Chihuahua Dog History, Health And Care

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Introduction Of Chihuahua Dog

The Chihuahua, a companion dog of diminutive size, has been known as the Chihuahua Kortaar, the Smooth-coat Chihuahua, the Chihuahua Langhaar and the Longcoat Chihuahua. It also has been called the Mexican Dwarf Dog, the Ornament Dog, the Raza Fina and the Pillow Dog. Chihuahuas have a plucky, almost terrier-like temperament that serves as an effective alarm system. They are alert, bold, feisty little dogs with saucy expressions and playful dispositions. Chihuahuas are most famous for their tiny stature, which arguably makes them the perfect portable “purse dog” or “pocket pet.” They should not be underestimated because of its size. This is a highly intelligent and athletic breed. Chihuahuas that are not properly socialized can become snappy towards children and strangers, and their delicate bone structure requires special attention so that they are not injured by jumping off of high places or being hurt by rambunctious children. The Chihuahua was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904, as a member of the Toy Group. They are consistently ranked among the top ten in popularity of breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Chihuahua is not to exceed 6 pounds and ideally stands between 6 and 9 inches at the withers. They come in both smooth and long coats, which are judged equally without preference. Their tail should be full and long, resembling a plume, and feathering on the feet and legs is preferred. Chihuahuas have talon-like feet with long, curved nails. Their coat is easy to care for and can come in any color. Their upright ears should be cleaned regularly. The Chihuahua tends to shiver when cold, excited or nervous.

Chihuahua Dog Breed Quick Facts

Adaptability2/5
Affection Level4/5
Apartment Friendly5/5
Barking Tendencies5/5
Cat Friendly3/5
Child Friendly2/5
Dog Friendly3/5
Exercise Need2/5
Grooming Needs2/5
Health Issues2/5
Intelligence4/5
Playfulness4/5

Chihuahua – Appearance & Grooming

Appearance

The world’s smallest dog, the Chihuahua, weighs in anywhere from 2 to 8 pounds. Chihuahuas have apple shaped heads and pointed muzzles. Their yes are very large, very round and very dark. Their large ears are the breed’s trademark and sit erect atop the head. They are longer than they are tall and they have curved tails that arc over the back. Chihuahuas may have short or long hair and come in colors of fawn, sand, chestnut, blue, or silver, but all colors of the canine rainbow are acceptable.

Size and Weight

For show purposes, a Chihuahua should never weigh more than 6 pounds, but household dogs will sometimes weigh up to 8. Some Chihuahuas are so tiny that they can stand upright in the palm of a human hand.

Coat and Color

Chihuahuas come in smooth (short) and long haired varieties. Smooth-coated Chihuahuas have short, smooth, shiny coats that lay flat against the body. They usually have furry tails and a ruff of thick hair on the neck, but have thinner hair on the head and ears. Long coated Chihuahuas have soft, long hair that may be straight or curly. The hair is long around the ears, tail and legs, which almost makes it appear that the dog is wearing pants.

Chihuahuas also come in all colors of the canine rainbow. They can be solid black, white, chocolate, fawn, silver, blue, or gray. They may be tricolor, brindle, spotted merle or any other marking.

Grooming Needs

Grooming a Chihuahua is a breeze, whether the dog has smooth or long hair. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and will remove loose hair. They shed lightly year round, which, for a dog this small, amounts to almost nothing. They shed a bit more heavily during season changes, and the long haired Chihuahua’s undercoat may fall out in clumps, so brushing may need to be more frequent at these times. Regular brushing also ensures that this low-maintenance dog only needs to be bathed once every two months.

Chihuahuas are prone to tear stains around their eyes. There are several over the counter wipes that can be used to remove the discharge. The ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection. If they emit an odor, or wax is visible, the ear should be cleaned with a veterinarian-approved cleanser.

This breed is prone to dental problems, so weekly tooth brushing is a must. Start brushing the dog’s teeth as a puppy, so he will be used to it and not fight this beneficial practice.

Chihuahua – History and Health

History

The exact origin of the Chihuahua remains shrouded in legend and lore. Evidence of similar tiny dogs dates back to the 9th century in artifacts, written descriptions and artwork from many parts of the world. There was a small, silent dog that occupied Mexico for several centuries called the “Techichi,” which is evidenced in stone carvings that closely resemble the modern Chihuahua. When the Aztecs conquered that part of the world in the 12th century, they brought with them a tiny, highly prized hairless breed similar to dogs then found in China. Some authorities speculate that the modern Chihuahua descends from a cross between those two early breeds. Interestingly, despite the Techichi’s close connection with Mexico, a letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand of Spain mentions that he found a small, mute domesticated dog in what today is Cuba that closely resembles the Chihuahua. Some people claim that Chihuahuas are purely of European origin, developed from the small Comforter Dogs of the Middle Ages, while others believe that the original breed homeland is Malta or China. There is little firm evidence to support any of these theories, and the most commonly accepted view is that the Chihuahua developed as a dwarf pet dog in ancient Mexico.

