It’s hard to imagine anyone who isn’t already familiar with what a Chihuahua looks like! After all, their tiny size and “unbelievable” cuteness tend to be attention grabbers wherever they may be.
We here at IndulgeYourPet feel it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that while many folks may know what a Chihuahua looks like, far fewer are aware of what it might be like to own one. This is probably why Chihuahuas represent a disproportionate percentage of “shelter” animals simply because, in “our opinion,” ill-informed humans decide to adopt Chihuahuas for all the wrong reasons and have no idea what to do with them 6 to 8 months later when their cute little puppy starts to become an obnoxious, poorly trained adult.
For this reason…
We here at IndulgeYourPet chose to write this article so that we can go over some of the pros and cons of owning a Chihuahua so that folks can get a better idea of owning a Chihuahua is going to be the right choice for them.
Chihuahua Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Mexico
Original Purpose: Ceremonial
Height: 5 to 10 inches
Weight: Typically, less than 6 pounds
Class of Dog Breed: Toy Group
History and Origin of the Chihuahua
While it is true that when we think of a Chihuahua, most of us immediately think of Mexico, the truth is the exact origin of the Chihuahua breed is a “bit” of a mystery.
For many years…
It was thought that the Chihuahua might have first originated in Asia and was brought to the Americans during the New World by the Spanish. However, This theory has been losing some appeal as more and more DNA evidence seems to place the Chihuahua’s country of origin firmly within Mexico.
This, plus archaeological evidence found in drawings and wooden arts and crafts, has documented their existence up and down the country dating back to 100 AD and beyond. What has probably caused most of the confusion is that it’s probable that at some point during the Chihuahua’s history, it was “mixed” or interbred with some of the “toy breeds” from China.
In either case…
We here at IndulgeYourPet like to think of the Chihuahua as a native Mexican, so we tend to believe the DNA evidence and feel that it’s probably a direct descendant of the native Techichi dog breed that existed during this same time.
Ok, now that we’ve…
Have we got that all settled? Let’s talk about what makes the Chihuahua dog breed such a crowd favorite and why we here at IndulgeYourPet love this little guy so much.
The first thing you’ll want to know about Chihuahua puppies is that they will be so small you can fit them in the palm of your hand! So be prepared for love at first sight!
Chihuahuas also tend to be solid but occasionally come in part color, part white. Fawn is a popular coat color for this breed. And even though we find Chihuahuas that are Merle in color very attractive, this coloration has been “officially” dismissed by the Federation Cynologique Internationale. So if you’re considering purchasing or adopting a “show” Chihuahua, you’ll want to know this.
They will either have an “apple” shape or a “deer-shaped” head. The apple shape has a short snout, whereas the deer does resemble that of an actual deer. They can also have a long, wavy, quick, smooth coat.
The American Kennel Club differentiates between the two coat lengths and holds them as separate breeds. Both types, however, specify the apple head as the Breed Standard. A Chihuahua has no height limit but should weigh no more than fifteen pounds.
As a “casual” observer of a Chihuahua, you may or may not be aware that Chihuahua have somewhat of a legendary temper. Now we’re not going to suggest that in “some cases,” this reputation of being a tiny, angry dog isn’t entirely “unearned.”
That said, however, we feel it’s a bit unfair to “label” the ones who breed this way because generally speaking, these dogs can be loving, gentle, and caring if appropriately raised and socialized like a giant dog.
Plus, it’s not…
Is it their fault that these fiery little devils attach their entire being and purpose to their “owner”? We don’t think so, so we place 100% of the blame on the owner if they have a Chihuahua that acts too aggressively to everyone but themselves.
Even the most “aggressive” Chihuahua can be taught and controlled with early socialization and obedience classes. You’ll need to treat them like a regular dog and not shelter them from the outside world. This way, your Chihuahua will learn how to interact with other animals and people for himself and won’t always be in “hyper-alert” mode!
Important “takeaways” any…
Potential Chihuahua owners out to know about this breed:
- They are not a high-energy breed, so a walk or a thorough play time should be enough for this toy breed.
- He is a companion dog and will attach himself to one family member.
- This is why it’s not unusual for him to be a little overprotective of that family member, and this might be a problem without proper training.
