The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world, but don’t let their small size fool you. These purse-sized pooches pack plenty of sass and personality into their small frames. Ancient relics from Mexico and the Americas dating back to approximately 1300 A.D. depict Chihuahua-like dogs. The working theory surrounding Chihuahuas’ origins is that they are descendants of the Techichi, a tiny companion dog beloved by the Toltec civilization in Mexico.
Chihuahuas get their name from the Mexican state where tourists first discovered today’s version of the breed in the late 1800s. However it wasn’t until 1904 that the American Kennel Club registered its first Chihuahua. The dog’s name? Midget! Since then, Chihuahuas have made their mark in a big way. A favorite dog breed of celebrities, they are frequently featured in commercials, TV, and movies.
Chihuahuas generally come in two varieties: smooth coat and long coat. Smooth coat Chihuahuas don’t require much grooming — a weekly brushing does the trick — but they actually shed more than their long-haired counterparts. Long coat Chihuahuas require brushing at least two to three times per week to ensure their fur doesn’t get tangled or matted. Whether long- or short-haired, the Chihuahua’s coat can come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Some are a solid-color like white or tan, while others are marked or splashed.
Chihuahuas make ideal city dogs since they don’t require as much exercise as larger dog breeds. The exercise needs of most Chihuahuas can be fulfilled simply by running around the house. Though Chihuahuas generally prefer to be curled up inside with their favorite human (even when they live with a family, these pampered pooches tend to be especially loyal to one person), they do enjoy exploring outside. Just make sure they have a coat or sweater on if the weather is chilly — their tiny bodies need some extra help staying warm!
This toy breed may not require a lot of grooming or exercise but Chihuahuas still need a lot of training, care, and attention. Notoriously demanding, it’s important to start training a Chihuahua when they are young; they will rule the roost if not trained properly from a young age. Their small, fragile frame and propensity for snapping mean Chihuahuas and small children are not a good combination. However, Chihuahuas can get along well with other dogs, provided these miniature mutts don’t rough house with larger breeds.
Chihuahuas have a long lifespan, averaging approximately 15 years. Luckily Chihuahuas don’t often develop severe health issues, especially when they are young and cared for. Conditions like molera (a hole in the skull that occurs when bones in the fontanel are not firmly knit together) and hydrocephalus (the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid that causes pressure on the brain) are relatively rare. But it is common for Chihuahuas to have minor health issues develop throughout the course of their lives. Conditions including hypoglycemia, pulmonic stenosis, and patellar luxation are often seen in Chihuahuas.
Major Chihuahua Health Concerns
- Cardiovascular disease
Minor Chihuahua Health Concerns
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Patellar luxation
- Females: 6 – 9 inches
- Males: 6 – 9 inches
- Females: 3 – 6 pounds
- Males: 3 – 6 pounds
- Approximately 3/4 to 1 cup of food per day
- Moderately active
Pet Insurance for Chihuahuas
Average-sized Chihuahuas have a lifespan of 14 to 18 years, which is a remarkably long lifespan for a dog. Since they live for such a long time, it’s inevitable that they will eventually develop health issues. Pet insurance for Chihuahuas is generally comparable in price to pet insurance for mixed breed dogs.
Since Chihuahuas, like all pure-bred dogs, are likely to eventually have hereditary issues, it is important to get pet insurance for a Chihuahua within the first 1-2 years.
Looking to rescue a Chihuahua? Here are some of the top Chihuahua rescues in the country:
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