Chihuahuas are wildly popular. Are they good dogs for your children? Do they get along with other pets? Find out all about them in this article.
Chihuahuas are adorable, less than "cat-sized" dogs that have experienced a surge of popularity since the 1990's. This is largely due to an influx of commercials and bit parts in movies portraying them as smart and sassy little dogs.
Chihuahuas are adorable, tiny dogs that make great companions. Not only are they the oldest dog breed in North America, they are also the smallest breed in the entire world. Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, they are believed to have been sacred to the Mayan Indian Nation.
Because Chihuahuas are small, they are considered economical. They also come in many different colors and hair variants. Their food intake is little, and their grooming is minimal. However, there are also several traits that you should be aware of before adopting a Chihuahua as your family dog.
The Chihuahua is a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique International.
How do you know if a Chihuahua is the right dog for you? Take a look at its traits and decide if YOU'RE the right owner for a Chihuahua.
The Beauty of Chihuahuas
The Chihuahua is a tiny dog, average about 6 to 9 inches in height and 2-6 pounds in weight. They are born with a small, pear-shaped head and a short pointed muzzle, topped with a cute pink, brown, or black nose. Chihuahuas have very round, dark eyes that tend to be luminous or shiny, and their face is framed with sharp, upright pointed ears.
Although small, the Chihuahua has a stout body and muscular frame (relative to its size) The dog is more robust than he looks, with a level back, and legs coming down straight and square. It's tail is normally long and curled either forward or backwards. The most common Chihuahuas are short-haired and light brown, but they also come in long-haired and medium haired varieties. Other colors of Chihuahuas range from shades of brown such as fawn, sand, chestnut to shades of gay and black. They also sometimes born multicolored!
The Character of Chihuahuas
The Chihuahua is an excellent companion for singles and the elderly. They are very spry and can leap as high as cats; they're also great at avoiding being stepped on! Not daunted by size, they are bold and brave watchdogs that send a threatening, surprisingly deep bark when strangers enter their range. Of course, because they are small, their bark is much worse than their bite!
Chihuahuas tend to act nervous in the company of anybody except their primary owner, but they're also fun-loving and full of bravado when left to their own devices. Some Chihuahuas are they hard to train, and require "newspaper" training to become housebroken. They are also very gentle creatures that learn quickly and respond well to positive reinforcement.
Chihuahuas enjoy chewing on toys, and you would be surprised at how sharp their little teeth are. Although they are small, they require large, soft chew toys if you want to keep them from chewing on your prized possessions.
The Chihuahua's Ideal Environment
Chihuahuas are small creatures that don't require a lot of space; they fit in perfectly with an apartment environment. Because of their size, they are especially sensitive to cold and actually NEED the doggie sweaters you can buy at your local pet store. They don't need a large yard and, quite frankly, shouldn't be given a place to roam freely as they can easily fit through small spaces.
Also, because of their tiny size, Chihuahuas usually require a body harness rather than a leash and require several walks a day. They tire quickly and really only need to walk a block or so; but if you want to continue walking, you can always carry them around with you.
The Chihuahua's Companions
Chihuahuas tend to be a "one-person-dog" and become very attached to their primary owner. They tend to get jealous of visitors and act suspicious and "skittish" around strangers. They tend to follow their owner all over the house and get nervous when you leave their field of vision.
Chihuahuas and children are not a good combination; because of their size, they are easily intimidated by loud noise and sudden movement. Their only defense when faced with a teasing child may be to snap and bite. They are fragile animals and should not be allowed to sleep with their owners because you can accidentally roll over and injure them.
Chihuahuas, like other dog breeds, need gradual socialization to keep them from picking fights with larger dogs and strangers. They don't get along with other dogs because any other dog breed will attempt to dominate them, and cats are intimidating for them, too. The only animal companion that is safe for a Chihuahua is another Chihuahua. Even if you live in an apartment, there will probably be enough room and enough love to go around if you choose to adopt two of this breed!
Grooming the Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas, although fragile, are easy to groom. Short-haired Chihuahuas can simply be wiped with a damp cloth while longer haired Chihuahuas should be combed or brushed gently on a daily basis. Both long and short haired dog need to be bathed about once a month, and you should be careful not to get water in their ears. While Chihuahuas shed as often as any other dog, their small bodies don't have much hair to shed in the first place, so the amount of hair spread about the house is minimal.
The Chihuahua's Health
Chihuahuas tend to have long, healthy lives that last 15 years or more.
As puppies, you must be gentle with them because they have a soft spot on the top of their skull, leaving them prone to skull fractures. This gap usually closes by adulthood.
Chihuahuas tends to wheeze and snore, and can get out of breathe easily if taken for a long walk. In extreme heat, they are at risk for stroke if overextended. Glaucoma and gum problems are common in this breed.
Because of their size, their tiny immune system is also prone to minor viruses and colds. Make sure you bundle them up in the colder months!