There’s a great deal to know about Chihuahuas, and certain facts are pretty interesting. For instance, do you know where the Chihuahua originated? Or do you want to know when your Chihuahua will stop growing? Read on these 23 fascinating facts about Chihuahuas!
Fact 1: some people believe chihuahuas are rats
A common misconception when it comes to Chihuahuas is that they are large rodents, mainly due to their appearance and size. Research has proven that their DNA matches that of an ancient dog in Mexico thousands of years ago.
They’re in fact pure dogs, fully capable of competing in dog sports and also exhibit characteristics of watchdogs. Even though there is the misconception that your Chihuahua might actually be a rodent, be rest assured that your Chihuahua is a dog and nothing else!
Fact 2: THE Chihuahua is The Smallest Dog in The World
The Chihuahua is a popular pet for those living in small apartments or those who travel and like to take their pet along. The small size of the dog makes this convenient for the above two mentioned circumstances.
In fact, the Chihuahua is recognized as the smallest breed of dog in the world. The height of the dog is not specified by the breed standards but only the weight and overall proportions are considered.
The height of a Chihuahua varies between 6 and 9 inches but some may grow to 12 or 15 inches tall. The most common Chihuahua found is the smooth coat Chihuahua, distinct for its apple-domed skull and short hair measuring around ½ to ¾ inches long. Interestingly, a 4 year old Chihuahua named Milly at less than 4 inches tall, is the world’s smallest full-grown dog according to Guinness World Records.
The smallest Chihuahua is the “teacup Chihuahua”. As the name suggests, these Chihuahuas can literally fit in a tea cup. They are usually merely 6 inches tall and 3 pounds in weight. The small size of these dogs makes them ideal for being a companion, especially for people who can lap them and cuddle them to get a sense of attachment and love.
Fact 3: Chihuahuas only weigh 3 pounds
Chihuahuas have a weight of just 3.3 to 6.5 pounds. The American and British breed standards maintain that the dog must not exceed 5.9 pounds. There are two different aspects to be considered when taking into account a Chihuahua’s weight.
One is the expected weight and the other is the individual weight of the dog. Many Chihuahuas may not be within the expected range determined by the breed standard. The owner of a Chihuahua may wonder if his pet has a normal weight for this breed.
It is better to look beyond the breed standards and rather compare the dog to other Chihuahuas. Both the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs lay down 6 pounds as the breed standard weight for Chihuahuas.
Fact 4: chihuahuas are small because of selective breeding
Chihuahuas are renowned for being known as the smallest dog with the Yorkshire Terrier being a close second. A DNA analysis of the dog indicates that it entered America from Siberia over a period of 4500 years and remained isolated for the next 9000 years.
They had a distinctive genetic determinant that is now almost lost. Chihuahuas are naturally small but because of selective breeding techniques they have become tinier to complement the title of “lap-dog”. Historically they are considered to be descendents of a small dog called the Techichi.
The breed was perceived to be extinct until it was rediscovered later about the 18th century. The Techichi dogs were living in a cave in Chihuahua. Today Chihuahua is a Mexican town from which the breed derives its name. The diminutive size of the Chihuahua is because of selective breeding.
fact 5: chihuahuas puppies do most of their growth within 8 weeks
From the day of its birth to about 8 weeks the Chihuahua puppy does most of it growing. From week 9 to about 5 months the puppy begins to eat solid food. It is important for it to have a nutritious diet as it will affect its entire life.
From 16 weeks to 12 months the dog will enter puberty and experience a spurt in growth. It will have reached its full size by the 12th month. In the next 2 to 3 years it will begin its adult stage of life and stop its baby antics. From the 4th year to about the 10th year it will begin to slow down and by the 11th year it can be considered to be a senior.
FACT 6: chihuahuas comes from mexico
Altough the origin of the Chihuahua is clearly known, many people wonder...Where did it originate? Did it come from Europe? Is it a different breed? Historians have come up with several different theories as to its origin.
They speculate that the Chihuahua has evolved from the Techichi, a small dog domesticated by the Toltec people living in Mexico about the 9th century A.D. This species got the attention of dog enthusiasts around the mid-1800s.
Mexican merchants started selling the dog to people at the border who in turn took them to the U.S. The breed of the dog was not known by any specific name and was referred to as the Arizona, Mexico and Chihuahua dog. Over time the last name became universally recognized.
FACT 7: chihuahuas were sacrificial dogs
Chihuahuas were originally used as sacrificial dogs. Research suggests that they were also sometimes used as a source of food, since during that time finding food was difficult and could have been a survival requirement.
However nowadays, due to their charming and affectionate nature, they are often used as companions and are a great source of emotional support. Another reason why they’re bred is because they are great at catching and killing rodents.
They are also useful watchdogs and can alert their owner when they sense any danger. And lastly, they can also be bred as service dogs trained in areas of hearing, psychiatry, mobility and providing seizure and diabetic alerts.
FACT 8: chihuahuas can live up to 20 years old
Like most small breeds of dogs, Chihuahuas too live pretty long lives. Generally, on average, they live between 15 to 20 years. Not all may live up to 20 years, but at the same time some may surpass 20 years of age.
