Chihuahua

Other names   Chihuahua
Common nicknames    Chi
Origin Mexico
Weight Male        1.8–2.7 kg (4–6 lb)
Female      1.8–2.7 kg (4–6 lb)
Height Male     15–25 cm (6–10 in)
Female      15–25 cm (6–10 in)
Life span 12–20 years
FCI Group 9, Section 6 Chihuahua #218 standard
AKC Toy dog standard
ANKC Group 1 (Toys)
CKC Group 5 - Toys standard
KC (UK) Toy
NZKC Toy
UKC Companion Breeds

The Chihuahua  (Spanish: chihuahueño) is the smallest breed of dog and is named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Chihuahuas come in a wide variety of colors, and two coat lengths

The Chihuahua's history is convoluted and there are many theories surrounding the origin of the breed. Both folklore and archaeological finds show that the breed originated in Mexico. The most common and most likely theory is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. No records of the Techichi are available prior to the 9th century, although dog pots from Colima, Mexico, buried as part of the western Mexico shaft tomb tradition which date back to 300 BC are thought to depict Techichis. It is probable that earlier ancestors were present prior to the Mayas as dogs approximating the Chihuahua are found in materials from the Great Pyramid of Cholula, predating 1530 and in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatán Peninsula.

In fact, wheeled dog toys representing the Chihuahua have been unearthed across Mesoamerica from Mexico to El Salvador. The earliest of these were found at Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico, which date to 100 AD, indirect evidence that the breed was in Mexico over 1400 years before the first Europeans arrived.

Dog effigy pots dating to around 1325 AD discovered in Georgia and Tennessee also appear to represent the Chihuahua. In 1850, a pot featuring the Chihuahua was unearthed in old ruins at Casas Grandes in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which dates from 1100–1300 AD showing the long history of the breed at this site, although most artifacts relating to its existence are found around Mexico City. It has been argued that these pots arrived with survivors from the Casas Grandes site in Chihuahua, Mexico, after it was attacked and destroyed around 1340 AD.

Hernan Cortés wrote, in a 1520 letter, that the Aztecs raised and sold the little dogs as food. Small dogs such as Chihuahuas were also used as living hot-water bottles during illness or injury. Some historians believe this practice is where the idea of pain being transferred to animals from humans originated, which gave way to rituals such as burning the deceased with live dogs, such as the Techichi, to exonerate the deceased human's sins. Colonial records refer to small, nearly hairless dogs at the beginning of the 19th century, one of which claims 16th-century Conquistadores found them plentiful in the region later known as Chihuahua. Chihuahuas as we know them today remained a rarity until the early 20th century; the American Kennel Club (AKC) did not register a Chihuahua until 1904.

Description

Chihuahuas are the smallest breed recognized by some kennel clubs.

There are two varieties of Chihuahua – the Smooth Coat (shorthaired) and the Long Coat (longhaired). Both the Smooth and the Long Coats have their special attractions and are equally easy to keep clean and well groomed. The UK Kennel Club considers smooth and long coat Chihuahuas two distinct breeds; matings between the two are not eligible for KC registration.

Dogs of either coat type may be identified as either "apple head" or "deer head" Chihuahuas, particularly in the United States. Apple heads have rounded heads, close-set eyes, and relatively short ears and legs. Deer heads have flat-topped heads, more widely set eyes, larger ears, and longer, more slender legs. While deer heads were popular in the mid-twentieth century, current breed standards defined by registries such as the Chihuahua Club of America and American Kennel Club specify the apple head conformation.

Appearance

Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height; only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. Generally, the height ranges between 15 and 23 cm (6 and 9 in); however, some dogs grow as tall as 30 to 38 cm (12 to 15 in). Both British and American breed standards stat
that a Chihuahua must not weigh more than 2.7 kg (6 lb) for conformation. However, the British standard also states that a weight of 1.8–2.7 kg (4–6 lb) is preferred. A clause stating that 'if two dogs are equally good in type, the more diminutive one is preferred' was removed in 2009.[14] The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard calls for dogs ideally between 1.5 and 3.0 kg (3.3 and 6.6 lbs.), although smaller ones are acceptable in the show ring.

Pet Chihuahuas (that is, those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) often range above these weights, even above ten pounds if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight. This does not mean that they are not purebred Chihuahuas; they just do not meet the requirements to enter a conformation show. Oversized Chihuahuas are seen in some of the best, and worst, bloodlines. Chihuahuas do not breed true for size, and puppies from the same litter can mature drastically different sizes from one another. As well, larger breeding females are less likely to experience dystocia. Typically, the breed standard for both the long and short coat Chihuahua will be identical except for the description of the coat. Chihuahuas have large, round eyes and large, erect ears, set in a high, dramatically rounded skull.

The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom and the American Kennel Club in the United States recognize only two varieties of Chihuahua: the long coat, and the smooth coat, also referred to as longhaired and shorthaired. They are genetically the same breed. 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. Longhaired Chihuahuas are actually smoother to the touch, having soft, fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat, which gives them their fluffy appearance. Unlike many longhaired breeds, longhaired Chihuahuas require no trimming and minimal grooming. Contrary to popular belief, the longhaired breed also typically sheds less than its shorthaired counterparts. It may take up to three or more years before a full longhaired coat develops.

