The Chihuahua is the world's smallest dog breed, having an apple-shaped head and a small, pointed muzzle. It belongs to the toy breed group. This breed was first observed in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico in 1850. Therefore it is considered as a Mexican breed. In 1890, it appeared in the American dog shows for the first time. It was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.
The Chihuahua is a small, graceful, bold, lively, and swift-moving dog. A dance-like trot, tenacity, courage, and unusual intelligence are some peculiar features of this breed. There are two varieties of this breed, the smooth coat or short-haired and long-coat or long-haired Chihuahua. Both varieties are genetically identical.
A long-haired Chihuahua is similar to the smooth-coated breed; the only difference is that its body is covered with a long, feathery fur. It has a long overcoat and a smooth undercoat. Its body is covered with a significant amount of long and feathery hair in areas including the ears, mane, front legs, and tail. It has long hair with a variety of coat colors such as white, black, fawn, chocolate, brindle, silver, merle, and blue-gray. It also comes in a combination of tri-colors such as black, blue, and chocolate with tan and white markings. It needs daily grooming and brushing in order to remove dirt and knots from its coat. This also helps prevent matting and spreads natural oils through the skin and fur to keep it healthy. You should bathe the pup regularly, usually once a month.
This dog is tiny and delicate, but bold and alert. It is a graceful, swift-moving dog with a cute expression. It has a well-rounded, apple-like head, with or without a molera/soft spot on the top of the skull. Its eyes are large, round, and very dark. Large, erect ears can be considered as a trademark of this breed. Its body is long and stout. Its tail is sickle-shaped and curved to the side or over the back. This breed is lightweight and weighs about 2-6 lbs. Its height is about 6-9 inches. Its limbs are symmetrical and straight. It has small, dainty feet.
The Chihuahua is the most adaptable breed. It is loving, gentle, and sweet-tempered by nature. It is bold and courageous. It is a lively watchdog as well as an excellent companion. It is highly attached to the owner and likes to snuggle. It is suspicious about strangers. It should be house-trained at an early age. However, this breed is quite intelligent and learns quickly. It responds well to gentle training. It may be noisy sometimes and you must have enough patience to housebreak it. It requires a warm environment and should be protected from the cold. It likes to sunbathe for hours. This breed is not suitable for houses with small children due to its very small size, general temperament, and tendency to bite when frightened.
The Chihuahua has a strong immune system and it is mostly disease-free. Its average lifespan is about 12-15 years. This breed is prone to some genetic abnormalities such as seizure disorders or epilepsy. Because of its short nose, it tends to snore and wheeze. Its eyes are vulnerable to secondary glaucoma and corneal dryness. It is also susceptible to gum problems, stress, cold, rheumatism, and slipped stifle.
The smooth-coat or short-haired Chihuahua requires an occasional gentle brushing. Otherwise, it can be wiped over with a slightly wet cloth. However, the long-haired Chihuahua needs frequent grooming. You should brush it daily using a soft-bristled brush. Bathe both types once a month. Regularly check their ears and keep the nails trimmed. This breed sheds average fur on a daily basis.
The main exercise of a Chihuahua is indoors with toys or play sessions. However, it benefits from daily walks and likes to go accompany its owners. Use of a harness instead of a leash is highly recommended in order to protect its delicate neck and bone structure.