The Chihuahua

¡Yo quiero un Chihuahua! (I want a Chihuahua!)

Perhaps best known for his stint as the Taco Bell® front man, the Chihuahua has a long history. The Chihuahua is named for the state in Mexico from which he originated, but he likely descended from the Techichi, a companion prized by the ancient Toltec civilization (which predated the Aztecs). And while no Techichi remains from prior to the 9th century have yet been found, many historians think that the Chihuahua’s single ancestor descended from pariah dogs that roamed around during Mayan times dating back to 2000 B.C.!

At one time, the Chihuahua was a bit bigger than the modern version we know and love today. However, some think that interbreeding with the Chinese Crested has made it smaller. And small the Chihuahua is: as one of the most popular breeds in America, the Chihuahua is the smallest existing dog breed.

Sizing up (or down)
The Chihuahua is tiny! Here are some common physical characteristics of the Chihuahua:

  • Height: 6-10 inches
  • Weight: less than 6-8 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-18 years
  • Coat: either smooth and short or long-haired
  • Color: white, tan, black, and other colors

What are they like?
You may see them peering out of purses, especially designer purses of the likes of Paris Hilton. But don’t be fooled: the Chihuahua is hardly a lapdog!

The Chihuahua is tenacious, like a terrier or a Miniature Dachshund, and though his bark is bigger than his bite, he rarely backs down from anything. Alert and full of attitude, Chihuahuas aren’t shy about what they want. That doesn’t mean he’s not fun to be around, however – the Chihuahua is an extremely devoted little pooch, often bonding with one particular person in a family above all others.

Besides being one of the cutest dog breeds, the Chihuahua is a smart dog that can be trained with some work. The breed does very well in apartments, is highly portable, and does well with older children.

Although generally healthy, Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of genetic health problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
  • Eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Dental problems
  • Tracheal collapse (collapsed windpipe)
  • Luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap)
  • Mitral Valve Disease

Right for you?
The Chihuahua can be a charge of energy for the right person or family, but there are always things to consider when thinking about welcoming a new dog into your home:

  • Chihuahuas are tireless yappers. If you have a low tolerance for a lot of high-pitched noise, you might want to look into a mellower breed of dog.
  • The Chihuahua is prone to snapping, nipping, and sometimes biting. This mostly happens when the dog is frightened or threatened, and this behavior can be addressed through early training.
  • Company can mean problems. Chihuahuas aren’t always very friendly with strangers, regardless of species. They can be territorial, so it takes some patience to get them comfortable around others.
  • Oops! The Chihuahua can be more difficult to housetrain than other breeds. You’ll need to be patient and provide a lot of positive reinforcement.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Leanne Graham, Animal Photography

Anita Peeples, Animal Photography

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Height: Not more than 5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: Not more than six pounds
  • Life Span: 12 to 20 years

This sassy little dog has a super-size personality. He knows what he wants and goes after it with single-minded determination. For his size, he’s an excellent watchdog, but he can be yappy if he’s not taught to moderate his barking.

The Chihuahua - pets

Sassy yet charming, Chihuahuas are tiny little dogs packed with tons of personality. They’re considered to be one of the most popular Mexican dog breeds—and there are many reasons for it! With that perky little walk and graceful aura, Chihuahuas are emotive and regal, seeking to always be at the center of your attention. Once […]

Sassy yet charming, Chihuahuas are tiny little dogs packed with tons of personality. They’re considered to be one of the most popular Mexican dog breeds—and there are many reasons for it! With that perky little walk and graceful aura, Chihuahuas are emotive and regal, seeking to always be at the center of your attention. Once they gaze at you with those beautiful, twinkling eyes, it’s all over for you!

If you own a Chihuahua or are interested in the breed, you may be surprised to find out how much there is to know about these little cuties. We mean it—these pooches may be little but there are many interesting things about them. Let’s take a look at 10 things you should know about the Chihuahua.

1. Their name comes from a state in Mexico.

The Chihuahua breed gets their name from Mexico’s largest state, Chihuahua, where they were first spotted in the 1800s. Despite this, however, their origins still remain shrouded in mystery.

These little dogs didn’t have an official name back then so most individuals would name them after places they’d been seen in. Eventually, this breed became universally known as the Chihuahua.

2. They’re likely descendants of the Techichi.

Chihuahuas are thought to be descended from an ancient dog breed called the Techichi. These wild dogs were captured and domesticated during the Toltec civilization in Mexico.

Toltecs kept these dogs as pets or used them for their ceremonial practices as far back as the 9th century AD. The Techichi was far larger and quieter than the average Chihuahua but still shared the same physical characteristics.

