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Chihuahua Breed: Origin, Physical Characteristics and Temperament

The smallest dog breed in the world is a favourite of many celebrities and has one of the highest life expectancies.

Despite its tiny size, the ego of this little Mexican dog is remarkable.

Chihuahua temperament. The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed globally. It is believed that this breed originated in Mexico and was held in high regard for its confidence and devotion beyond its miniature size. While there are different colour variations, the cream, tan, or fawn-coloured smooth-coated Chihuahua is the most common. This article will provide an in-depth look at the origins, physical traits, health considerations, temperament, and more that characterize this feisty yet affectionate breed.

Origins

The Techichi is considered the predecessor of the modern Chihuahua, dating back to the 9th century in Mexico. The Toltec civilization kept these small dogs before the Aztecs conquered their lands. The Aztecs admired the Techichi’s loyalty, believing the red variety held mystical powers to guide souls to the afterlife. When Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500s, they brought some petite canines back to Europe. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Chihuahua breed in 1904.

General Description

The Chihuahua has a compact, balanced body supported by relatively slender legs and feet. Its uniquely shaped head features a well-rounded apple dome skull, stop, and short yet pointed muzzle. Large erect ears and luminous, alert eyes give it an expression of curiosity and intelligence. The tail either forms into a loop covering the back or arches upward. Smooth, short-coated or long-coated varieties categorize Chihuahuas.

He is always confident and courageous with those in front of him, including dogs much bigger than him.

Appearance and Attributes of the Chihuahua

Per the AKC breed standard guidelines, acceptable Chihuahua colours include black, tan, chocolate, blue, fawn, cream, gold, red, silver, and brown—ranging from pale beige to dark deer red. Masking also occurs where the primary body colour features secondary hues on the muzzle, ears, tail tip, and feet.

Other defining physical traits:

  • Height: 5-8 inches
  • Weight: Typically no more than 6 pounds
  • Longevity: Over 15 years
  • Coat: Short-haired or long-haired
  • Ears: Large, erect, and broad at the base
  • Expression: Saucy, curious, alert

Price and Maintenance of a Chihuahua

The average price of a Chihuahua in the UK can vary based on factors such as the breeder’s reputation, the health and lifestyle of the parents, and whether the dog is KC (Kennel Club) registered. On average, Chihuahua puppies from well-known breeders may cost between £600 to £2000. Prices may differ if the dog is not KC registered.

It’s essential to note that prices can also vary based on other factors such as location and the specific breeder. Additionally, you may find Chihuahuas available for sale through various platforms like Pets4Homes and Gumtree, where prices may vary due to different sellers and circumstances.

Pros and Cons of the Breed

Top 5 characteristics:

  • Tiny, portable size
  • Minimal shedding
  • Low exercise requirements
  • Long life expectancy
  • Devoted companion

The five most problematic characteristics:

  • Fragile and easily injured
  • High barking tendency
  • Difficult to housebreak
  • Prone to separation anxiety and hyper behaviour
  • Not tolerant of small children

Chihuahua Temperament and Personality Traits

Despite the Chihuahua’s petite frame, these alert and spirited dogs boast huge personalities. They form intensely loyal bonds with their primary caretaker. While reserved towards strangers, Chihuahuas are curious to survey their surroundings. They also exhibit varying confidence when encountering new people or other animals. Early socialization helps prevent extreme shyness or defensive aggression later on. When properly managed, these pint-sized pups thrive as constant companions.

Interaction with Family Members

Chihuahuas become fast friends with their favourite person in the home, following them from room to room. Though one human is typically their focus, Chihuahuas warm up to the whole family once trust and routines are established. However, their small size and excitable natures mean they fare better in gentle, mature households without young kids.

Treatment of Strangers and Children

Wary of anyone outside his inner circle, untrained Chihuahuas often bark, back away, or snap when approached by strangers. While not inherently aggressive, they are alert watchdogs quick to sound the alarm. Careful introductions help them accept visitors. Similarly, supervision is required around very young children since too rough play could injure a Chihuahua.

Compatibility with Other Dogs

Dog-friendly Chihuahuas can thrive in multi-pet homes. Early and ongoing socialization prevents them from becoming possessive towards their owner. However, Chihuahuas raised in isolation often pick fights with other dogs intruding on their territory or elevating their status. Their courageous personality means they won’t hesitate to approach much larger canines.

Chihuahuas are beautiful, loyal and lively dogs. They love their owners very much and love to be treated like kings! In fact, they are the dogs of princesses!

Trainability

Eager to please, though sometimes willful, Chihuahuas respond better to positive reinforcement techniques. Their intelligence allows them to pick up on desired behaviours quickly with consistency and patience. Establishing human leadership early on is essential before small dog syndrome sets in. Make training sessions fun with praise, food motivation, and interactive toys.

Living Accommodations

Weighing less than 6 pounds, Chihuahuas quickly adapt to different households. Apartment living suits them, given their low indoor activity levels. A small, secured yard provides space to zoom around and investigate smells. As heat and cold-sensitive breeds, they are strictly indoor companions. Chihuahuas prefer the company of their owner and should not live outdoors.

