Chihuahua
Long-haired Chihuahua (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on November 01, 2019
Fact Checked

Chihuahuas are a tiny dog breed with big personalities.

These little canines are popular as companion dogs given their smile size – they don’t weigh more than six pounds.

It’s no surprise that Chihuahuas are among one of the most common dog breeds in the United States and across the world.

Chihuahuas are considered a national symbol of Mexico.

The breed are known for having a lot of attitude, including being sassy, loud, rambunctious and loving.

The American Kennel Club lists the Chihuahua as the 33th most popular breed in the USA (as of 2019).

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Chihuahua breed in detail.

We’ll break this Chihuahua feature into the following sections:

What is a Chihuahua?

A Chihuahua is a tiny dog that is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group. They’re considered one of the oldest breeds of the Americas.

Where do Chihuahuas come from?

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the origin of the Chihuahua breed, particularly how these small dogs ended up in Mexico.

It’s thought that Chihuahua are the smaller descendents of bigger dogs called the Techichi, who were a dog favoured by the Toltec civilization in Mexico.

This is a theory that is alluded to by the American Kennel Club on their website.

When European explorers encountered the Aztecs in the 1500s in Mexico, they encountered lots of little dogs. Wikipedia cites one source that suggests these tiny canines were in abundance in the Chihuahua region of the country.

The AKC claim that these small canines lived in remote villages in the 1800s before Americans started to take an interest in the unique dogs. Again, the Americans found a lot of these dogs in the State of Chihuahua.

The first Chihuahua was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1908. The historic dog was called Beppie.

Moving into the 20th and 21st century, the Chihuahua is no longer a rare breed. They’ve been popularised by film, television and celebrities, including Sex and the City and Legally Blonde.

The Chihuahua hashtag has nearly 24 million entries on Instagram, highlighting their supreme popularity.

Chihuahua breed standard

Let’s take a look at the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for Chihuahuas:

A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.

If you’re planning to show your Chihuahua, you should know about AKC’s disqualifications:

Any dog over 6 pounds in weight. Broken down or cropped ears. Docked tail,
bobtail. In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bare

Chihuahua size

Chihuahuas are world renowned for being a tiny dog breed.

The AKC write that they can grow to a size between five and eight inches. They shouldn’t weigh more than six pounds.

Of course, some Chihuahuas can grown to be slightly bigger than these parameters set out by the AKC for conformation.

Chihuahua appearance

Cream long haired chihuahua walks on embankment in big city (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Cream long haired chihuahua walks on embankment in big city (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The AKC recognise to varieties of Chihuahua: the longhaired (long coat) and the shorthaired (smooth coat). The UK’s Kennel Club doesn’t accept breeding between the two different varieties.

The Chihuahua should have a well-rounded head, often described as an “apple dome”. Their expression is listed as “saucy” in the breed standard, while their eyes should be full round but no protruding. Where the eyes are concerned, the AKC consider blue eyes, different in the color of the iris in the two eyes, or different colors in one irish a serious fault. Their ears should be large and erect.

Their muzzle should be moderately short and slightly pointed, while their tail should be moderately long, carried up or out, or in a loop over the back just touching the back.

Chihuahuas can come in any color, whether it’s solid marked or splashed.

Difference between Long-Haired and Smooth-Haired Chihuahuas

The smooth coat Chihuahuas should be soft and glossy. Their coat can be ruff on the neck area, while the hair should be scanty on heads and ears. Their tails should be fluffy.

The long coat Chihuahuas should have a soft coat that is flat or slightly wave. Their tails should be full and long. They can have feathering on their feet and legs.

Chihuahua temperament

The AKC set out that a Chihuahua’s temperament should be along the lines of:

Alert, projecting the ‘terrier-like’ attitudes of self importance, confidence, selfreliance.

As the Chihuahua breed is small, they may not be suitable in a home with young children or big dogs.

Chihuahuas can become quickly attached and fiercely loyal to their family, sometimes developing a deep attachment to one member in particular.

They’re known for burrowing under the blankets or between pillows to make a den. This is to create a feeling of being protected and safe, which could be traced back to the emotion they had with their mom as puppies. Many Chihuahua owners become accustomed to their little dog napping between their legs.

Are Chihuahuas good pets?

