The smallest of dogs, with an apple-domed skull and smooth, fine coat, this smooth coated Chihuahua breed has a short, smooth coat and comes in a variety of colours from fawn to black. A dainty, compact dog, adults measure 15-23cm and weigh between 1.8-2.7-kg.
A small dog, called a Techichi, was an important part of Toltec and Aztec cultures. Techichi were the pets of the wealthy and were cremated with the dead in order to take on the deceased's sins so that the person could enter the next world without angering the gods. The dogs were also supposed to guide the deceased through the underworld and fight off evil spirits. Some believe that the Chihuahua is the product of breeding between the Techichi and a small, hairless dog from Asia. Chihuahua is a state in Mexico and it is from this state that the modern Chihuahua dog breed was first exported to America. Theory has it that the modern breed developed from the ancient strains of the Techichi, mixed with small dogs of Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
The Chihuahua tends to bond closely with one or two people, with whom he will be curious, lively and intelligent, as well as deeply and constantly affectionate. However, without adequate socialisation, the breed will not take kindly to strangers and can appear nervous, yappy and even snappy. Chihuahuas must be socialised as early as possible or they will become anxious in new environments and will not get along with strangers, children and other household pets. They are a clannish breed and enjoy being in a pack of Chihuahuas.
As with many small breeds, the smooth coated Chihuahua can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas) and a windpipe problem. The shape of their head can make them prone to water on the brain (hydrocephalus), and some eye problems.
The Chihuahua can adapt to however much exercise you would like to give, within reason. Chihuahuas tend to have bursts of energy where they play excitedly, but do not need a lot of walking – half an hour daily should suffice. It is recommended that Chihuahuas wear a harness instead of a collar due to their fragile tracheas (windpipes.)
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Grooming is not a demanding chore with the Chihuahua. The smooth-coated variety can be groomed using a rubber grooming comb/brush now and again. Chihuahuas do shed, but, being small, there isn't that much hair to lose. It is a good idea to brush a Chihuahua's teeth daily as, similarly to all small breeds, they are prone to a heavy tartar build-up.