Dog breed info
Weight: 2 — 6 lbs
Height: 5” — 9”
AKC Rank 2008 #12
Lifespan: 15—18 yrs
Dog Breed Info - The Chihuahua
The Odd Couple
A Chihuehua and a frog.
This little dog is one of the smallest of the breeds. They have big round eyes and huge ears, almost out of proportion for the rest of the dog. This dog looks extremely fragile like it will tip over, but in fact it is strong for its size. The breed comes in a long and short hair version. You’ll see the short hair most often.
The breed comes in mostly various shades of brown to tan to light tan and sometimes a silverish tone as well as black and white mixes are found.
Not the easiest dog to train. Be patient, keep trying. Try using a clicker with positive reinforcement. Try clicker training and see a difference in how fast they learn. Get a clicker for around $3 at a pet store.
Want to crate train your Chihuahua? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.
The Chihuahua and puppies can sometimes be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.
If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.
The Chihuahua needs to be heavily socialized from birth and continuously from that point forward. Basic training should start at around 4 to 5 weeks of age. They can be aggressive and nippy if not handled right as puppies. This dog will be highly protective of his owner and will “tolerate” other people, generally, Some can be temperamental if not well socialized.
If well socialized and trained as puppies, this little dog can grow up to be an absolute delight to own.
If you happen to get a Chihuahua with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."
Did you ever see such a fancy collar on a little tiny dog?
Friendly Toward Other Dogs
Gets along very well with other household dogs, but leery of strange dogs.
Friendly Toward Other Pets
Gets along very well with other household dogs and cats.
Friendly Toward Strangers
Will accept strangers, generally, but can remain aloof to some. Not really a party dog.
Very playful. These little wonders can be frisky with their owners and kids.
Great little family dogs. Not totally a lap dog, but close, as these dogs have quite a lot of energy. Your Chihuahua may prefer a few romps around the living room to a nap on your lap.
Good with children?
Not always. They are fragile and not always tolerant of childrens' antics, noise, poking and pushing.
Good with seniors over 65?
The Chihuahua is an EXCELLENT choice for seniors. This breed is easily paper-trained and can become a total indoor dog. Some play time in the house will suffice for the exercise, or, if possible, an outdoor walk would be even better. Chihuahua’s are loyal and eager to please their keeper and make ideal senior citizen pets. A senior would have the time to play with the dog and help it expend pent up energy! Locate a Chihuahua rescue for a mature pup if longevity might be a problem.
Perfect for apartment, urban, or farm… anywhere you want but NOT outdoors.
A yard is not necessary for the Chihuahua. They can do well in a house or apartment as long as they get out for a walk.
Fairly high energy.
Exercise needs, daily
Some play time around the house will suffice; they love walks too but not necessary.
Brush the short-hair dog once a week.
Brush the long-hair dog 2 to 3 times a week to prevent matting.
Suggested Reading About The Chihuahua
Click on the cover photo for more book information and reviews.
3rd book from the left - "101 Dog Tricks" is great mental stimulation for your Chihuahua. There is stuff in this book I never thought of but sure would keep a dog moving!
Book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.
In the event you decide to go looking for Chihuahua puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Chihuahua Breeders with Puppies For Sale.
In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Chihuahua and are looking for a Chihuahua rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dog Rescue - (Nationwide) If you adopt, try to get the dog health records for reference.
Adopt A Pet There are other Chihuahua rescue groups listed online, mostly by state. Don't forget to check local pounds and rescue kennels too.
Dog Health Issues For The Chihuahua
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Chihuahua by various vets.
This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.
The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.
- Pulmonic stenosis—Mal-formed Pulmonic valve (Pulmonic valve dysplasia) in the heart causing partial obstruction of blood flow from the heart to the lungs. The heart has to pump harder to force blood to the lungs and back. In severe cases the dog can develop congestive heart failure due to the overworked heart.
- Hydrocephalus—An excess of spinal fluid built up in the brain, likely caused by an obstruction in the fluid pathway. Congenital Hydrocephalus is moist common and occurs shortly after birth. A number of things can cause it in the Chihuahua. Adult dogs can get it from tumors or infections in the brain. Some neurological signs are seizures, loss of coordination, unusual behavior, walking in circles, and blindness. Doctors have various tests to detect this disorder so don’t fool with it if you suspect something is wrong.
- Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.
- Valvular heart disease—Usually in the older Chihuahua. A progressive disease. Heart valves thicken and degenerate. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, reluctance to exercise, fainting, excessive coughing, no appetite, constant fatigue. See vet immediately for treatment program!
- Mitral stenosis (Mitral valve insufficiency)—Hereditary heart problem. A weak mitral valve allows blood to flow backwards and to simplify this, the net result is an enlarged heart and when the heart can no longer compensate, look for a loss of desire for exercise, trouble breathing, coughing at night and liquid in the lungs. As this progresses, the dog may collapse. There is no cure... but if you act quickly, the vet may be able to make the dog more comfortable with medication and diet.
- Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposes to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.
- Urolithiasis—Excessive crystals (urinary stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Dogs can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.
- Tracheal collapse—The tracheal (air pipe) rings, made of cartilage, can become weak and “collapse” as a dog ages, reducing the air supply to the lungs by failing to keep the trachea open wide. This is most likely to be a problem during excitement or exercise when more air is needed in the lungs. This only affects small dogs, and particularly small, obese dogs. Treatment depends on the severity and ranges from diet to medicine to surgery.
- Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.
- Anal sac disease—Anal sacs secrete an oily fluid when stool is passed. If the anal sacs become too full they become very smelly and impacted, causing discomfort for the dog. The Chihuahua will begin to “scoot” across the floor, trying to relieve the pain. Cleaning out the anal sacs is quick and easy. A responsible dog owner will make sure this cleaning is done regularly by the vet and see to it infection doesn’t happen, or, if it does, that the vet can cure it quickly.
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca—(Keratitis) A fancy way of saying “dry eye.” Inadequate tear flow causes painful eye infections of a chronic nature. Causes vary from distemper to certain medications to removing the third eyelid tear gland.. Often treated with cyclosporine drops. or an ointment called cyclosporine topical therapy.
- Glaucoma - Pressure builds in the eyes and leads to total blindness.
- Hypoglycemia—The brain must have sugar to function, but has little space to “store” the glucose/sugar hormone. Small dogs and Toy breeds as well, and puppies, are especially prone to hypoglycemia because they are already small and have no space to store glucose so any dip in the level is a big problem. Abnormally low blood glucose, or sugar, causing lethargy, weakness, lack of coordination, SEIZURES, loss of nerve control and the Chihuahua may even become unconscious in severe occurrences. The solution is small and frequent meals each day and a few sweet treats tossed in.
- Corneal Dystrophy—An inherited disease of the eye. A fluid buildup causing the outer part of the cornea to appear white and move inward toward the center.. A very painful and difficult to treat ulcer will develop.
- Elbow Dysplasia—This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)
Other health problems could occur with your Chihuahua. If you notice any problems with your pet, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.
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