BREED DESCRIPTION & INFORMATION

Long Coat Chihuahua Puppy
Christmas Wishes at 8 weeks old
Photo courtesy of A Wish for the Perfect Chihuahua

Breed Registries:


Note: The breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

* — The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.


Origin:

Mexico

Weight:

1 to 6 lbs (.5 to 3 kg) (Ideal weight is 2 to 4 lbs (1 to 2 kg).)

Breed Profile:

Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog in the world. They are in fact the only "natural" Toy breed. That is, they are naturally small and aren't a result of "breeding-down" larger breeds, as are other Toy breeds.

The Chihuahua may be either the Smoothcoat (short) or Longcoat variety. In Canada and the United Kingdom, Smoothcoats and Longcoats are considered two separate breeds. However, in the United States there is no such distinction. It is believed that the Longcoat version of the Chihuahua was achieved by crossing the Shortcoat with other Toy breeds, such as the Papillon, the Pekingese, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Pomeranian.

In general, the Chihuahua is graceful, energetic, quick-moving, and sometimes described as having "Terrier-like" qualities, such as being alert and observant. He can be bold with other dogs much larger than himself and can also be very protective of his family. He is very loyal and wary of strangers which makes him a good watch dog (not guard dog!).

The longcoat is soft and either flat or slightly curly. The ears should be fringed with feathering seen on the feet and legs. He also has a ruff on the neck and a plumed tail.

A Note about Teacup Chihuahuas:

A Chihuahua of the "Teacup", "Toy", "Pocket", or any other name meaning "extra small" variety is not a known breed but rather the name given by some people for the smallest or runt of a litter. These tiny dogs tend to be more fragile and may be have additional health issues over and above the larger dogs of a litter. All breeders may occasionally have an unusually small Chihuahua; however, a reputable breeder does not breed specifically for this trait.

Health Issues

The Chihuahua's lifespan is quite long, often 16 years and more. However, like all breeds, some genetic/hereditary problems are found in the breed, including: Patellar Luxation, Eye problems, Hypoglycemia, heart disease, and tooth and gum ailments.

Many Chihuahuas, though not all, are also born with a soft spot on the top of the head, known as the Molera. This is the same as that found in human babies. The presence of a molera does not mean the Chihuahua has a medical problem. For additional information, see Molera Statement from the Chihuahua Club of America.

The Chihuahua is also known to shiver or tremble — this is not a health issue but rather a sign of stress or excitement.

If you are considering the adoption of a Chihuahua puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. Recommended testing for Chihuahuas include eyes, heart and patellas. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Chihuahua, the CHIC* database includes health screenings for:

  • Congenital Cardiac Database
  • Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
  • Patellar Luxation
* CHIC - The Canine Health Information Center - "is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers." To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

Additional Health Resources:

Only Natural Pet Store

Breed Standards

AKC CHIHUAHUA DVD
18 Min. DVD Edition, Published by the AKC
Discussion of the breed standard: good structure and movement, acceptable colors, correct head, size. Developed for breeders, exhibitors and judges.
Available from Dogwise.com

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from Dogwise.com



Additional Information

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More