The Chihuahua, - the smallest dog in the world.

Two varieties, the smooth coat and the long hair variety

Pictures of both varieties

Breed History:

The name of the breed is pronounced Chih-wah-wa. The Chihuahua is the world's smallest dog. This breed was named for the state of Chihuahua, in Mexico. The origin of the breed however, is disputed. One theory; has historians claiming it was created in Egypt, 3,000 years ago. They have mummified remains, with similar skulls, for backing their theories. If that is the case, then the breed may have been brought to Mexico, by Spanish traders, coming from Mediterranean countries, at the time of the Spanish Conquest (1519). Another theory was, historians stated, that the Chinese, who were renowned for dwarfing animals, created the breed. According to this theory, it was again, the early Spanish traders, who brought them to the New World. The dogs were then crossed with small native breeds. Another theory contends, that the breed was created entirely by the Toltecs of ancient Mexico, from the native Techichi dog. It was a small dog, but not tiny. Later, after the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, the Aztecs used these dogs, but only the red dogs, in religious sacrifice ceremonies. The blue varieties were considered sacred.
Following the Spanish Conquest era, the breed was totally ignored for several centuries, and almost became extinct. American tourists, in 1850, returned with specimens, but attracted little notice. They were first exhibited in the classes, in shows, in 1890. The first AKC registration was in 1904. The Chihuahua was first registered in Canada in 1928. People took notice decades later, when a popular entertainer, Xavier Cugat, "the Rhumba king", appeared everywhere, on stage, with his tiny teacup Chihuahua usually in his pocket. Today, this tiny canine is one of the most popular breeds in North America. Note, serious fanciers of the breed however, never refer to tiny specimens as "Teacup Chihuahuas". Puppymill breeders however, use that popular term to obtain higher, unwarranted prices for their puppies.
Weight:  Not to exceed 6 lb. (2.7 kg).
Preferred Size:  2 - 4 lb. (1 - 2 kg).
Height:  6 - 9 in. (15 - 23 cm) at withers.
Energy Level:  High.
Affection & Playfulness:  Average.
Function:  Companion.
Training:  Average.
Grooming:   Once a week.
With Other Dogs:  Not good.
With Other Pets:  Average.
With strangers:  Very reserved.
Children:  Not good.
Bonding:  Bonds to one person.
Shedding:  Sheds a little.
Watchdog:  Excellent.
Protection:  Low.
Life Expectancy:  14 - 18 years.

Chihuahua Appearance:

The breed is a graceful, alert, swift-moving, with a saucy expression, possessing a terrier-like attitude. It is compact with a well rounded "apple dome" skull. The eyes are full, set well apart, luminous, dark or ruby. The ears are large, held erect, when alert, and flare to the sides. The muzzle is moderately short and slightly pointed. The body is well balanced, slightly longer than high. The bite should be level or scissors. There are two varieties, the Smooth Coats, and the Long Coats. Any color, either solid, marked or splashed is permissible. The long hair Chihuahua, was perhaps developed entirely in America, by crossing the smooth coat variety, to the Pomeranian, the Papillon, and maybe others. See the breed standard for a more detailed description.

The Taco Bell Dog

The specimen, known as the Taco bell dog is, according to the breed standard, very wrong with respect to its head. Instead of having an "apple dome" the Taco Bell dog is what is known as, a "deer head Chihuahua". Devout breeders breed away from such narrow skulls, but there are a lot of people who like the appearance of the Taco Bell dog, and so less scrupulous Chihuahua breeders are deliberately breeding these deer head Chihuahuas, to make money from the sale, to unsuspecting people.

Chihuahua Temperament & Care:

With an intense devotion to a single person, the saucy, perky Chihuahua has earned its place as one of the most popular dogs in North America. Most of them, but not all, seem to get along better with adults. They can get along quite well with other dogs, but some people think the dogs prefer their own breed. They will tolerate other pets. It is very reserved with strangers. Some try to be protective, but are not very successful. Some can be bold, while others are timid. They can be temperamental. Some may bark.
The Long Coat variety is well protected from the cold and enjoys a good walk. The Smooth Coat variety however, enjoys a good walk with its owner too, but doesn't like the cold. Grooming the long hair Chihuahua requires periodic brushing, the other coat is minimal care. Adult Chihuahuas, and especially Chihuahua puppies have tiny fragile bones, so playing with rambunctious children, unsupervised, is unwise. Wanting this breed? Please consider a Chihuahua rescue adoption. There are many adorable little dogs who, through no fault of their own, have lost their homes. Take a moment or two, to check the menu!

Finding Other Breeders:

Want information on this small dog breed, the Chihuahua dog, and breeders who have Long hair, or Short hair Chihuahua puppies for sale? See the Chihuahua breeders. If there are no nearby Chihuahua breeders, see the Canadian Chihuahua breed club, Chihuahua rescue. Try also the US Chihuahua breed club, or the US Chihuahua rescue.

Chihuahua Health Issues:

Major concerns:   There are no major issues with this breed.
Minor concerns:   Pulmonic Stenosis, (It is a congenital heart disease of certain breeds, including the Chihuahua.); Hydrocephalus, (Due to some disease process that blocks normal drainage of the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), the brain swells causing various problems. It is seen most often in brachycephalic dogs, (dogs with a shortened head) and toy breeds.); Patellar Luxation, (the knee joint slips out.); KCS, ( keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye.); Hypoglycemia, (It is a condition that occurs when the level of glucose in the blood, is abnormally low.)
Occasionally seen:  None.

Suggested Tests:

Cardiac and knee.