Chihuahuas: Tiny Dogs With Big Personalities

Chihuahuas: Tiny Dogs With Big Personalities

The chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog, but they have huge personalities packed into their tiny bodies. These pint-sized pups are sassy, energetic, loyal companions that thrive when they receive lots of love and attention.

Originating in Mexico, chihuahuas have a long history as companion dogs. Their name comes from the Mexican state of Chihuahua where the breed was first discovered in the mid-19th century.

Chihuahuas quickly became popular beyond Mexico thanks to their size, intelligence, and lively temperament. Today they are one of the most popular dog breeds, especially in urban areas where their small size makes them ideal for apartment living.

Appearance

Chihuahuas weigh no more than 6 pounds and stand just 5-8 inches tall at the shoulder. Their bodies are compact with a short coat that can range from smooth to long and fluffy.

Chihuahuas come in virtually any color combination including solid, marked, splashed, and ticked. The most common coat colors are black, tan, cream, chocolate, blonde, and white.

Careful breeding has resulted in two varieties of chihuahua based on head shape. Apple head chihuahuas have rounded skulls and shorter muzzles while deer head chihuahuas have longer snouts and flat-topped heads.

Personality

Don’t let their tiny size fool you – chihuahuas have bigger-than-life personalities. They form deep bonds with their owners and thrive on personal attention and affection.

Chihuahuas tend to pick one person in the family to be especially loyal to. They can be wary of strangers and will alert bark to protect their home and family members.

This breed loves nothing more than snuggling in their owner’s lap and can be quite demanding of attention. They are not well-suited for small children since chihuahuas prefer gentle handling and do not tolerate rough play.

Chihuahuas are intelligent and respond well to positive training methods like praise, play, and food rewards. They can be stubborn, so training requires patience and persistence. Early socialization is essential for chihuahuas to minimize wariness around strangers and other dogs.

Their small size makes them a good choice for city dwellers and retirees who spend a lot of time at home. Chihuahuas enjoy brisk walks and playing games but do not require extensive exercise. Access to a securely fenced yard is ideal to give them a safe place to run around and explore.

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Health

Chihuahuas are surprisingly hearty little dogs, but they are prone to some genetic conditions. Reputable breeders screen their breeding dogs for these issues:

  • Luxating patellas – Dislocated kneecaps; usually managed with pain medication.
  • Heart defects – Malformations of the heart valves and chambers.
  • Collapsing trachea – Weakened windpipe cartilage that collapses and obstructs breathing. Caused by chronic coughing and irritation of the trachea.
  • Hydrocephalus – Abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain resulting in skull deformation. Mild cases may not require treatment.

Chihuahuas can also be prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to their small size and high metabolism. Multiple small meals throughout the day can help prevent this dangerous condition.

Proper dental care is another important health consideration for chihuahuas. Their small jaws leave little room for overcrowded, crooked, or diseased teeth and gums. Daily tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings help minimize the risk of dental disease.

Chihuahuas dog playing grass looking up to sky

How long do chihuahuas live?

Chihuahuas have an average lifespan of 15-20 years, making them one of the longest-lived breeds of dog. With proper care, it’s not unusual for a healthy chihuahua to live well into their late teens or early 20s.

Some of the factors that contribute to the chihuahua’s longevity include:

  • Small Size – Their tiny size means less wear and tear on joints and body. Small dogs tend to live longer than large breeds.
  • Metabolism – Chihuahuas have very fast metabolisms and use energy efficiently. This helps minimize obesity-related health issues.
  • Dental Health – Chihuahuas are less prone to dental disease if their teeth are cleaned regularly. Poor dental health can shorten a dog’s life.
  • Quality Diet – Feeding high-quality food designed for small dog breeds provides optimal nutrition for a long, healthy life.
  • Veterinary Care – Regular vet checkups and prompt treatment of any health issues as they arise help extend lifespan.
  • Love & Attention – Chihuahuas thrive when they receive abundant love, mental stimulation, and interaction with their owners. This helps keep them happy and healthy.

With diligent care from their owners, regular vet visits, proper exercise, a high-quality diet, and lots of love, chihuahuas are one of the dog breeds most likely to live a long and contented life with their humans. Their longevity is a testament to their feisty spirit and robust health.

Why do chihuahuas shake?

