The Chihuahua is small, handy, and just adorable. Nevertheless, he is not an undemanding lap dog. But on the contrary!
Many still remember celebrity Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua “Tinkerbell”: the dwarf dog was constantly carried around in her arms or in her handbag and held photogenic in the paparazzi’s camera.
But also films like “Legally Blonde” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” made the smallest dogs in the world-famous. Ever since then, the dog, also called “Chi” for short by its fans, has been one of the most popular breeds in the world.
The following applies to the mini-Mexican: small, but powerful! Because the smallest dog in the world is also probably the most underestimated. His ego is bigger than that of many a St. Bernard, which, by the way, is often reflected in their pronounced protective instinct. If Chihuahuas suspect a threat, they will take on even the largest dogs in the world.
If you want to get a puppy of this breed, you should plan for at least the next 15 years, because the little rascals are among the dogs with the longest life expectancy.
How big is a chihuahua?
The Chihuahua is considered to be the smallest breed of dog in the world. However, the breed standard does not specify a size. However, most mini dogs grow between 15 and 35 cm.
How heavy is a chihuahua?
The Chihuahua is not only the smallest but also the lightest breed of dog in the world. The dogs weigh only 1 kg to 3 kg, with the ideal weight according to the breed standard being between 1.5 and 2.5 kg. Females tend to be on the lower end of the scale, males on the higher end.
At times, smaller and smaller animals of the breed were bred, so-called “teacup Chihuahuas”. However, this falls under torture breeding, because these extremely small dogs are very susceptible to diseases. Therefore, in most clubs, Chihuahuas under 1 kg are not allowed to breed. Only dubious breeders still aim for the smallest possible size as a breeding goal.
What does a Chihuahua look like?
The Chihuahua is a compact dog, so it is rather square in format. Bitches can be slightly longer than they are tall. The tail carries a chi in an arc or semi-circle across the back.
A special feature of the breed is its apple-shaped head with a muzzle that tapers towards the nose. The dark eyes are disproportionately large, round, and very expressive. The little dog also has big prick ears that act like little radar dishes.
Strictly speaking, there are two variants of the Chihuahua:
- short haired
On the short-haired variety, the coat is short and dense, lying supple and glossy against the body.
The Long Haired Chihuahua has a longer coat that can be either straight or slightly wavy. The ears are also equipped with fringes. The dense neck collar and the tail, which are also covered with longer fur, catch the eye.
All shades and combinations of coat colors are allowed. Only the coat check “Merle” is no longer allowed since 2010.
How old does a Chihuahua get?
Small dogs usually get older than larger and heavier dog breeds such as the Rottweiler, St. Bernard, or even the Great Dane. So it’s no wonder that little Chi is one of the longest-lived dog breeds when cared for properly. This very special Dog is between 15 and 18 years old, and with proper care and training, it is not uncommon for even over 20.
However, this does not apply to the so-called Teacup breeds. They often suffer from hydrocephalus, eye diseases, and pneumonia. Therefore, their life expectancy of five to seven years is also significantly lower.
Tip: If you are interested in a puppy, make sure that it is reputable breeding. A breeder who is working towards a smaller and smaller size is dishonest and should be avoided at all costs.
What character does the Chihuahua have?
As small as a Chihuahua is, as big is its self-confidence. The little Mexican likes to be the center of attention and sometimes vents his displeasure at non-observance with outraged barkers.
The little guy is not always aware of his size, especially when it comes to the fact that his counterpart is maybe four times his size. His character ensures that he often overestimates himself. At the same time, the Chihuahua is also one of the real permanent cuddlers. The dwarf never gets enough love.
However, as a keeper, you should not underestimate the dwarf. Because the little Chis are not only intelligent but also spirited and very persistent. Even if they have become known as celebrity “handbag puppies”, they can definitely keep up in many dog sports.
Where does the Chihuahua come from?
There are several theories about the origin of the Chihuahua. It is certain that the breed comes from Mexico. It takes its name from the province of the same name in the north of the country. There are still many small dogs there that live wild and look very similar to pedigree dogs.
According to one legend, Chihuahuas were so-called sacrificial dogs in ancient Mexico. They should accompany the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Unfortunately, this meant that many dogs lost their lives as they were buried with the dead.
Another tradition says that the Chihuahuas were already kept by the Toltecs. That would make the breed over 1,000 years old. Another theory is that the dogs were brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 15th century.
However, none of the possibilities have been proven or disproved so far. It is only from the middle of the 19th century that there is evidence of the breed’s most recent development. Tourists from the USA were so taken by the small, big-eyed dogs that Mexican farmers bred and sold them. The Chihuahuas then spread to Europe via America.
Chihuahua: keeping and training
The Chihuahua is not a dog with a huge need for space. It is therefore also suitable for keeping in smaller apartments. Nevertheless, you should make sure that your little dog has enough exercise and exercise. Life as a pure lap or handbag dog does not do justice to the dwarf.
Living with the Chihuahua becomes easier the earlier you start consistent training. Ideally, the breeder starts with the puppies. This will also keep the barking and stubbornness of the little Mexicans in check.
What care does the Chihuahua need?
The short-haired variant of the Chihuahua hardly needs grooming. However, you should check your ears and eyes regularly to identify possible diseases in good time. It is best to integrate this into the daily cuddle sessions with your dog.
You should brush the long-haired variant regularly so that the fur does not become matted. Regular grooming in the summer also includes checking your Chihuahua for possible ticks.
Typical diseases in Chihuahuas
The life expectancy of a Chihuahua is one of the longest of any dog, as the dogs are considered to be quite hardy.
However, there are some diseases that this breed is more prone to than others. An example of this is the patella luxation. The kneecap dislocates inwards. This is particularly common in puppies and young dogs in the first year of life. The dog completely relieves one hind leg for one or more steps.
If you notice this, your first step should be to the vet. An untreated patellar dislocation can damage the cartilage in the knee. In the long term, this results in arthrosis and can also lead to cruciate ligament tears.
Misaligned teeth and mitral valve insufficiency are also becoming more common. In the latter case, the heart valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle becomes leaky. This can be indicated by shortness of breath, poor performance, or a persistent cough. Here, too, the motto is: Off to the vet!
How much does a Chihuahua cost?
Reputable breeders or breed clubs charge between 1,000 and 1,900 euros for a puppy of this dog breed. A Chihuahua from an animal shelter costs between 300 and 400 euros protection fee.