Chihuahuas come in virtually any color combination, from solid to marked or splashed, allowing for colors from solid black to solid white, spotted, sabled, or a variety of other colors and patterns. Colors and patterns can combine and affect each other, resulting in a very high degree of variation. Common colors are fawn, red, cream, chocolate, brown, mixed, white, and black. No color or pattern is considered more valuable than another.

Temperament

How a Chihuahua turns out depends mightily on the genetic temperament of his parents and grandparents. However, as with all dogs, socialization and training are very important. Like many small dogs, Chihuahuas are less likely than large dogs to be given obedience classes, socialization, or appropriate exercise and training. Frequent victims of "small dog syndrome" in which owners feel no need to provide the kind of training and socialization routinely provided for larger dogs, untrained Chihuahuas suffer the same predictable behavior problems as other untrained dogs regardless of the breed. However they thrive well when given appropriate socialization and training

Poorly socialized or frightened Chihuahuas can be easily provoked to attack, and are therefore generally unsuitable for homes with small and undisciplined children. The breed tends to be fiercely loyal to one particular person and in some cases may become over protective of the person, especially around other people or animals. They are frequently not introduced to or socialized with dogs of other breeds, and as a result do not interact as well with them as other dogs who have been socialized to interact with different breed types and tend to have a "clannish" nature, often preferring the companionship of other Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes over other dogs. These traits generally make them unsuitable for households with children who are not patient and calm.[17] If properly managed by older children, 13 and up, they can adapt to this kind of living with a dedicated owner. The temperament of its owner can make a difference in the temperament of the pup.

Chihuahuas love their dens and will often burrow themselves in pillows, clothes hampers, and blankets. They are often found under the covers or at the bottom of the bed, deep in the dark and safety of what they perceive as their den. Chihuahuas also enjoy time in sunlight.

Health

This breed requires expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. Dental care is a must for these small dogs, whose jaw size makes for weaker teeth. Although daily brushing provides the best preventative measure, feeding a dental diet or using dental chews for dogs is an effective approach pet owners can take to help prevent and control accumulation of plaque and tartar to avoid consequences of severe periodontal disease. The best physical characteristics of dog food to contribute to cleaning a dog's teeth would be food that is large and dense, that way there is more time spent chewing which leads to the surface of the teeth being cleaned.

Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, can be affected by hydrocephalus. Chihuahua puppies with hydrocephalus have an abnormally large head, 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.

Apple head Chihuahuas can have moleras, or a soft spot in their skulls, and they are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull. This is not a defect; it is a normal adaptation facilitating the passage through the birth canal and growth and development of the domed type of forehead. The molera is predominant in the apple heads and is present in nearly all Chihuahua puppies. The molera fills in with age, but great care needs to be taken during the first six months until the skull is fully formed. Some moleras do not close completely and require extra care to prevent injury.

Chihuahua puppies can be at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Signs of hypoglycemia include lethargy, sleepiness, uncoordinated walking, unfocused eyes and spasms of the neck muscles or head pulling back or to the side, fainting and seizures. Hypoglycemia can be avoided with adequate nutrition and frequent feedings, especially for Chihuahuas who are younger, smaller or leaner. Chihuahua owners should have a simple sugar supplement on hand to use in emergencies, such as Nutri-Cal or original formula Karo syrup. These supplements can be rubbed on the gums and roof of the mouth to rapidly raise the blood sugar level.

On the other hand, as with any dog, owners should take care not to overfeed their Chihuahua, since obesity can result in increased rates of joint injuries, tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and shortened life span.
As in other breeds with large protruding eyes, Chihuahuas are prone to eye infections or eye injury. The eyes may water in response to dry air, dust or air-borne allergens.

Collapsed trachea is a health concern that is characteristic of the Chihuahua breed.

Chihuahuas may tremble or shiver when stressed, excited or cold. Chihuahuas, especially the short coat variety, are less tolerant of cold than larger breeds, and require a sweater and/or boots in cold weather. They will seek warmth in sunshine, under blankets, or on furniture, or human laps.
 Some Chihuahuas may present separation anxiety as a result of being so close and loyal to their owner. This is a fairly common cause behind any pacing, excessive salivating, destructive chewing, or barking, howling or whining in dogs. There are many treatments and tips to help prevent separation anxiety in dogs.

The average lifespan for a Chihuahua is between 12 and 20years.

Chihuahuas are also known for luxating patella, a genetic condition that can occur in all dogs. In some dogs, the ridges forming the patellar groove are not shaped correctly and a shallow groove is created, causing the patella to luxate or slip out of place, sideways. The knee cap sliding across the bony ridges of the femur can cause some pain. The affected chihuahua will hold its leg flexed, and foot off the ground until the quadriceps muscle relaxes and lengthens, after which the animal feels no discomfort and continues with activity.

Chihuahuas are also prone to some heart-related disorders, such as heart murmurs and pulmonic stenosis, a condition in which the blood outflow from the heart's right ventricle is obstructed at the pulmonic valve.




