Dogs not getting along is an all-too-familiar scenario. In fact, it is natural for them to be cautious with the presence of other dogs, most … [Read More...]
The Chihuahua is the most famous “handbag accessory” toted around by high-profile celebrities such as Paris Hilton due to its small size, being a toy dog. Chihuahuas weigh 4 to 6 pounds and stand 15 to 23 centimetres. Its coat is easy to maintain because of minimal shedding. But despite its size, the Chihuahuas are feisty breeds prone to snapping, nipping and biting when defending their territory. On the other hand, they are loyal and comical dogs, with unmatched entertaining personality.
Are you thinking of gettinga Chihuahua? Here is a brief background of the world’s smallest dog breed.
There are various theories regarding the history of Chihuahuas. One of the most popular is that the breed descended from the ancient Techichi dogs that lived during the Toltec civilization. The second theory is that it descended from hairless dogs found in China.
The modern Chihuahuas we know today came from the small dogs in the 1850 from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.They were sold by Mexican merchants and brought to the USA. They were also called Texas dog, Arizona dog and Mexico dog.
Chihuahuas are small and dainty dogs that weigh 4 to 6 pounds and stand 15 to 23 centimetres. Pet Chihuahuas can be oversize with some reaching up to 10 to 12 pounds, which can be a better choice for families with children. However, for show purposes, the smaller kind is preferred. They are known for their large, round eyes and large, erect ears and apple dome head.
The Chihuahua comes in two varieties: the long-coat and short-haired. They are basically the same breed with different hair length. The long-hair Chihuahua has a smoother texture and fluffier appearance, while the short-hair kind can range from having a velvety to a bristlytexture. Both require minimal grooming and no trimming, with the long-haired variety shedding less. It can take up to three years before a full long-haired coat grows. All colours and combinations are accepted by the Kennel Club with the exception of merle.
This breed has one of the easiest coat to maintain as it only takes a few minutes per week. Short-haired Chihuahuas can be brushed with a rubber grooming mitt and a pin brush for the long-haired one to remove little clumps. They can be bathed once every 3 to 4 weeks.
Check the eyes for excessive tearing or abnormal eye discharges which may lead to a potential health issue. The eyes should be thoroughly cleaned using a soft and damp cloth or canine eye wipes. As for nail trimming, it should be done every three months. Nails left to grow will cause painful ingrown nails and may affect its gait and skeletal damage. To avoid excessive wax build-up in the ears, make sure ear cleaning is part of the normal grooming routine.
Chihuahuas are known to shiver when they are excited, terrified or cold. On the other hand, these small pooches can have large personalities if you allow them. For instance, they can bully you into giving them a spot on the couch if they know you will budge. Some also become fussy eaters when they know they can get what they want. It is not always warm to strangers, both humans and dogs. They can be unfriendly if not socialised early. They can attack and won’t back down even from large dogs, which can be dangerous considering their tiny stature.
The Chihuahua generally loves children especially if they grow up together. However, supervision is needed especially with very young kids to avoid this tiny breed from getting injured. Conversely, the pooch can fight back when it feels mistreated. This breed is advisable for families with older children who know how to approach and handle dogs.
Chihuahuas are smart and fast learners. They are great in agility and obedience classes. However, they can be stubborn and don’t respond to harsh treatment. Positive reinforcement in the form of praise and rewards can help.
Often small breed toy dogs are stereotyped as “snappy” and bark a lot. However, this is not entirely true. Although dog breeds have certain predispositions, behaviour can be opposite. For instance, the behaviour of a Chihuahua can also be calm and friendly depending on the type of training and socialisation it experienced when young. One huge and significant deciding factor of a Chihuahua’s personality is how it is raised.
A typical serving for an adult Chihuahua is 1/4 to 1/2 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Remember that each breed has unique needs. The amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. Always do your research on the nutritional needs of the breed you are getting.
Typical calorie needs of adult Chihuahuas per day:
As a toy breed, Chihuahuas are easy to overfeed because they are tiny, active and burn calories quickly. Some owners think they should eat more because they are super active, not realising how small their stomach is. This breed thrives on protein, which should make up at least 25% of their diet. The best sources are lean meats such as chicken, fish, venison, and bison. The breed is prone to hypoglycemia so complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats) are beneficial. Avoid simple carbs like soy, corn and wheat at all times.
Much to the delight of owners, the Chihuahua can live as long as 18 years. They don’t generally have serious health problems but like any but can be predisposed to certain medical conditions. Try to look out for Patellar Luxatio, Hypoglycemia, Open Fontanel, Heart Murmurs, Collapsed Trachea, Pulmonic Stenosis, and Hydrocephalus.
Like all dogs, Chihuahuas need exercise to maintain a healthy weight. A 30-minute walk or some agility games are usually enough for this tiny pooch. When leaving them in the yard, look out for gaps as they care naturally curious and may escape to explore.
Pet ownershipis more costly than most people think. It does not end with just buying a puppy breed from a good breeder and then feeding it three times a day. Potential dog owners keen on raising and keeping a dog must be able to include being a responsible dog owner in the monthly budget. In the case of a Chihuahua puppy, you must have about £300 - £500 to buy one. Prepare to pay more though if it comes from a reputable breeder.
In its entire lifetime, a Chihuahua can cost you £21,200 - £25,400. If you divide lifetime cost with 18 years (its maximum lifespan), you will be paying along the lines of £1,177 – £1,411 monthly. However, this estimated annual cost does not include pet insurance coverage or special health checks from a veterinarianespecially if it includes particular treatment of a disease.
Are you sure the Chihuahua is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Still not sure if a Chihuahua fits your lifestyle? Take our Pet Finder for more suggested breeds that suit you.
UKPets quarterly e-magazine
Let's Talk About Pets
Subscribe now to get it for FREE