Breed Group: Toy
Height: Not more than 5 inches at the shoulder
Weight: Not more than six pounds
Life Span: 12 to 20 years
This sassy little dog has a super-size personality. He knows what he wants and goes after it with single-minded determination. For his size, he’s an excellent watchdog, but he can be yappy if he’s not taught to moderate his barking.
Did You Know the Chihuahua is High Strung and Fiesty?
The Chihuahua is the most famous of the “purse puppies,” toy dogs toted around in chic upscale doggie bags by high-profile celebrities and socialites. The most famous celebrity Chihuahua is Tinker Bell, who spends her days nestled in socialite Paris Hilton’s handbag.
The Chihuahua burst onto the national stage as a “must have” dog for two reasons: The “Yo Quiero Taco Bell?” ad campaign and, more recently, the tendency of rich, attractive and famous young women to haul these small dogs with big attitudes around in stylish and expensive oversized purses. The appeal? The tiny (as small as two pounds) Chihuahua offers feistiness coupled with enduring loyalty to the person he chooses as his own, along with an expressive face, including large, round eyes that show everything the dog is thinking.
Despite the many endearing qualities of the Chihuahua, if you’re thinking his tiny size makes him a great choice for children, you’d better think again. The Chihuahua may be just right for traveling around in a puppy purse, but he’s far too small and fragile for even the gentlest of children’s games. Chihuahuas also tend to be high-strung and prone to nipping, snapping and even biting when frightened or threatened, or when defending his people or territory.
Some of these tendencies can be helped through early training and socialization. Unfortunately, too many people with Chihuahuas allow them to become little tyrants, displaying manners that would not be acceptable in a larger dog. This dog needs gentle and consistent training from puppyhood on to control his nipping as well as any tendency he has to fight with other dogs. Like many small dogs, Chihuahuas aren’t aware of their own size and won’t hesitate to challenge a dog many times larger than themselves. Also, like many small dogs, Chihuahuas are difficult to house-train without a lot of consistency and patience.
The Chihuahua is also very yappy and will be noisily vigilant about any intrusion into his territory, real or imagined. He’s not particularly fond of strangers of any species, reserving his affection for his chosen person and, sometimes, the rest of the family.
Chihuahuas come in two coat types, short and long. The short coat sheds more than the long, but the long does require daily brushing to keep it from tangling and to remove dead hairs. But since there’s not much dog, there’s not much coat, even in the long-haired version.
Other Quick Facts About the Chihuahua
For the show ring, the Chihuahua should not exceed six pounds, but many Chihuahuas are actually larger than that, making them a better choice for families with children.
Chihuahuas that weigh less than three pounds often have a short life span.
Don’t think that the Chihuahua is a gentle lapdog. He is tenacious and terrierlike in attitude.
Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and take well to training when it comes with positive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise.
Chihuahuas come in any solid color or combination of colors, including fawn, black and tan, chocolate and white, blue and red. Avoid breeders who try to get you to pay more for supposedly “rare” colors.