Small size and a great personality are what define the traits a Chihuahua. Most widely used for dog competitions, this is a breed which is one of the most popular among the people. They are the smallest dog breed and is named after the Chihuahua state. Also called as Chi, they are recognized by the American, UK and New Zealand Kennel Club as toy dogs whereas the United Kennel Club has categorized it under companion breeds.
Though the exact origin of this breed is still unknown, but two significant theories support its history. The myths and the physical findings depict that this breed has its root in Mexico which is why they are named after a state of the same country.
One theory claims that they were brought to Mexico from China by traders, and the traders started to breed them with the different small breed of dogs which is why they have this little size. Another theory is that they are relatives of the Techichi from the Toltec civilization. The Toltec carvings show a small dog with similar traits of a Chihuahua. They were used as a companion dog to the people and were found in Central and South America.
Most of the Techichis were found in the temples as the people of Toltec civilization believed that they had supernatural powers that could take the soul of the dead to the underworld. With that thing in mind, they made a culture to kill a red Techichi and cremate them with the remains of the dead people. This ritual became the part of the western Mexico shaft tomb tradition which was started as late as 300 BC. Though Techichi may seem similar to a Chihuahua, it is still unclear that what the right theory is.
However, the present Chihuahuas were found in the 1850s in Mexico where the Americans liked this breed and took it with them. However, the people were still unaware of the breed. It was 1904 when the first Chihuahua was registered in the American Kennel Club.
The size of a Chihuahua is one of the most distinctive traits of this breed. A Chi’s height would vary between fifteen to twenty-five inches. The average weight will be near to 2.7 kilograms. Both male and female are known to have same physical traits.
Chihuahuas are very protective of their family and territory. When it comes to protecting it, they are completely fearless and will do everything it takes to defend their home. They are not afraid of anyone, and they do not care about their tiny size.
Barking is an issue with this breed. They are far-famed to be loud barkers and will bark at almost every stranger that will come to their home. It is suited that they should be trained about their barking habits in the initial stage.
As mentioned above, they are possessive about their territory, but they are open to new friendships. However, a proper introduction is necessary. Sometimes they may feel shy in front of new people, but that is entirely normal and is a part of their nature.
Chihuahuas are timid and sometimes aggressive around new people, so you need to be careful while when you have a Chihuahua and children at home. Though there is no harm in having both at home, but you need to provide sufficient training to both of them. Make sure to be calm around them, and you will not face any problem in training them.
The problem with this breed is getting along with other pets. They are not so open to friendships with other pets; there is no doubt in saying that you will witness regular fights between a Chihuahua and your other pet. Though socializing them with the same breed will not be a problem, but they may not accept other dog breeds as their family members. It may take some time to adjust, but be patient and supervise them constantly.
The best you can do is always adopt a Chihuahua where other dogs are already living and not vice versa. The new dog will accept anyone as their family, and you will not face any problem in that. Another thing you can do is adopt both the pets at a young age so that they will grow up together. Make sure to follow these things or else be prepared to see regular fights.
Small dogs are known to live longer than large and medium-sized dogs. A healthy Chihuahua has a lifespan of twelve to twenty years which is much longer than large size dogs. So if you want a dog who will stay longer than any other breed, then Chihuahua should be your choice.
However, with small size come bigger health problems. They are known to have genetic diseases like any other breed, but they are high in number. One of the most common issues faced by Chihuahua is extreme shivering. Though the real cause why they shiver is still unknown, but it could be because of cold, stressed or excited.
Another thing that you need to monitor is your Chi’s open fontanel. They have a soft spot on their head when they are born. In most of the cases, this spot automatically closes, but some of the dogs may not be that lucky. Sometimes those spots may not close, and need to be treated carefully as even a small injury to the head could take their life.
Apart from that, patellar luxation is also another common bone disease found in small dog breeds where the kneecap of the dog dislocates. Though they have a small body, but they can also catch some blood circulation and heart diseases like hypoglycemia, heart murmurs, and pulmonic stenosis.
Not only that, but they can also b diagnosed with a collapsed trachea. In this disease, the dog may have problems in breathing as the air does not reach their lungs. Hydrocephalus which is a neurological disease is also found in this breed. In this illness, the dog faces pressure on the brain due to which their head looks enlarged. This is one of the most deadly diseases among this breed as there is no cure for it. In most of the cases, the dog will die before the age of five months.
