- Dog Breed:
- Breed Group:
- Toy Group
- Feisty, loving, intelligent, bossy, confident
- 5-8 inches
- A maximum of 6 pounds
- Life Span:
- 14-16 years
- Coat Colors:
- Coats may be solid or a combination of the following colours: black, tan, blue, chocolate, cream, fawn, sable, chocolate, gold, red, or silver. Markings can be black, merle, white, cream, fawn, or red.
- Area of Origin:
- Best For:
- Families with children over the age of 8
About The Chihuahua
Known of its apple-shaped head
Two coat varieties: long and short
Considered to be the world’s smallest dog
The feisty Chihuahua, a breed belonging to the toy group, is a dog of elegance and great spirit in a small package. Characterized by its distinctive apple head, the Chihuahua is easily recognizable wherever it goes. Though the coat of this beloved little dog comes in many colours, there are only two coat varieties: long and short.
The Chihuahua is an extremely loyal breed. A big dog in a small package, the Chihuahua has attitude to spare. A breed known to collects hearts wherever it travels, the Chihuahua is fiercely intelligent and can be very manipulative. Establishing firm boundaries early on is necessary with this charming breed.
In possession of great bravado, the Chihuahua is equally at home in the big city as it is in the heart of the country. Though the breed is known to love children, they are too small for rough play. For this reason, Chihuahuas are not recommended for homes with very small children who could drop or step on the dog, causing great injury or even death.
Chihuahuas do not thrive in cold climates, requiring a sweater or jacket for walks when temperatures start to drop. The breed adapts well to change; however, it prefers to enjoy life as a pampered house pet.
Though the Chihuahua enjoys its status as the world’s smallest dog, its claim to fame is its immense confidence and personality. A breed that is highly active, the Chihuahua is both playful and fun. This dog type is highly sociable and enjoys the company of its family, happily tagging along on their travels, whether it is in a designer handbag or on the end of a lead.
Chihuahuas are often known to bond deeply to one person. They can become very demanding if indulged, so care must be taken not to spoil them. This breed possesses unusual bravery and loves to explore its world, meaning they are master escape artists. Secure containment is required for this dog breed to ensure its safety.
The breed can be exceedingly bossy, a trait that is often not appreciated by other family pets. For this reason, it is vital to teach the Chihuahua its place in the home to ensure harmony in a multi-pet household.
Chihuahua Breed History
Believed to have descended from an early dog breed known as the Techichi
Renamed for the Mexican state Chihuahua where a large concentration of the breed was found
Starred in many films and TV shows including Sex and the City, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Legally Blonde
The Chihuahua is considered to be one of the world’s oldest breeds. Artwork from civilizations now lost bear images of dogs that closely resemble this beloved dog type, bearing testament to its place in history. Though this dog breed is attributed to Mexico, it is unknown how it ended up there. It is believed that the Techichi, a breed similar to today’s Chihuahua though larger in size and structure, was a precursor to the breed.
In the 12th century when the Toltecs were conquered by the Aztecs, the Aztecs took possession of their cherished Techichi to refine the breed into a dog that was both smaller of stature and lighter framed. When the Aztec civilization crumbled in the 1500’s, the Techichi was firmly entrenched in the local culture.
The Chihuahua continued on, enjoying life in the back roads villages of Mexico. In the 19th century, visiting Americans saw the breed and became enchanted by it. The vast concentration of these dog types were found in the Mexican state known as Chihuahua. It is from this location that the breed takes its current name.
The first Chihuahua to obtain AKC recognition was named Beppie. He became the first AKC registered Chihuahua in 1908. Over the years, Chihuahuas have taken pride of place in pop culture, starring in such popular films and TV shows as Sex and the City, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Legally Blonde.
A breed simply owned and loved for its excellent companionship, the Chihuahua was and always has been primarily a lap dog.
Chihuahua Size & Weight
Adult Chihuahuas range in height from 5”-8”
Their adult weight should not exceed 6 pounds
Families must be prepared to handle the Chihuahua gently
Adult Chihuahuas typically measure from 5”-8” at the shoulder. Their weight should not exceed 6 pounds. On occasion, some Chihuahuas will grow to be oversized, reaching a weight of 12 lbs. These dogs are ideally suited to families with younger children since they are more substantial and less likely to be harmed if accidentally dropped or stepped on.
Potential owners of a Chihuahua must be prepared for the breed’s delicacy. Toy breeds can easily break bones if handled too roughly.
Chihuahua Personality & Temperament
Suspicious of strangers
Affectionate and loving with family
Adaptable to living in the city, in the country, or in an apartment
The courageous bravado of the Chihuahua draws comparisons to a terrier. The Chihuahua possesses immense natural confidence; however, it is a breed that is naturally wary of strangers. This attribute makes the dog well-suited to watching over its home and alert barking at unusual sounds.
The Chihuahua is truly a people dog that thrives when spending time with its family. A breed that does not enjoy time spent alone, the Chihuahua will go to great lengths to find its way into the lap of its favourite person. Chihuahuas are known to form deep attachments to a single person; however, they are open to making new friends given time and effort to establish trust.
