Picture of Chihuahua
from AKC website.
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog and is named for the Chihuahua region in Mexico.
The standard recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) is only known as “Chihuahua”, but they come in two varieties, the longcoat and the smoothcoat. According to AKC standards, Chihuahua should not weigh more than six pounds, although they often weigh more. They come in many colors, and are known for their large erect ears.
Although they are prized for their devotion and personality, chihuahuas are not well-suited as small children’s pets because of their size and physical fragility. However, their alertness, intelligence and size make them easily adaptable to a variety of environments, including the city and small apartments, and make for usually long lifetimes of 15 years or more of loving companionship. They are often stereotyped to be yappy and fragile, but if the dog is trained correctly, they make good companions and pets.
Many Chihuahuas tend to focus their love and devotion on one person, becoming overly jealous of that person’s human relationships. Male chihuahuas can be extremely difficult to house break especially if left unaltered (not neutered). Most Chihuahuas are very bold and love attention. Chihuahuas seem to have no concept of their own size, and may fearlessly confront larger animals, so owners may want to keep their Chihuahua on a leash whenever they go outside (to prevent their little dog from being harmed).
Chihuahuas are easily confused with a prey animal (like squirrels and rabbits) by large dogs, and even other animals like predatory birds (ex. hawks and owls), and other hunting creatures like coyotes, so leaving a chihuahua outdoors unsupervised is extremely dangerous for these little dogs. Chihuahuas also have a “clannish” nature (basically a breed loyalty) and may prefer the companionship of another Chihuahua over other dog breeds. Despite their reputation for being a house pet, Chihuahuas are highly curious, and do enjoy exploring the sights and smells of the outdoors, such as parks and hiking trails.
They are thought to be descendants of an ancient, similar, but slightly larger breed associated with royalty in Aztec civilizations known as the Techichi. They are the oldest canine breed in North America.
This breed requires expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. They are also prone to some genetic anomalies, often neurological ones, such as seizure disorders and patella luxation. They are also known for their moleras and sensivity to eye infections.
“Teacup” and “Deer-faced” Chihuahuas
In recent years there has been an increase in the use of the terms “teacup” (or tea cup) and “deer” (or deer-faced) to describe Chihuahuas.
Along with “mini” and “tiny toy”, “teacup” is sometimes used to describe Chihuahuas and other dogs that are very small. These and similar terms are not officially used by any kennel club or reputable breeder. Chihuahuas naturally vary in size, and very small Chihuahuas are often runts, unhealthy, or undernourished, or, if otherwise healthy, may have shortened life spans and other health problems due to extreme dwarfing. They are not normally suitable for breeding, and may require special care. Some breeders of small Chihuahuas increase the prices of the Chihuahuas, arguing that the smaller they are, the more they are worth. Most reputable breeders strongly disagree both with the pricing and with the breeding for smaller animals.
“Deer” or “deer-faced” are terms that are sometimes used to describe Chihuahuas that do not have the breed-standard apple-domed appearance. These terms are also unofficial and have no real meaning.