Breed Group: Toy Group
Shoulder Height: 6-10 in.
Weight: 4-6 lb.
Life Span: 12-20 years
Colors: Black, tan, blue, chocolate, cream, fawn, red, silver, sable, brindle, gold, white
- The Chihuahua is an old breed with an ambiguous history — stone carvings of them have been found on Toltec ruins in Mexico. It is theorized that the breed might even be older than that.
- The breed is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Hernán Cortés reported to the Spanish king that the Aztecs sold the dog as food.
- Several Chihuahua individuals are recognized as being the smallest dogs in the world. They come in either a short-haired or long-haired variety.
The national dog of Mexico, the Chihuahua is a popular breed thanks to its representation in the media as the perfect “pocket” dog. You cannot go to Hollywood these days without seeing at least one celebrity toting a Chihuahua in their purse.
Star status aside, the Chihuahua has many qualities that make it a very distinct breed. Their temperament is often a direct reflection of the owner if properly trained. However, without social training, the Chihuahua can have an extremely short temper that makes it an unsuitable pet for children. On the other hand, Chihuahuas are also extremely protective of their owner, not hesitating to charge at a presumed assailant. This could make them an ideal guard dog as long as they are kept in check.
Chihuahuas are notorious for not getting along well with other dogs and strangers. However, when near another Chihuahua, they have an oddly affectionate streak. They are rather like cats in this respect — when they want you, they will go to you.
The breed does have a redeeming quality in that they are very easy to groom, especially if you have a short-haired Chihuahua. If you have a firm hand, you just might find this breed to be a rewarding one.
Chihuahuas, despite their small size and fairly solid lineage, suffer from a variety of health problems that can increase the maintenance level of the breed substantially. Expert veterinary care is a must if you want your dog to live for a long time.
- With solid veterinary care, the Chihuahua can live up to and beyond twenty years.
- Epilepsy and other neurological disorders are recurring problems in the breed.
- Chihuahuas are especially prone to hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the skull that usually results in the majority of pup deaths.
- Regular dental care is a requirement, as Chihuahuas tend to have bad teeth.
- The “Ugliest Dog in the World,” Peanut, is a rescued crossbreed between a Chihuahua and a Shi Tzu.
- Many celebrities own Chihuahuas, including Paris Hilton. They have also made appearances in many movies, including Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the Legally Blonde films.
- Ren Höek from the Nickelodeon cartoon Ren and Stimpy is a Chihuahua.
- The mascot of Taco Bell during the nineties and early 2000s was a Chihuahua named Gidget.
Photo ©iStock.com/mpikula, ©iStock.com/Coica