History, Characteristics, Personality and More
You know you own Chihuahua puppies when the pitter patter of little feet have become an integral part of your life.
These pooches are the smallest breed on earth, and for a good reason these portable canines are known as "purse dogs".
However, don't ever underestimate the size of this breed; indeed, Chihuahuas, affectionately known as "Chis", don't seem to be aware of their small size.
They are basically tiny dogs with a reputation for having big and tough personalities.
Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.
History of Chihuahua
While the origin of the Chihuahua breed is shrouded in mystery, archaeological findings suggest that this breed originated in Mexico. There are 2 different theories about how this breed developed.
One theory presumes this breed descended from the Techichi dog, a local canine kept by the Toltec indians. Ancient artifacts dating back to the 9th century depicted these dogs that somewhat resembled the modern day Chihuahua.
When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, they introduced the Techichi into their own culture, allowing these dogs to live in temples and become a part of their traditional rituals. These pooches were believed to have special healing powers and the ability to see the future. Hovever, once the Spanish conquered the Atzecs, all traces of this prototype dog were lost.
The second theory simply suggests that small dogs from China were imported to Mexico by Spanish traders. These dogs then mingled with the native dogs, giving life to the Chihuahua breed.
Regardless of which theory is most accurate, Chihuahuas were discovered in the 1850's in the Mexican State of Chihuahua. Americans visiting the area fell in love with this charming breed and brought them to America.
The breed was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and was categorized under the toy group.
Among famous past and present owners of this breed are Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Paris Hilton, George Lopez, The Osbournes, Rosie O' Donnell and Paula Abdul just to name a few.
Physical Characteristics of Chihuahua Puppies
The first qualities that grab the attention of many people are the breed's small size and saucy expression. The swift-moving gait of Chihuahua puppies and dogs reflects the vivacious terrier personality.
The body of this little fellow is compact and slightly longer than high. Overall, the body is well-balanced, not weighing more than 6 pounds according to the breed standard. The neck is graceful and slightly arched. The topline is level. The well-developed chest must lack signs of a protruding sternum. The ribs are well-sprung. The tail is moderately long, never docked, and should be curled over with only the tip touching the back.
The shoulders are strong and boast straight forelegs that are set well under. The forequarters are characterized by strong pasterns. The hindquarters are strong boasting well-defined tendons. The feet are small and dainty.
The Chihuahua's head should be well rounded and should boast an "apple dome" shape. The overall expression is saucy with round, luminous eyes. The eye color must be dark except in light-colored Chihuahuas where a lighter color is permitted. The flaring ears are large and erect. The muzzle is slightly pointed with a black or self-colored nose. Pink noses are permitted only in blond specimens.
There are two coat types in the Chihuahua -- long and short. Both varieties come in a wide range of colors and markings.
The short hair variety boasts a soft, glossy coat. The presence of a ruff around the neck and some hair on the tail is preferred. Long hair Chihuahuas (believed to have originated from crossing the Chi with the Papillon or Pomeranian), on the other hand, feature a soft, slightly wavy coat.
|Male||6 to 9 inches||2 to 6 pounds|
|Female||6 to 9 inches||2 to 6 pounds|
Types of Chihuahua
If you are considering opening your heart and home to a Chihuahua, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the many types of Chihuahua. There are many people breeding this dog and it may be difficult to tell apart the good breeders from the bad. The following Chihuahua facts will be helpful.
You may randomly spot ads of Chihuahua breeders selling teacup Chihuahua, pocket size Chihuahua, tiny toy Chihuahua and miniature Chihuahua. Keep in mind that these terms are marketing gimmicks used to depict smaller than average Chihuahuas that are not recognized by the breed standards.
You may also find Chihuahua breeders selling apple head Chihuahua and deer Chihuahua. In this case, consider that the breed standard specifically calls for a well rounded "apple dome" head. A deer head Chihuahua, therefore, depicts any Chihuahua that lacks the staple apple shaped head and has a longer nose and head resembling the head of a young deer.
You may have also heard about the hairless Chihuahua. As the name implies, this is a Chihuahua with no hair. In this case, you may be dealing with Chihuahuas that have lost their hair due to a genetic defect, known as alopecia. Overbreeding to obtain Chihuahuas of different colors may have resulted in the hairless variety, which, by the way, is also not recognized by the standard.
The blue Chihuahua is not a puppy that is "down in the dumps", rather it's a Chihuahua purposely bred for its grayish-blue color. As lovely and rare as this coat may be, it is caused by a recessive gene that can bring along some health issues. Breeders have also been breeding white Chihuahua and black Chihuahua puppies.