Chihuahuas are prone to shivering or trembling for a variety of reasons:

  • Low Body Fat – Chihuahuas have very little body fat and can get cold easily. Shivering helps generate heat to keep their tiny bodies warm. Providing sweaters or blankets can help.
  • Anxiety/Fear – Chihuahuas tend to be prone to anxiety and nervousness. Trembling can be a sign of underlying anxiety or a fearful response to loud noises, strangers, or unfamiliar environments. Keeping them feeling safe and secure can minimize anxious trembling.
  • Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar is common in chihuahuas and can cause shivering. Make sure to feed them small, frequent meals. Have nutritious snacks on hand in case they need a blood sugar boost.
  • Excitement – Happy excitement, such as greeting their owner or getting a new toy, can cause a chihuahua’s body to shiver uncontrollably. It’s a harmless expression of joy and enthusiasm.
  • Age – Senior chihuahuas may tremble due to age-related muscle weakness and poor circulation. Providing soft beds, warmth, and massage can help. Check with your vet to rule out other age-related causes.
  • Genetics – Some chihuahuas are genetically prone to trembling more than others. Responsible breeders aim to minimize this trait through selective breeding.
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While concerning, trembling in chihuahuas isn’t necessarily a dire health concern. Monitoring the context and their overall health will help determine if it’s just normal chihuahua behavior or a sign of an underlying issue needing veterinary attention.

why are chihuahuas so mean?

why are chihuahuas so mean?

There are a few key reasons why Chihuahuas tend to have a reputation for being aggressive or mean:

  • Small Dog Syndrome – Chihuahuas are very small dogs, and some owners baby them and do not discipline unwanted behaviors. This can lead to Small Dog Syndrome where the dog believes it is the pack leader. This causes them to be demanding, defensive, and prone to aggression.
  • Improper Socialization – Chihuahuas that are not properly socialized from a young age can become fearful, anxious, or reactive around strangers, children, or other animals. This leads to aggressive behaviors like barking, lunging, snapping, or biting.
  • Breed Traits – Chihuahuas were originally bred to be alert, protective watch dogs. Some Chihuahuas inherit more of these guarding tendencies than others. Without proper training, these traits can result in aggressive behaviors.
  • Fear – Chihuahuas are small and fragile. Pain, unfamiliar situations, or perceived threats can cause them to respond in a defensive manner to protect themselves.
  • Lack of Training – Chihuahuas require dedicated positive reinforcement training starting from puppyhood to learn good manners and discourage aggression. Untrained Chihuahuas often exhibit dominance behaviors.

With proper socialization, training, handling, and care Chihuahuas can be very loving, loyal, and non-aggressive companions. But their small size and inherited tendencies mean they require knowledgeable owners committed to bringing out their best behaviors.

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Finding a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are very popular but also commonly abandoned and surrendered to shelters. Consider adopting from a rescue group to provide a loving home to a child in need. Do your homework to find a responsible breeder if you want to get a chihuahua puppy.

Make sure the breeder does the recommended health testing on breeding dogs and only breeds dogs with sound temperaments. Visit the breeder in person to meet parent dogs and evaluate their living conditions.

Expect to pay $500 or more for a well-bred chihuahua from a reputable source. These pups are worth the search to find the perfect petite companion you can welcome into your home and heart.

FAQs:

How big do chihuahuas get?

A. Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed. They usually stand about 5-8 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh under 6 pounds when fully grown.

Do chihuahuas shed?

A. Yes, chihuahuas do shed year-round and more heavily during seasonal shedding periods. Regular brushing helps reduce loose hairs.

Are chihuahuas good with kids?

A. Chihuahuas tend to do better with gentle, older children. Their small size makes them fragile, and they can be prone to nipping when irritated. Supervision is recommended.

How long do chihuahuas live?

A. The average chihuahua lifespan is 15-20 years. With proper care and veterinary attention, many live into their late teens or early 20s.

Do chihuahuas bark a lot?

A. Chihuahuas are prone to frequent barking. Early training helps teach them when barking is appropriate. They bark to alert their owners and as an expression of excitement.

Are chihuahuas easy to potty train?

A. Chihuahuas can be stubborn and challenging to understand. Crate training, consistency, positive reinforcement, and frequent trips outside aid the training process.

Do chihuahuas like to cuddle?

A. Chihuahuas love to cuddle! They thrive on human companionship and physical affection. They want to be close to their owners as much as possible.

What health problems do chihuahuas have?

A. Luxating patellas, collapsing trachea, heart defects, hydrocephalus, hypoglycemia, and dental disease are among the most common chihuahua health issues.

Can chihuahuas be left alone?

A. Chihuahuas prone to separation anxiety should not be left alone for extended periods. For calm chihuahuas, 4-6 hours is the maximum recommended alone time.

Are chihuahuas hard to train?

A. Chihuahuas can be stubborn but respond well to positive reinforcement training. Early socialization and consistency are key. Their intelligence makes them highly trainable with time and patience.