The Chihuahua dog breed‘s charms include his small size, outsize personality, and variety in coat types and colors. He’s all dog, fully capable of competing in dog sports such as agility and obedience, and is among the top 10 watchdogs recommended by experts. He loves nothing more than being with his people and requires a minimum of grooming and exercise.
- Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
- Height: 6 inches to 9 inches (15.24 to 22.86 centimeters) tall at the shoulder
- Weight: 3 to 6 pounds (1.36 to 2.72 kilograms)
- Life Span: 10 to 18 years
General Chihuahua Info
The Chihuahua is a saucy little dog that is renowned for being the world's smallest dog with a very big personality. It is this larger-than-life persona that makes him so appealing to both men and women.
This is a fun loving and busy dog that loves to be close to his human family. He will follow you everywhere in the house. He even loves to ride along in tote bags while his humans do their errands and shopping. They often form a very close bond to one particular person which can make him a very demanding dog if you overindulge him.
This affectionate dog is very intelligent as well as a fast learner. They are able to compete in agility and obedience trials with just as much enthusiasm and success as larger dogs. This breed of dog requires positive reinforcement in the form of praise and food rewards when training your Chihuahua. He won't respond to harsh treatment.
It's important when considering the Chihuahua to take into account his small size. Chihuahuas are curious and bold explorers. They've escaped from yards through small gaps in the fence and can squeeze into places that other puppies and dogs wouldn't be able to fit. And even though they tend to rule the roost, they can be accidentally injured by rambunctious larger dogs.
Chihuahuas are not recommended for homes with children under the age of eight, simply because of the chance of injury by a young child. Regardless of your family situation, it's important to remember to socialize your Chihuahua to children, adults, and other animals. Chihuahuas are mistrustful of strangers, which makes them good watchdogs, but they need to learn to meet people in a friendly manner. It's also important to remember that Chihuahuas tend to forget they are small and will stand up to a larger aggressive dog; as a result the Chihuahua needs vigilant supervision in new situations, while they're on walks, and when they're in the yard.
The Chihuahua's personality and unique size make him a wonderful go-everywhere companion. People who live with Chihuahuas become devoted to them, and many say that once you share your life with one, there will be no other dog breed for you.
- Does the Chihuahua adapt well to living in an apartment?
- The Chihuahua is a robust and adaptable dog. This makes him capable of living in all sorts of living arrangements. Especially apartments. (See List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
- Are Chihuahuas a good breed for novice dog owners?
- The Chihuahua is a friendly and attentive dog that loves to please. First-time dog owners should have no problem with the breed as long as they don't overindulge it. (See List of Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a low sensitivity level?
- Some dogs just don't care if you reprimand them. Others will sulk for days. The Chihuahua is a sulker. Also, if he is reprimanded repeatedly he may become nervous and develop serious medical problems. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Sensitivity Level.)
- Does the Chihuahua tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time?
- Some dogs don't really mind being left alone for a while as that is their time to relax and unwind. Other dogs will just go crazy if left alone. The Chihuahua prefers to be around people and will not tolerate long periods of being alone. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Be Alone.)
- Can the Chihuahua tolerate cold weather?
- Dogs that have a good thick coat tend to tolerate cold weather pretty well. Those with short coats should only be out in the cold just long enough to relieve themselves as they can develop frost bite. The Chihuahua is a small dog with a very short coat. He does not do well in cold weather at all. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
- Does the Chihuahua tolerate hot weather well?
- Dogs with short coats can usually tolerate hot weather up to a point. For this reason you would think that the Chihuahua would do pretty well in hot weather. Unfortunately this is not the case. Because of their size they do not have enough body surface to dissipate heat quickly. Also, because they are very low to the ground they pick up the heat from the ground. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited for Hot Weather.)
- Is the Chihuahua affectionate will all members of their human family?
- The Chihuahua is a very loving dog. They like to be around their family and will usually love everyone in the family. The only exception is with children. Chihuahuas don't usually get along with young children because they constantly make noise and tend to grab and pull at the dog. For the most part though, the answer is a resounding yes. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Affectionate With Family.)
- Is the Chihuahua a kid-friendly dog?
- For the most part the Chihuahua is very kid friendly. The only exception is with very young children. These dogs don't like to be handled roughly and children that are very young think of them more as toys than living creatures. (See List of Kid Friendly Dogs as well as the List of Dogs That Are Not Kid Friendly.)
- Is the Chihuahua a dog-friendly dog?
- Some dogs have a very strong pack instinct and require other dogs to be happy. Others prefer to be with people and will not tolerate another dog in the vicinity. The Chihuahua is a people dog and often does not get along with other dogs. However, if the dog lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and also spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, then they are more likely to have good canine social skills. (See List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog-Friendly.)