It also depends on certain factors which could contribute to the lifespan of a Chihuahua such as diet, healthcare, weight, genetics, activity levels, vaccinations, etc. Owners should familiarize themselves with these factors so that they give their dog the fullest life possible.
One of the reasons why Chihuahuas live so long is because they are not prone to any major illnesses though they have some health issues. Chihuahuas are bold, intelligent and full of life! They are mostly always active which is a great attribute. Because they have tiny bodies, they don't require too much exercise as well.
FACT 9: chihuahuas shake, a lot
It is common to see Chihuahuas shake, shiver and tremble, even though this is not the case with all of them. They are often seen as small balls of nervousness.
They shake due to a number of reasons such as high metabolism, low blood sugar, nervousness, or due to being cold, upset, excited or anxious. And also in the case of aging Chihuahuas, it is common for them to get tremors in their front or hind legs.
Then, health problems such as Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, kidney disease, nausea, seizures and certain allergies too may cause shivering in Chihuahuas. In order to eliminate these issues, proper training and conditioning from a young age could be of great use. Give your Chi lots of love!
FACT 10: Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic
According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, hypoallergenic means “having little likelihood of causing an allergic response”. If a dog is hypoallergenic, it means that they could cause allergies in some people.
It is true that some people are allergic to dogs. But in the case of Chihuahuas, they are not hypoallergenic at all. This is because Chihuahuas shed little to a moderate amount of hair. Here it is important to note that there are two types of Chihuahuas, the long-haired Chihuahua and the short-haired Chihuahua.
Allergies are caused mainly because of the hair that a dog sheds. Even though Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic they are considered to be relatively moderate shedders. However, there are other dog breeds that cause more allergies than the Chihuahua.
FACT 11: chihuahuas only eat 4 ounces per day
Since the Chihuahua is a tiny dog, one of the most asked questions is how much they should eat. A Chihuahua’s diet needs to be completely nutritional and balanced for their weight and age.
Their food needs to be portioned out correctly and given to them three times a day. All the meals should be appropriately spaced out. An adult Chihuahua usually eats between 4 to 10 ounces a day depending on their body weight.
Too much food leads to obesity and other health problems and too less food can cause nutritional deficiencies. To determine how much your Chihuahua should be eating in a day, you first need to find out their ideal weight. Look at feeding charts on the dog food package and feed them based on their age, activity, and ideal weight.
FACT 12: Chihuahuas can run at an average speed of 10 mph
Chihuahuas can run at an average speed of 10 mph. Even though they may not run as fast as some of the other breeds, they still have natural running abilities. Their speed is reduced because their legs are much smaller compared to other breeds of dogs.
Even though their legs move quicker or as fast as some of the other breeds, they do not quite have the same reach. Researchers have found that these dogs can be trained to run faster.
This could be done by ensuring coordination and consistent cyclical movements which in turn contribute to the increase in the dog’s running speed. In fact, running is a nice physical form of exercise which also helps keep Chihuahuas fit, healthy and happy.
FACT 13: chihuahuas are pretty smart dogs
Chihuahuas may require more time to learn new commands and they obey their first command only 30% of the time. Therefore, when it comes to learning commands they may not be that interested, or prove to be disobedient.
But where Chihuahuas lack in obedience, they make up for it with high adaptive intelligence. They are much smarter than other dogs in certain ways and possess high emotional intelligence.
They are stubborn, but this doesn't mean that they are not smart! Chihuahua owners should not force them into doing something, but rather motivate them through positive reinforcement. You will be surprised at how smart your Chihuahua really is!
FACT 14: Chihuahuas need clothing
Buying clothes for your Chihuahua can be tricky. Since most Chihuahuas don’t like wearing clothes even though it protects them from the cold or the rays of the sun, it is sometimes important to make them do so. The clothes that you choose for your Chihuahua should neither be too tight nor too loose. Chihuahuas are very tiny and they have sensitive skin.
When choosing clothes, never choose them based solely on their looks. Always ensure that you are choosing a high-quality material, and make sure that the manufacturer's size guide is reliable. Measure your Chihuahua using a measuring tape and check clothing size guides when buying them.
Here is a basic guide that you can follow when choosing your Chi’s clothing!
Neck- Measure the circumference between your Chihuahua’s ears and the base of the neck.
Length- Measure from the shoulder blades to the base of the tail, right along the back.
Chest- Measure the circumference behind the front legs along the widest part of the chest.
FACT 15: Chihuahuas need to wear a harness
Chihuahuas are full of energy and tend to get away when they go out on a walk. For this reason, a harness is a safer and more reliable option. When you use a collar that is tight on your Chihuahua and if they pull too hard, they can get tracheal collapse. Thus, it is important to prevent this from happening.
A harness is the best option for a Chihuahua because it removes pressure from the neck area and spreads it across the whole body. To find the right harness, measure your Chihuahuas neck and chest size and then buy a harness according to those measurements. The harness shouldn't be too loose nor should it be too tight.
