The spunky, sassy nature of the chihuahua is a perfect example of how great pets can come in small packages. Out of the 177 most popular breeds listed, the Chihuahua ranked 22nd as one of the most preferred breeds to own in 2013.
Physical CharacteristicsChihuahuas can range in any color between solid white, black, brown, sable, tan or variations of these colors, in marked, spotted or splashed fur patterns. However, the typical color of chihuahuas is brown and the rarest is blue. Its coat may be long or short and have a velvety or coarse texture. Chihuahuas are readily recognizable due to their tiny frame and facial features; it has big perky ears, a long narrow face, a cute button nose and large, round, shiny, bulging eyes.
By standard, Chihuahuas are the smallest breed, and their height varies between six and ten inches and can even be as tall as 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm), and the weight of this breed ranges from 2 to 8 lbs. Both British and American breed standards dictate that a Chihuahua should not weigh more than six pounds for conformation.
In addition, the British standard states that a Chihuahua with a weight of only two to four pounds is even more acceptable and that if two dogs are typed as equally good, the dog that is much smaller ( i.e., teacup variety ) is considered ideal and preferred more often.
TemperamentThe temperament of chihuahuas is just as noticeable as its physical features. It can be quite and attentive or lively and boisterous. This may stem from their desire to receive affection and attention from their owner (tends to become jealous of other people) of whom they will become quickly attached to emotionally. Chihuahuas are also very smart, loyal, alert and curious with terrier-like attributes.
Care & GroomingOften called "purse dogs," Chihuahuas need little physical activity and are well-suited for city life. However, owners should be aware that they are more affected by cold weather. Short-coated Chihuahuas require less brushing and bathing (owners can use a grooming glove) while long-haired Chihuahuas require frequent grooming to prevent excessive shedding on furniture by using a high-quality grooming comb that takes only within 5-10 minutes to complete.
Regular brushing will usually remove any and all tangles that could cause stubborn fur knots to form in their coat. The most important thing for owners to remember is to use a soft brush designed specifically for their Chihuahua's delicate skin to prevent pain or discomfort. Brushing can be done right before bathing as well, which should be done with warm water using a dog shampoo on a consistent basis to keep a long-haired dog's fur from getting matted or irritated.
HistoryThe ancestor of the modern day Chihuahua is the Techichi dog, and there are numerous art depictions of this breed being used in ancient religious ceremonies. Chihuahuas were also a breed enjoyed and esteemed by the upper class Aztec and Toltec cultures. The Chihuahua can be traced back to 1,000 years and may even go back to Malayan civilization dating from the 5th century, with some debate over its actual origin being in Mexico.
It is believed that the small stature of the modern Chihuahua resulted from the crossbreeding of the Techichi dog with the small hairless dog brought over the land mass that once connected Asia to Alaska which is now known as the Bering Strait. Dogs that fit the approximate size of the Chihuahua have been found in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula and from materials found in the Pyramids of Cholula, that is recorded prior to 1530.