Chihuahua Breed Information
Our Chihuahuas are raised in a home environment and bred for both temperament and health.
The Chihuahua's tiny body hides a large heart, making them a favorite with many pet owners. In fact, the Chihuahua is listed as one of the top toy breeds in the United States. They bond very strongly with their owners, and make excellent little companions for empty nesters, single people, the frequent traveler, or family's that enjoy having a personal pet. They are very sensitive to sound and have been known to alert a sleeping child or senior of an unwanted intruder.
Toy Breeds are known to inspire terminally ill patients to live longer. Or comfort persons recovering from surgery, sickness, divorce, family loss or major depression.
Because having a happy little companion to talk to and comfort you, can make your world a brighter place. Especially in children and senior citizens. Because they have more time to think about their loss or loneliness. And feel loved, appreciated and comfortable having a little pet to talk to and care for.
With their big eyes, ears, and bigger then life attitude, is epitome of cocky canine package.
In other words, this pint-sized pet is master of his universe and fears nothing, characteristics that make him a most suitable pet for some people and the worst possible choice for others. But a sudden spurt of popularity as the Taco Bell dog has brought notoriety, and demand for the tough and intelligent dogs has increased.
The Chihuahua has always been popular as a pet for empty nesters, elderly owners and apartment dwellers, so in an era when many breed registrations are declining, the number of Chihuahuas registered annually has increased from 29,860 in 1991 to 38,926 in 1997, an average increase of 1133 registered dogs per year and an overall increase of 30.4 percent. The number is hardly equivalent to the registrations of Labrador Retrievers, the breed with a lock on the number one slot for the past several years, but it has been enough to move the Chihuahua from 16th in popularity to 12th.
Chihuahua Breed History
The Chihuahua takes its name from the Mexican state abutting west Texas and New Mexico, but likely came from the ancient Techichi dogs of the Toltecs crossed with hairless dogs from the Orient. Historians describe the Techichi as a heavy-boned small dog with a long coat indigenous to Central America and definitely connected to the Toltec civilization near present-day Mexico City. The Techichi was larger than the modern Chihuahua and was mute.
The Aztecs conquered the Toltecs and adopted the little dogs as sacred icons of the upper classes, used in religious ceremonies to expiate sins and as guides for the spirits of the dead. Somewhere along the way, breed historian K. deBlinde* concluded, the Techichi was crossed with an Oriental hairless breed that made its way to the New World via the Bering Strait land bridge and the smaller, smooth-coated, vocal Chihuahua of today was born.
The breed was discovered in Chihuahua State in the 1850s and quickly became popular. It was first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904.
The Chihuahua is the smallest of the AKC registered breeds, weighing in at two-to-six pounds. No height is given in the standard, but most Chihuahuas are six-to-eight inches tall. As with many breeds, the body is slightly longer than it is tall.
The overall appearance is of a fine-boned but muscular dog. The head is distinctive with its rounded skull, large eyes, and large ears that perk upright when the dog is alert and flare out to the sides of the head when the dog is resting. The muzzle is moderately short and slightly pointed; teeth are arranged in a level or scissors bite.
The Chihuahua has a graceful neck carried with a slight arch and sloping gracefully into the shoulders. The topline is level, the ribs rounded and well-sprung, and the tail moderately long and carried up in a sickle shape or as a loop that touches the back.
Smooth-coated Chihuahuas have a soft, glossy, and close coat that is full over the body and scanty on the head and ears. The long-coated dogs have a longer soft coat that can be flat or slightly curly and must have an undercoat. The tail on a longcoat resembles a plume; the ears, feet, and legs are feathered; and the neck carries a ruff. Either coat can be any solid color or can be marked or splashed with color on a white background.
The official AKC standard for the breed describes the Chihuahua as “A graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.” However, some Chihuahuas carry “saucy” and “terrier-like” to extremes and are grumpy, haughty, or downright nasty when provoked – and provocation may come easy.
The tendency to be temperamental, a reputation for being suspicious of everyone but his owner, and a clannish dislike of any breed but his own makes the Chihuahua an unsuitable pet for households with small or boisterous children. On the other hand, he may be perfect for an elderly couple or individual, a pet owner who loves to pamper, those who live in apartments, and those on limited incomes.
Unfortunately, the Chihuahua’s innate curiosity, intelligence, and loyalty to and affection for his owner often get lost in the oft-repeated description of the more prominent features of his temperament, but in the right circumstances, he is a wonderful companion.
Chihuahua Health Information
This is a long-lived breed, often achieving 16 or more years of age. However, there are some genetic diseases that can cause problems. Like most toy breeds, the Chihuahua is susceptible to slipped stifles (a knee injury caused by joint weakness) and fractures and may suffer from jawbone disorders, eye problems, heart disease, and tooth and gum complaints. As puppies Chihuahuas should not be allowed to jump off high furniture or out of your arms as the impact on landing could fracture a leg.
The Chihuahua tendency to shiver or tremble is not a health issue but takes place when the dog is excited or stressed. One explanation is the toy dogs have a higher metabolism and so dissipate body heat faster than larger dogs. Shivering helps to generate body heat – that’s why people shiver when we are cold. However, rapid dissipation of body heat is a distinct disadvantage in cool or cold climates, so Chihuahuas should always be protected when taken outdoors in these areas. Fortunately, there are dozens of styles of protective sweaters available.
The Chihuahua As A Pet
The Chihuahua’s loyalty and affinity for being close to his master or mistress makes him an amiable companion, and his size makes him a convenient one. Chihuahuas have been known to ride about inside a pocket, in a purse or tote bag, or tucked firmly under the arm of their owners. They fit nicely in soft-sided pet carriers for an airplane ride or a jaunt in the car, and they enjoy outings immensely.
At home the Chihuahua is curious and mischievous. Left to his own devices, the little guy might decorate the entire house with a roll of toilet paper, make confetti out of the mail, or commandeer your bed or favorite chair as his own. Although he is not much bigger than a minute, he could also wind up as master of the household, for he can manipulate owners with great finesse.