|Recommended for||Singles, families with older children|
|Breed Classification||Toy group|
|Temperament||Lively, loyal, courageous|
|Tendency to bark||Very high|
|Health Risk||This breed is in the lower risk category for developing health issues, hence it is one of the most affordable breeds to insure.|
The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog and the oldest dog breed in North America. It is not known from which breeds the Chihuahua originated, but the Techichi, one of the probable ancestors of the breed, has been depicted on artefacts of ancient civilizations from as far back as 300 BC.
How the Chihuahua type first came to the peoples of Mexico is another secret of history. It is possible that small hairless dogs were brought to Mexico from China and bred with native dogs. The long-haired variety of Chihuahua may have arisen out of breeding with Pomeranians or Papillons.
These hardy little dogs continued to exist in remote Mexican villages, particularly in the state of Chihuahua. The modern Chihuahua was discovered in the 1850’s by American visitors to Mexico. They took these dogs back to America and began to show them in 1890. The breed was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and became exceptionally popular during the 1930’s and 40’s.
The first Australian Chihuahua imports arrived in the 1930’s, although the breed did not appear in Sydney until the 1950’s.
The Chihuahua is a small, dainty and compact dog.
The head is apple-domed and the eyes are large, round, luminous and very expressive.
The large, erect ears are flaring and set at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.
The Chihuahua coat come in long or short and in one of the largest varieties of colours of all breeds, including black, white, chestnut, fawn, sand, silver, sable, steel blue, black, tan, or a mix.
|Weight range||1.7 to 3 kg|
|Height range||15 to 23 cm|
|Colours||Large variety of colours|
|Coat length||Long or short|
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Despite their small size, Chihuahuas have big personalities and big-dog attitude – they have been described as a Rottweiler in a tiny body, as having a “terrier-like” temperament and even of having a personality that reflects its owner’s!
Chihuahuas are brave, active, sensible dogs. They are very loyal and are often fiercely devoted to one of their masters; however, this devotion can sometimes become over-protective, leading the dog to become snappy or reserved around strangers.
As they are a low-maintenance breed, they can make great companions for the elderly. Compact and confident, Chihuahuas are ideal city pets.
Chihuahuas are not recommended for families with young children. Their tiny bodies are too fragile for roughhousing and they could easily sustain an unintended injury from a well-meaning but ‘clumsy’ youngster attempting to play with or pick up the dog.
They can occasionally become over-protective, leading the dog to become snappy or reserved around strangers, children included. This aspect of their temperament also makes them a poor option for families with young children.
Chihuahuas tend to get along well with other pets in their own family. Be careful about mixing them with larger dogs, though – a big, playful dog can easily hurt a Chihuahua by accident. Additionally, they can look like prey to breeds with an instinct to hunt and chase, especially when they move quickly.
Despite their small stature and the temptation to carry them around, Chihuahuas have a lot of energy. They need around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day in order to be happy and healthy, but they can generally keep going for a lot longer than you would expect.
Chihuahuas can be taken on a short, slow daily walk, or simply trotting around following their people can provide enough exercise. They love to run and play and can usually get enough exercise in a very small space, whether indoors or outdoors.
If Chihuahuas do not get the exercise they need, they may become anxious, neurotic, and develop a number of other behavioural problems, such as turning into annoying, aggressive-sounding barkers.
Chihuahuas are very alert little dogs who seem well aware of how cute they are and soon learn how to get their way. Without training, they will rule the household like a little Napoleon. Fortunately, they are eager to please their humans and respond well to positive training practices and a firm but gentle hand.
|Exercise requirements||Low to medium|
The Chihuahua should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and level of activity. Adult Chihuahuas need only a small amount of food split between 2 to 3 meals per day.
Chihuahuas are prone to obesity, diabetes and dental problems, so extra care should be taken around their dietary and nutritional requirements. Avoid feeding them “people” food and excessive treats.
Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.
Chihuahuas’ grooming needs vary according to their coat length.
The smooth-coat Chihuahua needs only occasional brushing, while the longhaired variety should be brushed at least once a week to avoid any tangles or mats.
Surprisingly, long-haired Chihuahuas tend to shed less than their short-haired relatives.
As they are prone to dental disease, good dental care is necessary, including brushing their teeth.
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Chihuahua Club of VIC Inc: http://www.chihuahuaclubvictoria.com/
Chihuahua Club of SA Inc: http://www.chihuahuaclubofsainc.com/
Chihuahua Rescue Australia Inc: http://chihuahuarescueaustralia.com/
Chihuahua Rescue Victoria: http://www.chihuahuarescuevictoria.org/
Chihuahua Rescue QLD: http://www.chihuahuarescueqld.com.au/
Perth Chihuahua Rescue: http://www.perthchihuahuarescueinc.com.au/