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Adopt a Chihuahua


Chihuahua Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen

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Family:

companion, Southern (pariah)


Area of origin:

Mexico


Original function:

ceremonial


Average size of male:

Ht: 6-9, Wt: <6


Average size of female:

Ht: 6-9, Wt: <6


Other names:

none


  • ••••••

    Energy

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    Exercise

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    Playfulness

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    Affection

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    Friendliness towards dogs

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    Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Grooming

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Chihuahua Dog Temperament

The saucy Chihuahua has earned her place as a favored toy dog because of her intense devotion to a single person. She is reserved with strangers but good with other household dogs and pets. Some try to be protective, but they are not very effective. Some may be quite bold; others may be timid. She is often temperamental. Some bark.

Chihuahua Dog Care

The Chihuahua is a lively dog that nonetheless can get her exercise running from room to room indoors. She enjoys exploring the yard or going for short walks on a leash and especially enjoys accompanying her family on outings. The Chihuahua is not an outdoor dog; she hates the cold and seeks out warmth. Coat care for the smooth is minimal. Care of the long coat entails brushing two to three times a week.

Chihuahua Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: pulmonic stenosis, hydrocephalus, patellar luxation, KCS,
hypoglycemia
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: cardiac, knee
Life span: 14-18 years
Note: A soft spot (molera) in the skull (due to incomplete fontanel closure) is a common
breed trait.

Interested in the history of the Chihuahua dog breed?

The smallest breed of dog, the Chihuahua has a controversial history. One theory holds that she originated in China and was brought to the New World by Spanish traders, where she was then crossed with small native dogs. The other theory contends that she originated entirely in Central and South America, descending from the native Techichi, a small mute dog that was sometimes sacrificed in Toltec religious rituals. A small red dog was believed to guide the soul to the underworld, and every Aztec family kept such a dog, which was sacrificed and buried with any deceased family member. To make matters worse for the Techichi, the Toltecs and their conquerors, the Aztecs, often ate dogs and the Techichi may have sometimes been on the menu. Despite what may have been short lives, Techichis apparently were well-cared for during life by the priests or their families. In fact, the most likely origin of the Chihuahua is a combination of these theories: The native Techichi was probably crossed with tiny hairless Chinese dogs, but again the date when this occurred is controversial. The Chinese dogs may have been brought over when a land bridge spanned the Bering Strait, or they may have been brought later by Spanish traders. When Cortes conquered the Aztecs in the 16th century, the little dogs were abandoned and left to fend for themselves. About 300 years later, in 1850, three tiny dogs were found in Chihuahua, Mexico. A few were brought to the United States, but they aroused only moderate attention. Only when Xavier Cugat ("the rhumba king") appeared in public with a Chihuahua as his constant companion did the breed capture the public's hearts. She experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and has continued as one of America's most popular breeds.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DOG BREEDS by D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.

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