Chihuahua (Smooth Coat)
- Dog suitable for experienced owners
- Basic training required
- Enjoys gentle walks
- Enjoys walking half an hour a day
- Little toy dog
- Minimum drool
- Requires grooming once a week
- Non Hypoallergenic breed
- Very vocal dog
- Guard dog. Barks and alerts
- Great with other pets
- Great family dog
Chihuahua Key Facts:
Lifespan: 10 – 18 years
Weight: 1.8 – 2.7kg
Height: 15 – 23cms
Colours: The Chihuahua has two coat types: short-haired and long-haired and comes in a variety of colours including solid colours such as: black; white; fawn; chocolate; grey or silver and tricolours such as: chocolate, black or blue with tan and white. They may also be spotted; brindle; merle as well as other markings
Kennel Club Group: Toy
Exercise needs: 1/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
History and Origins
Country of origin: Mexico
The Chihuahua is famous for being the smallest breed in the world. The origins of the Chihuahua are lost in the mists of time and there are varying opinions as to whether the breed was a companion dog for the high-born during the Aztec period who, when their owners died, would be buried with them supposedly to show them the way to the afterlife, or whether they were created much later in the Middle Ages, by crossing the lapdogs of wealthy Spanish settlers with the existing small dogs existing in the country. Other opinions suggest that it was small Chinese dogs who contributed to the Chihuahua (which may account for the long coats) but whatever the reality, these tiny dogs were popular in Mexico in the 19th century when American visitors began to take an interest in them, taking them back as a memento of their visit - and by 1923 the Chihuahua Club of America had been formed.
The Chihuahua tends to bond closely with one or two people, with whom they 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.
The Chihuahua will suit an owner who may have little space in their homes but still want a lively, affectionate companion who will be able to come everywhere with them as this is not a dog who is easily able to tolerate owner absences.
Health and Common Issues
As with many small breeds, the Chihuahua can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (a condition known as patella luxation) 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’s recommended that Chihuahuas wear a harness instead of a collar due to their fragile tracheas (windpipes.)
The perfect dog for a small urban space, although they do need to have access to the outdoors for exercise and very frequent toileting.
Nutrition and Feeding
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 as they are so tiny. The smooth-coated variety can be groomed using a rubber grooming comb/brush now and again while the long-haired dogs need a comb. Chihuahuas do shed, but, being small, there isn't that much hair to lose. It’s 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. This may be because owners don’t give them a chance to gnaw on things that will naturally clean their teeth.
Chihuahuas are surprisingly smart and when it comes to training, should very definitely be treated as a ‘real dog’ as they really enjoy working with their owners. Chihuahuas have even been seen in the main ring at Crufts competing in Heelwork to Music!
Just remember when you are training your chihuahua to use the tiniest of treats as rewards.
Like many toy dogs, Chihuahuas often find toilet training difficult and this may well be that owners are unaware of just how tiny their digestive systems are and they need to go out far more often than they expect. They will be quite mature before they can go through the night.
Best Family Dog Breeds
While the Chihuahua can get on with everyone in the family, they are generally too small for young children and not able to cope with boisterous games.
While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.
Did you know?
- The Chihuahua is famous for being the smallest dog in the world
- Their popularity has soared recently as the preferred and pampered pet of celebrities and this has led to irresponsible breeding
- Chihuahua’s shiver a lot but that doesn’t always mean they’re cold, they also do it when they’re excited or scared too!
- The current smallest dog living is a Chihuahua called Milly, standing at just 9.65cm tall!
- In terms of brain size in comparison to body, the Chihuahua has the biggest brain of all dog breeds