As with any dog breed, Chihuahuas can make great pets with the right owners.

Chihuahuas tend to do well with other Chihuahuas or Chihuahua Mixes. They usually like having a Chihuahua clique. So owning two or three Chihuahuas could make life a little easier.

Given their small size, they make great companion pets. They’re highly portable if you’ve got a pet carrier or crate.

It’s important to socialise a Chihuahua – or any dog – from a young age to get them accustomed to meeting new people, new dogs and different situations.

Why Chihuahuas are so aggressive?

If you do research about Chihuahuas online, you’ve almost certainly encountered this question. These dogs may be small but they’re often stereotyped as being aggressive.

However, Chihuahuas are not naturally aggressive dogs. However, just like any type of pooch, Chihuahuas can shown an aggression towards humans or other dogs if they’re not properly socialised or trained.

But it’s not true to say Chihuahuas are predisposed to be aggressive towards humans.

Do Chihuahuas bark a lot?

Chihuahuas are often branded as yappy dogs. They’ve certainly got a reputation for being canines that bark a lot. There’s no shortage of content on this issue.

These little Mexican dogs have a lot of energy, so they could bark out of boredom or due to a lack of stimulation.

While they won’t make good guard dogs standing at five to eight inches, they’re perfect as watchdogs. Chihuahuas are protective and territorial, so they’ll alert their owners to anyone approaching the home.

Some Chihuahuas could be suffering from separation anxiety. So when you leave the home, they’ll bark incessantly until you return. This chronic canine disorder can be deeply upsetting for both dog and dog owner.

Do Chihuahuas like to cuddle?

As we already mentioned above, Chihuahuas may appear to be fierce and sassy, but they do like to cuddle with their owners.

Lots of Chihuahua owners will attest to their tiny companions burrowing deep under a blanket or duvet to cosy up to their pet parents.

Are Chihuahuas hard to train?

Chihuahuas can be difficult to train. It’s best to start training at a young age to give yourself the best possible chance for success.

While they can be stubborn, the good news is Chihuahuas are eager to please. So they want to learn and they want to make their pet owners happy.

The American Kennel Club suggest “a firm but gentle hand” where training a Chihuahua is concerned.

Chihuahuas seem well aware of how cute they are and learn how to get their way. From the very beginning you must enforce the fact that you are in charge. Never allow your Chihuahua puppy to do anything that will be unacceptable in an adult.

The AKC add that Chihuahuas can excel at obedience training and canine sports.

Are Chihuahuas smart?

Chihuahuas are described as alert and intelligent dogs.

However, in Stanley Coren’s Intelligence of Dogs, the Mexican breed are ranked at a lowly 67th.

But judging by their ability to learn commands, obedience and tricks, these tiny canines are pretty smart.

Do Chihuahuas have separation anxiety?

No dog is born with separation anxiety.

However, some breeds do appear to suffer the affliction more than other dogs. As a companion dog, Chihuahuas are used to human company.

Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder that occurs when a dog is left alone. The symptoms include consistent and persistent barking, howling or whining, destructive chewing or digging, and urinating or defecating inside the home in extreme circumstances.

If your Chihuahua suffers with separation anxiety, check out our interview with dog separation anxiety expert Malena DeMartini.

How often should Chihuahuas be walked?

Chihuahuas make great apartment dogs because they don’t need a lot of space. They can get their daily exercise requirements by following their owners around the home.

However, if you like to go for walks outside, your Chihuahua will usually need short walks to keep in a healthy condition.

The AKC warn that Chihuahuas shouldn’t be overly worked:

Avoid overexerting the Chihuahua. If your dog is panting and working hard to keep up, it’s time to pick him up and carry him home.

Dog-walking company WAG recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day, while suggesting up to six miles a week to keep your little companion happy and stimulated.

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

There are a number of reasons why your Chihuahua could be looking a lot.

If they’re licking you, it could be to show affection and love.

Alternatively, if they’re licking themselves, it could indicate a health concern, such an area of irritation.

If you suspect that your Chihuahua could be suffering from a skin condition, ticks, fleas or an illness in general, you should contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Do Chihuahuas get cold easily?

You’ll often see Chihuahuas decked out in some doggie clothes on social media. Before you decide to write a tirade at the owner for mistreatment, you should know that Chihuahuas can have trouble regulating their body temperature.

