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 Chi will stop growing? Read on to find out more!
Are Chihuahuas Dogs ?
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!
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.
Their height varies between 6 and 9 inches but some may grow to 12 or 15 inches tall. The most common breed 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 type 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 the dog makes them ideal for being a companion especially to the elderly who can lap them and cuddle them to get a sense of attachment and love.
How Much Does a Chihuahua Weigh ?
Chihuahuas have a weight of just 3.3 to 6.5 pounds and are treated as live toy dogs. 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.
Why are Chihuahuas so Small ?
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.
When do Chihuahuas Stop Growing ?
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.
Where do Chihuahuas Come From ?
The origin of the Chihuahua is not clearly known. 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.
What are Chihuahuas Bred For ?
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.
How Long do Chihuahuas Live ?
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.
Why do Chihuahuas Shake ?
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!
Are Chihuahuas 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.
How Much Should a Chihuahua Eat ?
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.
How Fast Can a Chihuahua Run ?
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.
How Smart Are Chihuahuas ?
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!
Chihuahua Clothes Guide
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.
Chihuahua Harness Guide
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.