When Cortez conquered the Aztec civilization, these little dogs largely were lost. However, in the mid-1800s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, canine remains thought to be the ancestors of the Chihuahua were discovered in ruins of an emperor’s palace. Archaeologists have discovered countless remains of tiny dogs thought to be predecessors of the Chihuahua throughout Mexico, often in human graves. Apparently early fanciers of the breed believed that upon cremation and burial of both dog and owner, the sins of the human would be transferred to the dog, and the wrath of the deity would be averted. Chihuahuas were thought to guide the human soul through the underworld into the afterlife, fighting off evil spirits. These legends are a rich part of the history of this breed, regardless of whether or not they are true.

In about 1850, the first Chihuahuas were brought to the United States from Mexico. Many were poorly bred and malnourished. The hardiest of these survived to establish a breeding base, and both short and long-coated varieties became popular. Modern Chihuahuas differ substantially from their poorly cared-for predecessors. They are alert, intelligent and clannish, preferring the company of their people and their own breed over all others.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Chihuahua in 1904, with no distinction between varieties except for coat length. The first three AKC registered Chihuahuas were long-coated. The first champion, a dog named Beppie, was entered into the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1908. The Chihuahua Club of America was formed in 1923. The two coat varieties were separately recognized in 1952. This tiny dog gradually became one of the most popular breeds in North America, especially well-suited to urban life. It retains its popularity world-wide.

Health

The Chihuahua is a long-lived breed with an average life expectancy of 15 years or more. The breed is known for having open fontanels, called a “molera,” which is a soft spot on the top of the skull. Breed health concerns may include collapsing tracheas, eye problems, hypoglycemia, mitral valve disease, medial patellar luxation, congenital elbow luxation, pulmonary stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, melanoma, hydrocephalus, endocardiosis, pattern baldness, cryptorchidism, testicular neoplasia, foramen magnum dysplasia and seizures.

Chihuahua – Temperament & Personality

Personality

Small and sassy, the Chihuahua is the tiniest of all dog breeds, often weighing in at less than four pounds. Their personalities are varied, ranging from shy and timid to plucky and outgoing. All Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal to the people they love, and eat up as much attention as they can get. They will often posture toward bigger dogs, barking their little hearts out, but always seem to recognize and welcome the company of other Chihuahuas. They tolerate being dressed up, and in the winter time will welcome the warmth of a sweater. Some have a reputation for being quite mean to strangers, but this stems from their protective of their owner and the fact that the only defense mechanisms they have are their bark and their teeth. They are an economical companion, as they don’t eat much, and are a good choice for first-time dog owners.

All Chihuahua owners agree that this breed is an endless source of laughs. Their big eyes and ears, combined with an uncanny ability to cause mischief, provide hours of entertainment for the entire family. They also love to be warm. They will follow the sun’s rays around the house all day, and when the sun goes down will burrow into couches, chairs, blankets and laps in order to stay cozy.

Activity Requirements

Chihuahuas don’t need a lot of vigorous activity, so they are well suited for apartments and condominiums. Despite their size, they should be walked daily because it is easy to end up with an obese Chihuahua.

Trainability

The ease of training a Chihuahua depends upon the dog itself, and it’s own particular bloodline. Whereas some dogs can be trained out of fearfulness, timidity, aggression or rowdy behavioral, a Chihuahua’s temperament is determined solely on his genetics. If he comes from high-struck parents, he will be high-strung. If he comes from an easy-going, friendly line, he’ll be the same. Regardless of the individual dog’s personality, training should be consistent, involve lots of positive reinforcement, and plenty of treats. Treating a dog this size with a harsh hand will only cause problems.

Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to house train, and many owners resort to litter boxes or indoor grass patches. They hate cold weather and despise the rain, and many times will flat out refuse to relieve themselves in such conditions.

Behavioral Traits

Barking is the number one behavioral problem with Chihuahuas. Even easy going individuals who enjoy the company of new people will bark to announce that person’s arrival. Some Chihuahuas are prone to bark literally every time a house guest makes a move, which can be alienating to friends and family. It is very important to socialize Chihuahuas as early and as often as possible, so that they are welcoming of new people.

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