The Chihuahua has a colourful, almost hair-raising past. The breed may go as far back as 5th century Mayan Civilization. Pyramids in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, have carvings of small Chihuahua like dogs. At the Monastery of Huejotzingo, between Mexico City and Pubela, there are more Chihuahua images in the Toltec stones used to build the monastery. These date from the 9th century. It is known that a small dog called a 'Techichi' was an important part of Toltec and Aztec cultures. Techichi were the pets of the wealthy and were an essential facet in the religious practice of these ancient Indian cultures. The dogs 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 people believe that the Chihuahua is the product of breeding between the Techichi and a small, hairless dog from Asia that would have entered the Americas across the Bering Strait. Whatever the origins, the devastation of the Central American civilizations was reflected on the dogs and this small, religious figure of the canine world was nearly lost. Chihuahua is a state in Mexico and it is from this state that the modern Chihuahua 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. First exported to the U.S. in 1898, Chihuahuas were shown in 1901 and given AKC recognition in 1904. The breed rapidly gained popularity and is much loved pet all over the world today. In the US both varieties can appear in the same litter but in the UK, the smooth and long coats are quite separately bred and a bitch would be very unlikely to throw two types in a single litter.
The smallest of dogs, with an apple domed skull and smooth, fine coat.
|Colour||The Chihuahua comes in a variety of colours from fawn to black.
|Coat Length||Short Smooth|
|Weight/Height Range||The Chihuahua measures between 15 to 23cms at the withers and weighs between 1 to 3kgs.
Almost all small breeds have a tendency to get subluxating patellas, probably due to stress injuries from leaping off the furniture - enormous jumps for such tiny creatures. Many small dogs also have weak tracheas. Chihuahuas, more particularly, suffer from cleft palate, hydrocephalus (excess water on the brain; of which a symptom can be seizures) and hypoplasia of the dens - a lack of development in the second vertebrae, leading to skull instability. As with many breeds, there are also eye problems. Haemphilia, a blood clotting disorder carried by the females and manifesting in the males, also occurs in Chihuahuas.
|Breed Classification||The Chihuahua belongs to the toy group and is used as a companion and seen in the show-ring.
Feeding & Ownership
Chihuahuas have a high and sometimes delicate metabolism, i.e. they can be prone to hypoglycemia, so it is better to give two to three small meals per day rather than one large one. They can eat dry food as well as tinned food and seem to enjoy crunching up the hard biscuits - a practice, which is good for their teeth.
Up to $5
Personality wise, the Chihuahua tends to bond closely with one or two people. With its master/mistress the Chihuahua will be curious, lively and intelligent, as well as deeply and constantly affectionate. However, the breed does not take kindly to strangers and can appear nervous, yappy and even snappy with the uninitiated. Chihuahuas must be socialized as early as possible or will become very anxious in new environments and will not get along with other pets (including dogs) and will be risky business around children. On the plus side, the dog is very territorial and will make a good guard dog, although some find the Chihuahua’s barking excessive. They are a clannish breed and enjoy being a pack of Chihuahuas. They adapt quite well to flat dwelling and make excellent, loving companions for single people and the elderly
A clever breed, the dog can take well to training if it is begun early on. Some Chihuahuas have been trained to use a cat tray, while others are never house trained at all. It is entirely up to the owner to put some time in from day one of the puppy’s arrival.
|Suitability for Children||Low|
|Tendency to Bark||High|
|Overall Exercise Requirement||The Chihuahua can adapt to however much exercise you would like to give it, within reason. Chihuahuas tend to have bursts of energy where they play excitedly, but do not need a lot of walking. It is recommended that Chihuahuas wear harness instead of collars due to their fragile tracheas (windpipes.)|
|Suitability as a Guard Dog||Medium|
|Ease of Transportation||High|
|Level of Aggression||Medium|
|Other Animal Compatibility||Medium|
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. Unfortunately, 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, with all small breeds, they are prone to a heavy tartar build up.
|Grooming Requirements||Once a week|
|Amount of Hair Shed||Moderate|
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