- Is the Chihuahua friendly towards strangers?
- A stranger-friendly dog is one that will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle. They are not shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Therefore, the Chihuahua is not really friendly towards strangers. (See List of Dogs That Are Shy.)
- Do Chihuahuas shed a lot?
- If you are worried about having a lot of hair floating around your house, don't. The Chihuahua is a low shed dog but does have two shedding periods per year where they will lose most of their fur. (See List of Dogs That Shed Very Little.)
- Is the Chihuahua a big drooler?
- Some dogs are just made to slobber over everything. Others are drier than the driest desert. The Chihuahua is a dry dog. Even when you are preparing its meal it will most likely not drool. (See List of Dogs That Don't Drool A Lot.)
- Is the Chihuahua an easy dog to groom?
- Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. The Chihuahua is a very easy dog to groom. Usually nothing more than a twenty-minute session per week is required. (See List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
- Is the Chihuahua a generally healthy dog?
- Some dogs have really great health while others don't. Most of the time this is due to poor breeding practices. Also, some dogs are prone to genetic health problems. Many Chihuahuas are prone to health problems. This may be due to many factors including genetics. This is something to consider if you are planning on getting a Chihuahua. (See List of Dogs That Are Prone To Health Problems.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a high potential for weight gain?
- Some dog breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. An overweight dog is usually in danger of developing health problems as it ages. The Chihuahua is kind of in the middle of the road when it comes to weight gain. If you don't overdo it with the treats and human food then you should be alright.
- Is the Chihuahua a small-, medium-, or big-sized dog?
- Is the Chihuahua an easy dog to train?
- Dogs that can quickly form an association between a prompt, an action, and a consequence are usually very trainable. The Chihuahua is a dog that is known to have performed in sideshows many years ago. Therefore it is a very trainable dog. (See List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a high level of intelligence?
- Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue. For the Chihuahua their intelligence level is quite high. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a high potential for mouthiness?
- This form of mouthiness refers to a dog's tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats. The Chihuahua is usually quite good but they are known to occasionally get carried away when they play and may nip at that time.
- Does the Chihuahua have a high prey drive?
- All dogs have a certain level of prey drive. But this is something that you see most often in hunting dogs. Although the Chihuahua is not a hunting dog sometimes they do like to chase after small animals. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a high tendency to bark or howl?
- Some people say that the Chihuahua is a yappy dog that constantly barks or howls. The truth is that these dogs are rather average in this area. But if you teach your Chihuahua to howl or sing then that can be another story as they will get to like hearing their own voice. They will, however, bark at unfamiliar sounds. But most dogs do this anyway as a method of warning you and telling whatever is making that noise that they are there. (See List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
- Does the Chihuahua have a high wanderlust potential?
- Some dogs just love to explore their surroundings. These dogs will have no problem wandering away from you. The Chihuahua tends to be a small-time wanderer. They will gladly explore their surroundings but once they lose sight of you they will usually come scurrying back. (See List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
- Does the Chihuahua require a lot of exercise?
- Dogs that are high energy are always ready for action. These are usually dogs that were bred as working dogs. The Chihuahua has a moderate level of energy. That is good news for pet owners as they only have to provide twenty to thirty minutes of good exercise daily to keep their dog in good shape. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Energy.)
- Is the Chihuahua an intense dog?
- Some dogs, regardless of their energy level, tend to put everything into whatever they are doing. Others are more laid back and methodical. The Chihuahua can be vigorous and intense but usually they like to take their time in whatever they are doing. (See List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
- Does the Chihuahua need a lot of exercise?
- High-energy dogs tend to require a fair bit of exercise several times per day while others are more like couch potatoes. The Chihuahua is the perfect dog for people who are basically couch potatoes. The occasional outing to relieve themselves is basically all that is required in the form of exercise. (See List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
- Is the Chihuahua a playful dog?
- Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. The Chihuahua loves to play and will sometimes encourage you to have a game with him. These dogs do well when they have plenty of toys to play with. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
Highlights of the Chihuahua
If you are planning on getting a Chihuahua you should choose a good Chihuahua breeder. This person will be able to provide you with health clearances for patella and heart conditions and probably other medical clearances as well.
Some of the most particular highlights of the Chihuahua are:
- The Chihuahua is a long-lived breed; expect to care for him for up to 18 years.
- Chihuahuas are prone to shivering when they are cold, excited, or scared. Provide your Chihuahua with a sweater or coat when he goes outdoors in cold or wet weather.
