Chihuahuas: An Essential Guide For Potential Owners
Are you on the verge of becoming a brand new dog owner? If this is the case, you will definitely want to consider checking out Chihuahuas. This specific breed of dog is actually the smallest, but this doesn’t mean that your dog will be the smallest in the world! They actually vary in size and colors. Therefore, each dog is different and each one has a unique personality! So, what makes the Chihuahua so special? Within this guide, you will be able to learn everything you need to know about this precise dog breed.
A Mysterious History
Throughout the world, each individual has a specific belief regarding the history of this particular breed of dog. Truthfully, there are many mysteries revolving around the Chihuahua, which makes the breed’s origin somewhat unknown. Still, there is some scientific evidence that links the animal’s origin to Mexico. The most believable theory is that these dogs descended from the companion dog, Techichi. This particular type of breed was very popular among the historical Toltec civilization of Mexico.
Over the years, researchers have been able to discover dog toys, which relate specifically to the deer head and apple head types of Chihuahuas. These have commonly been discovered across the continent of North America, with most being discovered from El Salvador to Mexico. In going back in history, the oldest toys were discovered in Veracruz, Mexico at Tres Zapotes. These specific toys are believed to date back to 100 AD! The dogs are also believed to have appeared in Tennessee and Georgia sometime around 1325 AD. It is believed that the relics were carried from Chihuahua, Mexico to the states, when the Casas Grandes Site was destroyed around 1340 AD.
Of course, this specific dog breed is still astoundingly popular and has grown even more so in the previous years! The dog was originally adopted into the American Kennel Club in 1904! From this time since, the dog breed has grown increasingly popular and has made its fair share of appearances in modern media!
A Basic Overview
Overall, the Chihuahuas are instantly recognizable. They’re particularly small dogs with several different varieties. The kennel clubs recognize these as the smallest breed and they also recognize two types, including the long haired and short haired Chihuahuas. Of course, the differentials do not stop there either. In the same sense, these dogs can have two different head formations. Some are blessed with an apple head, while others have a deer shaped head. When it comes to the kennel clubs and the conformation of the breed, only the apple head varieties are recognized.
The Chihuahua will vary in size ranging from 6-9” in height and will weigh around 3-6 pounds by adulthood, but it is not uncommon to find a breed that is a tad bit larger than this size. Sometimes this size can be altered, by a mismanaged diet and inactive lifestyle.
When the Chihuahua is born it will weigh around 2.5-5.5 ounces and by the first week it will weigh 3 ¾-9.5 ounces. By the time the puppy is eight weeks old, it will weigh around 11-33 ounces, so it is slowly growing into a healthy and vibrant adult.
The Chihuahua will reach his fullest potential, by the time he/she turns eighteen months old and will weigh anywhere from 3-6 pounds. You can easily weigh your puppy, by using a food scale, because it will suit his size very well.
These sizes will also vary according to the size of the puppy’s parents, so be sure to keep this in mind, when you are trying to determine how big the canine will be, as an adult. You should start your puppy out with eating a healthy diet and continue this throughout his lifespan. This will keep him active and healthy for a long time to come.
Small Size but Big Personality
The Chihuahua is known for its small size, but says nothing about its personality. These dogs are very feisty and outgoing. They are not even aware of their size, because they will outshine other breeds and that is why they are suitable for competing in competitions.
Genetics play a huge part, in how the dog’s temperament will turn out, so if their parent is bold and feisty, then chances are they will be also. These canines are basically like a human, as far as genetics go, because they will carry on a temperament, whether it is good or bad through the family bloodline. Socialization can also be determined, by the family genetics, as well, so if the parents are very sociable, then the likelihood of the puppy having the same attitude is very high.
Of course, if you are willing to dedicate a lot of time and effort into altering the antisocial behavior, you will find that it is possible. It will require a lot of training and socializing, with other pets and humans.
Health and Potential Problems
In the health category, these dogs are very similar to others. They are healthy generally, but can face a number of different health problems. Some of these problems will be listed below for your convenience.
Born with a Moleras – This is actually the only dog breed, which is born with a somewhat incomplete skull. In the same sense, a lot of these dogs will be born with a soft spot in their skulls, which is often referred to as a moleras. Of course, the incomplete skull isn’t actually a health defect or an abnormality.
It is a natural part of the birthing process. The soft spot is developed, when the dog passes through the birth canal and develops its domed shape forehead. Almost all Chihuahuas are born with the soft spot, so precious care and handling is required, during the first six months! During this period of time, the skull will form fully. In some cases, the soft spot will not fully close and this can lead to safety concerns.
