The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog breed. It is of Mexican origin and got its name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The State borders the USA, which is how Chihuahuas got introduced to the US.
Chihuahuas are delicate little dogs and are very popular among lovers of miniature pets. They have become somewhat of a fashion accessory amongst celebrities; Paris Hilton carries her Chihuahua in her designer handbag.
The modern Chihuahua breed is thought to have originated in the 1800s. They breed was recognized by the American Kennel club since 1904.
Chihuahuas can vary in size, but on average are 15 – 25 cm heigh. The show-standard for weight is 1.5 –3 kg, but pet Chihuahuas can weigh more.
They have thin legs and may at times appear shaky. They have larger pointy ears and sharp noses giving their heads a deer (bokkie) like appearance.
Coats come in longhair or shorthair and a variety of colours. Some kennel clubs disqualifies the Merle (spotted) colour pattern, since it was not traditionally accepted for the breed and is possibly related to genetic problems. The longhair variety surprisingly sheds less than the shorthair and requires less grooming than other longhaired dogs.
The breed requires special veterinary care and is the only dog breed to be born without a complete skull. The gap in the skull will close, as the dog grows older. The breed is also prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), epilepsy, seizures, hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and eye infections. To combat hypoglycemia your doggy should eat small regular meals.
Chihuahuas are alert, energetic and territorial dogs. They usually choose one person to bond with and will be protective and jealous if others get attention from their human. They prefer the company of their own kind above other breeds. They are not usually well suited for little children.
A Chihuahua can be a good choice if you have limited space, but they require special care. They are well-suited to the South African climate. Be responsible when buying (or adopting) a dog and remember that they are living creatures; not fashion accessories!