- Chihuahuas can be unfriendly toward other dogs if they're not socialized when young. Chihuahuas don't back down from other dogs and this can cause a problem if they encounter a large aggressive dog.
- Don't leave your Chihuahua unattended in the yard. He could be attacked by a hawk, other birds of prey, or larger dogs or coyotes.
- Chihuahuas can be reserved with strangers. Choose a puppy that was whelped and raised in a home with a lot of human interaction.
- Chihuahuas are not the best dog to have when you have young children. Chihuahuas are fragile and a toddler may hurt the dog while playing. Most breeders won't sell puppies to homes with children younger than eight years.
- The Chihuahua's ears can be prone to ear wax build up and dry skin.
- Chihuahuas are happy as companions, but they do need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily and can go for much longer than you might expect. Monitor your Chihuahua, especially when he's a puppy, so that he doesn't wear himself out.
- Chihuahuas have larger than life personalities and will run your life if you let them. They can be destructive when bored and can become finicky eaters if their diet is fussed over. Establish ground rules and stick with them or you'll find yourself giving up your comfortable chair because your beloved pet has told you to move.
- To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs for genetic health conditions and good temperaments.
History of the Chihuahua
As with so many breeds, the Chihuahua's origins are unclear, but there are two theories of how he came to be. The first is that he descended from a Central or South American dog known as the Techichi.
There is evidence that the Chihuahua came from Central and South America region and we a common dog of the Toltec civilization. There are Toltec carvings dating to the 9th century C.E. that depict a dog resembling the Chihuahua, with the same large ears and round head. These dogs were called Techichi, and their purpose in Toltec civilization is obscure.
After the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs the Techichi was absorbed into their society. Many of these dogs lived in temples and were used in many Aztec rituals. The Aztecs believed that the Techichi had mystic powers, including the ability to see the future, heal the sick, and safely guide the souls of the dead to the underworld. It was customary to kill a red Techichi and cremate him with the remains of the deceased. The Aztecs also used the Techichi as a source of food and pelts. The Spanish conquered the Aztecs in the late 1500s and the Techichi faded into obscurity.
The second theory is that small hairless dogs from China were brought to Mexico by Spanish traders and then bred with small native dogs.
Regardless of which theory is accurate, the shorthaired Chihuahua we know today was discovered in the 1850s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from which he took his name. American visitors to Mexico brought the little dogs home with them. They began to be shown in 1890, and a Chihuahua named Midget became the first of his breed to be registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904. The longhaired variety was probably created through crosses with Papillons or Pomeranians. The breed's popularity took off in the 1930s and 1940s, when it was associated with dance king and Latin music bandleader Xavier Cugat.
Since the 1960s, the Chihuahua has been one of the most popular breeds registered by the AKC. Today they rank 11th among the 155 breeds and varieties the AKC recognizes.
Size of the Chihuahua
The Chihuahua typically is a small dog which weighs between 3 and 6 pounds (1.36 and 2.72 kilograms). There are Chihuahuas that are much smaller than this but they usually come with many health problems. There are also Chihuahuas that are much larger and can weigh up to 12 or more pounds (5.44 and more kilograms). The larger Chihuahuas make great pets for families with children as they are more tolerant and robust.
Personality of the Chihuahua
This breed of dog is bold and confident and is often described as being terrier-like. This dog has a very alert nature and a high suspicion of strangers which makes him an excellent watchdog. However, what makes him thrive is affection and companionship.
For the most part, Chihuahuas usually bond to a single person. But they will make new friends with new people if they are properly introduced. Expect them to be a little reserved at first, though. Chihuahuas can be timid if they're not properly socialized as puppies.
Like every dog, Chihuahuas need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Chihuahua puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Health of the Chihuahua
The Chihuahua is a generally healthy dog. However, like all breeds the Chihuahua can be born with a genetic disorder or they can develop a condition as they get older. The important thing here is that the pet owner should be aware of the possible health issues so that you know what to ask when you interview breeders. This will also let you know what to look for throughout your Chihuahua's life.
It is always best to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder to ensure that you get the healthiest dog possible. Puppies from a reputable breeder will always be vaccinated and dewormed before you bring him home.
You should also verify that both parents of the puppy have all their health clearances. These are documents that show that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In the United States you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to patellas and heat disease.
Health clearances are not issued to dogs younger than 2 years of age. That's because some health problems don't appear until a dog reaches full maturity. For this reason, it's often recommended that dogs not be bred until they are two or three years old.
