The Chihuahua is one of the smallest and most popular dog breeds out there. Perfect for fitting in your handbag and with low care needs, this little dog is a great pet for those with limited space or for first time dog owners.
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dogs in the world and stand between 6 to 9 inches tall and weigh between 3 to 6 lbs. Male Chihuahua’s are usually slightly bigger than females.
Despite their tiny body, these dogs have a big head that resembles an apple and big round eyes. They also have large erect ears that sit on top of their head. The Chihuahuas eyes are normally brown, but they can also be green or hazel.
The bold and confident Chihuahua is often described as being terrier-like. His alert nature and suspicion of strangers make him an excellent watchdog. He’s sensitive and thrives on affection and companionship.
Chihuahuas often bond to a single person, although they’re usually willing to make friends with new people if properly introduced. Expect them to be a little reserved at first, though. Chihuahuas can be timid if they’re not properly socialized as puppies.
Like every dog, Chihuahuas need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Chihuahua puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Like other small dogs, chihuahuas are more prone to specific health problems related to their size. Chihuahuas will need more dental care than other dogs. Daily brushing, dental chews, and the right dog food will help. Chihuahuas are also predisposed to tracheal collapse. Invest in a good harness that will safely fit your Chihuahua and take the pressure off the neck area.
Chihuahuas are also predisposed to other health conditions, including hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), eye infection, luxating patella (when the kneecap tends to move out of its normal position), and (more rarely) hydrocephalus and heart conditions. Many pet parents opt for pet health insurance, just in case.
Despite the Chihuahua’s small size, like all dogs he needs exercise and training. The amount of energy an adult Chihuahua has can be surprising. He’ll endlessly chase squirrels in the backyard and is willing to play as long as you are. Chihuahuas enjoy walks, supervised romps around the yard, and retrieving toys. They’ll go until they drop, so it’s important to make sure they don’t tire themselves out, especially on hot days.
As much as Chihuahua puppies enjoy playing outdoors, Chihuahuas should never live outside. They aren’t safe from raptors such as hawks, coyotes, or other larger dogs that could go into your yard. They are bred as companions, and the best place for a companion is with you.
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1/2 cups of high-quality dry food a day
NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
Chihuahua puppies can have one of two coats — a long coat or a short coat. The short coat is the original coat of the breed and the longer coat was introduced later on, possibly after the Chihuahua crossbred with other small long haired dogs.
Short coated Chihuahuas have a smooth and shiny coat that is easy to maintain, while long coated Chihuahuas have wavy to straight hair that can be a little more difficult to maintain. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Chihuahua coat is a single coat which means this dog can feel the cold. They will often shiver, so this is something to think about if you live in a cold climate!
Besides coming in two coat types, Chihuahua puppies are found in a range of colors and markings. They can be solid colors such as black, white, fawn, chocolate, gray, and silver as well as tricolor (chocolate, black, or blue with tan and white, for instance), brindle, spotted, merle and a variety of other markings. Shades can be very pale to very dark for all the colors.
The Chihuahua is a wash-and-go dog. Grooming him takes only a few minutes each week. Brush him weekly with a rubber grooming mitt or a brush with short, natural bristles for a shorthaired Chihuahua and a pin brush for a longhaired Chihuahua. A fine-toothed flea comb helps remove loose or dead hair.
Chihuahua puppies love children, but the combination of a tiny dog and a young child can be a recipe for disaster. A Chihuahua may leap from a child’s hands and injure himself if he’s not being held correctly, and he won’t hesitate to defend himself if he’s being mistreated. Chihuahuas do best in families with quiet, older children who understand how to interact with them.
Chihuahua puppies get along well with other pets in the family, including cats, if introduced at a young age. The fearless Chihuahua will often boss around dogs much bigger than he is, and this may or may not cause problems. It’s not unusual for the smallest dog to be the one in charge.