Hypoglycemia – This specific dog breed can also be very prone to hypoglycemia, which is the medical name for low blood sugar. This can present a very dangerous problem for puppies. If the condition is ignored, it can worsen dramatically and lead to even more serious complications, such as coma and potentially even death. During the dog’s early months, it is vital to combat these ailments with frequent meals! This is especially true, when the dog is smaller and leaner than others.
Also, it is a good idea to make sure that you keep a sugar supplement on hand, at all times! Honey, Karo syrup and Nutri-Cal can all be very beneficial and prevent problems. If you need to raise the blood sugar level rapidly, you can apply some of the supplement to the roof of the dog’s mouth. When looking for signs of low blood sugar, you should look for sleepiness, unstable walking and neck spasms. Fainting and seizures can occur, if ignored.
Eye Injuries – When looking at this type of dog, you can instantly see that they have large protruding eyes. Although many dog lovers believe that this is cute and it is, it can also cause problems. This makes the dog very susceptible to eye injures and infection. This can cause tear staining, if you do not take the necessary actions. Wiping the eyes on a daily basis can help to prevent complications and keep the eyes clean and stain free.
Trembling and Shivering – When you notice your Chihuahua trembling and shivering, you should not panic right away. This can be a result of many different things and doesn’t always mean that an illness is present. These dogs can exhibit this type of behavior, when they’re cold, excited or stressed out. Short haired Chihuahuas are much more prone to coldness, so you will need to provide them with a warm blanket or access to the sun’s rays. They’ll also seek warmth on your lap!
Dental Care is a Must – This dog breed is highly prone to dental issues! It is absolutely vital to provide you dog with constant dental care! Make sure to brush their teeth and take them to the vet on a regular basis.
Overfeeding – Although these dogs can be picky eaters, they’re also constant eaters. Once you finally manage to get them something that they like, you will have difficulty trying to get them to stop! With this in mind, these dogs are very prone to obesity. It is absolutely essential to make sure that you prevent over-feeding, at all costs. In the same sense, providing the dog with a sufficient amount of exercise is vital!
Remember that obesity can present a lot of complications and can lead to further health problems. For instance, obesity will result in an increase in the potential for joint injuries. Other obesity related complications include chronic bronchitis, tracheal collapse and even a shorter life span. With these facts, you should understand how important a healthy weight really is!
Average Life Span – When it comes down to it, each individual dog will have a different life span, which is difficult to pinpoint. By keeping the dog healthy and active, it is possible to maintain a longer lifespan. Although the average is around 12 to 20 years, it is possible for Chihuahuas to live longer.
Overall, these dogs are very similar to others and have specific health complications that are common for the breed. Be sure to do your best to curb their complications and your relationship with your dog will blossom.
It is crucial for your furry friend that you develop a healthy and suitable feeding schedule for him. Of course, when the puppy is weaning from the mother’s milk, you should let him eat, as much as he wants to. This is called free-fed, which means that he can eat, whenever he feels hungry. This will not only suffice his appetite, but give him time to adjust to this huge change.
You should provide him with a dry puppy food that contains calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins. You can mix a little warm water into the dry puppy food kibbles, so that it will soften for easy chewing and swallowing.
Attempt to get the 4 week old puppy to feed at least 4 times a day and continue this until the he turns 6 months old. You will then decrease him down to 3 times a day and continue this feeding schedule until he is 1 year old. At this time, you will decrease him down to 2 feedings a day and continue this feeding schedule throughout his lifetime.
Always supply your puppy with an endless amount of fresh water and provide him easy access to it.
Establish a Healthy Environment
If you’re intent on becoming an owner of a Chihuahua, you will want to make sure that you design and develop a healthy environment for your new friend. Remember that these dogs are very small and might not thrive in an environment with bigger dogs. Introducing them to bigger dogs should be a slow and carefully handled process. On the other hand, these dogs aren’t necessarily great for outdoors. Although it is possible for them to make it outdoors in some sense, they’re better suited for indoor environments.
Remember that the overall size of the animal will make them prey for bigger predators, such as birds and other dogs. At the same time, these dogs aren’t afraid of anything and will bark at everything they come across. This can cause complications, if you have nearby neighbors. Due to the dog’s size, a lot of protective fencing is ineffective. If there is a way, the Chihuahua will find his or her way out of the fence! If you’re going to try and keep them in an enclosed space outdoors, it is vital to ensure that it is completely enclosed! If there is an escape route, he or she will find it and you will wind up very lonely. Low fencing should be avoided, because the dog will jump it!