Whether you’re taking your Chihuahua for a walk, to go potty or a trip to the shops, you may want to put a doggie jacket or jumper on your dog to keep them warm.

How long do Chihuahuas live?

The American Kennel Club write that Chihuahuas have an average life expectancy ranging from 14 to 16 years.

Some very healthy Chihuahuas have been known to live to 20.

Do Chihuahuas have health problems?

Although these dogs are considered to be a relatively healthy breed, like a lot of pedigree dogs, they can be predisposed to some genetic issues. As an owner, you should educate yourself about these conditions and the symptoms to look out for.

It’s a smart idea to ask your Chihuahua breeder whether your dog and their parents have been screened for genetic health conditions. Usually, you’ll have to pay a little more for a breeder who does screen their dogs, but you’ll also get peace of mind knowing that you’re buying from an ethical and responsible breeder.

Here are some health conditions that can affect Chihuahuas:

• Hydrocephalus – is a condition in which an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) occurs within the brain. This typically causes increased pressure inside the skull.

• Hypoglycemia – occurs when blood sugar dips below normal levels. The symptoms include lethargy, sleepiness and uncoordinated walking.

• Heart problems – some of the heart conditions to be aware of include patent ductus arteriosus, mitral valve disease.

• Lung problems – tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis can occur if a Chihuahua becomes obese.

• Patellar luxation – is when the kneecap slips out of place and is dislocated.

• Idiopathic epilepsy – is a group of epileptic disorders that are believed to have a strong underlying genetic basis.

We’re not vets here at helloBARK! so if you should speak to your local vet about any concerns you may have.

Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?

A hypoallergenic dog is one that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other dog breeds.

The AKC write that on their website that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. However, some dogs are more hypoallergenic.

Chihuahuas aren’t considered a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Do Chihuahuas shed?

As we mentioned above, there are two types of Chihuahuas. They’ve got different grooming needs.

The smooth-coat Chihuahua will need occasional brushing and grooming. You can maintain the quality of their coat by brushing regularly or even wiping down with a cloth.

The long-coat Chihuahua will require a brush to remove debris or dead hair.

It’s recommended that you bathe your Chihuahua once a move.

Although they’re slightly below average shedders, you should still do your best to maintain their health of their coat.

Chihuahua breeders

The Chihuahua Club of America have a breeder directory where you can find breeders who have signed up the organization’s code of ethics.

We recommend buying from one of these breeders as they’re being held to a standard and a duty of care when it comes to breeding their Chihuahuas.

Chihuahua price

Chihuahuas can vary in price depending on each individual breeder and each individual puppy.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay between $400 and $1000 for a Chihuahua puppy.

We don’t recommend buying a Chihuahua from a pet store, online or through a third party dealer.

You should always ask to see a Chihuahua puppy interact with its parents, as well as proof of AKC or UKC registration of the parents and health and vet checks.

Chihuahuas to follow on Instagram

If you want to learn more about the Chihuahua breed, you can always check out these dogs on Instagram.

In our experience Chihuahua owners and other dog owners are more than happy to help educate prospective owners.

Here are a few Chihuahua accounts to check out on Instagram:

• The Chihuahua Army (@kingsturge)

• Ella (@lil.chiwolf)

• Hunter & Venus The Chihuahuas (@boutique_chihuahuas)

Chihuahua cross breeds

There’s a lot of different Chihuahua mixes that are the result of intentional or unintentional cross breeding.

Here are some of the best known Chihuahua cross breeds:

• Chihuahua and Pug – Chug
• Chihuahua and Bichon Frise – Chi Chon
• Chihuahua and Boston Terrier – Boston Huahua
• Chihuahua and Pekingese – Cheek
• Chihuahua and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Chilier
• Chihuahua and Jack Russell – Jack Huahua
• Chihuahua and Pomeranian – Pomchi
• Chihuahua and Pembroke Welsh Corgi – Chigi
• Chihuahua and Poodle – Chipoo

Wrapping up

So there we have it, we’ve come to the end of our article on Chihuahuas.

These are a toy-sized breed of dog that don’t grow to be very large.

However, they make up for their lack of size with their big personalities.

Chihuahuas are great companion dogs that quickly become attached to their owner.

They make great watch dogs are their alert and territorial.