The following list describes the possible conditions that may affect Chihuahuas:
- Patellar Luxation: Also known as "slipped stifles," this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts-the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf)-is not properly lined up. This causes lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop. It is a condition that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of patellar luxation, ranging from grade I, an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, in which the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may require surgical repair.
- Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a possible problem with all toy breed puppies. [Note: I have left this as toy breed here. There is a difference between toy size and small dogs-the difference, say, between Chihuahuas and Yorkies and beagles and mini dachshunds.] Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages but can be fatal if not treated. It is important that breeders and owners of toy breed puppies recognize the signs and symptoms because this condition can sometimes be misdiagnosed as viral hepatitis or encephalitis by veterinarians. A puppy with hypoglycemia will slow down and become listless, followed by trembling or shivering. Place some honey under his tongue and get him to the vet immediately. If the situation is allowed to continue, he'll eventually collapse, go into convulsions, fall into a coma, and die. Any time your Chihuahua is limp, with grayish-blue gums and tongue, it's an emergency. Hypoglycemia occurs in toy puppies when they don't have the fat reserves to supply adequate glucose in times of stress or when they don't eat regularly.
- Heart Murmurs: Heart murmurs are caused by a disturbance in the blood flow through the chambers of the heart. They're an indicator that there may be a disease or condition of the heart that will need to be monitored and treated. Heart murmurs are graded on their loudness, with one being very soft and five being very loud. If disease is evident, as diagnosed through x-rays and an echocardiogram, the dog may require medication, a special diet, and a reduction in the amount of exercise he gets.
- Pulmonic Stenosis: This congenital heart disease occurs when blood doesn't flow properly through the heart because the pulmonic valve is malformed, causing an obstruction. This means the heart must work harder and can become enlarged, leading to heart failure. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. In mild cases, there's little or no obstruction and no treatment is necessary. If the dog is severely affected by the disease, surgery is recommended, but the procedure differs depending on the location of the blockage.
- Collapsed Trachea: It is not completely understood how this occurs, but the rapid inhalation of air causes the trachea to flatten and makes it difficult for air to enter the lungs, much like a soda straw being drawn on too vigorously. This condition may be inherited; it occurs in certain breeds, and dogs with it show an abnormality in the chemical makeup of their tracheal rings in which the rings lose their stiffness and become unable to retain their circular shape.
- Hydrocephalus: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can accumulate in the brain because of a congenital defect, obstruction, or the result of trauma during birth, placing pressure on the brain. The head looks swollen or enlarged, but the diagnosis can be confirmed with an ultrasound if necessary. There's no cure for hydrocephalus, although in mild cases steroids can help reduce fluid pressure. A shunt can also be used to divert fluid from the brain to the abdomen. Puppies with severe cases usually die before they're four months old, which is a good reason to delay purchasing a Chihuahua until that age.
- Open Fontanel: Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on the top of their head. Usually the soft spot closes, much like a baby's will, but sometimes one will not close fully. Treat these dogs gingerly. An accidental blow to the head can kill them.
- Shivering: Shivering is a common occurrence in Chihuahuas. The mechanics of why they shiver or tremble is unclear but it usually occurs when the dog is excited, stressed, or cold.
Care of the Chihuahua
Despite the Chihuahua's small size, like all dogs he needs exercise and training. The amount of energy an adult Chihuahua has can be surprising. He'll endlessly chase squirrels in the backyard and is willing to play as long as you are. Chihuahuas enjoy walks, supervised romps around the yard, and retrieving toys. They'll go until they drop, so it's important to make sure they don't tire themselves out, especially on hot days.
As much as they enjoy playing outdoors, Chihuahuas should never live outside. They aren't safe from raptors such as hawks, coyotes, or other larger dogs that could go into your yard. They are bred as companions, and the best place for a companion is with you.
Training a Chihuahua can be an enjoyable task. They are successful in several different dog sports such as agility and obedience, but puppy kindergarten and basic obedience class are important even for a Chihuahua who's strictly a companion. Your Chihuahua will meet many different dogs and people in class, contributing to his socialization, and he'll learn the manners all dogs should know.
Chihuahuas are as easy to housetrain as any other breed as long as you take them out frequently and on a consistent schedule. Puppies need to go out as soon as they wake up in the morning, after every meal, after naps, after playtime, and just before bedtime. Using a crate to confine them when you're unable to supervise them will teach them that they can control their bladder and prevent them from having accidents in the house. If they're not crated, plan to take them out every one to two hours, and don't crate them for more than two to four hours at a time except overnight.
Beyond housetraining, crate training is a kind way to ensure that your Chihuahua doesn't get into things he shouldn't. Like every dog, Chihuahuas can be destructive as puppies. They might not do as much damage as a Lab puppy, but those little teeth can definitely leave their mark. Crate training at a young age will also help your Chihuahua accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized. Never stick your Chihuahua in a crate all day long, however.
