Chihuahua

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AKC Group: Toy

The exact nature of the Chihuahua is unknown. The earliest specimens were discovered in the time of the Aztecs in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. These remains date back to the 5th century A.D. Archaeologists have found evidence of the breed in central and southern Mexico and in South America.

Speculation suggest that Spanish traders brought the breed to America from China. The Toltecs had a companion dog called the Techichi, which was mixed with Chinese Crested dogs. When the Spaniards destroyed the Aztecs, they left this breed to fend for themselves. The tenacious little dog did indeed (and thrived).

Size: 5 to 10 inches. A Chihuahua is not to exceed 6 pounds.

Color: All colors and patterns.

Life span: 14 to 18 years

Health problems: The Chihuahua is one of the longest living breeds of dog. They can suffer from luxating patella, entropion, heart problems, trachea problems, low blood sugar, dental problems, chemical or medicinal sensitivities or open fontanel. Chihuahuas have very fragile bones so treat them gently and don’t ever drop them. Your children need to handle them with care. Their protruding eyes are easy to damage too (and should always be monitored for infections).

The Chihuahua is an extremely dainty, fragile-looking, tiny dog with a distinctive look. They have pretty faces and a mischievous look. Their heads are rounded with dark, wallowing, protruding eyes. Their ears are large. There are two varieties of Chihuahua: the long- and short-coated. The long-coated Chihuahua has a long, soft coat that can either be a single or double coat. The short-coated Chihuahua is covered in soft, short, dense fur.

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed, but they are lively, affectionate and extremely entertaining. They love to give and (especially) receive attention. He will follow you around like your shadow and his favorite spot in the house will be your lap. Intelligent, this dog is eager to please and always playful. Personalities can vary widely though, some Chihuahuas are confident and friendly while others are reserved and stand-offish. A Chihuahua attaches deeply and can become jealous. Due to their size, Chihuahuas do better with older children that know how to be gentle. They can tolerate other pets if they’ve been properly socialized. Early socialization is an important component for harmony in the home. Chihuahuas do tend to bark excessively.

To keep your Chihuahua’s coat looking great and feeling soft, he’ll need to be brushed often. If your Chihuahua has a double coat, you’ll have to brush him a lot to cut down on the shedding. The short-coated Chihuahua can be brushed occasionally and wiped down with a damp cloth. He will shed year round, while the long-coated Chihuahua sheds seasonally. Make sure to check his eyes regularly.

Training-wise, your first difficulty will be housebreaking. If you train him with a pee pad, know that he may not make it to the pad before he has to go and he may mistake any paper left on the floor as a pad. If you choose to go this way, you must praise him every time he uses the pad. If you’re intrepid enough to train him outdoors, kudos. (It’s going to be hard.) Otherwise, early socialization is important, as it can help to stem his jealousy issues.

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