The Chihuahua is one of the smallest and most popular dog breeds out there. Perfect for fitting in your handbag and with low care needs, this little dog is a great pet for those with limited space or for first time dog owners. However, don’t let the Chihuahua’s tiny size fool you — these dogs have a big personality!
Named after the Mexican state, the Chihuahua is the dog that will keep you on your toes. If you’re interested in learning more about this breed and whether thy might be the right pup for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Chihuahua
The Chihuahua breed is favored for it’s small size and, with the rise of these dogs being shown in the media and their association with celebrities, it is no wonder that the breed is constantly gaining popularity.
Chihuahuas were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904 and are also recognized as the first official dog by the Chihuahua Club of America. Currently, they rank 33rd out of the 193 recognized dog breeds.
It is thought that the Chihuahua descended from the Techichi breed in the 9th century. This breed had strong ties to the Mayans from central America, with the Mayans believing that the Techichi breed were guardians of the afterlife.
The Chihuahua dog as we know it today didn’t appear until around 1850 in Mexico. The breed is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua. These dogs came to the United States in around 1884.
Characteristics Of The Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are a very small breed and so they have small litter sizes — normally between 1 to 3 pups. Because of this, and due to their popularity, these dogs can be expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $1,500 for a Chihuahua puppy, but it can be more if you are buying from show lines. Always check you are buying from a responsible breeder.
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dogs in the world and stand between 6 to 9 inches tall and weigh between 3 to 6 lbs. Male Chihuahua’s are usually slightly bigger than females.
Despite their tiny body, these dogs have a big head that resembles an apple and big round eyes. They also have large erect ears that sit on top of their head. The Chihuahuas eyes are normally brown, but they can also be green or hazel.
The Chihuahua can have one of two coats — a long coat or a short coat. The short coat is the original coat of the breed and the longer coat was introduced later on, possibly after the Chihuahua crossbred with other small long haired dogs.
Short coated Chihuahuas have a smooth and shiny coat that is easy to maintain, while long coated Chihuahuas have wavy to straight hair that can be a little more difficult to maintain. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Chihuahua coat is a single coat which means this dog can feel the cold. They will often shiver, so this is something to think about if you live in a cold climate!
The Chihuahua can come in a range of different colors. This includes black, chocolate, sable, white, gold, tan, fawn, red, brown, cream, merle and silver. These coats can either be a single color or they may have lots of different markings.
The Chihuahua is a pup that loves their people and loves their attention! These lapdogs will be happiest when they are by your side and really don’t like to be left alone. They can even suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long, so if you are regularly out for many hours at a time then you may want to reconsider getting one of these pups. Luckily, they are small enough to fit in your purse so they can also travel with you!
Chihuahuas are a fun-loving breed that do like to play. They can be feisty at times, which is normally due to their possessiveness and protectiveness over their owners and their belongings. With training and socialization from a young age, however, this can be fixed.
Thanks to their small size, they can also sometimes come across as a little aggressive. However, they’re not really aggressive and do not have a prey drive. They just want to protect themselves, especially against larger dogs! Again, with the right socialization this can be trained out of them.
This breed has a very long life expectancy. These purebred dogs can live up to 18 years old!
Known Health Issues
Despite that the Chihuahua has a long lifespan, they are still prone to some health problems. Most of their health concerns relate to their small size.
- Patellar Luxation — this is a common condition in smaller dogs and is caused when the patella is not properly aligned. This can cause lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop.
- Hypoglycaemia — this is low blood sugar. To help combat this, you should feed your Chihuahua a few times a day to help keep their blood sugar levels up.
- Cold Weather — thanks to their tiny bodies, they can be very susceptible to the cold. Make sure they have a sweater to wear if you live in a cooler climate.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Chihuahua dog, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. Fortunately, they have low care needs and are great for first time dog owners! Below we will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
The Chihuahua does not require a lot of food. These dogs need between 120 to 240 calories calories of food a day, which equates to around one cup of kibble. Of course, you should always check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your pup based on their weight.
Always ensure you are feeding your Chihuahua a food that meets all their nutritional requirements. We also recommended feeding them a kibble that is especially formulated for small or toy dog breeds.
The Chihuahua can be known to gain weight easily so make sure you do not overfeed them and keep the treats to a minimum. It is best to split their food into at least two meals a day.