3. They’re very brave, despite their small size.

There’s no doubt that Chihuahuas are cute and cuddly…but don’t let that sweet face fool you. Chihuahuas make up for their small size with a fierce and bold personality that sometimes borders on aggressive. This helps them stand out as alert and brave dogs—nothing ever seems to scare them!

They tend to show their aggressive side towards strangers and other dog breeds. To prevent this, owners are highly encouraged to train and socialize their Chihuahuas as early as possible.

4. They’re incredibly smart and trainable.

Chihuahuas are one of the smartest dogs in the world. Their high intelligence is partly due to their sassy personalities they quickly catch on to anything. This also makes them easy to train as long as positive reinforcement training is used. Chihuahuas are super loyal to their families so they will do anything to please.

Just make sure that your training is effective in getting your Chihuahua to follow your rules. As clever little canines, Chihuahuas know that they’re cute, and may try to get their way however they can. If you aren’t careful, your Chihuahua may end up ruling over you! Be firm and consistent, and your little dog will follow suit.

5. They have a soft spot on their heads.

Never poke a Chihuahua on the head. Why? Chihuahuas are like human babies. They are born with a soft spot on their heads called a molera. While this spot eventually closes in human babies, many Chihuahuas have it their entire lives. If your Chihuahua has a molera, don’t worry too much about it. You will just need to handle your puppy with more care and caution.

6. They like being with their own breed.

When socialized properly, Chihuahuas are delightful dogs that get along well with other dogs and even cats. These pooches, however, are clannish, which means they would rather spend time and socialize with members of their own breed. If you ever want to get your Chihuahua a furry companion, another Chihuahua is the way to go!

7. They have a long lifespan.

You don’t have to worry about losing your furry friend any time soon—Chihuahuas stick around for a long, long time. These fur-babies have one of the longest lifespans among canines, with some living up to 20 years! As long as you feed your Chihuahua a healthy diet, give them exercise, regular vet visits, and love, you will have a longtime furry companion by your side.

8. There are two kinds of Chihuahuas.

Although Chihuahuas look alike, there are some that look a little different from the pack. That’s because there are two types of Chihuahuas: long-coated and short-coated.

Long-coated Chihuahuas have long, wavy, and silky fur that needs to be brushed regularly to avoid matting. Short-coated Chihuahuas have a fine, rough coat with an inner layer that does not require extensive grooming. Both varieties come with various different coat colors and combinations.

9. They’re an extremely popular dog breed.

Chihuahuas are considered one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. You may remember the famous Taco Bell commercials that aired in the late 90’s, in which an adorable Chihuahua says “I want Taco Bell!”.

Gidget, the Chihuahua who starred in these ads, is credited for helping revive interest in the breed. In the early 2000’s, these furry cuties were often shown off as the favorite pets of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff, and Madonna.

10. They’re the smallest dog breed in the world.

Growing up to 5 to 8 inches tall and weighing 6 pounds, Chihuahuas take the spot for being the tiniest dog breed in existence. They’re also relatively thin, making it easy to be carried in small purses, bags, and dog strollers. But while Chihuahuas are often considered lazy for their small size, they’re actually very energetic and perky.

With the right owners, Chihuahuas can be endearing and friendly lifelong companions. It’s important for fur-parents interested in this breed to learn all about their needs. These little pooches are adorable, but they can be highly demanding. Owners must be willing to handle these dogs so that they can live fulfilling lives while under their care. Once you decide that a Chihuahua is your furry soulmate, we guarantee you will have a fur-ever friend.

If you would like to learn whether your puppy is healthy, check out our 6 Signs Your Puppy is Healthy for our tips!

Your Chihuahua's Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Chihuahua. By knowing about health concerns specific to Chihuahuas, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in Chihuahuas to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

This guide contains general health information important to all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Chihuahuas. This information helps you and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs. At the end of the booklet, we have also included a description of what you can do at home to keep your Chi looking and feeling her best. You will know what to watch for, and we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.

We know it can be easy to see a great little (or big) dog in a movie or at the park and immediately want to add one to your family. But, remember, every breed has it’s pros and cons. Chihuahuas are the second-most-euthanized dog in shelters in the United States due to their abundant population, and unfortunately, less abundant homes. We hope that you are able to add a Chihuahua to your family, but before you do, here are seven things that we think you should know about Chihuahuas:

It’s a rare Chihuahua that ends up independent. Most of these little guys will follow you from place to place and insist on lying in your lap. If you take them off of your lap they will persistently get back on. They are ridiculous cuddle bugs!

Watch the video: Attack of the Chihuahua (July 2021).