A dog breed that can be suspicious of unfamiliar people and situations, early socialization is of great benefit to the Chihuahua. Though this dog breed loves children, they are not recommended for homes with children under the age of eight due to their size and delicate body frame. Any time spent with the dog and a child should be carefully supervised to ensure the safety of both parties. All children should be taught to respect and properly care for a dog.
Chihuahuas typically enjoy the company of other pets if properly introduced. To help introductions to proceed smoothly, it is wise for initial greetings to occur outside the home. This will reduce any feelings of territorialism on the behalf of the established family pets. It is important to teach the Chihuahua its place in the home and not tolerate bossiness which may be perceived badly by the dog’s canine or feline siblings.
A breed that thrives in the city or in the country, the Chihuahua is at home in any setting including an apartment. However, the Chihuahua is not a fan of all weather conditions. Though the breed does not mind the hot, humid temperatures which are similar to its original home of Mexico, cold weather is not the Chihuahua’s friend. A sweater or jacket is required for outdoor excursions in chilly conditions.
Chihuahua Health & Grooming
A breed that enjoys good health
Both coat varieties have low grooming requirements
Not known for drooling
The Chihuahua is a dog breed that typically enjoys excellent health. However, there are several health conditions which this dog type can be predisposed to. Most of these conditions are genetic, meaning breeding pairs can be tested prior to mating to determine if they are carriers of the disease. Among the health problems which can plague Chihuahuas are patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, heart murmurs, pulmonic stenosis, collapsed trachea, hydrocephalus, and open fontanel.
Since the Chihuahua comes in two different coat varieties, there are different grooming requirements depending on whether the dog is short or long-haired. The short-coated Chihuahua, known as a smooth, only needs brushing and baths from time to time to remain in good condition. By comparison, the long-haired version of the breed will need once weekly brushing at a minimum to prevent mats or knots from developing in the coat.
Regular dental care and ear cleaning is also a critical component of maintaining optimal health. Nails should be trimmed on an as needed basis.
Chihuahuas do shed fairly regularly, but the amount of lost hair is not substantial. The breed is also prone to tear staining. To prevent this from occurring, daily cleaning of the area around the eyes is helpful.
The Chihuahua is not particularly prone to weight gain. Careful measuring of food and treats will help to prevent excess weight from becoming a problem.
This breed is not known for drooling.
Can be manipulative
A breed that is renowned for its smarts, the Chihuahua is quite capable of learning new skills quickly. However, this dog type can be prone to resisting training efforts. Positive reinforcement training backed by delicious treats and lots of praise are the key to learning when it comes to this feisty little pooch. With the right motivation, the Chihuahua can easily learn all of its obedience commands in as little as two weeks to a month.
Be aware that Chihuahuas are all too happy to exploit their cute factor to get out of doing things they don’t want to do. For this reason, wilful behaviour should not be indulged. Obedience training is a must for this breed as it has the potential to save the dog’s life. Early socialization to a variety of different people, places, animals, and situations is also important.
The Chihuahua has endless reserves of energy and possesses a prey drive similar to that of a terrier. Given the opportunity, the Chihuahua will chase animals it considers to be prey, and this dog type will wander if given opportunity to. A secure containment system is necessary for the dog’s safety.
A breed that loves to play, the Chihuahua is naturally a fun-loving dog that relishes the opportunity for a game of tug, ball, frisbee, or even a wrestle with its favourite person. The breed’s love of toys can be an advantage in teaching the dog not to use its mouth on skin. Simply redirect a mouthy Chihuahua to a bone or toy, and the dog will soon learn the appropriate place for using its teeth.
Chihuahuas can be quite yappy, so it is important to teach this breed a “no bark” command early on.
Chihuahua Exercise Requirements
Can be manipulative
Though the Chihuahua has a lot of energy to spare, only moderate activity is required due to the breed’s size. A leisurely walk of approximately 15 minutes per day is sufficient to keep the breed physically and mentally satisfied.
Care must be taken to not overexercise this breed as it could lead to health complications. If the dog is panting or having difficulty maintaining pace, it is best to cease the walk and carry the dog home.
Chihuahuas are a very playful breed. Playtime with toys, balls, or other items can be substituted for a walk on occasion.
Chihuahua Diet & Feeding
Puppies should be fed puppy food
Adults should be fed adult food
Adjust amounts to reflect the activity level of the dog
To ensure the correct type of food for a Chihuahua, it is always an excellent idea to consult a veterinarian for their advice. In general, Chihuahuas thrive when fed a high-quality diet that is comprised of lean proteins and that is balanced in its formulation.
Puppies should be fed puppy food to meet the needs of their developing bodies. In like fashion, adult dogs should also be a fed a food that is appropriate for their age, health condition, and activity level.
Meal portions can be estimated based on the serving sizes suggested on the bag of food. These can be adjusted according to the dog’s activity level until the correct amount has been found. The dog’s appetite and weight can serve as a helpful guide.
You may also be interested in:
Chihuahua Rescue Groups
For more information about Chihuahuas for adoption in your area, we recommend the following resources:
Chihuahua Club of America, Inc