Toleration of Being Alone

Chihuahuas thrive on bonding with “their person” and can become anxious or depressed when left alone for extended workdays. Howling, destructive chewing, inappropriate elimination, and neurotic behaviours may surface if isolated for extended time spans. Building independence through short solo training periods prevents separation distress.

First-Time Ownership

The Chihuahua’s strong personality presents challenges for novice dog owners. Timid, untrained Chihuahuas are more prone to nipping or urine marking. Without enough activity, these natural-born terriers get restless. Potential owners should have experience with commitment-intensive toy breeds or seek guidance from a trainer well-versed in this group.

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Hot and Cold Weather Tolerance

Special precautions protect Chihuahuas in temperature extremes. During winter walks, sweaters and booties prevent them from getting too chilled. Never leave them outside unattended, regardless of season. Overheating and breathing issues quickly arise when these heat-intolerant dogs are exposed to hot, humid weather. Adjust the intensity and duration of outdoor playtime accordingly.

Grooming Needs

Smooth-coated Chihuahuas need only weekly brushing and occasional bathing to maintain clean coats free of loose hair. Long-haired Chihuahuas require daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats. Check their ears, teeth, nails and pads on their paws while grooming. Schedule regular trims for long-haired Chihuahuas every 6-8 weeks.

Shedding and Drooling

Chihuahuas kept indoors shed minimally, only increasing during seasonal shedding spurts. Use conditioner when bathing them, as shampoos can dry skin. Saliva staining around the mouth may occur. Gentle cleaning with a washcloth removes buildup.

Potential Health Conditions

Chihuahuas enjoy good health but can develop these common issues:

  • Luxating patella – the trick kneecap
  • Hydrocephalus – fluid accumulation in the skull cavity
  • Collapsing trachea – weak windpipe prone to closing
  • Heart defects like mitral valve disease
  • Eye infections and injury due to bulbous shape
  • Hypoglycemia – critically low blood sugar

Weight Gain Tendency

Measuring portions and limiting treats prevents obesity. Chihuahuas will overeat until they become overweight, which strains their delicate joints. Schedule regular weigh-ins at the vet. Encourage activity through walks, fetch, and food puzzle toys.

Learning Ability

Exceptionally smart, Chihuahuas learn quickly through positive reinforcement and consistent rules. Use mini-sized treats for training motivation. Challenge their minds daily by teaching new commands and introducing sensory stimulation toys. Practice key skills like coming when called.

These dogs can weigh a maximum of 3 kg and be up to 21 centimetres tall. In fact, the Chihuahua is by far the smallest breed in the world.

Energy Level

Chihuahuas expend short bursts of energy followed by rest periods. A few 10-15-minute daily play sessions or short walks satisfy their exercise needs. Monitor excitable Chihuahuas so they don’t overexert themselves to exhaustion.

Excessive Barking Tendency

Chihuahuas frequently vocalize with barks and yaps to sound alarms, gain attention, convey anxiety, or self-soothe boredom. Redirect by distraction, relaxation training, and anti-bark techniques instead of punishment. Howling sometimes develops but responds to intervention.

Hunting Drive

Lacking genuine predatory drive, Chihuahuas chase swift-moving objects simply for entertainment. They display their watchful terrier qualities by patrolling the home’s perimeters, ever alert to unusual sights and sounds.

Interesting Facts

Chihuahuas captivate humans with their lively, affectionate personalities despite measuring under 6 inches tall. When properly socialized and trained, these loyal companions thrive indoors with their beloved owners catering to their needs for warmth, gentle handling, grooming and veterinary care. Reward-based training brings out their intelligence and eagerness to please. They forged tight bonds with favourite humans over centuries of purposeful breeding.

While selective breeding reduced their size drastically compared to ancestral Techichi relatives, Chihuahuas maintained much of their courage and self-importance. They often boss around larger dogs, sharing their household despite the considerable size differential. Portability makes them frequent purse passengers of city dwellers requiring compact companion dogs. Certain Chihuahuas hold recognition for travelling by unusual transportation methods, including aeroplane cabins, bicycle baskets, baby strollers and human backpacks.

Through play, you can entertain your dog and find lots of fun games on ETSY made entirely by hand for your four-legged friend.

Throughout history, Chihuahuas occupied sacred status because locals believed they guided human souls to the afterlife, cured ailments, and bestowed good luck. How did they attain such privilege? Records indicate Montezuma, the Aztec emperor in Mexico during the 1500s, adored tiny Techichi dogs. When Spanish explorers later encountered small canines in Chihuahua, they dubbed them after the region. Once breeders developed them outside Mexico, Chihuahuas captured peoples’ hearts as charming lapdogs ideal for city life.

Famous Chihuahuas in modern culture include small-screen actors like Gidget, who appeared in Taco Bell commercials, and Grandpa Mason in Legally Blonde. A tiny, smooth-coat male named Miracle Milly holds a Guinness record for the smallest living dog, measuring just 3.8 inches tall. Other pint-sized contenders also made headlines for their teacup dimensions falling inches shorter than standard height minimums. Thanks to their longevity exceeding 15-20 years, Chihuahuas better the odds of spending extra years with their doting owners, given their compact size.

Helpful links:
  1. The British Chihuahua Club
  2. The British Chihuahua Club 
  3. Chihuahua World UK – Club

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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