This sassy little dog has a super-size personality. He knows what he wants and goes after it with single-minded determination. For his size, he’s an excellent watchdog, but he can be yappy if he’s not taught to moderate his barking.
Chihuahua’s need special requirements because of their small size. So, they need a loving family to care for them. If you want to pay care and respect to your chihuahua, then this is the article for you!
The Chihuahua is a native of Mexico, and his ancestors were surrounded by many myths. They were believed to be spirit guides that protected souls as they traveled through the underworld. While the stories about the dog’s origins are interesting, there’s no real evidence about how long they’ve existed or that they were known to the Aztecs or other peoples who inhabited Mexico before the Spaniards came.
Some dog experts say they were among the first native dogs of the Americas, others that they were brought to the New World after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Still others believe the little dogs may have originated as miniaturized versions of pariah dogs, the nondescript brown dogs with prick ears that result when dogs are left to breed on their own with no selection for color or other specific characteristics. Whatever the case, the breed takes its name from the state of Chihuahua, where late-19th-century American tourists first encountered the tiny canines.
The Chihuahua we know today was developed by North American breeders. The first Chihuahua registered by the American Kennel Club, in 1904, was named Midget. The Chihuahua Club of America was formed in 1923. Today, the Chihuahua ranks 13th among the breeds registered by the AKC.
- Easy grooming
- Pleasant temperament
- Long lifespan
- Territorial tendencies
- AKC group: Toy Dog
- UKC group: Companion Dog
- Average lifespan: 12 – 20 years
- Average size: 6 pounds and under
- Coat appearance: Varies
- Coloration: Tan, red, black, white or splash
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Other identifiers: Small frame and fragile head structure; ears are pointed and erect
- Possible alterations: Head shape can be apple- or deer-shaped; coat can be long- or short-haired
- Comparable Breeds: Papillon, Pekingese
Luxating patellas are an orthopedic problem. The patella, or kneecap, of most very small dogs, including the Chihuahua, can very easily become displaced, causing pain and lameness. In mild cases the knee quickly slips back into place on its own, but severe cases must be corrected surgically. Ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s knees regularly, especially if you notice him limping or “bunny hopping” while running.
The Chihuahua’s round, protruding eyes are one of his most distinctive characteristics, but they are prone to a number of genetic eye disorders as well as to frequent injuries.
Chihuahuas frequently have what’s called a “molera,” or an open fontanelle, which is a soft area under the skin of the forehead where the bony plates of the skull have not fused together. It may eventually close up and become hard, but in some dogs, the molera never fully closes. While many dogs can live a normal lifespan with a molera, some may have a condition called hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in and around the brain), which can cause seizures and even death if not treated. A Chihuahua with a molera can live a perfectly normal life, but he is more prone to head injuries so he’s not the best candidate for a home with rambunctious children or bigger, rougher dogs.
Chihuahuas can also be born with a liver defect known as a portosystemic shunt, in which blood is diverted away from the liver. This may cause a buildup of toxins in the dog’s body, stunted growth, and can be fatal if not corrected with surgery.
Although Chihuahuas are prized for their small size, they’re often fed to obesity. A Chihuahua’s skeleton is not designed to carry much weight, and even a few extra ounces can be a significant burden to a dog this size. As with all dogs, leanness is far healthier – and cheaper, when it comes to veterinary costs. Keeping a Chihuahua lean is particularly important if he has luxating patellas.
Tiny mouths frequently mean there’s no room for proper development of teeth. It’s essential to get regular veterinary dental care for a Chihuahua, and he may need to have some teeth pulled to make room in his mouth for proper development of the rest of the teeth.
Getting Their Attention
Sometimes when they are barking, it is impossible to get their attention. Try throwing a can of pebbles or can of coins in front of them or near them (don’t hit them!) They will be startled and after a few times may conclude that barking brings about this startling thing and stop barking! Don’t let your dog see you do this!
Chihuahuas come in two coat types: smooth and long. Smooth Chihuahuas wear a velvety, shiny, close-fitting coat and have a ruff — an area of thicker, longer hair — around the neck. They have a scant covering of hair on the head and ears. The tail should be furry, not bare.
Smooth Chihuahuas shed, but they are so small that the amount is manageable for all but the most house proud. Brush them weekly with a rubber grooming glove or soft bristle brush to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy.
The longcoated Chihuahua is the product of a recessive gene, meaning a puppy must have the gene from both parents for the long coat to express itself, so he isn’t seen in litters as frequently as the smooth. The long, soft coat is flat or slightly curly, and the dog has a ruff around the neck, fringed ears, feathering on the legs and a plumed tail. The hair on the rest of the body is almost as smooth as that on the smooth Chihuahua. Longcoated Chihuahuas are beautiful, and they’re easy to groom, but they do shed seasonally.
Keep your Chihuahua’s big ears clean with a solution recommended by your veterinarian. Don’t use cotton swabs inside the ear; they can push gunk further down into it. Wipe out the ear with a cotton ball, never going deeper than the first knuckle of your finger.
Trim his nails regularly, usually every couple of weeks. They should never be so long that you hear them clicking on the floor.
Adopting a Dog from a Chihuahua Rescue or Shelter
There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Chihuahua. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Networking can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Chihuahuas love all Chihuahuas. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup.
- What is his energy level?
- How is he around other animals?
- How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
- What is his personality like?
- What is his age?
- Is he housetrained?
- Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
- Are there any known health issues?
Did You Know?
The Chihuahua is the most famous of the “purse puppies,” toy dogs toted around in chic upscale doggie bags by high-profile celebrities and socialites. The most famous celebrity Chihuahua is Tinker Bell, who spends her days nestled in socialite Paris Hilton’s handbag.