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Named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua, much of the history of the Chihuahua breed is open for conjecture. Viewpoints range from the belief that they are indigenous to South America, from the days of the Incas and Aztecs; brought to the New World by the Spanish Conquistadors; or introduced to the New World as recently as the nineteenth century from Asia. There are two varieties of Chihuahua: long coated and smooth coated. The long coated may have been created in the United States by crossing smooth coated Chihuahuas with other toy breeds such as the Papillon and Pomeranian. The Chihuahua was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.
A major appeal of this breed is for companionship, especially in apartments. They have tiny bodies but large hearts. They are considered to be the ultimate toy lapdog. They are playful and graceful but are not appropriate for a rowdy lifestyle or outdoor living.
The long coated variety has fur that is long and soft in texture with some wave possible. It has a large neck ruff and long coat on the tail. The smooth coated variety has soft, glossy fur that lies close to the body. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable in either variety. In general, both varieties of Chihuahua have a well rounded, apple-domed skull. The ears are large for the size of breed, set at a 45-degree angle on each top corner of the skull. The muzzle is slightly tapered . The eyes are round, large and set wide apart. The back is level, slightly longer than the dog's height. The tail is of medium length and carried over the back. The weight range is from one to six pounds. The height range is from six to nine inches.
email@example.com of Nevada writes:
Sensitive hearts, tough attitude.
Chihuahuas are truly a very sensitive breed, but that doesn't mean that they don't have attitude because they have plenty of that! I have a two-month-old male and he never ceases to make me smile - not to mention laugh. What a clown! I would recommend a Chihuahua to anyone except families with children five years old and under. That is just too young to have to deal with the responsibility of owning a Chihuahua. They are surprisingly hardy, but they are somewhat fragile when it comes to being stepped on, sat on, etc.
Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:
A snuggle-buddy for life.
Chihuahuas are an excellent breed full of personality and character. My little baby is just over four pounds and a wonderful guard dog. He's very good with people, children too, and he LOVES to be the center of attention. Though some Chihuahuas become shy to crowds, mine loves the attention and excitement of crowds, not to mention all of the pats he gets from adorers! I would recommend a Chihuahua to a responsible pet owner who can understand the pros and cons of owning a Chihuahua, after all they are not for everyone. If you are considering a Chihuahua for your family, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST. A Chihuahua is for life!
Name withheld by request of England writes:
For the first time ever I got a longhaired Chihuahua. I always thought Chihuahuas were vicious and bad-tempered but I couldn't have been more wrong. They are the cutiest, funniest, lovable dogs ever. When they are with people they know they think they are the biggest dog around not the smallest, but when they feel small they are such babies. They are the most clever dogs about and they can become the best friends you could ever have.
Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:
Gentle, high-strung, very loyal pets.
I have three Chihuahuas and all three are from different lines. One is a Smooth Coat four-pound male (brindle) very true to the standard. The second one is a female Long Coat (tri-color) very beautiful, and my third one is a cream-colored larger Chihuahua female (a bit oversized), but this does not change her attitude or loving disposition. All three are very alert and they make excellent guard dogs. They have very few problems. I would recommend that if you have small children, you get the larger of the Chihuahuas as the kids may be a little rougher on them. The smaller ones are great for adults who just want to pamper their Chihuahuas.
firstname.lastname@example.org of California writes:
Such an expressive face.
We have a little five-year-old Longhair Chi who is an absolutely wonderful little guy. I know a lot of people say Chis are snappy, and I'm sure some are, but we've noticed that if a guest in our house sits down at his level, he makes friends very quickly. Chis are the best lap dogs and cuddle dogs and are content to be held for hours. I don't know of any dog that has more expressions than a Chihuahua. You can almost tell what they are thinking by the way they move their ears and eyebrows and the look on their face. They are exceptionally smart and housetraining was not a problem at all. They are very alert little watchdogs and could do some serious damage to someone's toes if need be. (Our Chihuahua is backed up by three full-sized Collies so I think he is a little braver than he needs to be.) They are extremely easy to take care of because of their size so bathing and grooming is simple and not very time-consuming. I can't imagine not having at least one Chi for all the enjoyment we get from ours.
email@example.com of Shelton, WA writes:
A great pet for any responsible pet owner.
I have owned many small dogs in my life, and I must say my four-year-old Chihuahua is the best LITTLE dog I have ever owned. Many breeders refused to sell me a small breed dog because I have two young boys. I agree, that is a responsible thing for a breeder to do, but I believe that my Chihuahua has a good, loving home, where she feels safe, and gets a lot of socialization. I feel that any breeder who will rule out a family for their dog, without an interview is not interested in what is best for the dog or the family, only their own feelings. The breeder I got her from, met with myself and my sons before agreeing to sell us such a small dog. This dog was immediately comfortable with us, and is a great fit for our lifestyle.
