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You’re considering adopting a Chihuahua. It’s adorable, tiny and cuddly, but what else do you really know about it?
Chihuahuas are small dogs with large personalities that love nothing more than curling up in your lap or sitting by your side for a long afternoon nap. They can be great companions for children as they are naturally gentle and very patient with kids learning how to handle them. However, you need to train them from a young age or they turn into a whole different story.
6 – 9 inches
3 – 6 pounds
12 – 20 years
White, blue, chocolate, red fawn, merle, black and tan
Those looking for a small pet with a comical personality
Loyal, loving, funny, easy to train, territorial, alert
The mini-dog has been steadily growing in popularity every year across North America. They make great company for people who live in apartments and don’t have a lot of space because they’re so tiny.
But there is much more to these pint-sized pups! In this guide, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about Chihuahuas, from adopting one as a puppy to trainability and feeding.
If you’re thinking about buying a Chihuahua, read on to make an informed decision! Let’s learn together all there is to know about this surprisingly intelligent canine.
When you’re ready to adopt your puppy, there are a few different ways to go about it. You can visit your local Chihuahua rescue or contact a breed-specific breeder. The price of the puppies will vary depending on where you purchase them as well as the breed. Chihuahuas have different color variations. The rarest colors of Chihuahua are blue and merle. On top of the adoption fees, you should also budget for first-time costs like dog essentials (cage, food bowl, etc.) and veterinary care.
Chihuahuas are known for barking a lot and having an attitude around strangers. Early socialization and training are essential for them to be calmer around people and other pets.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Chihuahua
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal and devoted creatures. The temperament of these dogs mostly depends on their upbringing and training. However, they are typically known to be courageous and bold little creatures with a zest for life.
They can also be rather timid or even shy until they have become more comfortable in their surroundings.
That being said, once they’ve identified their family members, the love is endless. Chihuahuas can be great with children because they are so small and because their size makes them less intimidating to children.
But from the Chihuahua’s point of view, all children just look like big dogs, so they may be a little wary of those outside the family. Kids who they’ve grown accustomed to, though, will not get such harsh treatment.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Chihuahuas are small but feisty, often coming off as a bit bossy to humans- even their family members. They can be timid or skittish around strangers at times, though usually because of the lack of socialization in the early stages.
Regarding other pets, it’s best to keep your Chihuahua as the sole pet inside the home, as they are very territorial animals. However, trying to socialize them with other pets can be beneficial for the Chihuahua in order to get used to non-human playmates.
Nonetheless, it’s necessary that you supervise any interactions between your dog and any new pet or animal. These dogs have a strong prey drive, so they will want to chase after squirrels, birds, lizards, and anything smaller than them!
Things to Know When Owning a Chihuahua:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Chihuahuas are small dogs with little stomachs that require very little food in comparison to other breeds. They require about one cup of dog food per day, split into two meals. Younger puppies will even smaller portions 4-8 times throughout the day.
One of the most important things you’ll want to do for your Chihuahua is finding a good brand and type of food. They’re very selective eaters, so they must have something nutritious that will satisfy their needs.
Some chihuahuas may have allergies and sensitivities to certain foods, so it’s best to consult a veterinarian if you notice an unusual reaction from your pet after eating something.
Your doggie will definitely want some of your human food, and they’ll let it be known. Table foods are safe for Chihuahuas in small amounts, but make sure to avoid problematic foods.
If you are unsure whether or not a type of food is safe to feed, check with your veterinarian.
These little rascals are full of energy, so it’s crucial that they get to exercise on a daily basis. You should walk them for at least 30 minutes per day and, if possible, take them out in the yard to run around!
They also love to play with their owners, so it’s important to play with them by tossing a ball or playing tug-of-war to give them the mental stimulation they crave. Don’t worry, once they get their exercise, they should sleep for about 12 hours a day!
It’s important to monitor your puppy’s energy levels throughout the day, as younger dogs can wear themselves out or get dehydrated if they play too much! As they get older, Chihuahuas should be able to play less because of reduced energy and mobility.
Chihuahuas are brilliant dogs, and as such, they’re relatively easy to train. They’ll usually come when called, but sometimes it may take several tries for them to follow the command, so be patient with your pup!
Different methods of training can work; clicker training is particularly effective for these little ones. Basically, you use a clicker to signal when the dog has done something right, and then you reward them with a treat.
Potty training can be done with urine pads and by bringing your dog outside frequently, especially after eating or drinking. Chihuahuas have small bladders, so they can’t hold it for long!
Other than that, you can teach them anything from giving the paw, sitting, shaking hands and playing dead. They are very smart little dogs and will learn quickly!
As stated earlier, there are different coats available for different Chihuahuas. Long-haired specimens require brushing at least once a week, while short-haired Chihuahuas don’t need it as often.
Eyecare is important for the smaller breeds because their eyes are more easily damaged. They’re also prone to dry eye syndrome, which you can treat with artificial tears or ointments made specifically for this condition.
It’s recommended that you get a yearly eye exam for your pup, as well.
Dental health is also very important for your dog. Chihuahuas are small dogs, so they can’t open their mouths as wide and have trouble with dental health. Regular brushing will help prevent tartar buildup on the teeth and gum disease.