As with many other breeds, Chihuahuas are often crossed with other purebred dogs so to give life to some interesting designer mixes:
When crossed with a Dachshund, you get a Chihuahua Dachshund mix known as "Cheewenie". When crossed with a Pug, you get a Pug Chihuahua mix known as "Chug". Crossing it with a Pomeranian creates a Chihuahua Pomeranian mix known as Pomchi.
Last but not least, the Rat-cha, not to be confused for "gotcha", is a Rat Terrier Chihuahua mix!
Chihuahua Behavior and Temperament
Saucy, bold and confident... There is no doubt that the Chihuahua breed boasts many terrier-like characteristics. However, it is also true that owning Chihuahuas is something you never get tired of because each one of them is blessed with their own individual personality. From placid to eccentric, bold to timid, feisty to mellow; you really get a lot of variety within a litter of Chihuahua puppies.
Because this breed is by nature alert and suspicious of strangers, it has excellent watchdog capabilities. And while initially reserved with strangers, these dogs tend to warm up to people when properly introduced.
While Chihuahuas may get along well with other pets raised within the family, remember that this breed seems to have no concept of its size. Some Chihuahuas, therefore, may want to put up a fight when they spot an unknown dog.
Chihuahua puppies need loads of socialization during puppyhood so to help them differentiate friend from foe. Those pet parents who fail to do so may end up with little gremlins that attack anyone despite their friendly intentions.
In a household with children, this breed is better off with older children. The clumsiness of small children may cause serious injuries or cost a Chihuahua puppy or dog its life.
The breed is also known as a one person dog. A Chihuahua will pick its favorite family member and will channel close to 100% of its devotion to that person. It can even get jealous over that person's human relationships!
Chihuahua puppies are notorious for being difficult to housebreak. With tiny bladders and bowels, and intolerance to cold and wet weather, many owners figure out they are better off using an indoor dog litter box.
Best Owner and Living Conditions
The best Chihuahua owner must be aware of this breed's fragility. For this reason, many breeders refuse to sell Chihuahua puppies to households with children under 8 years old.
While Chihuahua puppies and dogs can look irresistible, it is important not to spoil them. The best owner should not treat this breed like a stuffed animal or a substitute for a human baby. If you want a Chi with a well-rounded personality, you must treat this breed like a dog, setting ground rules and enforcing them consistently.
This is a breed that enjoys romping in the yard but must live indoors. Never leave a Chihuahua outdoors on his own; he may end up becoming a delectable dessert for many animals.
Due to this breed's small size, it makes an excellent apartment dweller, but its barking can become a problem if not addressed.
Activity and Exercise
As a small dog, you would expect Chihuahuas to be lazy and quite mellow fellows. Yet, many are balls of energy that will play until they drop.
This breed will be happy to go on walks and spend time in the yard chasing squirrels or retrieving a ball. Many owners find the sport of dog agility a great way to channel excess energy while helping this dog increase its level of confidence.
Chihuahuas are pretty easy to groom. You can brush short-haired Chihuahuas with a grooming mitt and long-haired Chihuahuas with a pin brush. The short-haired variety needs to be brushed only occassionally while the long-haired variety will need to be brushed at least 2 to 3 times per week.
While Chihuahuas do shed, you can expect the amount of shedding to be considerably lower compared to a large breed dog. The heaviest shedding occurs in spring and fall. More frequent brushing during these seasons will help keep the amount of stray hairs under control.
Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas may be prone to poor dental health. Make sure you brush your dog's teeth and provide dental chews.
The big ears may also require some attention to keep them clean and free of wax. On the other hand, there is no need to bathe Chihuahua puppies often -- you only nedd to bathe them when they get smelly or dirty.
While the Chihuahua is a generally healthy dog, similar to many other breeds, it can be prone to several conditions. Purchasing from reputable Chihuahua breeders who health screen their breeding stock may help to significantly reduce the chances for many congenital disorders.
Chihuahua dogs are known for being predisposed to slipped stifles, heart murmurs, hypoglycemia, open fontanel, pulmonic stenosis, hydrocephlus and shivering when exited, stressed or cold.
Chihuahuas are predisposed to rapid weight gain, so make sure not to overfeed your pet and provide him with plenty of exercise. This breed also requires professional help with birthing.
Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.
The average life expectancy for the Chihuahua is 15 years but some dogs can live up to 20 and even 22 years.
Are you considering adopting a Taco Bell dog? If so, make your decision wisely; this breed has quite a long life expectancy. Those who are owned by this breed find Chihuahuas to be brimming with diverse personalities, something that is perhaps unmatched by any other breed.
If you are looking for Chihuahua puppies, you will surely fall in love with this breed's quirky and eccentric personality and adorable looks.
Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?
If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Chihuahua rescue group. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.
You may also wish to explore the following articles:
Want to learn more?
Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Chihuahua Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.
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