He is also a tiny dog…
He thinks he is huge, so be aware that he will threaten any other dog that he perceives as a danger to you. So, if you value your little Chihuahua, this will be one of the first traits you’ll want to train out of him with socialization unless you don’t mind going to the veterinarian all that often to treat your little “macho man” for injuries.
Chihuahuas and children
Generally speaking, the Chihuahua dog breed will be devoted, loyal, and good with older children. Younger children, who will typically be as needy as they are, may not be a good fit because there is a chance that your Chihuahua may see this as “competition,” which could end up badly for everyone involved.
Also, where in most cases, our primary concern is for the child’s safety; because Chihuahuas are so small, they will often be in danger of being injured by an over-enthusiastic toddler.
This is why…
Here at IndulgeYourPet, we often recommend that families with younger children either hold off on getting a Chihuahua or choose a different dog breed that might be a better fit for your entire family. This is especially true if you have a ‘Teacup’ Chihuahua, the strand of this breed that has been bred to be small enough to never grow out of a teacup.
Is the Chihuahua Dog Breed healthy?
You’ll have to live with some things about the Chihuahua dog breed. For example, Chihuahuas have terrible teeth due to their small jaws. So… you’ll want to be sure and brush or dog’s teeth every day and be prepared for a dental bill from the vet around the age of seven.
Obesity is also a genuine issue and is typically the most common cause of health problems in this breed, so keep him walking and be wary of overfeeding.
He may suffer from:
- a floating kneecap or patellar luxation,
- a collapsed trachea,
- Brain inflammation,
- fluid in the brain,
- and several head and eye issues due to their slightly protruding eyes, soft spot, and the fact that humans have bred them so that their leaders are too prominent for their tiny bodies…
As if all that weren’t horrid enough, they are vulnerable to:
- Mitral Valve Disease,
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease,
- Portosystemic Shunts,
- and numerous other hereditary conditions that are a symptom of over-breeding.
So we guess…
It’s pretty fair to say that the Chihuahua dog breed isn’t the healthiest dog breed out there. Yet despite this, the Chihuahua’s life expectancy can reach twenty years. So… there you go!
The Chihuahua is now being crossbred with other dog breeds to make ‘Hybrid’ breeds, and you can now buy a Chihuahua mix reasonably easily. The aim of this is to increase genetic material and stop some of the health problems that are common today.
When purchasing your new family member…
One of the best ways to avoid purchasing a potentially sick Chihuahua puppy is to prevent the process entirely and instead choose to re-home an adult Chihuahua from a re-homing program or rescue center instead of buying a puppy. Hundreds of Chihuahuas are currently waiting in shelters across the United States, just waiting to be adopted and given a chance!
That said, however…
Suppose you have your heart set on owning your very own Chihuahua puppy. In that case, you should familiarize yourself with some essential tips on avoiding purchasing a Chihuahua puppy from a puppy mill.
It is a global problem that results in dogs being malnourished, housed in inhumane conditions, and the ultimate destruction of the individual animal and the breed itself. This is why you should always source your breeder from a reputable resource like the American Kennel Club, which will have a list of vetted breeders that can be trusted. As well as always avoid purchasing a puppy from a breeder who:
- “Stocks” more than three breeds and one location,
- Cannot introduce you to your puppy’s parents,
- Or that cannot produce paperwork for the dogs.
These signs of illegal activity should be reported to the relevant authorities.
If we didn’t make it abundantly clear already, Chihuahuas can be prone to developing many different medical conditions. And if you didn’t know this already, veterinarian visits can be expensive, mainly if the condition being treated is serious. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet always like to recommend that folks take a look at possibly purchasing a pet insurance policy for their new pet so that just in case their animal does develop one of these aforementioned medical conditions, they won’t be “on their own” when it comes time to pay the bill!
Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?
Probably not. But until you know exactly what they “will” and “won’t” cover and what they cost, you won’t know whether or not it makes sense for you.
The excellent news is…
We here at IndulgeYourPet have also taken the time to research who we feel offers the Best Pet Insurance Policies out there so that you can quickly determine for yourself if having a policy on your new little family member makes any sense.