It's not a jail, and he shouldn't spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he's sleeping at night.
Chihuahuas are people dogs, and they aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.
Train your Chihuahua using positive reinforcement techniques such as food rewards, praise, and play, and you will soon find that he can learn anything you can teach.
Feeding Your Chihuahua
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1/2 cups of high-quality dry food a day. Just keep in mind that how much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Coat Color and Grooming the Chihuahua
Chihuahuas come in two different coat types: smooth and long. The smooth-coated Chihuahua has a smooth, shiny coat that fits close to the body with a ruff of thick, longer hair on the neck. The hair on the head and ears is thinner, and the tail is furry.
The long-coated Chihuahua has a soft coat that's flat or slightly curly. On the body it's almost as smooth as that of a smooth-coated Chihuahua, but the ears have a fringe of hair, and the plumed tail spreads out like a fan over the back. He also has a ruff on the neck and longer hair called feathering on his feet. The hind legs are also covered with long hair that resembles pants — and that's what it's called. On the stomach is longer hair known as a frill.
Besides coming in two coat types, Chihuahuas are found in a range of colors and markings. They can be solid colors such as black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, and silver as well as tricolor (chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white, for instance), brindle, spotted, merle and a variety of other markings. Shades can be very pale to very dark for all the colors.
The Chihuahua is a wash-and-go dog. Grooming him takes only a few minutes each week. Brush him weekly with a rubber grooming mitt or a brush with short, natural bristles for a shorthaired Chihuahua and a pin brush for a longhaired Chihuahua. A fine-toothed flea comb helps remove loose or dead hair.
Chihuahuas shed small amounts year round and may shed somewhat more heavily — a relative term for a dog this small — in the spring and fall. The longhaired Chihuahua's undercoat may come out in little clumps. Regular brushing will help keep shedding under control.
With regular brushing, a Chihuahua shouldn't need a bath more than every month or two. Use a shampoo formulated for dogs so you don't dry out the coat and skin.
Ears are an important area to check when you are grooming your Chihuahua. If you smell an odor or see wax, clean the inner ear with a cotton ball, using a cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Avoid going into the depth of the ear, past where you can see. If the ears are dry along the edge, rub a little baby or coconut oil onto them.
Some Chihuahuas develop tear stains beneath their eyes. You can carefully wipe the eyes to remove discharge, and there are products available to remove the stains.
A Chihuahua's nails grow quickly. Keep them trimmed short. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. The earlier you introduce your Chihuahua to nail trimming the less stressful the experience is. At the same time, check the pads for any foreign objects or injuries.
Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas are prone to poor dental health. Brushing their teeth can help their mouths stay healthy. Brush the teeth at least two or three times a week — daily is better — to remove tartar and bacteria. Start when your puppy is young so he'll be used to it.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
The Chihuahua, Children, and Other Pets
Many Chihuahuas love children, but the combination of a tiny dog and a young child can be a recipe for disaster. A Chihuahua may leap from a child's hands and injure himself if he's not being held correctly, and he won't hesitate to defend himself if he's being mistreated. Many breeders won't sell puppies to families with toddlers for fear that the dog will be injured. Chihuahuas do best in families with quiet, older children who understand how to interact with them.
Make it a rule that young children can only hold or pet the Chihuahua if they're sitting on the floor. Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Even if your family doesn't have children, your Chihuahua should always be exposed to them when he's young so he won't be fearful of them if he encounters them later in life. Just be sure you supervise carefully.
Chihuahuas get along well with other pets in the family, including cats, if introduced at a young age. The fearless Chihuahua will often boss around dogs much bigger than he is, and this may or may not cause problems. It's not unusual for the smallest dog to be the one in charge.
Chihuahua Rescue Groups
Chihuahuas are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one, and these dogs often end up in the care of rescue groups, in need of adoption or fostering. Other Chihuahuas end up in rescue because their owners have divorced or died. Adopting an adult Chihuahua has many benefits. Adult dogs are often already housetrained and have some obedience training, and they've already gone through the destructive puppy stage.
Because Chihuahuas have such a long life span, adopting an adult dog can bring you many years of pleasurable companionship.
- Chihuahua Club of America
- Chihuahua Rescue
- Chihuahua Rescue and Transport
- Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport
- Chihuahua Rescue Canada
- Yankee Chihuahua Rescue and Adoption
Chihuahua Breed Organizations
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Chihuahua.
Chihuahua Puppy Pics
Chihuahua Puppy Pics