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Breed Profile: Chihuahua

There are a few dog breeds that just stand out from the crowd, and, in spite of their diminutive stature, the Chihuahua is certainly one of them. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that can't immediately identify these little Toy firecrackers! Here's what you need to know about the smallest dog breed!

History of the Chihuahua

The history of the Chihuahua is a murky one. Some say its ancestors came to South America from China. Others say it was bred entirely in Central and South America.

We know that there were small dogs, known as Techichi, which were sometimes sacrificed in Toltec rituals, and we also know that the Toltecs and the Aztecs sometimes ate dogs! Fortunately, however, they didn't all die under gruesome circumstances, and in about 1850, a few were found in Chihuahua, Mexico.

A few were taken to America, some found their way into the public eye, and soon, these tiny little dogs were one of the most popular breeds in America - an honour they have retained over the decades.

General Physical Characteristics of the Chihuahua

The first thing anyone notices about the Chihuahua is it's size. Weighing in at under 6lbs, and standing just 6-9" tall, there's no mistaking this toy breed for anything but a lapdog!

They've also got a domed skull, moderately pointed and relatively short muzzle, slightly bulbous eyes and fairly large (relatively speaking) triangular ears.

Chihuahuas can be smooth or long coated, have jaunty, curved tails and neat feet, and come in a range of colours including fawn, black, brown, grey, white, tan and any combination of them!

Temperament and Character of the Chihuahua

Chihuahuas have varied personalities. Some are brave and feisty. Some are friendly and charming, while others are more reserved. They tend to bond very closely with one person, but are usually relatively good with other pets and children, provided they are socialized early.

While Chihuahuas are lively little things, their small size means that they can get more than enough exercise without even leaving the house, and that makes them idea for apartment dwellers or people with limited mobility or busy schedules. They're not fond of cold though (and with those little legs, who can blame them!) They do love a trip out to see the sights though - as long as walkies are balanced with comfy carries.

Lifespan of the Chihuahua

Like many smaller dogs, Chihuahuas tend to have longer lifespans, with anything from 14 to 18 years being the norm.

Common Health and Personality Issues in Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas are fairly low maintenance for toy breeds. As far as grooming goes, the requirements are minimal, although long coats do need a little more attention. As for health conditions, they're relatively hardy little dogs, although there are a few medical conditions the breed is more prone to.

  1. Hydrocephalus or water on the brain.
  2. Pulmonic stenosis, which is a congenital narrowing of the opening between the heart and the pulmonary artery.
  3. Patellar luxation, which is a knee condition common in smaller breeds.
  4. KCS or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, which is a decrease in fluid production in the eye, which can lead to dry eye and more serious conditions.
  5. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Chihuahua's make lovely companions, and as long as you choose a puppy from a reputable breeder, and take the time to socialize them properly, you should have a wonderful little companion that will follow you anywhere you let them for many years to come.

If you want a dog that fits perfectly under your arm, has quite the exciting history, and an unmistakable look, then a Chihuahua might just be for you.

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