The Chihuahua (called Chihuahueño in Mexico) is the smallest breed of dog. These are valued because of its devotion, big eyes and personality. They are adaptable to many environments, including the city and small apartments, thanks to their intelligence, size and alert status. They usually live 18 years or longer. Its temperament makes them excellent companion dogs.
It is a very ancient breed and has a valuable history. This breed is said to be from Mexico. The most common and most likely theory is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. The oldest records of the Techichi are available from the IX century; it is probable that earlier ancestors were present prior to the Mayans. Dogs approximating the Chihuahua are found in materials from the Great Pyramid of Cholula, predating 1530 and in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatán Peninsula.
The actual Chihuahua is much smaller than its ancestor. There is a theory which considers that a Chinese Crested Dog’s ancestor, taken from Asia to America across the Bering Strait, was responsible of the size reduction. Another theory of this breed origin proposes that it is the result of multiple crossbreeds of other breeds that lived in the ancient Mexico. However, none of these theories have been completely accepted.
Genetic investigations have shown that the current Chihuahuas are the result of the crossbreed of European dogs, but also have discovered that one of the DNA’s haplotypes in the current Chihuahuas is exclusive of its breed and was found in pre-Columbian dogs in Mexico too. Therefore, it is possible they are the result of the crossbreed of the ancient Techichi with Miniature European dogs.
Height bitch: 15~20 cm / Height male: 15~23 cm
Weight bitch: 1.5~3 kg / Weight male: 1.5~3 kg
The Chihuahua is a small dog and with fast movements. Its body is compact, with slim, muscular thighs and a round face. It has big ears, which are separated and must be erected. The tail is long and it is curved by the spine. There are two varieties of the Chihuahua, the ones who have long and wavy coat and the others who have short and glossy. The Standard of this breed allows all colors and combinations, except the marbled color.
The breeding standards for this dog do not specify a height, just a weight and a description of its general proportions. As a result, the height varies more than in any other breed. In general, the height rate is from 15 to 25 cm to the withers rate. Anyway, some dogs reach the 30 to 38 cm. The AKC exhibition dogs must not weigh more than 2,7kg (6 pounds); FCI standards indicate that dogs must weigh from 1.5 to 3 kg (3.3 to 6.6 pounds), although smaller dogs are accepted in the show. Nevertheless, pet Chihuahuas (the ones which are brought up or bought as companion dogs more than for exhibition) can, and do, weigh more, from 4.5 kg and over if they have a strong bone structure which allows them to have overweigh. This does not mean that they are not pure breed Chihuahuas; it means that they are not qualified to be shown in exhibitions. Bigger Chihuahuas are seen as the best and worst in blood lines. Commonly, this breed has a double denture, and that proves they are pure breed dogs.
Chihuahuas may be in many colors, from solid black to solid white, spotted, or in a great variety of colors like coffee, chocolate, blue (grey), platinum, tricolored (chocolate, blue, or black and White with chestnut and white markings), lined, etc. Each one of these colors varies in tones and intensities. With Chihuahuas, there are many different shades of fawn, from very dark fawns to an almost white fawn (called a cream fawn). Some of them are of a very small size, and could fit in a medium sized bag.
Chihuahuas are valued for its devotion, big eyes and personality. Its intelligence and size makes them suitable for many different life styles, including the city and small apartments. They usually live 18 years and over. Although they are frequently considered to be weak and fragile, with the right training and socialization, Chihuahuas may be an excellent companion dog.
The long haired type will demand more attention than the one with short hair. Despite its small size, it would be ideal to have a garden where the Chihuahua can enjoy running and playing. Anyway, it adapts really easily to an indoor’s life.
It is also important to keep in mind that if it is indulged it may become fragile, spoiled and excessively nervous.
Due to it small size, current Chihuahuas, require vet attention during the birth and on its denture. They may endure genetic illnesses as epilepsy and are prone to painful conditions such as elbow’s luxation.
As others miniature breeds, it is common for them to suffer Hydranencephaly, and the vet’s prognosis is not very encouraging.
Chihuahuas can also endure what it is called Molera, or Fontanel, which is a soft spot on their skull. The open molera or fontanel is not a defect, more like a Chihuahua trait or characteristic. They can die if they get hit in the molera, so precautions should be taken until the skull is completely developed. Years ago some breeders and owners did not know this breed deeply, and so they confused the Molera with Hydranencephaly.
The Chihuahua’s eyes are so protruding and they are so low to the ground that foreign objects can easily injure their eyes. Marbled colored Chihuahuas, or descendent from progenitors with that kind of coloring, tend to have several Health problems. The marked type is another one which suffers a lot of possible and serious eye infections and blindness, deafness, hemophilia, infertility and other medical conditions.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/218g09-en.pdf