One of the smallest dog breeds, Chihuahuas are named after the largest state of Mexico – Chihuahua. There are some rather interesting facts associated with this unique dog breed.
Did You Know?
The Chihuahua is one of the dog breeds with the longest life expectancy. The average lifespan of a Chihuahua is 15 to 20 years.
Chihuahuas are among the most sought-after dogs in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Chihuahua has remained in the top ten most popular dog breeds’ list for the last 10 years, as per registration statistics. Apart from its big eyes and erect ears, the best feature of a Chihuahua is its size. In fact, it is among the smallest, recognized dog breeds in the United States.
Know More About the Chihuahua Breed
Apart from their looks, the popularity of Chihuahuas is mainly attributed to their size. These tiny canines are so portable, that are usually carried around in hand bags. The breed standards for the Chihuahua dog breed do not mention a specific height. According to the AKC breed standards, a Chihuahua dog must not have a body weight of more than six pounds. Though the specific height range is not mentioned, these dogs are generally found to be six to nine inches tall (at the shoulder).
When it comes to the appearance of the dog, the most prominent feature are the big round eyes. They have an almost round head with large, erect ears and slightly pointed snout. The nose of a Chihuahua dog can be black, self-colored or even pink. The positions of the tail are described as sickle up, sickle out, and loop. In other words, the tail is usually curled over the back.
Coat Type and Color
Chihuahuas come in different colors. They can be solid, marked, or splashed. The most common colors are white, black, fawn, red, cream, chocolate, brown, and mixed. There are two types of fur coats that are recognized by the AKC – long coat and smooth coat. Smooth coat is also known as short-haired. While smooth coat chihuahuas have short hair, long coat ones have soft, long hair. These dogs are also classified as apple-headed and deer-headed, according to the shape of the head.
Chihuahuas are described as the best companion dogs that are loyal and loving. They are always alert, and are often compared to terriers, as far as the qualities are concerned. These dogs are also very swift in movements. However, Chihuahuas may not get along with other pets and are not suitable kids below ten (who cannot handle them properly).
While the small size is touted as one of the advantages of the Chihuahua breed, it could be a cause for certain health problems commonly found in them. Chihuahuas are prone to develop eye infections and injuries, dental problems, obesity, joint injuries, bronchitis, etc. They may get obese and develop medical conditions, like hypoglycemia and tracheal collapse.
Interesting Chihuahua Facts
The Mexican Connection
The origin of the breed is linked to the 9th century Mexico, where the Toltecs used to have a dog breed named Techichi. It is believed that the Chihuahuas evolved from the cross breeds of Techichi and the small hairless Chinese Crested dog brought from Asia to Alaska over the land bridge that is now the Bering Strait. In fact, the name of the breed is derived from the name of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from where a wide range of artifacts featuring the ancestors of this dog, have been unearthed. It is also believed that these dogs were considered sacred by the ancient Mexican people, and folklore suggest that these dogs were associated with the worship of deities.
Small Dogs With Big Brains
Chihuahuas have a high body-to-brain ratio. When compared to a Great Dane or Alsatian, a Chihuahua is very tiny. However, the size of their brains are almost similar. Though they have large brains, there is no conclusive evidence to show that Chihuahuas have a high IQ level. It is also claimed that Chihuahuas are highly intelligent due to its brain size.
Tiny Mother, Huge Litter
Being very small in size, you may not expect a female Chihuahua to have a huge litter. The normal litter size in Chihuahuas is around four to five. On an average, the litter size may range between one to six. According to reports, the largest litter of a Chihuahua comprised ten puppies. There were some reports of a Chihuahua adopting a kitten litter.
In short, Chihuahuas are highly popular for their looks, companionship and size. However, you must have a basic understanding about the breed, its pros and cons, and requirements, before you adopt one.