Did you know?
Pictures of dogs resembling the modern Chihuahua appear in ancient paintings in Mexico.
Chihuahua (short coat)
Even the tiniest Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart. – Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Dogs: The Wolf Within
Although he was named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico where he was ‘discovered’ 100 years ago, several other countries including China and Egypt have also laid claim to this little dog. The Chihuahua was bred to be a pampered lapdog and companion, and he certainly excels in this role!
Archaeology and folklore back up Mexico’s claim to the little dog. Dogs that appear to be Chihuahuas have been found in the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the ruins of Chichen Itza, and on the Yucatán. These finds pre-date the appearance of Europeans or other outside cultures in Mexico.
The most widely held theory today is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, companion dogs of the Toltecs of Mexico. Depictions of the dogs on pottery date back to 300 BC.
Photos displayed courtesy of Monica Giordano, Chihuahua Palace, Quebec
The Short-Coated Chihuahua is believed to have been developed by crossing the Mexican dogs with the black-and-tan toy terrier. The Chihuahua was bred to be a pampered lapdog and companion, and he certainly excels in this role!
The Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world, and the breed standard specifies a weight rather than height. Dogs should be absolutely no more than 6 pounds (2.7 kg). The preferred weight ranges from 2 to 4 pounds (1-2 kg). The short, smooth coat may be any solid colour, marked (a solid colour with markings of another solid colour) or splashed (irregular patches of solid colour on white or white on a solid colour). Required grooming is minimal.
The dogs appear to have an “apple head”. That is, the head is rounded with close-set eyes, and relatively short ears and legs. Although the Canadian breed standard recognizes only the Apple head, there is a second type particularly popular in the United States that is known as the “deer head” Chihuahua. Deer heads have flat-topped heads, more widely set eyes, larger ears, and longer, more slender legs.
Because of his size, the Short-Coated Chihuahua requires protection from cold winter weather and extremes of heat. He loves to sunbathe and may overdo it!
Except for his coat, the Short-Coated Chihuahua is identical to the Long-Coated Chihuahua and can be born in the same litter. Prized for their small size, these dogs fit well in environments that are generally not “dog-friendly” such as apartments.
This is a lively, alert, affectionate breed, who wants to go everywhere with his owner. This has given rise to the nickname, “Velcro pet”! Chihuahuas want to be petted, talked to, and spoiled constantly. Because they are so small, they are often victims of “small dog syndrome”, in which owners feel no need to provide training and socialization routinely provided for larger dogs.
Having a strong dash of “terrier attitude”, Chihuahuas make good watchdogs. They like to show who’s boss and are often quite yappy. His personality has led to another affectionate nickname given to him in his home country, “the Mexican Rottweiler”! The breed tends to be fiercely loyal to one particular person and, without training and socialization, can become overprotective of the person, especially around other people or animals.
The breed standard notes that the Chihuahua has a “saucy” expression, and his bright eyes, dainty lines, and perky appearance endear him to many. He does best if socialized early and is definitely an indoor dog.
Small children must be very careful when handling him as his tiny size makes him susceptible to injury during rough play. Poorly socialized or fearful Chihuahuas can be easily provoked to attack or bite, so are generally unsuitable for homes with small and undisciplined children. The Chihuahua has also been known to hurt himself when jumping from the back of a couch to the floor or leaping out of his owner’s arms to the floor. Remember his size!
The Chihuahua is very intelligent although he does have a mind of his own and can be stubborn to the point of being obstinate. Training should be mandatory for the development of good manners, and will require patience, persistence and practice on the part of the dog and the owner.
Chihuahuas love their dens and often burrow themselves in pillows, clothes hampers, and blankets. They are often found under the covers or at the bottom of the bed so care must be taken to ensure the animals are not accidentally injured.