the CCA, are folic acid, heart disease, patellar luxation (loose kneecaps), hypoglycemia, and epilepsy. Additionally, a Chihuahua’s ears can be prone to earwax build-up and dry skin. According to the CCA, you should make sure your Chihuahua breeder has completed all OFA-recommended health tests before bringing home a pup. If you’re adopting a Chihuahua, ask for all available medical information.

Molera, a small hole in the top of the skull the size of a pencil eraser, is common in Chihuahuas. “Historically this was a sign of breed purity,” George says, noting the presence of molera, which is much like a soft spot on a newborn baby’s head, is not an indicator of health problems later in life. Whether a Chi keeps its soft spot depends on size, genetics, and skeletal structure.

Common Health Problems (Chihuahua)

Reputable kennel clubs like the AKC and other similar organizations require their members to adhere to strict breed standards. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. Chihuahuas are prone to certain hereditary health issues, including the following:

  • Patellar Luxation: This is a dislocating kneecap, which causes the dog pain. You may notice your dog holding its foot off the ground, and its kneecap may pop back into place when its muscles relax and lengthen.
  • Collapsing Trachea: This is a restriction of the windpipe that is often seen in small dogs. It is important to consult with your veterinarian right away if you notice your pet coughing when you apply pressure to the trachea.
  • Puppies with signs of an abnormally large head due to fluid buildup have hydrocephalus.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar can affect Chihuahua puppies, and they may need a sugar supplement.
  • Chihuahuas like to be warm and they don’t tolerate cold well. You may need to put your dog in a sweater for walks in cold weather. You’ll note that your dog will seek out warm places in your home, like near the heat, in the sun, or on a blanket.

Eating a Healthy Diet (Chihuahua)

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Due to their small size, Chihuahuas need only 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dry food per day. Keeping an eye on your dog’s weight is important, as it can lead to a shorter life expectancy. If your pet is overweight or has a health condition, talk to your vet about the best diet for him.

The small size of a Chihuahua’s jaw makes their teeth weaker, so you will need to support your pet with daily dental care, including brushing. Plaque can be reduced by providing dental chews and a diet that necessitates chewing. Large, dense pieces are a hallmark of high-quality dry dog food for Chihuahuas.

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