Chihuahuas are renowned for being one of the world’s smallest dogs, and as rated by Guinness Book of World Records, the smallest is 3.8 inches in height. But even though they are small, they can also have the world’s biggest personality in them. They are willful little dogs and many dog enthusiasts truly love them. Let us know more about the Chihuahua breed.
The origins of Chihuahuas are unclear but there are two theories of how they came to be. The first one is that they are descendants of a Central or South American dog which was known as the Techichi. There are evidences of Chihuahua coming from Central and South America when you look back to the Toltec civilization. Carvings dating to the 9th century were found depicting a dog that resembles a Chihuahua, having the same large ears and round head.
After the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, they absorbed the Techichi into their society and a lot of these dogs lived in temples and were used in Aztec rituals. They believed that the dogs have powers such as seeing the future, healing the sick, and guiding the souls of the dead to the underworld.
Also, part of their custom was killing a red Techichi and cremating it with the remains of the deceased. They also used the dogs as a source of food and pelts. In the late 1500’s, the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and the Techichi dogs faded into obscurity.
The other theory suggests that small hairless dogs from China were brought by Spanish traders to Mexico then bred with small native dogs. But whichever theory is accurate, the Chihuahua we know today was discovered in the 1850’s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua where it got its name.
Americans who visited Mexico brought the little dogs home with them and they began showing them in 1890. And in 1904, a Chihuahua named Midget became the first breed to be registered with the American Kennel Club. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the breed’s popularity took off when it was associated with dance king and Latin music bandleader Xavier Cugat.
From the 1960’s, Chihuahua has been one of the most popular breeds that are registered by the AKC. And today, they rank 11th out of the 155 breeds and varieties that AKC recognizes.
Characteristics of Chihuahua
Chihuahuas belong to the Companion Dogs breed group, making them great pets for families. A typical Chihuahua can weigh from 3 to 6 pounds. But there are also some that are smaller and others are oversized and sometimes reaching 12 pounds or higher.
They can grow from 6 inches to 9 inches tall at the shoulder. They can live for 10 to 18 years which is a really long span of time for dogs. Chihuahuas can have up to six puppies at once, the normal litter size is 1-3.
Chihuahuas have two different coat types, smooth and long. Smooth-coated ones have a smooth, shiny coat which fits close to the body with a ruff of thick, longer hair on the neck, and the hair on their heads and ears is thinner. They also have furry tails. Long-coated ones on the other hand, have soft coat that is flat or slightly curly.
They can be found in a range of colors and markings. They can be in solid colors such as white, black, gray, chocolate, and silver, and the shades can be very pale to very dark.
In terms of personality, Chihuahuas are known to have an alert nature and suspicion of strangers, meaning, they also make a perfect watchdog. They are also sensitive and always seek affection and companionship. Also, this dog breed is known to suffer from phobias, ranging anywhere from the fear of being alone to a fear of traffic. They can be a little reserved at first, therefore, early socialization can help so that they won’t grow to be timid.
Taking Care of Chihuahuas
Even though Chihuahuas are small, they are also like other dogs who need exercise and training. An adult Chihuahua can enjoy playing for a long time and they also like to go on walks and retrieve toys as well. But it’s also important to make sure that they don’t tire themselves out especially during summer or hot days.
Chihuahuas should never live outside the house because they are not safe from raptors like coyotes, hawk, and other larger dogs that can enter your yard. There’s no problem keeping them inside the house because they are very easy to train.
They are wash-and-go dogs and grooming them only takes a few minutes every week. For short-haired Chihuahuas, you can brush them weekly with a rubber grooming mitt or natural bristles, and for longhaired ones, you can use a pin brush. If they have dead hair, using a fine-toothed flea comb can help remove them.
Their nails can also grow quickly that’s why trimming them regularly is a must to keep them short. You should also brush their teeth because Chihuahuas are prone to poor dental health.
When feeding Chihuahuas, the recommended daily amount is ¼ to ½ cups of high quality dry food a day. This will depend on your pet’s size, metabolism, build, age, and activity level.
Chihuahua is indeed an amazing dog breed. Even though they are small, they can definitely provide pet owners big smiles and loads of fun.