Meet the World’s Smallest Dog Breed – the Chihuahua
With a HUGE personality packed into a tiny body, the Chihuahua dog breed is one of the most popular toy dog breeds.
The Chihuahua’s charm, intelligence, spunk, playfulness and utter joie de vivre make it an excellent choice as a canine companion for singles, elderly dog lovers and families with older, well-behaved children.
Chihuahuas come in two coat variations; there are both long haired Chihuahuas and smooth coat ones, in every imaginable coat color and pattern. A healthy and long-lived breed, a Chihuahua puppy from a responsible breeder will provide you with many, many years of love and companionship!
Chihuahua Dog Breed Facts
- Origin: Mexico
- Height: Average of 6-10 inches at the shoulder, though there is no height restriction for the breed
- Weight: Less than 6 pounds
- Exercise Needs: Medium
- Grooming Needs: Low for the shorthaired variety, medium for longhaired
- Chihuahua Life Expectancy: Chihuahuas are one of the most long-lived dog breeds in existence. They can live from 8-18 years, or longer.
- Good With Kids: No
- Trainability: Low
Chihuahua Dog Breed History
Like many breeds of dog, the true origins of the Chihuahua are buried beneath the sands of time. One common theory is that he is a descendant of an ancient breed of dog, known as the Techichi, that was raised by the Toltec people as far back as the 9th century, A.D.
Some even suggest that the foundation breed dates even further back, perhaps into the times when the ancient Mayans first settled into Central America, where the Techichi was indigenous. While the Techichi was larger and more heavily-boned than the Chihuahua, the similarity between the two dogs is unmistakable.
Perhaps, when people traveled across the land bridge that is now the Bering Strait, smaller breeds of Asian dogs, quite possibly the Chinese Crested, were brought into Alaska, where they were then able to cross with the Techichi.
This is a common theory on how the Chihuahua came to be. Others speculate that he is the result of extensive inbreeding. Regardless how he came about, however, this tiny hero of a dog is determined to remain a popular favorite, even with the passing of time.
The Chihuahua is named for the Mexican city where the earliest record of this unique little breed has been found, and he has enjoyed his status as a favored house pet for centuries.
Believed to have been brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus and other explorers of that day and age, this tiny dog quickly gained popularity, and interest in the Chihuahua spread worldwide. The American Kennel Club (A.K.C.) acknowledges the Chihuahua as one of the oldest breeds to be registered, the first dogs being recognized and entered into the stud book back in 1904.
What does the Chihuahua look like? In a word: ADORABLE!
The Chihuahua comes in two different varieties; the long haired Chihuahua (sometimes known as the long coat Chihuahua) and the smooth coated Chihuahua.
Smooth Coated Chihuahuas
The smooth coat Chihuahua has a coat that is slick, glossy, and of a soft texture. A slight ruff over the neck area is ideal and dogs with a slightly heavier coat are permissible, according to the breed standard.
Long Haired Chihuahuas
The long hair Chihuahua possesses a longer coat, which may either lay flat against the dog or may be somewhat curly; in both styles of long haired Chihuahua, the ears should be fringed and the tail should be plume-like, with feathering at the chest, along the belly and flanks, and down the dog’s legs. A large ruff is also desired around the neck area.
Also interesting to note is that the Chihuahua can be found in any color and can be either solid patterned, marked or splashed, regardless of coat.
The Chihuahua breed standard does not specify a height limit, for registration but, instead, specifies that they can weigh no more than 6 pounds. Because of this, the breed’s height varies more than many other known breeds.
Most show dogs will be an average of 6-10 inches tall at the top of the shoulder, though it is not uncommon for dogs to grow larger than this, particularly those who are kept as pets.
Quite often, smaller specimens of the breed are sold as expensive pets, known as teacup Chihuahuas. While these dwarfs are highly sought after, you should be very wary of any breeder that advertises teacup Chihuahuas.
Quite often, these DOGS exhibit a large number of health problems and often live a much shorter lifespan than the standard Chihuahua’ life span of anywhere between 8 and 18 years of age.
What kind of personality does the Chihuahua have? Spunky, bossy and barky, to name just a few of the character traits of these precious little dogs!
Recognized as the smallest breed of dog in the world, the Chihuahua is a favorite pet for many who enjoy tiny dogs, as well as those who live in apartments or areas where they cannot have a larger breed of dog.
A well-balanced little canine, the Chihuahua can weigh less than 6 pounds when fully grown. But don’t let this puny size make you think he’s a pushover; Chihuahuas rival many large breed dogs in attitude and bravery,
Even if you’re not a fan of small dogs, the tiny Chihuahua is sure to surprise you with his active, confident-if-not-overbearing personality. Very few who have had the honor of meeting one of these pint-sized spitfires, will be unimpressed with Chihuahua charisma and courage. The very idea of a miniscule 7 pound dog standing up to a 75 pound canine would be comical, were it not happening right before your eyes.
But ample confidence isn’t the only character trait that sets the Chihuahua apart from it’s little pooch peers, Chi’s are heart-stealers like no other.
Whether gazing lovingly up at you with huge brown eyes, a slight full body tremble for effect, or gayly prancing around the living room, pouncing on toys before pretending they are small prey they are ripping and shaking apart, within 15 minutes max, you will be hooked. And be warned: Chihuahuas are like potato chips. It’ hard to stop at just one!
Chihuahua Health Issues
The Chihuahua has been around for more than 1500 years, it’s history dating back to the 7th century AD. This explains the breed’s overall good health. Their small size allows the breed to avoid many of the muscjoint displulo-skeletal issues that can plague large breed dogs, such as Arthritis and jount dysplasia.
But there are some conditions that can afflict Chihuahuas, including, but not limited to:
- Pulmonic Stenosis
- Patellar Luxation
Among the best ways to avoid having to deal with your cherished Chi developing any serious, life-limiting canine health disorder is to choose a reputable Chihuahua breeder