Chihuahua.

Other Names:

Chi, chi-chi

Price Range:

$500 – $3,000

Size:

Tiny

Dog Group:

Toy

Coat Length:

Short or Long

Energy:

High

Kid Friendly:

Low

Life Expectancy:

12-20 years

Available in these colours:

Characteristics & Tendencies:

TENDENCY TO DIG10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

SNORING75%

75%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

DROOLING10%

10%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

EXERCISE NEEDS25%

25%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

GROOMING NEEDS25%

25%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

BARKING75%

75%

|
LOW

|
MEDIUM

|
HIGH

APARTMENT FRIENDLY

HYPOALLERGENIC

About the Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is a tiny dog with a huge personality. As a national symbol of Mexico, these alert and amusing “purse dogs” stand among the oldest breeds of the Americas, with lineage going back to the ancient kingdoms of pre-Columbian times.

Chihuahuas can have long or short coats. For long coat Chihuahuas, their exteriors are soft to the touch, with fur being generally flat or slightly wavy. It has feathering on its ears, feet and legs, and long, full tails.

FEEDING

How much do Chihuahuas eat?

1/4 – 1/2 cup of food a day

TEMPERAMENT

Are they kid-friendly?

Not recommended for homes with children under 8

EXERCISE

How much exercise?

20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise

LIVING

Do they need a lot of space?

They are ideal city pets

Top health issues

What are the most common health issues for Chihuahuas?

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Pulmonic Stenosis
  • Collapsed Trachea

IN DETAIL

Common Chihuahua diseases & conditions, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in detail:

Feeding

How much does a Chihuahua eat?

Due to their tiny size, Chihuahuas often don’t need a large amounts of food, but rather a high-quality diet. Vet consultation is recommended to determine the best food to feed your Chihuahua. Avoid foods with no or little amounts of food dyes, filler products such as corn and low-quality grains, sugar, preservatives and corn and wheat gluten. These will help mitigate the onset of skin and coat-related conditions, which may be influenced by common allergens including corn and wheat. It is also a good idea to feed your Chihuahua kibble, as opposed to wet or semi-moist dog foods, as these will help keep your dog’s dental health up by keeping his teeth clean. As Chihuahuas are also susceptible to hypoglycemia, it is suggested to feed your pup smaller, frequent meals (around 3-4 times a day) to ensure their blood sugar level does not crash.

Shedding

How often does the fur fall off?

Chihuahuas do shed moderately, but being small, there isn’t that much hair to lose. They are not hypoallergenic breeds, so will not be suitable for those with allergies. The amount of shedding will generally depend on the type of coat the Chihuahua has (single or double), rather than whether their coats are short or long. Double coats tend to shed more than single coats.

Grooming

Are Chihuahuas high maintenance?

The Chihuahua is a wash-and-go dog. Grooming him takes only a few minutes each week. Brush him weekly with a rubber grooming mitt or a brush with short, natural bristles. A fine-toothed flea comb helps remove loose or dead hair.

Chihuahua’s undercoat may come out in little clumps. Regular brushing will help keep shedding under control. With regular brushing, a Chihuahua shouldn’t need a bath more than every month or two. Use a shampoo formulated for dogs so their coats and skin do not dry out. Ears are an important area to check when you are grooming your Chihuahua, so if you smell an odour or see wax, clean the inner ear with a cotton ball, using a cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Avoid going into the depth of the ear, past where you can see. If the ears are dry along the edge, rub a little baby or coconut oil onto them. Some Chihuahuas develop tear stains beneath their eyes. You can carefully wipe the eyes to remove discharge, and there are products available to remove the stains.

Also ensure your Chihuahua’s nails are trimmed short as they often grow quickly. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. The earlier you introduce your Chihuahua to nail trimming the less stressful the experience is. At the same time, check the pads for any foreign objects or injuries.

Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas are prone to poor dental health. Brushing their teeth can help their mouths stay healthy. Brush the teeth at least two or three times a week — daily is better — to remove tartar and bacteria. Start when your puppy is young so he’ll be used to it. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

The two coat varieties of the Chihuahua have slightly different grooming needs. The smooth-coat Chihuahua will need only occasional brushing and regular baths to look dapper, while the longhaired variety should have his coat brushed at least once a week to avoid any tangles or mats.

Exercise

How much exercise does a Chihuahua need?

A Chihuahua should get around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day. The Chihuahua loves to run and play and can usually get enough exercise in a very small space, meaning they are well suited for owners who do not have fenced yards. They should be taken on a daily walk and allowed to roam in an enclosed indoor or outdoor spaces. Simply trotting around following their people is usually enough exercise for this happy breed. Short, slow walks will keep your dog in good weight and condition. Avoid overexerting the Chihuahua. If your dog is panting and working hard to keep up, it’s time to pick him up and carry him home. If their exercise needs are not satisfied, the dog may become anxious, neurotic, and develop a number of other behavioural problems.

Vet Visits

How often should a Chihuahua visit the vet?

Veterinary care is essential to a dog’s health and wellbeing, however the frequency of treatment and checkups will depend on the dog.
Scheduled six-monthly health check visits with your vet are important to ensure your Chihuahua is healthy and happy throughout all life stages. In these annual visits, your vet will complete a physical examination, take your dog’s temperature and check his heartbeat, among other things. Routine maintenance for your dog gives you a chance to track your dog’s growth and development and discuss any concerns with your vet, and forms a key part of preventative care. Chihuahuas are typically most prone to injury, such as in the form of fractures, concussions, choking on small objects as well as being attacked by larger dogs.

Family Suitability

Are Chihuahuas kid-friendly and sociable with humans?

Chihuahuas are not recommended for homes with children under the age of eight, simply because of the chance of injury by a young child due to their tiny size. This breed often bonds to a single person, however are willing to make friends with new people if properly introduced. Expect them to be a little reserved at first, though. Chihuahuas can be timid if they are not properly socialised as puppies. Like every dog, Chihuahuas need early socialisation — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young, to help ensure that your Chihuahua puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Chihuahuas are mistrustful of strangers, which makes them good watchdogs, but they need to learn to meet people in a friendly manner. They are also suited to be city pets, and special care must be taken in cold weather, but Chihuahuas are adaptable — as long as they get lots of quality time in their preferred lap.

Trainability

Are Chihuahuas difficult to train?

Chihuahuas possess loyalty, charm, and big-dog attitude. Even tiny dogs require training, and without it this clever scamp will rule your household like a little Napoleon. The Chihuahua is a very alert little dog of high intelligence. He is eager to please his humans and responds well to positive training practices. Chihuahuas seem well aware of how cute they are and often learn how to get their way. From the very beginning you should enforce the fact that you are in charge. Never allow your Chihuahua puppy to do anything that will be unacceptable in an adult. They can have a bit of a “terrier” temperament, so a firm but gentle hand is necessary when training. They can excel in obedience training and other canine sports.
Chihuahuas are intelligent and fast learners. They can compete in agility and obedience trials with just as much enthusiasm and success as larger dogs. That said, they’re willful little dogs. You’ll be most successful if you can persuade them that competing — or simply doing as you ask — is fun. Use positive reinforcement in the form of praise and food rewards when training your Chihuahua. They do not respond well to harsh treatment.

Compatibility with other pets

Do Chihuahuas get along with other dogs or cats?

Chihuahuas can be unfriendly toward other dogs if they are not socialised when young. Chihuahuas don’t back down from other dogs and this can cause a problem if they encounter a large aggressive dog. They are known to socialise best with fellow Chihuahuas rather than other dog breeds, so they may not do well in a household with a variety of dogs.
With other Chihuahuas, your Chihuahua will generally be happy to have a new friend, and will not become jealous.

Need for company

How often do they need to be around humans?

Personality wise, the Chihuahua tends to bond closely with one or two people. They are a breed that requires alot of time and attention, and may become easily bored if they do not get all of yours! They love their family, and are incredibly loyal and devoted. They are best suited to households where family members will be home often.

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