She is a two-pound Chi, and we must take extra care to ensure her safety. She is either in my arms, in one of her carriers, or on a leash at all times. My guard is always up for her safety, especially when the boys are feeling particularly rambunctious, since they don't always remember she is on my lap as they fly through the air towards me. When the boys come into the room the dog is in, I ALWAYS remind them to be careful of the dog, and they DO need those reminders. The dog has never hurt the boys, nor have the boys ever hurt the dog. The dog and the children are very comfortable around one another, and although it takes a lot more work, it can be done. The key is NEVER to let down your guard. We live on thirteen acres, with a creek, where there are birds of prey. She is on a three-foot leash while outside, and we HAVE been dive-bombed by bald eagles.
She does NOT nip at children, and spends many days at our local school teaching children safe handling and care for small breed dogs. The children are required to ASK to touch her, for their own safety, and to put their hand up first. She may growl at them, but I never let her get the best of people. I turn her face away and allow them to pet her anyway. In this way, people are safe, and the dog learns that WE are in control, not her. I limit the number of children allowed near her at any given time to three, to help her feel secure. Please know that before I take her around people, SHE has to be okay with it on that day. There are many days where she stays in her carrier, out of respect for her feelings.
She is a member of our family and goes with us everywhere, she (her crate) is safety belted in, just the same as the rest of the family. She feels most comfortable inside a small soft backpack or purse-like bag, while in crowds. She is rarely left at home or in the car. I take her in her carrier, to ANY place that does not serve food, or have signs posted against pets. We occasionally go out to eat and she will then will be left in the car, but ONLY on overcast days. If there is a chance the sun will break through the windows, she is with me. I know the places she is allowed and avoid those she is not. She does not "rule" our family, our children are asthmatic, and we avoid places that would be harmful to them as well. Her needs are respected and met just like any other family member. To me, this is part of being a responsible pet owner.
Like most tiny dogs, she has a sensitive stomach, and does not process beef very well. This having been said, her dog food is a quarter of a cup of dry lamb and rice, Science Diet to help keep her teeth in good condition, with a teaspoon of "gravy" to aid digestibility. She was being fed strictly dry food, but she got an intestinal blockage from not chewing the smallest kibble I could find. The vet reported it was not an extremely uncommon problem in dogs under four pounds. Since that blockage we found that Science Diet makes a tiny kibble which is easier for her to chew. I did read prior to this incident that these small dogs would chew smaller-sized kibble with no trouble, and that it was best for their teeth. Talk to your vet!
Medically she has had no difficulties with parasites, or disease, although being an "apple head" type Chi, she does snort, and being so close to the ground she tends to wheeze. She is taken to the vet annually to have her teeth cleaned and a full check-up. A good check-up requires cultures, many vets charge you the same fee with or without cultures. If you can find a veterinarian who deals extensively with small dogs, he/she can be your best ally when purchasing and caring for a Chihuahua. If you remember Chihuahuas require a lot more attention to safety than other larger dogs, then you should do fine.
Any time you choose to add a pet to your family you should research FIRST to find out what will work best for your family situation. Good luck and enjoy! These dogs are great, loving, family pets for any RESPONSIBLE pet owner.
firstname.lastname@example.org in California writes:
Small dog with a big attitude.
I have a five-year-old Chihuahua. She's a great watchdog and teams up with my other dog, which is a 120-pound male Cane Corso Mastiff. She is an extremely active dog for her size and loves our children. She does avoid our two-year-old and senses that she will get hurt, but she has no problem playing with my ten- and six-year-old boys. She does like to bark at other dogs and will run to check them out if they are on or near her territory. She does have her Mastiff to back her up and he always looks out for her. The breed is an excellent watchdog for its size. It is very protective and wary of strangers and will bark and at times chase people who get too close to our home.
email@example.com of Cincinnati, OH writes on 2/17/01:
Wonderful pets and companions.
I have been active in the show rings for almost 9 years now, and I have found the Chihuahua to be my favorite breed. As the owner of 16 of these darlings (most are show dogs or finished champions) I am kept quite busy, but this is an easy breed to care for, whether they are smooth or long coat. They love to be held and will lie quietly with you to watch your favorite TV show or movie. But they also like to be the center of attention and are extremely intelligent for such a little dog. They have lots of personality and are quite a lot of fun. My chikids love the little hands of children as much as the larger hands of adults ... they know no strangers and readily approach visitors with tails wagging, after their initial barking that a visitor is at the door. They are good little watch dogs, by the way. Proper socialization is the key to a happy, friendly Chihuahua, and they are quick to housebreak, paper train, or even litter-box train if you start as a pup. This little breed has stolen my heart and they are dearly loved by myself, my three children, and everyone who meets them!