There are different types of harnesses like a walking harness, vest harness, hiking harness, car harness and harness leads. Always make sure that the harness takes away pressure from the neck, it is well padded, made of good quality material and is adjustable.
FACT 16: chihuahuas can be mean
Chihuahuas have a reputation for being a little on the mean side. The difficulty with this “mean” behavior is that it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly is causing your Chihuahua to behave that way. There are quite a few reasons why Chihuahua might resort to mean behavior, many of which are connected to their size.
Small dogs naturally feel more threatened than larger dogs. As a result, some Chihuahuas resort to mean behavior as a form of defense. There is also the possibility that the Chihuahua might have experienced traumatic events in the past that caused it to behave reactively. For any Chihuahua owner it's worth figuring out exactly what's causing this mean side if you're wanting to change it. Knowledge is key.
FACT 17: people speculate about chihuahuas bite force
They may be small, but Chihuahuas have an extraordinarily strong bite force in relation to their size. Though many people dread being bitten by large dogs you wouldn't want to find yourself inside the bite of a Chihuahua. Chihuahuas are estimated to have a bite force of around 150 pounds per square inch (psi). That's enough to do some serious damage if they really wanted to.
We have also taken a closer look at the physiology of Chihuahuas and how that impacts their overall biteforce. Dogs are natural hunters and need to be capable of killing the animals they capture. Chihuahuas themselves have a reputation for being very capable rodent hunters. So, it goes without saying that a Chihuahua's bite should be quite powerful.
FACT 18: chihuahuas are barkers
With Chihuahuas being so small their barks can be quite piercing to the ear. It can be particularly difficult if your Chihuahua has a tendency to bark more often than others. There are several reasons that you might find your little pup barking frequently, the most common of which being protective behavior, anxiety, and defensiveness.
However, these are not the only reasons a Chihuahua might bark frequently. It’s worth knowing that understanding why your Chihuahua might be barking all the time can lead to figuring out how you could prevent them from barking quite so often in the future. Something we’re sure your ears would thank you for.
FACT 19: chihuahuas have a lof of teeth problems
Chihuahuas might have tiny mouths, but they have a lot of teeth. Humans have 32 teeth once they reach adulthood. In comparison a Chihuahua's teeth need to be able to serve multiple functions that include not only hunting and killing, but also cleaning and carrying, meaning they have quite a few more.
A puppy Chihuahua will have less teeth owing to how small their mouths are, but once those tiny baby teeth fall out and the adult teeth begin to grow the number of teeth, they have jumps to 42 in total. Some of these teeth are more delicate than others, with Chihuahuas being commonly known for losing their small front teeth because of trauma or decay. Taking proper care of your Chihuahua’s teeth can help to avoid this from happening.
FACT 20: chihuahuas snore a lot
The shorter a dog's snout is, the more likely they are to begin developing breathing problems such as snorting and snoring. But that's not everything, it also comes down to the shape of the snout. It may not necessarily be that the snout is too flat, but that it is too angular. When it comes to Chihuahuas, they have very angular snouts that meet their heads at almost a 90° angle.
This angle can impact their trachea and nasal passages leading to snoring or snorting with excessive exercise. There are also a few other reasons a Chihuahua might develop a tendency to snore, including weight problems or even reverse sneezing. Knowing the cause can help to alleviate the problem.
FACT 21: chihuahuas can swim
Like any dog, Chihuahuas are perfectly capable of swimming, for the most part. However, they may not necessarily enjoy the task and just like with humans not all Chihuahuas are guaranteed to be naturally strong swimmers. Their larger heads can make them feel unbalanced and their shorter legs have the potential to struggle to propel them through the water easily.
For any owners thinking of teaching a Chihuahua how to swim, they should always remember and acknowledge that their Chihuahua may not necessarily be very interested in learning. If an owner tries to force their Chihuahua to learn to swim when it doesn't want to it could cause them significant stress and anxiety, leading to potential behavioral issues in the future.
FACT 22: chihuahuas can be service dogs
Chihuahuas are extremely intelligent and emotionally aware dogs, hence their frequent placement as companion dogs. Their intelligence means they can be trained as service dogs if needed be. Not only do Chihuahua's make fantastic companion dogs but they are highly capable of providing a wide variety of services to their owners if trained properly.
These incredible little dogs can learn to be emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, watchdogs, alert dogs, Epilepsy dogs, diabetic dogs, and hearing dogs. Each of these jobs serves an extremely important function in the life of the person the Chihuahua is helping. Something these fantastic pups are intelligent enough never to take for granted.
FACT 23: chihuahuas have sensitive eyes
With such large round eyes, one would expect Chihuahuas to have quite sensitive responses to their environment, and you would be right. Watery eyes are a frequent problem for Chihuahuas, with a wide variety of reasons as to why it might be happening.
There is every possibility that the Chihuahuas eyes might be watering due to an outside source such as dust in the air, or particularly strong chemicals such as disinfectant. Additionally, every Chihuahua owner should consider alternative possibilities for their Chihuahua's eyes watering, such as allergies, stress, or medical conditions. If a condition is left untreated, it could cause blindness in later life, so it is best to always be sure.