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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Chihuahua

Chihuahua

Origin: Mexico

AKC Group: Toy

Height: 6-9 inches (15-23 cm) (Male)

Weight: No more than 6 pounds (3 kg) (Male)

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Origin: 
Mexico
Male height: 
6-9 inches (15-23 cm)
Male weight: 
No more than 6 pounds (3 kg)
Coat: 
There are two varieties: short and smooth; and long and soft with fringing.
Colors: 
Chihuahuas come in a wide array of colors and markings, including white, black, and nearly everything in between. All colors are allowed in the show ring.
History: 

The Chihuahua 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, the breed is believed to trace 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 one of the most popular toy breeds.

Personality: 
It is the Chihuahua's personality, as well as his size, that have endeared him to generations of people around the world. Lively, alert, large hearted, playful and extremely affectionate, the Chihuahua almost demands to be loved. These dogs bond closely with their owners and want to be with them at all times. Because it's so easy to take them everywhere, that is easily accomplished.
At home: 
This portable breed is at home in the country or city. Chihuahuas prefer the indoors to the outdoors, and they are extremely vulnerable to cold weather - their size makes it hard to retain heat. They can be noisy and will alert their owner to a visitor's arrival.
Exercise: 
Chihuahua relishes activity and can fulfill his daily exercise needs simply by being included in his owner's routine. Short jaunts and indoor games can keep a Chihuahua healthy and happy.
Feeding: 
Chihuahua's food should be size appropriate so that he won't have trouble eating it. Feed a high-quality diet twice a day.
Training: 
Chihuahuas bond extremely closely with their owners, so gentle, positive training is necessary so as not to destroy that bond. This clever, independent breed will need consistent training, or anarchy will ensue. Chihuahuas require active socialization from puppyhood to grow into well-adjusted adults. Because it is so easy to carry them around, owners risk developing spoiled, snappy dogs. Also, patience is required in the housetraining department - consistency is key.
Compatibility: 
Although self-confident, due to his tiny size, the quick movements of some people and other animals can startle the Chihuahua. Small children, especially those who are particularly active or noisy, are not the best companions for this tiny breed.
Health: 
The average life span of the Chihuahuais 15 years or more. Common health problems associated with the breed include prominent eyes, which are susceptible to dryness and glaucoma. Chihuahuas are born with large heads, frequently necessitating that they be whelped by cesarean section, and some have a molera or unclosed portion of their skull, which leaves them prone to injury there.
Fun fact: 

Breeders in the United States created the long-coated variety by crossing Chihuahuas with Papillons, Pomeranians and similarly coated toys.

Grooming blurb: 
The long-coated variety needs special attention - brushing, bathing, and trimming - while the short-coated 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 - remember, the breed is close to the ground, so it's going to pick up a lot more dirt and dust!
Disclaimer: 
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.