When it comes to the Chihuahua, do not let their pint-size fool you. These feisty canines are sure of themselves and wake for excellent watchdogs.
Although these canines are not typically sociable with strangers, they are extremely affectionate and loving to the people in their lives that they care about. However, there are Chihuahuas who defy their breed’s stereotype by acting as complete social butterflies!
The Chihuahua is proof that a dog’s size doesn’t mean they can’t be full of personality—because these dogs will light up any room they walk into.
When a Chihuahua wants something, you’ll be the first to know, with their expressive face, including large, round eyes and erect ears they’ll pull out all the stops to come across like the cutest dog you’ve ever seen to get it.
And if there’s ever been a dog more known for having a Napoleon complex, it’s the Chihuahua!
If you’re welcoming a Chihuahua into your life, there are some important things to consider and must-haves you’ll want to have on hand to ensure your little firecracker pup is as happy as can be.
A Basic Overview of the Chihuahua Dog Breed
It should come as no surprise that this breed group is a member of the toy dog group.
Hailing from the Toltecs, dating back to the 9th century who existed in what is now Mexico, possessed a breed of dog called the Techichi. This breed, regarded as indigenous to Central America, is the ancestor of the Chihuahua that exists today.
Named after the largest state in Mexico, the first Chihuahua was registered in the United States by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908.
The Chihuahua is a dog of Spanish descent and is not suited for cold weather. This breed prefers heat and abundant sunshine, so it should come as no surprise that this dog breed craves warmth.
While the idea of putting clothing on some dogs seems silly, Chihuahuas become cold quite easily due to their thin coat and low body fat. Should you be welcoming a Chihuahua into your life, you’ll definitely want to invest in some dog sweaters/shirts to keep them warm—especially during those chilly months.
Despite Chihuahuas being good family members, they can be a little feisty.
The Temperament of the Chihuahua
While the Chihuahua is known for being alert and energetic, due to their size, they will do best in a home with others who can respect their fragile size.
Larger dogs who don’t have good manners or rambunctious children can cause these tough but sensitive pups to feel easily threatened.
The Chihuahua is a clever dog breed that can learn tricks easily and greatly enjoys play. These dogs are lightning-fast fetchers, and enjoy being active—especially outdoors! Chihuahuas thrive by engaging in play for mental stimulation, so you’ll definitely want to invest in lots of toys and balls for them to entertain themselves with.
Just be wary of toys with stuffing due to choking concerns, because this breed is known to shred toys in search of squeakers! Despite being the smallest dog breed, these dogs are known for having a high prey drive. So, perhaps spoil them with toys shaped like squirrels or birds!
A Chihuahua’s temperament is one that allows them to be dogs that travel well and are happiest when they are with their humans. Often referred to as “purse dogs” by many, you’ll want to invest in a dog travel case for them so they can feel nice and cozy whenever you hit the road together, making this toy breed the ultimate lapdog.
Due to their size and needs, these tiny dogs will do just fine regardless of their living situation in terms of home and yard size. If you are living in an apartment, you’ll want to be mindful of this dog’s alertness and desire to bark at sudden and unexpected noises.
General Health & Common Health Problems
These petite dogs can range in weight, but a true Chihuahua should not exceed 6 lbs at maturity. Generally, as the Chihuahua is a small dog, they have a longer lifespan compared to larger breed dogs.
It is essential to find trusted chihuahua breeders as they can also provide you a health clearance for patella and heart conditions.
The breed comes in two distinct head shapes: the apple head or deer head.
A lot of Chihuahuas have soft spots on their heads (Molera) which is similar to the soft spot that human babies are born with. But with Chihuahuas, these little cuties can retain that soft spot their entire lives. So, practice precaution when it comes to that cute little head of theirs—regardless of its signature shape.
This dog breed is one of the healthiest that there is. Due to their small size, they can live up to 20 years with proper diet and preventive care.
A robust dog breed, Chihuahuas have minimal health issues but can suffer easily from separation anxiety if left home alone too long on a routine basis. Many owners of Chihuahuas rely on quality CBD to help their dogs to feel calm and improve their quality of life.
Common Health Conditions related to the Chihuahua:
- hypoglycemia (blood sugar)
- patellar luxation (loose kneecaps)
- Heart disease
The Chihuahua can come in a wide variety of shades, from solids to two-toned shades with distinct markings, called Merle markings.
There are two varieties of Chihuahua – the Smooth Coat (smooth-haired) and the Long Coat (long-haired).
Long-haired Chihuahuas should be brushed once a week to avoid tangles or matted fur, but generally, regardless of your Chihuahua’s coat length, minimal care is required to keep them looking nice.
You’ll want to invest in a bristle dog brush and some gentle shampoo for bathing and general grooming care, and no more than a monthly bath is needed to keep them looking sharp. The Chihuahua does require routine nail trimmings, and this can be handled at home —just start a routine from the puppy stage to get them accustomed to their regularly needed pedicures.
For Chihuahuas in lighter shades, you may also need to regularly clear their eye area to avoid tear stains.
Like many smaller breeds, dental care is by far the most important grooming need. The small size of their jaws makes their teeth weaker, so you will need to support your Chihuahua with daily dental care. Daily brushing, dental chews, and the right dog food will help.
Exercise Needs and Training
Many people underestimate the exercise needs of smaller dogs. The Chihuahua has a moderate to high energy level and may develop behavioral problems if not given enough exercise or mental stimulation.
A simple walk can provide more than just exercise. It provides mental stimulation and satisfies the migration instinct all dogs have.
The Chihuahua is a hardy dog breed, but due to their fragility, you’ll want to be sure to use a proper dog harness and not overwork them with long walks or runs.
It’s best to invest in a standard leash from this breed. On walks, you could suddenly encounter a large/aggressive/loose dog, and you’ll want to be able to scoop up your Chi quickly. And you’ll learn fast that while you might be frightened, your Chihuahua certainly won’t be!
The sassy attitude of the Chihuahua demands proper socialization and in-depth obedience training while young. Without adequate socialization as a puppy, the breed can become fearful and defensive around new people and dogs.
This small breed is highly intelligent and takes well to positive reinforcement in the form of dog treats and praise during training.
What’s the Best Bed for Your Chihuahua?
Like we mentioned above, Chihuahuas love to be warm and cozy. These dogs naturally curl up when they’re sleeping, and they are crazy about blankets, too. Invest in a bed for them which naturally hugs their tiny frame and is cushiony soft.
The Chihuahua dog breed is prone to anxiety, so it’s important to give them a bed that can help them to feel at ease whenever you’re away.
And a bed that naturally holds heat is a perfect choice for them to stay warm all year long.