- Dog suitable for owners with some experience
- Basic training required
- Need to be aware of potential health issues
- Enjoys active walks
- Needs under an hour of walking a day
- Small dog
- Minimum drool
- Requires grooming once a week
- Chatty and vocal dog
- Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
- Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
- May need additional training to live with other pets
- May need additional supervision to live with children
- Needs a small garden
- Can happily live in the city
- Can be left occasionally with training
|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|
|Easy to train:||4/5|
|Tolerates being alone:||1/5|
|Likes other pets:||2/5|
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.
History and Origins
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.
The Chihuahua is a state in Mexico and it’s 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.
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.
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.
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.