The origin of Chihuahua is unclear like many breeds, but two theories are assumed to have a connection with the development of this breed. Firstly, in the Toltec carvings dated back to 9th century, had a dog named Techichi with similar features of Chihuahua. But later when Aztecs conquered Toltecs, they used them as a source of pelts, food and were also used in rituals. In 1500s Spanish acquired the throne and existence of this breed faded.
Secondly, Spanish traders brought hairless dogs to Mexico from China and bred with the native dogs. The result is said to be a shorthaired Chihuahua dog people recognize today. It developed in the early 1850s in the Chihuahua State of Mexico, from where it got its name. Visitors of America brought them to their land, and it started being shown in 1890, and AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized this breed in 1904.
The longhaired dog was created by crossing the original breed with Pomeranians or Papillons. It became popular between the 1930s and 1940s, due to its association with Latin music bandleader Xavier Cugat and dance king. Chihuahua became the most famous AKC registered breeds since 1960. Presently, it ranks 11th from 155 varieties and breeds that AKC recognizes.
Temperament & Personality
Chihuahuas are confident and bold which makes them terrier-like. They are excellent companion dogs but creates a high bond with a single member of the family. They are very sensitive, and family members should be cautious while ordering or commanding them. Their suspicious and alert nature makes them ideal watchdog. If appropriately socialized they quickly become friends with anyone, but sometimes they stay reserved at first. Chihuahuas can become shy if they are not adequately socialized from puppy days. They also have a prey drive, and it starts chasing moving objects and small animals.
They love to play and run they can get adequate exercise in a small place making them ideal apartment dogs. Moving around the house or following their loved ones is enough for this breed. However, slow and short walks will make them healthy and prevent weight gain. Do not over-exercise them, if owners figure out they are panting they should be given enough time to normalize. Toys and chews will keep them busy.
Chihuahua has two types of coats and accordingly grooming requirements are different. Smooth coat dog will require occasional brushing and frequent baths to look clean, while the dog with long furs will need brushing once to twice a week to prevent mats. They do not require frequent bathing, but they are incredibly filthy.
However, both the varieties require proper dental care, which will include brushing their teeth with a vet prescribed toothbrush. Also, clean their ears with a vet prescribed ear solution to keep their ears clean and infection free. Trim their nails when they overgrow. Otherwise, they can crack and end up bleeding and pain.
It does not suffer from significant health problems, but some dogs can suffer from Hypoglycemia, Patellar Luxation, Pulmonic Stenosis, Heart murmurs, Hydrocephalus, Collapsed trachea, Shivering and Open Fontanel. However, random veterinarian visits can reduce the risk factors.
Chihuahuas are brilliant and eager to please, which makes training very easy. They respond to positive training methods that include many pats, praises, and treats. They have a terrier nature, and a very gentle but firm trainer is essential to teach them.
Obedience training from an early age will resolve the pack of the leader issue. Socializing at an early age is also crucial to minimize their shy nature. Taking them to busy parks and streets will make them face different situations, sounds and new people which will allow them to accept new things positively.
Also, to reduce their prey drive leash training is essential, familiarize with a leash from early days when they are pups. Commands training will polish their skills and enhance the relationship between owner and the dog.
High-quality dog food depending upon the size and activity level will provide all the required nutrients. Owners should check their calorie intake, as some of them are prone to gain weight. Minimize treats, table scraps, cooked bones etc. to keep their weight in check. It is advisable to visit a vet or a dietician for a proper diet chart. Also, dividing their meals into two halves will allow them to digest quickly.