Dog Breed profiles
Chihuahua (short haired) Breed Profile
Chihuahua (short haired) fact file
KC Group: Toy
Height: There is no height specified in the breed standard, but in general they should stand at 15 - 23cm
Weight: 1.8 - 2.7kg
Average lifespan: Around 14 years
Temperament: Spirited and intelligent
Good with children?: Seek breeder advice
Exercise requirement: Little
Good guard dogs?: Would bark
Moulting level: Medium
Colours: Any colour or mixture of colours but never merle (dappled).
Jogging partner: No
The Chihuahua is a hardy little dog with few hereditary issues. However, due to his minute size, he is more at risk of injury than larger breeds. The following conditions are known:
- Patella luxation.
- Heart problems.
- Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).
- Some incidences of epilepsy in old age.
Patella luxation is a hereditary condition where the dog’s kneecap slides out of place, causing the leg to lock, with the foot held off the ground. It is a common condition in small breeds and varies in severity.
Hypoglycaemia occurs mainly in Chihuahua puppies and very small Chihuahuas. The liver can’t store glycogen properly meaning that blood sugar levels fluctuate, resulting in the body becoming deprived of essential nutrients.
Chihuahuas, like babies, are born with a soft spot on the top of their skull (where the bones have not yet come together and fused), called a molera. Quite often the molera doesn’t close until the puppy is several months old, and sometimes (but rarely) not at all. Take care that your Chihuahua doesn’t sustain a bump on this area of his head.
There are no compulsory health tests for the Chihuahua. However Chihuahua breed clubs are encouraging breeders to test parent dogs for luxating patella and dogs with the condition should not be bred from.
- Cheeky and spirited.
- Intelligent and feisty.
- The Chihuahua is an indoor breed who loves his creature comforts.
- His size means that he can be a ‘take anywhere dog’, and he will gladly go, but remember he is not a ‘handbag dog’.
- He will derive much enjoyment from walks, but is equally happy tearing around the garden.
- The Chihuahua tends to bond very closely with one family member.
- Not an ideal breed for families with small children; the Chihuahua’s size makes him a popular candidate for being picked up, which he won’t appreciate in excess.
- Not best suited to a boisterous household. While this little character is all dog, he can be unintentionally injured quite easily by those larger than him.
- He can be a vocal chap and will make an excellent watchdog, often alerting his owner to visitors before they even arrive!
- The Chihuahua will happily live with other dogs if socialised early. Take care if you expect him to live with bigger breeds.
- Thrives in his owner’s company.
- Very intelligent and will soon pick up commands.
- Short-haired Chihuahuas need nothing more than a brush over once a week.
- He is naturally cautious of strangers, but once your Chihuahua is satisfied that there is no threat, he will respond happily. Start socialising your Chihuahua as soon as possible to avoid any yappiness.
- The Chihuahua has large eyes and because he is so small and close to the ground can easily get grit and dust in them. Check and clean his eyes on a regular basis to avoid irritation and infection.
- Some Chihuahuas lose their teeth as they get older. Clean teeth regularly to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
- Take care, as your Chihuahua puppy will get under your feet to start with, but he will soon learn that this is not a good idea!
- Don’t let your Chihuahua jump on and off the furniture as this could damage his little joints.
- Manageable size.
- Doesn’t require a lot of exercise.
- Relatively healthy.
- Dainty stature makes him vulnerable.
- Not suitable for busy households or young children.
- Can be a ‘one man dog’.
Did you know?
- The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world.
- They are known to snort (or reverse sneeze) when they’re overexcited, alarmed, or drink too fast.
- The Chihuahua’s origins are shrouded in mystery; some claim it is an ancient Mexican breed, while others believe the Chihuahua came from China.
- The first dog to dine in the House of Commons was a Chihuahua — he wore a diamond collar for the occasion.