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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Chihuahua: Dog Breed Profile and Information

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The Chihuahua is a small but bold dog that wastes no time giving and receiving attention. In spite of its fragile and petite physique, the breed expresses confidence in the most amazing way. It’s big ears, and wide eyes are its unique features.

The Chihuahua ears are generally erect and large in relation to its body and head. The dog also has a distinctive personality and can be a loyal and affectionate companion.

Table of Contents

Breed Overview

  • Group: Toy
  • Height: 6 – 9 inches
  • Weight: 2 – 6 pounds
  • Coat and color: They can have long or smooth coats. They can also come in various colors, like solid or a mix of two colors. The most common colors include tan, black, cream, fawn, silver, red, blue, white, and chocolate.
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 20 years

Characteristics

  • Affection Level: High
  • Friendliness: High
  • Kid-Friendly: Medium
  • Pet-Friendly: Medium
  • Exercise Needs: Low
  • Playfulness: Medium
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Trainability: Medium
  • Intelligence: High
  • Tendency to Bark: Medium
  • Amount of Shedding: Low

History

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The breed originated in Mexico and are bred in the state for which it was named after. A possible ancestor of the Chihuahua was the Techichi, a revered dog of the ancient Toltecs.

It’s also believed that chihuahua ancestors may have existed earlier than the 19th century. It is also speculated that the size of the breed may be due to crossing with Chinese crested breeds.

The breed gained recognition by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1904 and is one of the oldest dogs on the American continent. Chihuahua is also one of the smallest dogs in the world.

It is also a breed that is loved by several dog lovers, thanks to its big personality and tiny size.

Care

The high-spirited attitude of the Chihuahua requires proper socialization, as well as in-depth obedience training. In the absence of appropriate socialization, chihuahuas can become defensive and fearful, especially when they are around strangers or animals.

Chihuahuas would usually get defensive and defiant towards other people and their owners if they aren’t adequately trained.

Although they can sometimes be headstrong, the breed is very smart and can be in their best behavior with dedication and patience from their owners. Owners must train their dogs to permit being held at a young age, especially when they have to get their nails trimmed.

Chihuahuas with smooth coats require more than just basic routine grooming. Their long-coated counterparts need consistent grooming, as well as regular brushing.

Considering their small size, the nails of chihuahuas do not naturally wear down. Owners must take the time to trim their nails regularly, so they don’t overgrow and cause discomfort.

Your Chihuahua must be regularly exercised. The size of a chihuahua shouldn’t rule out the need for regular exercise.

Chihuahuas have a moderate to a high level of energy and may build behavioral issues if not given adequate activity. Mental stimulation and physical exercise will help to maintain your dog’s physical and mental health.

Be conscious when walking your Chihuahua, mainly because they can become aggressive toward larger breeds if not correctly exposed. The best thing to do when this happens is to remove your dog to avoid dangerous conflict.

Since chihuahuas don’t handle cold well, it is best to provide a warm space for them. Owners may also need to get their pet sweater when they need to take them for walks. While some chihuahuas don’t mind being dressed up, others get uncomfortable, so be mindful.

The Chihuahua’s caring and loving nature make it a snuggly breed that adores being pampered and carried around. The breed has also been found to bond closely with one person in a family. They socialize best with other chihuahuas than other dog breeds. This means chihuahuas may not do well in homes with a variety of dogs.

Chihuahuas can make great house pets when handled and raised correctly. Mind you; not all chihuahuas will naturally get along with kids. However, they can be socialized and trained to be able to tolerate children.

It is usually advisable not to adopt chihuahuas into homes with young children. This is because children may not be able to handle tiny-sized dogs like chihuahuas, as gently as is required.

Common Health Problems

Reputable and responsible breeders aim at maintaining the highest breed standards that are established by kennel clubs, such as the AKC. Dogs raised by these standards are at reduced risk of inheriting health complications.

It’s important to know that the breed can be affected by some hereditary health issues, and some of them include the following;

  • Hypoglycemia: Chihuahua puppies can be affected by low blood sugar, and they may require sugar supplements.
  • Collapsing Trachea: This is a condition that is common with a small dog, and it happens when there is a restriction in the windpipe. Owners should be aware that their dog has the condition if they cough when pressure is placed on the trachea. You should meet with your veterinarian immediately.
  • Patellar Luxation: This occurs when your dog has a dislocated kneecap, and this can be very painful. Your dog may have its foot held up, but the kneecap may snap back in when the muscles are relaxed.
  • Hydrocephalus: This is common in puppies as they display signs of an unusually large head. This is caused when fluid is accumulated in the head.

Diet and Nutrition

Due to its small size, Chihuahua has a small jaw size, which makes their teeth tiny and weak. Owners would have to support their dog with routine dental care, which includes brushing daily.

They should also have access to dental chews, as well as a diet that allows them to chew. This greatly helps to reduce plaques from sticking to their teeth. A quality dry dog food will have large and thick pieces.

Because of their tiny size, the breed requires only 1/4 – 1/2 cup of quality dry food every day. Owners would have to monitor their dog’s weight. This is mainly because the chihuahuas’ lifespan can become shorter when they get overweight or obese.

Consult with a vet about a suitable diet if your dog has a health condition that requires special attention.

Pros

  • Cuddly
  • Intelligent pet
  • Small and easy to carry

Cons

  • Doesn’t do well in cold temperatures
  • May not be suitable for families with kids
  • Needs a high amount of physical exercise

Adopting or buying a Chihuahua

Because Chihuahuas are popular dog breeds, there are several verified breeders across the country. Ensure to get your Chihuahua from someone who can provide references and medical records for their dogs.

Optionally, you can contact chihuahua rescues around as well, and some of them include;

  • The Chihuahua Club of America: They offer resources, including a register of reputable breeders.
  • The Chihuahua Rescue and Transport: They have regional groups that feature dogs that need forever homes.

More dog breeds and research

If you don’t mind sharing your space with a chihuahua, you can spare some time to do some research on the breed. Discuss with your veterinarian, reputable breeders, chihuahua owners, and chihuahua rescues to learn more.

If you are fascinated with the dog breed, then you might also be interested in the following breeds;

  • Bichon Frise
  • Shih Tzu
  • Papillon Dog

Do you own a chihuahua or dogs of the same size? What does owning one feel like? Do you have other tips, suggestions, or facts about the breed you’d like to share with us? Kindly drop your comments below.

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