Chihuahuas - In Depth

How could you not love the Taco Bell dog? In addition to the dog in commercials, you may have seen
the Chihuahua in the Legally Blonde movies and in Batman Returns. The breed has also been featured
on TV in That's So Raven, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Krypto The Superdog, Ren & Stimpy, and The
Simpsons. Even Cesar Millan has featured his own Chihuahua, Coco, on his Dog Whisperer series.

Chihuahuas are tiny with big personalities!

The Chihuahua was discovered in Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua, of course! Originating from at least
the 9th century, the Chihuahua is the oldest of the breeds originating in the Western Hemisphere. The
breed likely developed as a mix between the Techichi dog favored by the predecessors of the ancient
Aztecs, and the miniature Chinese dogs brought to Mexico by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 15th and
16th centuries. It is said that Christopher Columbus carried the new breed to the European continent on
one of his sailings back to Spain from the new world.

These dogs are extremely small - the smallest breed in the world. The breed standard says they
shouldn't weigh more than 6 pounds, and in the British breed standard it even states that if two dogs are
relatively equal in a show, the smaller one should be given preference. In the pet world, as opposed to
the show world, Chihuahuas often grow as big as 12 pounds. They stand just 6 - 9 inches tall. Most
other dogs would probably consider them an hors d'ouevre.

Some people may describe a Chihuahua as teacup, pocket-sized, tiny toy, miniature, or standard,
attempting to convey that a particular dog is worth a higher price or better in some way. The Chihuahua
Club of America points out that there is only one breed standard, and any individual dog may weigh
anywhere from 2 to 12 pounds. Adding a modifier in front of the breed name is not correct, as there is
no such thing as a miniature or teacup Chihuahua, and smaller dogs of the breed are not any different or
more valuable than the larger examples.

"Teacup" Chihuahua is a misleading term as there is only one breed standard.

The Chihuahua comes in two coat types: short hair and long. Paradoxically, the long-haired type actually
sheds less than the short-haired type. The short haired dog is sometimes called smooth-coated,
although this, too, is misleading, as the fur may have a whiskery feel to it. The long coated type
generally looks fluffy due to a downy undercoat which also makes them feel very soft.

Coloring in the breed is all over the map. Chihuahuas are acceptable in any color except merle (also
known as dapple) because this color is associated with health risks such as deafness and blindness.
Dapple coloring is when light-colored spots are present on a background of a darker shade of the same
color. Merle dogs may not be shown in most countries, as breeders try to remove this gene from the
breeding pool. Acceptable colors range from solid black to solid white, with any patterning except
dapple. However, the classic color is fawn, the same as the dog from the commercials.

In spite of their small size, Chihuahuas can be ferocious. You must take care when the dog is around
larger dogs as he is easily injured. Some Chihuahuas prefer the company of other Chihuahuas rather
than different breeds of dogs, but when they do play with other, larger dogs, they don't understand that
they are the underdog due to their size.

These dogs are very loyal, sometimes to only one member of the family. Jealousy of human
relationships is not unheard of when a Chihuahua decides that you belong to him, but proper
socialization can help the dog learn to accept other humans.  They want all of your attention, all of the
time. Chihuahuas are not recommended for homes with small children, as they have a tendency to bite
when frightened. The dog's temperament is often high-strung, making him not appreciate the noise and
commotion associated with toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The biggest challenge to the health of a Chihuahua is overfeeding. With their small bodies, they really
don't need a lot of food, and snacks are definitely out. These dogs are known for being picky eaters, so
care must be taken to make them eat the right foods. Overfeeding of dog food and table scraps can
lead to joint problems, diabetes, tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and a shorter life.

An interesting difference between Chihuahuas and all other dog breeds is that Chis are born with a soft
spot in their skulls, called a molera. The soft spot hardens over the first six months of life as the skull
knits itself closed. This is similar to a human baby's soft spot, and care must be taken to prevent injury
to the dog's brain until the skull is fully closed.

You must make sure your veterinarian has experience with baby Chihuahuas due to the soft spot and
the possibility of hydrocephalus. The two are often mistaken for each other, which can have deadly
consequences. Just as in other toy breeds, the Chihuahua is prone to swelling on the brain because the
cerebrospinal fluid cannot drain properly from the skull. A dog with hydrocephalus will have many soft
spots in the skull because the additional fluid in the cranial cavity keeps the skull plates from fusing. The
puppy will have large eyes due to the fluid pressure, but Chihuahuas have large eyes anyway, so this
may be hard to distinguish. A hydrocephalic puppy will have a larger head than his littermates, will be
lethargic, and will grow more slowly. A dog with hydrocephalus can be expected to live a very short life,
vs. the average lifespan of 15 - 22 years for a normal dog.

Your Chihuahua may appear to be cold most of the time. They burrow under blankets and pillows, and
have been known to lie in the sun for longer than they probably should. You must protect them from
getting overheated by making them move to a cooler spot when they begin to pant excessively. Another
interesting feature of the breed is that they shiver a lot, even when they are warm. This is likely due to
their high metabolic rate, rather than any temperature-related discomfort.

Due to their tiny size, Chihuahuas like to keep warm.

When you take your Chihuahua outdoors, there are some special considerations. First, remember that
he is very close to the ground, so look out for hazards that stick up, such as rakes, nails, or stakes in
the ground. Second, because he is so small, animals of prey, particularly birds, may think he's a tasty
snack. The Chihuahua may challenge larger dogs, and will almost surely lose the fight. Your Chihuahua
should be kept away from small children to lessen the chance he will bite them.

Overall, the Chihuahua can be a wonderful companion for you, particularly if you live in a small
apartment where larger dogs can cause a problem. However, make sure you are ready to give him the
proper attention he craves and that you are prepared to make a long commitment to this long-lived
Above is Willi.  He is a champion.  I
am sure you can see his amazing
quality.  We are quite sure he can
take it all home in the show ring.  He
has a beautiful fawn, long coat, and a
personality to match his beauty.  He
is AKC & CKC registered.
This is our precious
Murphy.  She would be
too busy winning shows,
but, she is a little shy, so
we are happy to keep her
at home with us.  She
should be having some
really nice babies soon.  
She is double registered
This is our beautiful
Chesney!!!  He is a grand
champion.  We are very proud
of him.  He makes beautiful,
small babies and he is an
absolute sweetheart!  He is
AKC & CKC registered.
Dolly is a beautiful, tri
colored long coat, tiny
mommy.  We are very
excited for her to be
having babies very soon.  
She is AKC and CKC
Lola is so beautiful.  
Long coat and white with
a few fawn spots.  She
will be retiring after this
litter coming soon.  She
is AKC and CKC