Ahhhh, the Chihuahua. Easily the smallest of all dog breeds, but don’t let their diminutive appearance fool you. They are one teeny dog all wrapped up in a big dog’s body.
Given the right socialization and upbringing, Chihuahuas can be loyal, affectionate family members that are incredibly attached to their pack.
If you are thinking of getting a Chihuahua, let’s first try to understand this breed.
By Adeline Ee.
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Should You Get A Chihuahua – Appearance and Size
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of AKC-registered pure breeds.
A full-grown pooch weighs between two and six pounds, reaching only about five inches at the shoulders.
Their diminutive size makes them easier to bring around.
I you like having your pooch around you at all times, you can easily pop your Chihuahua in a bag or carrier and take him along for the ride.
In addition, Chihuahuas make splendid travel buddies.
They’ll fit in an airline-approved carrier and can stay below the seat during the flight at a very minimal cost, unlike larger dogs that need to be checked in as cargo with excess baggage charges.
They have short, pointed muzzles with typically black noses, big round eyes, and large, perky ears.
Their tails are undocked and carried high up and over their backs.
Their coats can be either single, or double-coated, short and smooth or long and wavy with frills around the legs and ears.
Their coat color can range from apricot, brown, tan, black, cream, and some kind of combination including tri-color.
Do Chihuahuas shed a lot?
Chihuahua are low shedding dogs, but are not hypoallergenic.
Short-haired or a long-haired Chihuahua?
A short-haired, single-coated Chihuahua has modest grooming needs and will need a brush about twice a week to remove dead hair and dander, and an occasional bath in addition to the usual ear and eye cleaning and nail clipping.
Long-haired and double-coated Chihuahuas need slightly more TLC, and will do well with frequent brushing and the same bath, eye, ear, and nail grooming regimen.
In addition, you might occasionally have to trim down the long hair, or have your pooch groomed by a professional to keep the hair well-maintained and tangle-free.
So Should You Get A Chihuahua?
Chihuahuas are mildly deceptive little dogs that can have incredibly big personalities.
Don’t let their diminutive size fool you, Chihuahuas can be challenging dogs to have.
You Can Think About Getting A Chihuahua If You…
Live in an apartment and can spare time for a short walk a day.
Want a lapdog that is easily transported everywhere in a carrier or even a pouch.
Have a sedentary lifestyle and want a companion dog with minimal exercise needs.
Foresee yourself traveling loads with your dog.
Chihuahuas fit under the seat easily and having a small dog in a cabin is way easier than transporting a large dog in cargo.
Need a good alert dog that will bark when something is amiss.
Want a dog to be with you for a long time. Chihuahuas have long lifespans, often living past 15 years.
Live in limited space and need your dog to use a litterbox for their potty needs.
Don’t want to spend too much time grooming your dog. Chihuahuas have short coats that need minimal grooming.
You Should Think Twice About Getting A Chihuahua If You…
Have picky neighbors that aren’t okay with barking. Chihuahuas have an incredibly loud voice for little dogs, and they are VERY barky.
Have young children that might accidentally hurt a small dog, or be unaware of how to play with dogs and hurt your Chihuahua, potentially resulting in a snap or bite.
Want an active running or hiking buddy by your side on the trails. Imagine those poor little legs trying to keep up with you on long distances! They’d rather be carried.
Live in a cold climate. Chihuahuas originate from the warm climates of (surprise!) Chihuahua, Mexico.
Their short, single coats are suitable for hot temperatures and they would be miserable in cold climates without adequate insulation.
Aren’t home the majority of the time.
Chihuahuas are attached dogs that are prone to separation anxiety, which is likely to result in excessive barking due to their vocal nature.
The last thing you want is getting thrown out of your apartment!
Have other dominant dogs in the household. Chihuahuas have “small dog” tendencies and can get defensive real quick when feeling threatened by larger dogs (which are pretty much all dogs!). Appropriate, careful introductions must be made to introduce a Chihuahua to a new dog.
Don’t have the time to adequately socialize and desensitize your Chihuahua.
These little pooches tend to be twitchy and nervous, mostly due to their ancestry as ratters.
An undersocialized Chihuahua can be a bundle of nerves and anxiety, constantly on the lookout for bigger “predators”.
What’s The Temperament Of A Chihuahua Like?
The Chihuahua is the epitome of a small dog in a big dog’s body. They have huge personalities and often refuse to back down from a fight, getting into trouble with their larger counterparts.
Chihuahuas are loving, fantastic family dogs but can be somewhat sassy.
They may be hostile to strangers or children that they have no patience with, and might snap as a warning.
Like all dogs, a snapping Chihuahua shouldn’t be dismissed, in spite of its diminutive, often laughable size and aggressive behavior.
Did you know that…
…Chihuahuas are one of the top biting breeds of dogs, and whether or not they can cause serious injury is inconsequential. Bad behavior is simply that, and should be corrected.
They. Bark. Bark. Bark.
They are relatively barky dogs that will vocalize often, and loudly!
Like most other dogs, they have to be kept mentally and physically stimulated, or they might develop behavioral problems like excessive barking and separation anxiety.
Chihuahuas – A Brief History
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog, and they are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua (surprise!).
The modern Chihuahua is bred from the ancient Mexican breed called the Techichi.
What is strange, is that the Techichi dogs were known to be “mute” dogs, aka, dogs that didn’t bark.
And given the notorious barky nature of the modern Chihuahua, you might wonder what happened somewhere in its lineage!
Chihuahuas were originally companion dogs
Chihuahuas were originally bred as companion dogs, although in some rural areas, they were also put to work as ratters.
Ratters are dogs bred specifically to hunt vermin, typically in rural areas such as farm houses. Other popular ratting dogs are agile, nimble canine athletes like terriers.
These fearless dogs are small enough to move fast and with great agility, and their instinctive intelligence and prey drive make them ideal for hunting small game.
As terriers grew in popularity as ratters, the Chihuahua became relegated to being simply a companion dog.
Modern Chihuahuas are also sometimes called “toy” or “teacup” Chihuahuas, often bred down in size to be even tinier.
Chihuahuas are known for their big personalities, their loyalty to their owners, and their protectiveness of their owners and their property. It is as though they don’t know that they are a pint-sized bundle of dynamite!
Are Chihuahuas Generally Healthy?
As a general rule, the smaller the dog, the longer it’ll live, and the Chihuahua is as small as they get! And yes, they are generally healthy dogs.
Chihuahuas have a lifespan of approximately 14 years, and the world’s oldest Chihuahua on record passed on at 20 years old.
Like many other breeds, Chihuahuas have genetic predisposed health conditions such as dental problems, nasal issues, kidney stones, obesity, and spinal problems.
Despite their size, Chihuahuas have a tendency to be sassy and have aggressive tendencies, often overlooked by many owners as “adorable”.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Chihuahuas need constant socialization and monitoring to ensure a well-balanced, happy pooch. Thanks for reading and good luck!