Some of the Chihuahuas are also found with portosystemic shunt where they are born with the defected liver. This disease needs to be cured as early as possible as it results in toxin build-up in the body and might take the life of the dog.
Their small face has big eyes which can have genetic diseases. Apart from that, their teeth are also not properly developed and need veterinary attention. You may have to get some of their teeth plucked to make room for proper development for new teeth.
Most of the people do not know this, but Chihuahuas can also be fed to obesity. They have weak bones which are not made to carry more weight than their average.
Taking care of a Chihuahua is a complex task. One of the things that you should do is brush their teeth regularly. As mentioned above, their small skull is not capable of properly developing their teeth. Considering this factor, you need to give special attention to their mouth.
In addition to that, you need to get your canine vaccinated for any potential disease. They are known to be diagnosed with tons of diseases and vaccines can help you in their prevention. Consult a vet for the right time to get your dog vaccinated. Moreover, regular health check-ups are also necessary for this breed.
Exercise is necessary for every dog, and that includes Chihuahuas as well. However, the exercising practices may different for this breed. Their small body can be easily tired and put this dog to the extent might injure it. Make sure to end the exercise session before the energy of your dog drains. Long walks should be avoided with this breed. They have weak bones and might result in injuries. In addition to that, you should avoid using traditional collars and opt for the harness.
Socializing your dog is another necessary thing that should be done. They are not ready to accept other dog breeds as their friends, so make sure that you socialize it at an early stage. If you are planning to visit a dog park, then you should supervise the activities of your dog and train it accordingly.
Get your Chihuahua spayed or neutered to avoid potential diseases and aggression. After getting your Chihuahua spayed, it will decrease the chances of mammary tumors, and eradicate the chances of ovarian cancer. Neutering reduces aggression and risk of many different diseases like prostate infections and hernia.
Moreover, clean the ears of your dog to avoid any infections. Also, cut short their nails using a professional nail clipper. Make sure that you are not cutting the nails too short or else it can lead to heavy bleeding.
Chihuahuas have a very delicate body which should be fed accordingly. The best feeding practice for a Chi is to create a schedule and feed as per that schedule only. Avoid freestyle feeding as you will not be able to measure its food intake. For a puppy, it is best that you provide it with a high-quality and nutritional puppy food to keep it healthy. You can feed them three to four times a day until the age of six months.
For a puppy over six months of age should be fed around two to three times a day. The quantity of the food should depend on the size of your dog. Most of the people believe that increasing the quantity of the food will make their pup healthier. It might work for some dogs, but not with this breed. You should never take a risk with the feeding habit of Chihuahuas. They already have not-so-healthy bones, and an obese dog might put some additional weight on those bones which they might not handle.
An adult dog of this breed should be fed twice per day. Make sure that you should follow the created feeding schedule. If you are not sure about the schedule, then you should contact your vet which can help you in this process.
This was about the quantity of the food, but you should also know the things that you should always avoid giving to your dog. Those things include onions, garlic, chocolate, dry fruits, alcohol, macadamia nuts, xylitol, nutmeg, bacon, citrus fruits, dairy products, spicy food, and any fatty food.
The Chihuahuas come in two different types of coats. The one is a long coat while the other is a smooth coat. Chi with a long coat will have a flat coat which will be soft to the touch. The neck and the legs have long hairs, while the ears have smaller hairs. The smooth coat will have smooth and shiny looks which are thick and furry. However, the hair on their ears is thinner when compared to the body.
When it comes to their colors, they come in a variety of colors including fawn, white, chocolate, black, gold and cream. Grooming will not be an issue for a Chihuahua owner as they are small in size. You do not have to brush them regularly as they are not heavy shedders. Just brush them twice a week and you will we just fine.
This dog breed likes to stay indoors which means that your dog will not get dirty easily. Bathing is only necessary when your dog is dirty, so you can check the dirt on your dog and bath them accordingly.
Trimming the hairs will not be necessary unless your dog has too long hairs. Your dog will not require a haircut before the age of two years.
Chihuahuas are confident and obedient dogs who love to stick with its family. They may feel like they are the boss when it is with other pets, but make sure to keep an eye on its aggression to avoid any conflicts.