Escapedbdc@yahoo.com of Austin, TX writes on 12/31/00:
Individulaistic, loveable, and darn right cute.
My long hair Chihuahua is six years old, never been sick or had any problem with parasites. He is durable and loves to play. But this is a dog that i have worked with. In most cases Chihuahuas are very protective and are not fond of children. Mine took me two years to get him to the point where he didn't automatically snip at a child. Socializing him was simple but takes a long time. Now he will go to people to get scratched on but will not be picked up by them. He is not a shaky dog like most but that also took time around many strangers. I recomend long hairs or standards to anyone without very young children or mean big dogs. Big dogs in general are fine and cats are wonderful. If you don't treat them like they will break the moment you look at them, they will live much less frightened lives and be a fabulous dog. The other recomendation with getting a chihuahua is to feed them on premium food and not store food. They go to the bathroom much less often with nature's way or advantage, than they do with kibbles and bits. Also DO NOT feed them canned food or soft food.. They have small jaws with big teeth, one tooth lost is a big deal to them. My dog can eat the large chunks of hard food when he has to. Of course his preference is for smaller chunks but too bad for him, he gets to work his jaw more. their thin legs also require them to be thin rather than obese and my dog can jump up on my bed that stands 25 inches tall so jumping is no problem when you don't baby them into being picked up all the time.
CDaehn@aol.com of Alberta, Canada writes on 5/17/00:
Wonderful for the right person.
They make exellent watchdogs, and are very affectionate with lots of personality. They seem to know there own size, and are clannish by reconizing their own breed, and prefer other Chihuahuas over other breeds. They don't make good pets, however, for people who have young children as the child may hurt the tiny dog (average weight is 3-6 pounds). Care must be taken to ensure the breed doesn't jump of furnature, or that it doesn't jump a lot, as this will hurt there patellas, a health problem which plagues the breed. If you do decide to get a Chihuahua, it is in your best interest to get from rescue, or a responsible breeder. If you get one from a breeder, make sure the parents patellas are checked along with heart and eyes, but these don't plague the breed as much as the patella problem. A responsible breeder also sells there puppies when they are ten weeks or older, as they have little fat reserve, and if given to an inexperienced home it may get low blood suger. The Chihuahua will give you years of enjoymant, and should be a well thought out decision, and not an impulse one.
firstname.lastname@example.org writes on 2/11/00:
I have a 2 year old Chihuahua and she is so great and lovable.. She was an abused pup. and I took her as a temporary thing a little over a year ago now she is my best friend and my only child. She is a very lovable warm hearted girl. I have not had any problems with her being around children, but she is very shy around big croweds of people. She will snugle when you need someone to keep you warm and she loves to sit on my lap while I am on the computer..Although I think my favorite thing about her is her sesitivity.When I am crying she will join me in a cry fest. When I am tired she will join me for a nap, and when I am wide awake and want to play she is right there with me.She is always ready and willing to keep me company not matter what I am doing. Not to mention she is a perfect size for an apatment. The one thing about Chihuahua's is that they are small dogs and very sensitive to being alone.They get attatched quickly. We want another Chihuahua to add to our fun.
email@example.com of Olympia, WA writes on 12/17/99:
Watch those youngin's fingers!
This breed of dog is a great companion for a little old lady (like me). Definely NOT a family type dog with small kids. For one thing they are a very small dog and small children can hurt these dogs. These dogs tend to get a bit nippy with small children and strangers. But if you want a little ball of fire to play with, this is the dog to own. Very intelligent and lively. Very snuggley and needs lots of attention. Needs a warm place to live as they don't have much fur covering. Can teach these little dogs just about anything. They like to "talk" with you one on one when you have a good bond with the dog. Teens and above are the best age groug for handling these small dogs. Can't say they make a great guard dog but they are quick to set off an ALARM bark when they hear or see something is not quite right. Excellent personal "lap" dog companion.
firstname.lastname@example.org of U.S. writes on 10/11/99:
Loyal lap sitters.
Chihuahuas are wonderful dogs. they are loyal to their owners, great watchdogs, when raised right they are very out going and love everyone. They come a big variety of colors and there are two coat types - smooth and long. With all of the color you can find a Chihuahua for everyone. Small children should be taught how to handle Chihuahuas to prevent any accidents that might hurt them.
VALOKC@AOL.COM of Oklahoma writes on 10/10/99:
Extremely loyal and faithful. Very loving. Can be owned in homes or apartments. Not a dog to be around small children as they may harm it - though it makes an excellent companion.
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