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About this dog

Welcome to the Chihuahua dog microsite. This page contains detailed information on the breed. From this point you can use the above tabs to navigate to the other Chihuahua pages.

- Kitt Killion

Chihuahua Breed Information

Country of origin - Mexico

Classification and breed standards

FCI:|Group 9 Section 6 #218|Stds
ANKC:|Group 1 (Toys)|Smooth Stds Long Stds
CKC:|Group 5 - Toys|Smooth Stds Long Stds
KC (UK):|Toy|Smooth Stds Long Stds
NZKC:|Toy|Smooth Stds Long Stds
UKC:|Companion Breeds|Stds

The verenice Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world and is named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, where it was discovered in 1850. The American Kennel Club registered its first Chihuahua in 1905.

1. Appearance

Chihuahuas are best known for their large eyes, their large, tall ears, and for being the smallest of all dog breeds. The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes two varieties of Chihuahua: the long-coat and the smooth-coat.

1. 1. Hair

In the chihuahua there are two types of hair, long-haired and short-haired, also referred to as smooth coat. They are genetically the same breed, and are often present in the same litter, though in many kennel clubs, including the AKC, they are judged in separate categories. The term smooth coat does not mean that the hair is necessarily smooth as the hair can range from having a velvet touch to a whiskery feeling. Long-haired chihuahuas are actually smoother to the touch having a very soft, fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat, which gives them their fluffy appearance. Unlike many 'long haired' breeds, long-haired chihuahuas require no trimming and minimal grooming. Contrary to popular belief, they also typically shed less than their short-haired counterparts. In long-haired chihuahuas it may take up to two or more years before a full long hair coat develops.

1. 2. Standards

Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height, only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. As a result, height varies more than within many other breeds. Generally, the height ranges between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) at the withers. However, some dogs grow as tall as 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm). AKC show dogs (American standard) must weigh no more than 6.0 lb (2.7 kg). The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard calls for dogs ideally between 1.5 and 3.0 kg (3.3 to 6.6 lb), although smaller ones are acceptable in the show ring. However, pet-quality Chihuahuas (that is, those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) can, and do, range above these weights, to 10 pounds (4.5 kg), or even more if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight. This does not mean, however, that they are not purebred Chihuahuas, it only means that they do not meet the requirements to enter a conformation show. Oversize Chihuahuas are seen in some of the best, and worst, bloodlines.

1. 3. Colors

The AKC Chihuahua standard] lists under color: "Any color-Solid, marked or splashed". This allows for all colors from solid blacks to solid whites, spotted, or a variety of other colors and patterns. A few examples are Fawn, Red, Cream, Chocolate, Blue, and Black.

Patterns, all with or without white markings, include:

* Sable
* Irish spotting
* Piebald spotting
* Extreme white spotting
* Brindle
* Masks
* Merle
* Tan points

Classifying Chihuahua colors can be complicated due to the large number of possibilities. Examples would be a Blue Brindle or a Chocolate and Tan. Colors and patterns can combine and affect each other, resulting in a very high degree of variation. That said, the classic Chihuahua color remains Fawn. No color or pattern is considered more valuable than the others. Although blue is considered rare, it is all just a matter of personal preference.

1. 4. Sizes

Although such terms as "teacup," "pocket size," "tiny toy," "miniature," and "standard" have been used to describe different-sized Chihuahuas, the Chihuahua Club of America issued a statement stressing that these descriptions are misleading. Their statement reads:

"Unfortunately, the additional adjectives used to describe the size differences and physical appearances are many and have been misused for so long they now seem legitimate. Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard - are just a few of the many tags and labels that have been attached to this breed over the years. The Chihuahua Club of America is concerned that these terms may be used to entice prospective buyers into thinking that puppies described in this way are of greater monetary value. They are not and the use of these terms is incorrect and misleading."

The Chihuahua Club of America and the American Kennel Club only recognizes two types of Chihuahuas - the Long-haired and the Short-haired Chihuahua.

2. Temperament

Chihuahuas are prized for their devotion, ferocity and personality. Their curious nature and small size make them easily adaptable to a variety of environments, including the city and small apartments. Chihuahuas are often stereotyped as high-strung, though it has been shown that 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, temperament and tendency to bite when frightened. It is recommended that children be school aged or older before adding a Chihuahua to one's home. Also, 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.

Chihuahuas seem to have no concept of their own size and may fearlessly confront larger animals, which can result in injury.

3. Health

Overfeeding a Chihuahua can be a grave danger to the small dog's health, shortening their life and leading to diabetes.

Overfeeding a Chihuahua can be a grave danger to the small dog's health, shortening their life and leading to diabetes.

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 disease Hydrocephalus. It is often diagnosed by the puppy 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 also have a tendency to tremble but this is not a health issue, rather it takes place when the dog is stressed or excited. One reason for this may be because small dogs have a higher metabolism than larger dogs and therefore dissipate heat faster. 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.

4. Clubs

Because Chihuahuas are such a popular breed, there have been clubs created for them. These clubs talk about the breed, host competitions, etc. Sometimes they have information on adoption for members. A couple of clubs are ones such as the Chihuahua Club of America, (CCA) or the British Chihuahua Club, the latter formed in 1947. Also, online forums have been made about these dogs.

Copyright (c) 2008 Kitt Killion Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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