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Chihuahua

Small, full of personality, looks great in a sweater…yes, we’re talking about Chihuahuas. Get ready for people to “ohhhh” and “awww” over your pooch—and rest assured, your Chi will love it.

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Animalia Team
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    Country of Origin

    Mexico

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    Breed Group

    Companion dogs

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    Height

    Male 5-9 In

    Female 4-7 In

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    Weight

    Male 3-6 Ib

    Female 2-6 Ib

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    Life Span

    14-18 years

In a Nutshell

This popular companion dog is loyal (sometimes fiercely), adventurous, playful, and famously adorable. And, as is the case with other little dogs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Chihuahua who doesn’t know how to amp up the cuteness to get what they want. This dog will follow you everywhere and won’t mind riding along in tote bags when you go shopping. In fact, nothing thrills this breed like being on the lap of their family member. Thanks to their unmatched personalities, they’re one of the most popular pets globally.

Life With a Chihuahua

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Energy level

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Trainability Level

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Amount of Shedding

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Tendency of Barking

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Exercise Needs

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    Home Alone

    Couldn’t care less

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    Living Arrangements

    Apartment will do

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    Kid Friendly

    Yes

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    Pet Friendly

    No

Looks & Personality

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Chihuahuas, commonly seen as a Mexican national symbol, are a tiny dog breed that boasts a huge personality. They have a Terrier-like demeanor, apple-round head with erect ears and luminous eyes. Chihuahuas can have either a short-haired or a longhaired coat, but the color varies widely. 

Chihuahuas are courageous, lively, intelligent, and very loyal. They have a strong will and a tendency to devotedly control their territory. While they are a charming breed, “Chis” (as owners affectionately call them), they have a tendency to be a bit sassy. The Chihuahua Club of America actually refers to the breed’s expression as “saucy.”

They like to be close to their owner, often underfoot. Chihuahuas are also good watchdogs thanks to their stranger danger tendencies. More than just a “purse dog,” Chihuahuas are a very alert breed that loves to be on the go with their owners. Their compact size combined with their confident nature also make them ideal urban pets. 

Because they are loyal and animated, chihuahuas make great guard dogs. They are a vocal breed, and are wary of outsiders, so if someone approaches your home or aims to intrude, your chihuahua is going to make sure everyone knows about it.

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A tip from a vet

Chihuahuas are usually healthy dogs, but their short coats make them vulnerable to cold. Despite their size, Chihuahuas require 20-30 minutes of daily exercise for mental stimulation and healthy development.
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A tip from a trainer

Never let your Chihuahua be your pack leader as their big personalities can lead them to dominate your life, if you let them. Be consistent in your expectations and use positive reinforcement training. They can develop undesirable behaviors if they're bored, and even become picky eaters. Establish house rules early on and be consistent in your training.
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Did You Know

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    Despite their small size, Chihuahuas are prone to having a bit of a Napoleon complex, and often see themselves as larger than they actually are.

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    Chihuahuas can be quite long-lived. They can get up to age 20 with proper care. That’s pretty old for a dog!

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    The chihuahua breed has a lot of diversity. There are seven different chihuahua breeds, and there are multiple chihuahua breed mixes.

In The News

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While Chihuahuas have been a popular breed since the 1900s, their fame reached new heights when Angel was featured as Chloe in the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The dog demonstrates her intelligence and agility by performing several tricks that an ordinary pet would struggle to do. Angel is reported to have been dumped by her original owner and rescued by the Beverly Hills Chihuahua trainer. If you haven't watched the movie, it would be a nice treat to see the extensive skills of this tiny dog.

Famous Chihuahua Owners

Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Madonna, Reese Witherspoon

The History Behind the Breed

While Chihuahuas seem to have been around for a long time, their precise origin is unclear. Artifacts recovered from different lost civilizations show decorations of dogs with similar appearances to the current-day Chihuahua. However, many dog enthusiasts believe that the roots of Chihuahua begin in Mexico. In the prehistoric era, about a thousand years ago, the Toltecs dominated Mexico and bred Techichi as their preferred dog. Techichi, the ancestor of present-day Chi, was much larger and heavier. However, in the 12th century, the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs and refined their favorite dog breed, Techichi, into a smaller and lighter species. This smaller version of Techichi became so ingrained in the Aztec culture that it formed part of the Montezuma fabled treasures. The breed lived in the remote Mexican villages even after the collapse of the Aztec civilization in the 15th century and colonization by the Spanish. In the 1800s, Americans developed an interest in this hardy tiny dog that survived two civilizations. At this particular time, the majority of them were found in the State of Chihuahua. Later in the 1940s, bandleader Xavier Cugat gave the breed global popularity as he led the dog in with one hand and directed the orchestra with the other.

If a Chihuahua Could Talk…

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“As a matter of fact, I’m only walking 3 feet away… I’m not even considering leaving the room!”

A Quick Anatomy Lesson

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All in all, Chihuahuas generally are a healthy breed, and have the ability to outlive the majority of dogs. Despite their physicality, they’re resilient as it’ll come to sickness. Yet, it is important to be aware of possible health problems you may be faced with.

Common Health Problems

What about your Chihuahua?