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The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world and is named for the Chihuahua State in Mexico.
and graceful, the Chihuahua is slightly longer than it is tall. Its
front legs are straight and feature small, dainty feet with cushioned
pads. The hindquarters are muscular. The head has a rounded skull, and
the eyes are full and luminous, offering an expression of sauciness.
The ears are large and held erect, while the moderately short muzzle
is slightly pointed with lean cheeks and jaws. The nose is usually either
self-colored or black, and the teeth meet in a level or scissors bite.
The slightly arched neck slopes gracefully into the shoulders. The tail
is moderately long, and it is carried like a sickle. The gait of the
Chihuahua is swift and firm. The smooth coat variety is soft in texture
and glossy in appearance. The long coat is also soft, and it is either
flat or slightly curly, usually with an undercoat. The long coat also
has fringed ears and a plumed tail. Feathering can be found on feet
and legs, and a large ruff is sometimes found on the neck. The coat
of either variety can be found in any color and be solid, marked, or
Chihuahuas are prized for their devotion and personality. Their alertness, intelligence, and size make them easily adaptable to a variety of environments, including the city and small apartments. While Chihuahuas are often stereotyped as high-strung, correct training and socialization can result in an outstanding companion animal.
Chihuahuas are not well-suited as small children's pets because of their size and physical frailty. However, many Chihuahuas focus their devotion on one person, becoming overly jealous of that person's human relationships. This can be mitigated through socialization. Chihuahuas also tend to have a "clannish" nature, often preferring the companionship of other Chihuahuas over other dogs. Also, Chihuahuas seem to have no concept of their own size, and may fearlessly confront larger animals, which can result in injury. Chihuahuas are sensitive to the cold due to their small body size. Chihuahua owners often dress their dogs in sweaters or coats in cold weather. However longer-haired chihuahuas may be fine without additional protection and in the summer may still be known to pant.
The coat for the smooth Chihuahua is easy to maintain. Simply brush or wipe the coat with a damp cloth occasionally. Caring for the long coat Chihuahua is also quite simple just brush it several times a week with a soft bristle brush. Both types can be bathed about once a month, but be sure to prevent water from getting in the ears. The nails should be trimmed on a regular basis. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. Lively and inquisitive, the Chihuahua gets plenty of exercise indoors, but it does enjoy walking and exploring, and it should be kept on a leash when outside. It is very sensitive to the cold, and it will seek out warmth. A sweater is a good idea on cool days. This breed is very good for apartment living. While it may be tempting to carry this little dog, it should be walked to keep in shape. A body harness is suggested, as it is safer for this dainty breed than a collar.
This breed requires expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. Chihuahuas are also prone to some genetic anomalies, often neurological ones, such as epilepsy and seizure disorders.
Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, are also prone to the sometimes painful condition known as patella luxation and collapsing trachea.
Another genetic abnormality in Chihuahuas and toy breeds is hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. This condition surfaces in young puppies and often results in the death of a puppy by the time that it reaches six months of age. It is thought that this disease is often diagnosed by the pup having an abnormally large head during the first several months of life, but other symptoms are more noticeable (since "a large head" is such a broad description). Chihuahua puppies exhibiting hydrocephalus usually have patchy skull platelets rather than a solid bone, and typically are lethargic and do not grow at the same pace as their siblings. A true case of hydrocephalus can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, though the prognosis is grim.
Chihuahuas are also known for their moleras, a soft spot in their skulls. Chihuahuas are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull. The molera does fill in with age, but great care needs to be taken during the first six months until the skull is fully formed. Many veterinarians are not familiar with Chihuahuas as a breed, and mistakenly confuse a molera with hydrocephalus. The Chihuahua Club of America has issued a statement regarding this often deadly misdiagnosis .
Chihuahuas can also be at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Left unattended, hypoglycemia can lead to coma.
Chihuahuas are also prone to eye infections due to their large, round, protruding eyes and their relatively low ground clearance.
Chihuahuas exhibiting the Merle coloration, or out of merle parents have not been scientifically proven to have any additional health problems other than ones already present in other breeds which carry merle (Australian Shepherds, Dachshunds, etc). The Merle coat pattern can cause deafness if the white coloration is present over the ears. The AKC accepts the merle coloration in Chihuahuas.
Although figures often vary, as with any breed, the average lifespan for a Chihuahua is approximately 8 to 18 years of age.
Chihuahuas are sometimes
picky eaters, and care must be taken to provide them with adequate nutrition.
At the same time, care must be exercised not to overfeed this tiny breed.
Overweight Chihuahuas are prone to joint injuries, tracheal collapse,
chronic bronchitis, and shortened life span.
Chihuahuas were originally thought to be descendants of an ancient, similar, but slightly larger breed associated with royalty in Aztec civilizations known as the Techichi. However, because of the lack of archaeological remains, it is now believed that Chihuahuas were brought to Mexico by Spanish settlers. The most current theory holds that Spanish merchants brought Chihuahuas to Spain by way of their trade routes with China and from there to Mexico. The well documented practice in China of dwarfing both plants and animals is the basis for the theory that Chihuahuas originated there.But another theory is that they originated in Egypt and were traded into Spain and later Mexico.
Chihuahuas were first taken into the United States by American visitors to Mexico.
popularized by Mr. Robert de Guia in the Philippines by giving Mrs.
Regina Florentino a Chihuahua on Dec 3, which immediately became the
National Chihuahua day of the country.
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