Best Dog Food For The Chihuahua
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog FoodBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for the Chihuahua. This food is specially formulated for small dog breeds and ensures that a pup of this size gets all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. With high-quality protein from chicken, this kibble helps to maintain your Chihuahua’s lean muscles and there are wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit in the recipe too.
Even better, this Life Protection Formula contains a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that supports immune system health, life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance. There are also no artificial colors or flavors in the recipe.
Due to their small size, it comes as no surprise that the Chihuahua does not have high exercise needs. However, these pups can have high energy levels and need to burn that energy off, so you should expect to walk them for at least thirty minutes a day.
You can also take them out running and play games with them such as fetch. They will also need some toys to keep them entertained when they’re not outside. If the Chihuahua doesn’t burn off their energy, then they can develop sassy and hyper-active behaviors!
Due to their love of attention, the Chihuahua can make a great family member and the perfect companion dog. However, despite loving their owners and wanting to be with them at all times, they do not like strangers. They can become yappy and begin barking as they may feel threatened, which is why socialization is important from a young age. This can make them a great guard dog or watchdog though!
These little dogs can also be very wary of other animals, especially other dogs. This is normally due to their size and is because they will feel threatened. Again, socialization is imperative so they learn how to act around other pets.
Despite this, the Chihuahua is great with children! You will need to supervise small children with this toy breed because these dogs are delicate thanks to their small size, but they love to play and will want to join in all the fun.
Chihuahua’s do not need a lot of space and are therefore excellent for those who live in small apartments or smaller homes. They also don’t have high exercise needs, so a large yard is not necessary. Thanks to their low care needs, these dogs are often recommended as a first dog for families and they will be happy as long as you can dedicate time to them for training and lots of time for attention!
The Chihuahua, as we’ve mentioned above, can be a little stubborn and so patience and perseverance from you is very important when training these dogs. These dogs respond best to reward based training and positive reinforcement training. This includes verbal praise as well as treats. You should never get angry or annoyed with your dog because this will make them not want to learn.
Socialization is very important for the Chihuahua because these dogs can be very wary of strangers and other animals. Very protective, the Chihuahua can feel threatened by others and may turning to barking to express this.
This doesn’t mean that the Chihuahua can’t get on with other pets, but they will need to be introduced properly because otherwise they can try to assert their dominance over other dogs.
Introduce your Chihuahua to different sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a safe and controlled way to ensure they learn there is nothing to be afraid of. This will help them to develop into well-rounded and good mannered pups!
Fortunately, this breed does not have high grooming needs. Long-coated pups will need to be groomed more often that the shorthaired Chihuahua, but this still only needs to be between two to three times a week. If you don’t brush your long-haired Chihuahua often enough then their fur can become matted and tangled and trap dirt.
You can bathe your dog every 1 to 2 months. Make sure you only use a dog shampoo so their skin does not become irritated. You should also try to stay on top of clipping their nails and you should regularly brush their teeth. This can help with dental decay and disease.
How much does a Chihuahua cost?
A Chihuahua can set you back between $500 to $1,500, although it can be more. You should always check that you are buying from a responsible breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent breeds. Unfortunately, with Chihuahuas being so popular, it is not uncommon to find irresponsible breeders or puppy mills.
If buying is out of your price range or you would prefer to adopt, you should always check your local shelter. Again, due to their popularity, these dogs are often found in rescue centers so you may find one that is looking for their forever home!
Are Chihuahuas good with children?
Chihuahuas are great with children and can make an excellent family pet! These dogs love humans, both adults and children, so this should not be an issue. They are also an energetic dog and can therefore make the perfect playmate for kids!
Thanks to their small size, the Chihuahua is a delicate breed and therefore very small children should be supervised around these tiny dogs. They may end up hurting them without meaning to!
The Chihuahua is an adorable breed of dog that is small enough to fit in your purse. Perfect for those who don’t have a lot of space, these little dogs still have an excellent personality and will keep you entertained! With low care needs, these dogs are a great first pet for those with no previous experience with a dog. Remember, these dogs need lots of attention and do not like to be left alone, and also require socialization and training from a young age to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded.
As long as you’ve got lots of love to give and time to spend with them, why not think about adding a Chihuahua to your home?