A tiny dog with an apple-shaped head and short, pointed muzzle. Round, large, very dark eyes, sometimes a dark ruby or luminous color. The trademark large ears should be held erect. Puppies have a soft spot or “molera” on top of the skull; bone usually closes the gap by adulthood. The body is cobby (stout), longer than tall, and the tail is sickle shaped, curved over the back or to the side. Besides the common short-haired variety there is also a rare long-haired type. Colors include fawn, sand, chestnut, silver and steel blues, but any color is acceptable, including black-and-tan and parti-color. The dog is more robust than he looks, with a level back and legs coming down straight and square.
The world’s tiniest dog is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua whence he was brought to the rest of the world by travelers. This breed is believed to have been sacred to the Pre-Columbian Indian nations, and may be the oldest breed native to North America. The most valued dogs weigh under 2-1/4 lbs. Some can even stand on all fours in a person’s palm! There is a long-haired variety, judged separately, but essentially the same except for the coat. The Chihuahua is a popular, economical companion dog.
May snap at teasing children; after all, since he is too tiny to get away, the Chihuahua must resort to his sharp teeth in self defense. Hates the cold and may shiver; will tolerate and even appreciate a warm sweater on cooler days. Can be noisy. Needs exercise–don’t think that because he’s small he should be confined to a small space. May require patience to housebreak; many owners simply paper-train this breed. Because of his short nose, the Chihuahua tends to wheeze and snore. His prominent eyes are susceptible to corneal dryness and secondary glaucoma. Be on the alert for slipped stifle, gum problems, colds, stress, and rheumatism. Don’t let him lick or eat toxic products, fertilizer or chocolate! Feed lightly as he is prone to weight gain. Chihuahua puppies are born with large heads, frequently necessitating Cesarean deliveries by a skilled veterinarian. Be sure to socialize this breed as a pup to avoid excessive aggressiveness with other dogs. (Chihuahuas generally recognize their own breed, but sometimes disapprove of other breeds.)
Good companion dog, bold and saucy. Swift moving to avoid being stepped on. Strong-willed and intensely loyal. Gives and demands affection. Intelligent. Fiercely protective of his person and his turf. Responds enthusiastically to proper, gentle (positive reinforcement) training. Usually welcomes the company of another dog.
Children: Not recommended for children.
Friendliness: Moderately protective.
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train.
Independence: Needs people a lot.
Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood.
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive.
Noise: Likes to bark.
Indoors: Fairly active indoors.
Owner: Good for novice owners.
Grooming and Physical Needs:
Grooming: Very little grooming needed.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Short coat.
Shedding: Average shedder.
Exercise: Little exercise needed.
Jogging: A poor jogging companion.
Apartments: Good for apartment living.
Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Long (15 or more years).