Chihuahua Guide

Toy Dog Breeds

The Chihuahua is graceful, small and compact; it is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a saucy expression and an alert, terrier-like attitude. It should move out at a swift pace with good reach and drive. Its coat can be smooth, with soft, glossy hair or long, with soft straight or wavy hair and fringed ears.

The saucy Chihuahua has earned its place as a favored toy dog because of its intense devotion to a single person. It is reserved with strangers but good with other household dogs and pets. Some try to be protective, but they are not very effective. Some may be quite bold; others may be timid. It is often temperamental. Some bark.

AKC RANKING 10

FAMILY companion, Southern (pariah)

AREA OF ORIGIN Mexico

DATE OF ORIGIN 1500s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION ceremonial

TODAY'S FUNCTION companion

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 6-9 Weight: <6

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 6-9 Weight: <6

OTHER NAME none

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Not very playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Low tolerance

Heat tolerance High tolerance

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The Chihuahua is a lively dog that nonetheless can get its exercise running from room to room indoors. It enjoys exploring the yard or going for short walks on a leash and especially enjoys accompanying its owner on outings. The Chihuahua is not an outdoor dog; it hates the cold and seeks out warmth. Coat care for the smooth is minimal. Care of the long coat entails brushing two to three times a week.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: pulmonic stenosis, hydrocephalus, patellar luxation, KCS,
hypoglycemia
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: cardiac, knee
• Life span: 14 – 18 years
• Note: A soft spot (molera) in the skull (due to incomplete fontanel closure) is a common
breed trait.
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The smallest breed of dog, the Chihuahua has a controversial history. One theory holds that it originated in China and was brought to the New World by Spanish traders, where it was then crossed with small native dogs. The other theory contends that it originated entirely in Central and South America, descending from the native Techichi, a small mute dog that was sometimes sacrificed in Toltec religious rituals. A small red dog was believed to guide the soul to the underworld, and every Aztec family kept such a dog, which was sacrificed and buried with any deceased family member. To make matters worse for the Techichi, the Toltecs and their conquerors, the Aztecs, often ate dogs and the Techichi may have sometimes been on the menu. Despite what may have been short lives, Techichis apparently were well-cared for during life by the priests or their families. In fact, the most likely origin of the Chihuahua is a combination of these theories: The native Techichi was probably crossed with tiny hairless Chinese dogs, but again the date when this occurred is controversial. The Chinese dogs may have been brought over when a land bridge spanned the Bering Strait, or they may have been brought later by Spanish traders. When Cortes conquered the Aztecs in the 16th century, the little dogs were abandoned and left to fend for themselves. About 300 years later, in 1850, three tiny dogs were found in Chihuahua, Mexico. A few were brought to the United States, but they aroused only moderate attention. Only when Xavier Cugat ("the rhumba king") appeared in public with a Chihuahua as his constant companion did the breed capture the public's hearts. It experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and has continued as one of America's most popular breeds.
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