Colors:



* Black
    * Black & Tan
    * Blue & Tan
    * Chocolate
    * Chocolate & Tan
    * Cream
    * Fawn 
    * Fawn & White
    * Red
    * Black & Red
    * Black & Silver
    * Black & White
    * Black Sabled Fawn
    * Black Sabled Silver
    * Blue
    * Blue & White
    * Blue Brindled Fawn
    * Blue Fawn
    * Chocolate & White
    * Chocolate Blue
    * Chocolate Brindled Fawn
    * Chocolate Sabled Fawn
    * Cream & White
    * Fawn Brindled Black
    * Gold
    * Gold & White
    * Red & White
    * Silver
    * Silver & White
    * White
Aside from the base color of the coat, there are 11 official markings that a Chihuahua may have:
    * Black Brindling
    * Black Mask
    * Black Sabling
    * Merle Markings
    * Spotted On White
    * White Markings
    * Black Mask, White Markings
    * Blue Mask
    * Cream Markings
    * Fawn Markings
    * Red Markings
Descriptions
Since there are so many colors of the Chihuahua dogs and a lot of owners wondering about all of these... let's try to sort out exactly what some of the colors actually mean:
Black Sable Fawn: This Chi will be fawn with black sabling. Sable refers to black tipped hairs. Therefore, the base color will be fawn (light tan) and the tipping of the hairs will be black. This creates a textured appearance that is quite beautiful. 
Black: A full, solid black is very rare. Many black Chihuahua dogs will have some type of marking on the body.
Red: This can range from a dark orange or a brown/orange and is often referred to as mahogany.
Brindle: This is actually a pattern. It is a particular striping. Most brindle Chihuahuas are black over fawn; this will look similar to 'tiger stripes' which can be thin or thick. 
Chocolate: Chocolates have brown fur; however, there is more to it than this. A true chocolate colored Chihuahua will be so based on skin color. Instead of black eye rims, nose, lips, and paw pads, these areas of skin pigmentation will be brown. 
Merle: This is a splashed pattern, usually with blue or black splashes. This color may carry through to the eyes as well. The gene that creates this produces random dilutions to the coat of the Chihuahua. It is important to never breed two Merles together as it can produce puppies that have issues with sight and/or hearing and other health problems. 
Fawn: This is a light tan that may have an undertone of red. 
Gold: Shinier than fawn, especially noticeable when the Chi is outside.
Blue: Blue is determined by skin color. The coat may appear to be any shade or variance of black. It is the skin pigmentation that classifies a Chihuahuas as blue; the paw pads, lips, eye rims and nose will be blue. For many Chihuahuas, these areas may appear black, however under bright light (outdoor sunlight works well), there will be a noticeable bluish tint.
Blue & Tan: Blue, as described above, with tan points, usually with tan tips on the paws. Some have tan around the ears and/or above the eyes.
Gray & Silver: Many ask what the difference is between gray and silver on a dog. The element that makes silver, is that white slivers will slice through the gray coat, producing a color that is shinier than an otherwise standard gray.   
Examples of Colors
Let's take a look at some of the more interesting Chihuahua colors:

Blue - A lot of people are curious about the blue Chihuahua. And it is truly a rare, unique coat coloring. Blue coats appear when there is a diluted black gene. While some will indeed show a blue tint on the coat, with many you will need to look to the skin points to differentiate blue from black.  
With most blue Chihuahuas the fur will be black, (either dull, muted or shiny) but the nose will have a blue tint to it that is most noticeable in the direct sunlight. Other skin points that will show blue are the lips, eye rims, and paw pads. In some cases, the dog's eyes may also be blue.
Red Fawn Sable - This is sabling, which are black tipped hairs, on a base of red fawn.  This Chihuahua would be listed as a red with sable markings. 



White - This little guy is a perfect, solid white Chihuahua.  As you can imagine, with all of the possible colors that exist in the bloodlines, a solid Chihuahua is rare and a solid white such as this one is exceedingly rare.
Blue Fawn - A very light, pale color combination, as you can see. The blue fawn will be a diluted black which creates blue, and fawn (which is a very light tan). 

Brindle - Brindle itself is not a color per se, it describes a pattern of coloring. It refers to dark stripes on a lighter background. This little sleeping beauty has a beautiful brindle coat.  

Black & Tan Even if there is a third color (tri color), a Chihuahua will be a two-color combo, and the third color (often the one that appears least) will be a marking. This is a black and tan Chihuahua with white markings

Chocolate - This Chihuahua has a brown nose and a brown coat (with white), making him a chocolate with white markings.  

Tan markings do not necessarily need to fall on a solid colored coat. This is a black & white Chihuahua with tan markings. Note that this pup could also be classified as a black & tan with white markings. 

Black Mask, White Markings - This is a very rare marking. This puppy has the black coloring around the eyes and muzzle (mask) and then white markings on the chest. The base coat of the Chi may be any color and this pup has a base of fawn. 


Kiss marks – Kiss marks on a dog are not considered to be an official marking; however they are quite stunning.
This refers to a patch of color on the dog's eyebrow area; which accentuates the face very nicely.