Group: Toy Group
Weight: Should not exceed 6 lb (2.7 kg).
Varieties: The Chihuahua may be either Smoothcoat (short) or Longcoat.
Lifespan: The Chihuahua’s lifespan is quite long, often 16 years or more.
Christmas Wishes at 8 weeks old
Photo: A Wish for the Perfect Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog in the world. They are in fact the only “natural” Toy breed. That is, they are naturally small and aren’t a result of “breeding-down” larger breeds, as are other Toy breeds.
The Chihuahua may be either Smoothcoat (short) or Longcoat variety. It is believed that the Longcoat version of the Chihuahua was achieved by crossing the Shortcoat with other Toy breeds, such as the Papillon, the Pekingese, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Pomeranian.
In general, the Chihuahua is graceful, energetic, quick-moving, and sometimes described as having “Terrier-like” qualities, such as being alert and observant. He can be bold with other dogs much larger than himself and can also be very protective of his family. He is very loyal and wary of strangers which makes him a good watch dog.
The longcoat is soft and either flat or slightly curly. The ears should be fringed with feathering seen on the feet and legs. He also has a ruff on the neck and a plumed tail.
A Note about Teacup Chihuahuas:
A Chihuahua of the “Teacup”, “Toy”, “Pocket”, or any other name meaning “extra small” variety is not a known breed but rather the name given by some people for the smallest or runt of a litter. These tiny dogs tend to be more fragile and may have additional health issues over and above the larger dogs of a litter. All breeders may occasionally have an unusually small Chihuahua; however, a reputable breeder does not breed specifically for this trait.
Like all breeds, some genetic/hereditary problems are found in the Chihuahua, including: Patellar Luxation, Eye problems, Hypoglycemia, heart disease, and tooth and gum ailments.
Many Chihuahuas, though not all, are also born with a soft spot on the top of the head, known as the Molera. This is the same as that found in human babies. The presence of a molera does not mean the Chihuahua has a medical problem. For additional information, see Molera Statement from the Chihuahua Club of America.
The Chihuahua is also known to shiver or tremble — this is not a health issue but rather a sign of stress or excitement.
If you are considering the adoption of a Chihuahua puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. Recommended testing for Chihuahuas include eyes, heart and patellas. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)
Recommended Health Screening:
For the Chihuahua, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:
- Congenital Cardiac Database
- Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
- Patellar Luxation
Additional Health Resources:
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- OFA – Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
- Chi-Hua-What? — A comprehensive Chihuahua FAQ to help you decide if a Chi might be the right dog for you and your family.
- 10 Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog
- Toy Breeds—Selecting the Perfect Pooch
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.