The origin of the Chihuahua dog breed is not very clear. However, it is thought that the ancestor of this small dog is the techichi, an ancient breed that lived in the Tula region and whose history seems to date back to the Toltec civilisation between the 10th and 13th centuries. In the religion of the ancient people of Central America, these little dogs had the role of guides to the afterlife for the souls of the dead and were therefore sacrificed. It was in fact the natives of the region of the same name in Mexico who captured and trained them. Unfortunately, there are writings dating back to the 1500s that mention small dogs that the Aztecs sold as food.
The Chihuahua is considered to be the smallest dog breed in the world and, imagine, it bears the name of the largest state in the Republic of Mexico: “Chihuahua”. In fact, the first breeding farms of this breed were established in Mexico. The original name of the breed is Chihuahua toy and Chihuahueno, and it comes in both long and short coats.
According to other researchers, the Chihuahua is a dog born from a series of crosses with the Chinese dog and it was the Chinese who imported it to America, where it is one of the most widespread breeds. The first examples of this breed arrived in Europe at the end of the 1800s. It is mainly a companion dog, but it is also an excellent watchdog, not as far as defence is concerned due to its small size, but it can show unpredictable courage, it is always vigilant and attentive, wary of strangers and able to signal suspicious noises or an unknown person.
Character of the Chihuahua dog breed
The Chihuahua has a very strong character and temperament despite its size. It is very fond of cuddles and is affectionate, but only becomes particularly attached to its owner. It can be affectionate with other members of the family, but it reserves all its love for its owner, who becomes its leader, is devoted, faithful and follows it through all circumstances.
It is very good at being spoilt, indeed it is capable of finding every stratagem to obtain this result. He is not a very docile dog, he is very jealous of his possessions, and must be accustomed to understand that he is not the leader of the pack, but his master, and often tends to overrule masters who are too uncertain or insecure. It must be perfectly educated and socialised from puppyhood, without falling into the temptation of humanising it too much. However, it is easy to manage, once it has understood who the leader is, it is habitual and attentive.
It is playful and cheerful but does not get on too well with small children, towards whom it is wary. On the other hand, it is a good playmate for older children who, however, must consider the dog’s fragility in the various games. He gets on well with other dogs of his breed, even males, and if he is used to them from an early age, also with cats and dogs of other species. He enjoys the company of other dogs, as they form small, well-hierarchical packs.
It is ideal as a house dog, it adapts immediately, does not have too many demands and likes to be comfortable and warm; it is not difficult to find it under blankets or pillows, where it creates a small space where it is quiet and feels safe. However, he does need to run and move outdoors, so a couple of walks a day are recommended. If you work outside and have to leave your dog alone for a few hours, the Chihuahua is the right dog because it can cope well with solitude. However, it would be very happy to have the company of another dog or cat.
Appearance of the Chihuahua dog breed
The Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world and is quite tiny; its height ranges from 16 to 22 centimetres and its weight from 1 to 3 kilograms. Its physique is well-proportioned, robust and compact. The female is generally longer than the male. The tail forms a circle or semicircle facing the lumbar region.
The skull is round, apple-shaped, the eyes are large and protruding with a very sweet and thoughtful expression. Their colour is always dark. The ears are straight and open, large, with a low hairline and rounded tips.
There are two types of Chihuahuas, short-haired and long-haired. The coat is smooth, silky, short, long. The colours and shades can be many: fawn, white, cream, black, silver, sand, brown, steel blue, with or without patches. The most common are black and white, chocolate, silver grey.
Health and care of the Chihuahua dog breed
Normal-sized Chihuahuas are usually strong and robust. Unfortunately, a certain type of selection has too often been favoured, which has led to various health problems. Efforts have been made to make smaller and smaller dogs, to oversize the eyes and to make the muzzle shorter. The result is that this breed has eye problems, respiratory and dental problems. In addition, it is difficult for smaller dogs to fight off infections and diseases. In addition, one must be very careful with viral diseases, which cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and can be very dangerous for such small dogs.
The Chihuahua suffers from both heat and cold. For the cold, it is sufficient to cover the dog with a coat for walks in winter. As for the heat, this breed could show rather major problems in environments that are too hot and humid due to the morphology of its respiratory system which is too short to effectively cool the air that enters its lungs.
It has a life expectancy of 16 to 17 years.
With regard to the care of its coat, whether short or long, it is sufficient to brush it once a week to have it always in order. A bath only when it is really necessary.
It is necessary to take good care of the diet, it must be balanced and controlled and it is good to avoid giving this small dog samples of our food or snacks. For him it can be the equivalent of a meal. Good quality dry food is preferable.