Breed Category: Toy
Country of Origin: Mexico
Average Size: 15-25 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 2-3 kg
Average Life Span: 15-17 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Low

History

The Chihuahua, nicknamed the New Yorker in its native Mexico, is widely thought to be the smallest breed of dog. It is named after a state in northern Mexico. The earliest known record of this type of dog was found in this region, so this is where it was thought to have originated. In regards to the rest of its history, there are several theories but few facts.

Many feel that the Chihuahua is a descendent of the fennec fox, a small African fox. The two animals have a similar appearance, particularly in terms of a small body and oversized eyes and ears.

Another theory is that the Chihuahua descended from the Techichi, a dog kept for companionship during ancient Toltec civilisation in Mexico. Artifacts dating back to 800s depict a dog that is slightly larger than the Chihuahua but shares many physical characteristics.

Some also suggest that the Chihuahua did not originate in Mexico but rather on the Mediterranean island of Malta. European art from the late 1400s depicts a dog bearing an undeniable resemblance to the Chihuahua which is of particular interest since artists would never have had the opportunity to visit Mexico, where the Chihuahua is widely believed to have been developed.

The Chihuahua first gained popularity in Mexico and has since become a popular companion pet around the world.

Appearance

This toy breed is very small in size, averaging a weight of 2-3 kg and a height of 15-25 cm. There are different types of Chihuahua that are labeled by size, such as miniature, standard and teacup. The ears and eyes appear oversized on its tiny frame, which are physical characteristics for which the breed is best known.

The Chihuahua’s coat can be smooth or long and may be soft or coarse to the touch. Its coat requires little care other than brushing. Its coat can be black, blue, chocolate, cream, fawn, tan, white or a combination of colours. It may be solid-coloured or a mixture of the aforementioned colours.

Temperament

The temperament of this breed can vary depending upon a number of factors. If the Chihuahua is properly trained and disciplined, it will likely not be aggressive or hostile towards its owner or others. These negative personality traits can be minimised if the dog feels safe and secure. If it feels threatened, it may lash out at a person or another animal.

If the Chihuahua is scared or cold, it may burrow itself under a blanket for warmth and security. Care should be taken not to expose this delicate dog to extreme weather, particularly cold weather. It may tremble when cold, frightened or excited. The Chihuahua should primarily be kept indoors and may need a sweater during winter months. This breed does not require a great deal of exercise and is content to play indoors when the mood strikes.

Raised properly, the Chihuahua is an intelligent, loving and loyal companion. It feels so strongly attached to its owner that it may become jealous if its owner interacts with other dogs or cats. This breed is better-suited for a quiet household with one or two people rather than a family with young children and other animals.

Health

With such a small frame, obesity can cause grave health problems in the Chihuahua. Overweight Chihuahuas are at greater risk for back or heart problems, diabetes or dental problems. They may also have epilepsy, vision problems or a fatal brain condition called hydrocephalus.

Despite the aforementioned conditions, The Chihuahua is a relatively healthy breed that lives an average of 15-17 years.

Chihuahua Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Chihuahua Organisations in the UK
British Chihuahua Club

Chihuahua Organisations in the US
British Chihuahua Club
Chihuahua Rescue Victoria – Rescue and placement of Chihuahuas

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