Chihuahuas are one of the smallest purebred dog breeds in the world. They rapidly gained their popularity due to Taco Bell’s ad campaigns. Their vast adornment indeed took off in the “rich and famous” community as these little dogs can be both fashionable and pack a punch of attitude! The Chihuahua will make an effective watchdog and will do it in style!
Chihuahua dogs may have grown in popularity here in the United States, but they were originally thought to be a protector of souls in their native land, Mexico. These little canine companions were held responsible for guiding passing spirits as they left the body and onward through the afterlife. This legend may add an interesting twist to the little dog’s history. However, their real history remains slightly mysterious as well. The Chihuahua dog breed was named after the state of Chihuahua located in Northwestern Mexico. This was where American tourists first gazed upon the breed in the mid to late 19th century. One of the many mysteries surrounding this breed is how and when they came to America. One theory says that they were brought here by the Spaniards after they conquered Mexico. Another theory states that they may have been here already as one of the first native dog breeds to the New World. The Chihuahua that our culture is familiar with today was actually bred here in North America. These pups made it into the prestigious American Kennel Club in the year 1904. Less than two decades later, in 1923, the Chihuahua Club of America was born!
The Chihuahuas that we know and love today are commonly categorized as a member of the Toy Dog Breed group or even in the Companion Dog Breed group. This variation is due in large part to their size (standing 6 inches to 10 inches tall on average) and weight (weighing in at 3 pounds to 8 pounds) combined with their incredible affection and loyalty. Chihuahuas are special in that they can vary quite a bit in their physical appearances. For example, they can have a short coat that is shiny and smooth to the touch. They could also have a longer coat that is flowing and silky. Chihuahuas with longer coats may have curly hair or smooth hair texture. Their colors and patterns vary as well. It is not unusual for Chihuahuas to have solid colored coats ranging from white, chocolate, silver and black. Nor is it uncommon to find Chihuahuas in various patterns including brindle, spotted, or merle. One thing is for certain; these pooches offer variety! These little dogs are capable of so many things. In fact, if they are cared for properly then they could live for 20 years or more!
This is certainly not a boring lap dog kind of breed. The Chihuahua packs a punch of personality that one may not expect from such a little body. This is an overly confident dog breed that may have a tendency to forget their physical size. This is commonly known as Small Dog Syndrome. Chihuahuas may only stand about 10 inches tall, but they have no problem attempting to protect and defend themselves or their family members. They are constantly on high alert which makes them great guard dogs. However, they require proper socialization and training to learn to trust. As previously mentioned, the Chihuahua is a companion dog breed. They make it their goal to provide affection, loyalty, and friendship to their family members. It is not uncommon for these tiny pups to form a particularly strong bond with one or two family members. Chihuahuas are surprisingly eager to learn new things! They enjoy training activities that involve agility and other sports-related lessons. They will even enjoy competing in agility courses and other competitions. They should undergo basic puppy training to ensure that they are well-rounded and properly socialized. Professional training will also instill good doggie manners that are essential for public activities or family gatherings. Most Chihuahuas are not a threat to children or other pets, especially if they have been socialized, trained and raised alongside them. However, many families find that young children see the Chihuahua as a toy and therefore may play roughly with them. Supervision is highly recommended for the safety of all involved.
These pups would make excellent apartment dwellers. They are small and easy to carry down a flight of stairs or two when they need to go outside. On the other hand, Chihuahuas have been known to be “pad trained” which may eliminate the need for an outdoor bathroom. However, Chihuahuas should be provided green space outdoors for exercise and socialization. Chihuahuas should not be left alone outside as their small size makes them potential prey for large birds and other wildlife. The Chihuahua is not a high maintenance dog breed in the care and grooming department. They should be brushed weekly. They may require more frequent brushing if they have longer hair or if the weather is warm. Chihuahuas should not need regular bathing and may even get away with monthly bath times. Their ears should be correctly observed on a daily basis. Watch them for wax and odors. If any are apparent, then it is recommended to clean the inner ear by using a clean cotton ball and veterinarian recommended cleaners. It is wise to have a veterinarian demonstrate proper ear cleaning for you to prevent harming the inner ear. Eye discharge may be wiped away with a clean cloth. Some Chihuahuas may develop a stain under their eyes. This can be removed with a veterinarian recommended stain remover. These pups have a tendency to grow their nails quickly, especially if they are fed a nutritious diet. Keeping their nails trimmed will help prevent injury to the nail or the padding of the paw. Finally, a chihuahua’s teeth and gums should be cleaned regularly to help prevent gum disease and bad breath. Chihuahuas may be a small dog breed, but they require a nutritious, high-quality diet. It is wise to choose a dog food brand that is specially formulated for small, active dog breeds. These pups should be given up to a half a cup of dry kibble each day.
Chihuahuas are a determined and affectionate breed that can be prone to various health conditions including Hypoglycemia, Patellar Luxation, Heart Murmurs, along with many others. A happy and healthy dog begins with proper care provided by a responsible owner!