Overall, these dogs are best for indoors.
The Mexican Jumping Bean
When it comes to the behavior of these animals, they’ve very similar to Mexican jumping beans! These dogs will jump, whenever they get the chance. They see no fear and will jump from high heights. In fact, if you’re not careful, your dog will jump right out of your arms! If they start getting anxious in your arms, you will want to make sure to put them down immediately or grab on tight, because they could leap for it, without notice.
If you’re going to allow the dog to sit on your bed or couch, it is essential to take further precautions. These dogs have been known to leap from these types of furniture, as well! Remember that a fall can potentially cause them to break their leg! Those that intend for their dogs to lay with them on the couch will want to consider purchasing a set of stairs! This will give the dog an alternative path, instead of flopping to the floor.
Where to Find a Chihuahua
If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these adorable little mutts, you will want to make sure that you check out the right dealers and locations! Remember that there are many cruel puppy mills that are only interested in their money and nothing else! These dealers are dangerous and put their animals through harsh treatment, in order to keep the money flowing in. Instead, you will want to make sure to check with the AKC or ACA. Be sure that the dealer you choose is certified and registers their puppies.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t be afraid to check with one of your local adoption agencies. Sometimes, it is best to select an older dog, which has already matured. By checking out your local animal shelter, you will be able to find dogs of all ages. This can help you find the exact dog that you want, while also helping out! This can provide you with more of a rewarding experience, while also allowing you to bring home a little bundle of joy.
Your Chihuahua is most likely going to be an indoor pet, so he will require several accessories to make his life healthier and happier. A puppy bed will be the first thing that you will need to purchase, along with his food and water bowl. The bed does not need to be very large, because he will not get much larger than 6 pounds.
A smaller bed will be more suitable, because it will provide him with comfort and just enough room, so that he feels safe, when he is laying in it. You want him to sleep in his bed, so try to suffice his needs, as much as possible. They will always need a warm and clean place to sleep. Provide him with a small cushioned blanket, because they love to burrow underneath things. Do not sleep with your Chihuahua, because they are so tiny that they risk being crushed, by the human.
A harness will be the next accessory on your list. A harness will be more suitable for the Chihuahua, because of his hyperactive temperament. You definitely do not want him to jerk on the leash and injure his neck, so a soft fabric harness will be your best option to prevent this from happening.
The leash should be extremely lightweight, since the canine’s size is very small. This leash will not hinder your dog’s activity, since it only weighs around 3-6 ounces. If you plan on taking your Chihuahua everywhere you go, you will need a travel crate. Remember this is a very sociable breed, so he will be very active and want to be introduced to everyone he meets. This will offer your furry friend a safe quarters to stay, so that he does not get stepped on or pest others. Make sure that it is large enough for him to move around, because he still may want to be a little active.
Since the Chihuahua is very apt to be cold all the time, you will need to purchase him a doggie sweater. This sweater will be extra small and should be constructed out of soft knitted fabric.
Make sure that you select the perfect size, because you do not want the puppy to have access to the fabric, since he may very well chew on it. Be sure to grab a lint roller, when you are in the puppy store, because your Chihuahua does have the tendency to shed. Choose the stickiest roller that you can find, since the hair will hang onto your clothing, due to static cling.
Since your Chihuahua is so tiny, you will need to purchase puppy pads for the housetraining task. Of course, this will take every bit of patience that you can sum up, in order to have a successfully trained puppy.
The first step of the housetraining process is to monitor your puppy’s feeding schedule and as soon as he completes his feeding, you should rush him to his pad. Then follow up in 30 minutes, until he finally eliminates on the puppy pad. You will have to be diligent throughout this process, in order to pull this off, because if you are not, your puppy will not have the opportunity to learn properly.
Always place the pads in the same area, so they will become familiar with the spot. If you do take him outside, be sure to take him to the same spot every single time. You should take him out during the nighttime hours, as well, because he will not be able to hold his bladder for more than an hour. The older he grows, the longer he will be able to hold his bladder and bowels, so you will not need to take him out after dark once he becomes an adult.
At the end of the day, Chihuahuas can be an exciting dog to own and will provide you with unconditional love and enjoyment. As long as give them proper care, love and attention, your dog will be very loyal to you! Since they’re one of the smallest dog breeds, they can be very suitable for various individuals and environments. Overall, anyone that is looking for a dog should definitely consider inviting one of these dogs into their home!