If you watch television, you've probably seen
celebrities like Paris Hilton toting around tiny dogs with
big poppy brown eyes. These dogs, called Chihuahuas, are
one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. The Chihuahua
first appeared in Mexico and does well in warmer climates.
Of course, a doggy sweater can make one of these small
dogs feel warm and cozy during winter months.
The Chihuahua weighs in as a lightweight at one to six
pounds and stands only about five inches high. These little
dogs come in a wide range of colors, although tan or black and
tan dogs are most common. They have prick ears, an alert
expression, and big, slightly poppy eyes. This breed has both
short haired and long haired varieties.
The American Kennel Club considers
Chihuahuas to be part of the Toy Group. These dogs were bred to
be companion dogs and they excel at this task. This breed hates
to be alone and thrives when it is in the thick of things.
Chihuahuas are ideal apartment dogs, since they do not take
up much room and do not need a ton of exercise. Some people
even train these little guys to use a litter box. This doesn't
mean that a Chihuahua won't enjoy living in a house with a
yard, though. This breed enjoys exercising and playing outdoors
on warm days.
The Chihuahua can sometimes be nippy with small children,
especially if it is accidentally injured and has reason to fear
being handled by them. This breed also tends to be bossy and
easily spoiled, especially if the dog's owners allow it to get
away with aggressive or angry behaviors. If you have other
dogs, you will need to be sure that your Chihuahua does not
bully them. These dogs will pick a fight with much larger dogs,
since they sincerely believe that they have the size and
strength of a Rottweiler. In fact, the Chihuahua is a wonderful
guard dog and will also take on human intruders.
Because they have a tendency to be self centered and badly
behaved, Chihuahuas should receive puppy obedience training.
After all, even a tiny tyrant can be unpleasant to be around.
Puppy classes will help your dog to learn basic obedience, but
they also have another important purpose, socializing your
puppy. He will learn at an early age to get along with people
and other dogs. Despite their size, these dogs are quite
intelligent and do well with obedience training. Some of them
even go on to take agility classes.
Chihuahuas eat very little, but feeding costs can still be a
bit high, since these dogs are often picky eaters. Also, this
breed is so delicate that some dogs have trouble eating hard,
dry food. Chihuahuas are prone to dislocated jaws, fractures,
epilepsy and rheumatism.
Short haired Chihuahuas require very little care. Long
haired Chihuahuas need a bit more grooming, but still do not
need to be brushed more than once a week. With their tiny jaws,
it is no surprise that some of these dogs have dental problems,
so you may also want to brush your dog's teeth daily.
If you want a dog who is small enough to tuck into your
pocket, but has the heart of a much bigger dog, then a
Chihuahua may be the right dog for you.