Country of Origin: Mexico
Height: 6–9 inches [est.]
Weight: Up to 6 pounds [AKC]|1–6.5 pounds [UKC]
Coat: Two types, both of which can be single or double coated—smooth coat soft, close, glossy; neck ruff/long coat soft, silky, flat or slightly curly; neck ruff
Colors: Any color
Registries (With Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)
Origin and History
While the Chihuahua’s history remains shrouded in lore and legend, the breed has two claims to fame: He is the oldest breed on the American continent, and he is also the smallest. Long associated with Mexico and certainly refined there, it is believed that the breed traces back to dogs who came to the country with Spanish travelers who had dwarfed dogs from China; these dogs were bred to the native hairless breeds to form the Chihuahua. Still others believe that he is a miniaturized native pariah dog. Regardless, he gained notoriety and popularity in Mexico City around 1895 and soon found his way into Texas. It didn’t take long for American fanciers to further refine the Chihuahua and make him the most popular toy breed in the country. It was in the United States that the longhaired variety was established by crossing Chihuahuas with Papillons, Pomeranians, and other coated toys. Today, the Chihuahua still enjoys a top place among the world’s most popular dogs.
Lively, alert, large-hearted, playful, and affectionate, the Chihuahua bonds closely with his owners and wants to be with them at all times. He is a tiny fellow, and although he is self-confident, the quick movements of some people and other animals can startle him. It is critical that a Chihuahua be socialized from puppyhood so that he is not easily intimidated.
Most of the Chihuahua’s exercise needs can be met by following his owner around inside, plus several play sessions a day. He’s prone to short bursts of energy, so going on a short walk outside is also helpful.
The longhaired variety requires special attention—brushing, bathing, and trimming—while the shorthaired Chihuahua is kept clean with occasional brushing and wiping with a soft, damp cloth. All Chihuahuas need to have the area around their eyes kept clean and debris-free—their eyes are large and close to the ground, which means they are subject to a lot more dirt and dust.
The average life span of the Chihuahua is 15 years or more.
Chihuahuas are intelligent and become bored easily, so upbeat, fun, positive training is necessary. They do not respond well to scolding or punishment. Patience is required in the housetraining department.
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