The teeth should be brushed with toothpaste made specifically for pets.
Related Read: 10 Hairless Dog Breeds
Health and Conditions 🏥
Chihuahuas have two different types of fur, which make them prone to different types of conditions.
One type is the wiry and coarse hair that can’t be groomed without breaking it, giving them a dull coat, which then causes their skin to dry out and crack in places. This leaves areas unprotected from bacteria or parasites, so they need regular grooming for protection against these factors.
The other type sports soft hair that is usually more susceptible to developing skin allergies like eczema and mange mites due to their sensitive nature.
Finally, it might be a funny image to picture in your mind, but Chihuahua obesity is no laughing matter. Overfeeding your pup can lead to a slew of health problems, the most common being diabetes, turning a minor eating problem into a major health condition.
Chihuahuas will have certain breed-related health conditions that are passed down through their genetics to their pups. The most common hereditary condition in Chihuahua is heart disease, which can lead to congestive heart failure and arrhythmia. It also affects the eyes as well as the brain.
Some other serious conditions that Chihuahuas can experience are epilepsy, deafness and hypothyroidism. You should continuously monitor a pet’s health for any changes in behavior or appearance as these could signal severe conditions that may require treatment.
Many people are surprised to hear that Chihuahuas can get cancer, but it’s true. Cancer in dogs is not exclusive to larger races and can affect any dog breed, including the Chihuahua. When a veterinarian diagnoses cancer, they will recommend treatment options tailored for each individual case.
Surgery may be recommended to remove cancerous growths or tumours, chemotherapy may be recommended for larger cancers that have spread, and radiation therapy is often the first choice when treating smaller areas of localized cancer.
If you need help diagnosing or treating your pup’s condition, talk to a veterinarian who is experienced with the breed.
Male vs Female
It can be very hard to tell a male from a female Chihuahua. The main difference between males and females lies in their size. Males typically grow to about ten inches, and females usually stay around eight.
If your pet is not neutered, you may notice that the males have a more dominant personality, marking everything they can find as theirs. When females reach maturity, they can experience mood swings when in heat.
Other than that, male and female chihuahuas behave depending on their upbringing. If they were socialized more with other pets as young pups, they would likely be less territorial.
Naming your Chihuahua is also an interesting topic of discussion. Many people will name their pet after something related to the food they like. For example, Cheeto or Pizza are popular choices for Chihuahuas that love to eat those things, and both of those names are unisex.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Chihuahua
1. Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican State of Chihuahua.
Sure enough, they were originally bred in Mexico in the mid 19th century. The original Chihuahua is thought to have been derived from the Techichi, a small mute dog kept by the Toltec people of Mexico centuries ago.
Many believe they grew in popularity because of their hunting skills. Chihuahuas love hunting rats and squirrels, plus they make great company!
They arrived in the U.S.A. around 1880, when Mexican merchants would sell them to tourists at the border. Today, all of America knows the Chihuahua, in part due to many celebrity endorsements.
2. There are long-haired, and short-haired Chihuahuas.
The hairless variety is also referred to as a “show-style” Chihuahua. Different people prefer different types of coats, and the buyer needs to know which type they prefer before making their decision.
For example, Long-haired Chihuahuas shed twice a year, while short-haired Chihuahuas constantly shed, though very little. The length of the dog’s coat will also influence your grooming habits.
Long-haired Chihuahuas will require weekly brushing, while short-haired Chihuahuas only need to be brushed twice a month.
3. The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest breed.
This should come as no surprise, but it is the world’s smallest breed of dog. Their size was achieved by crossbreeding the Techichi with a variety of other breeds.
You might be surprised to know that the Chihuahua is one of few toy dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.). The A.K.C. recognizes them as being part of ‘the Toy’ group, but they are technically classified as non-sporting dogs.
This small stature makes them popular pets for people who live in apartments or don’t want a large dog to take up space in their homes.
If you’re looking for a smaller dog that is loyal and active, Chihuahuas may be the perfect companion. They are affectionate pets when they feel respected and loved but can grow aggressive if threatened or ignored.
Their small size makes them good candidates to live in apartments with their owners, as long as there isn’t too much noise around them. It would help if you took care not to leave your Chihuahua alone all day while you’re at work. While these dogs enjoy being on laps occasionally, they also need physical activity and mental stimulation throughout the day!
Before adopting one into your home, it is important to know how they can behave in certain situations, so there isn’t any confusion or unexpected surprises.
For example, if you have outside children who come over often (or strangers), then this breed may not be the best choice because they tend to snap at people when they feel threatened by them- even though they bark a lot more than they bite!
Likewise, these little guys can get jealous easily when treated as anything less than king and queen of everything around them, sometimes acting out against their owners or other pets.
We’d love to hear from anyone who has any questions about this blog post or would like more information on how our team of pet experts can help!
Related Reads and Breeds:
- 12 Small Dog Breeds (with Pictures)
- 21 Worst Dog Breeds for Kids
- Pomeranian Dog Breed: Complete Guide, Info, Pictures, Care & More!
Featured Image Credit: Lesia Kapinosova, Shutterstock