- Lifespan: 14-18 years
- Group: AKC Toy
- Best Suited For: Families with children, singles, seniors, apartments, houses with/without yards
- Temperament: Lively, timid, affectionate, devoted
You may have recognized this breed from its presence on the big and small screen – Bruiser from the movie “Legally Blonde” and the Taco Bell dog. Perhaps you fell in love with the breed after watching the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” No matter how you became a fan of the small Chihuahua dog, once you’ve owned one, you’ll be hooked on the breed for life.
Sporting a large head, expressive eyes and a friendly disposition, the Chihuahua fits into the lifestyle of many types of households. You wouldn’t know to look at it, but the Chihuahua makes an excellent watchdog – of course, you shouldn’t expect it to protect you from a threat. Read on to learn more about this fantastic breed.
Sporting a large head, expressive eyes and a friendly disposition, the Chihuahua fits into the lifestyle of many types of households.
Delving into the Chihuahua’s history, historians can make a good guess at how this breed came to be, although it is hard to verify.
What we do know is that the breed is named after a Mexican city and was first seen around the Aztec era. Even though it is named after a particular city, the Chihuahua was likely plentiful all over the country. And you can consider the Chihuahua an ancient breed – it can be dated as far back as 500 A.D.
Since the background of the Chihuahua is a bit hazy, it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint this breed’s pedigree. What is known is that these small dogs were used for ceremonies and companionship. Some experts think the Chihuahua may have been bred from the Fennec Fox, a small animal with big eyes and ears – quite similar to the features found on the tiny dog.
The Chihuahua was recognized by the AKC in 1904.
Food / Diet
A good, balanced diet is always a safe bet when it comes to feeding your Chihuahua. This breed does well with a mix of protein, grain and vegetables. When giving out treats, moderation is essential – since the Chihuahua is so small, even the tiniest bit of extra weight can make a huge difference in its health.
You’ll find that training is one of the best and most fun parts of owning a Chihuahua.
When it comes to basic tricks, Chihuahuas are easy to train. Since this dog will love to please its owners, it will willingly sit, shake and roll over… as long as your Chihuahua is rewarded with a treat, of course. You’ll find that training is one of the best and most fun parts of owning a Chihuahua.
House training, on the other hand, is not as easy with Chihuahua. This will take some extra time, as it has a hard time learning where to go. Although some people use litter boxes or pee pads, this can be difficult. In the long run, you should train your Chihuahua to do its business outdoors, if possible.
Both male and female Chihuahuas can weight anywhere from six to nine pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
The Chihuahua is devoted to its owners and as such, it needs a lot of attention. From its point of view, it’s only fair – since your dog is devoted to you, you’d better be devoted to it too. So if you can give your dog this much attention, the Chihuahua is for you. To keep your Chihuahua happy, it will need to be around you all the time. If it feels slighted, you could be on the receiving end of some bad behavior.
As well, the Chihuahua may not play nice with other dogs, which may pose a problem if you have other animals in the house. If you like to have a house full of pets, try to keep them all Chihuahuas.
Common Health Problems
Like most dog breeds, there are various health problems that are common with Chihuahuas you should be aware of. Some common health problems that Chihuahuas may suffer from include hemophilia, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, jawbone disorders and heart murmurs.
In addition to these problems, Chihuahuas are prone to bladder and kidney stones. You’ll know if your dog as a kidney or bladder stone if your see blood in its urine or if it is only urinating small amounts at a time.
Chihuahuas have a life expectancy of 14 to 18 years.
Since they are so small, Chihuahuas need little exercise – regular play indoors is more than enough to keep it fit and healthy, but a walk won’t do this breed any harm. If you’ve got a small space, like an apartment, a Chihuahua is the perfect pet for you.
Even though the Chihuahua is primarily an indoor dog, it’s still a good idea to get outdoors with your pooch. Let them get outside and enjoy the fresh air, and explore the world outside your house. As well, it’s a great chance for your Chihuahua to socialize with other dogs and people.
The Chihuahua is devoted to its owners and as such, it needs a lot of attention.
The American Kennel Club says this about the breed: “Graceful, alert and swift-moving with a saucy expression, Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and should not be underestimated even though small in size.”
Chihuahuas come in two different coat lengths: long and short. For both varieties, its fur is glossy and smooth. Short-haired Chihuahuas have a coarser coat of hair, while the longhaired version is much softer. The hair on its body and tail is longer when compared to that found on its head and ears.
With both long- and short-haired Chihuahuas, you’ll find quite a bit of shedding and you should brush them on a regular basis. Long-haired Chihuahuas require more brushing, as you’ll want to prevent matting that may occur with the dog’s coat.
Since the Chihuahua breed is so small, you can imagine how small it is when it’s a puppy. Be careful with your Chihuahua puppy, especially around children. Be sure to prepare them for its arrival and teach them to practice extra care around it.
Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock