The Chihuahua originated from Mexico. Although the Chihuahua history is vague, it is believed that both the Toltec and the Aztec cultures had dogs. This included a small breed called the Techichi. It’s possible that this breed was possibly the ancestors of the Chihuahua.
Being the smallest dog in the world, people are bound to consider the Chihuahua sort of a half-dog, and are surprised and annoyed that such a small creature could be so confident and outgoing. Chihuahuas aren’t exactly outgoing, and they are quite cautious around new people and animals, but they are not afraid of a challenge and won’t back down, even if the opposition is a lot more sizeable.
This can actually be a problem because they will probably lose any confrontation with another dog. You will need to condition some safety measures to keep him safe. The Chihuahua should be lively and spirited and looking for a good temperament has become a top priority for Chihuahua breeders.
Chihuahuas are not reckless in any way. They like to size up the situation and are suspicious with strangers for the first few minutes. But they are still curious dogs. They love to investigate new stuff, and this is totally natural. Every dog should have some curiosity, no matter how well his owner trained him to ignore distractions.
General care tips
Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and don’t take well to being treated like idiots. You want to have a stimulating environment with plenty of fun things to do. Whenever you’re outside you should keep them on a leash because they can easily get in trouble.
Chihuahuas need crate training if you’re planning on leaving them alone, and let’s face it, who stays home all the time, every day? Preventing boredom is important for any dog, but Chihuahuas are particularly destructive and bark a lot when they’re bored.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to train them, at least in basic obedience. Aside from fun, there’s some general care you need to go through, but it’s nothing compared to some larger breeds. The main thing is that you need to keep him safe. He’s a lot sturdier than he looks but he can’t stand up to bigger dogs.
Are you thinking of buying a Chihuahua?
Buying a new dog is not as easy as people think. Many sellers are actually trying to take advantage of you and don’t really care if the dog utterly destroys your house and your nerves. They come in many forms.
Pet shops are the most impertinent since they’re out there in the open. They count on the initial shock you have when you see a puppy. They function based on impulse buying. The dogs you see there have horrible lineage, have been raised locked up in a cage, with no socialization or any care whatsoever.
There are many others, but instead of taking the bad ones let’s take a look at the good ones. Respectable breeders are happy to show you the mother of the puppies you want to buy. They will answer any question you have and can certify that they have done their best to ensure a healthy, good-natured puppy.
In no case, you should buy before you take a look at the dog. Buying a Chihuahua is a big deal; he’ll be with you for over 10 years. This isn’t something to take lightly. Additionally, respectable breeders will ask you a lot of questions to determine if the Chihuahua is right for you. And will refuse to sell you a puppy if they deem you unfit to handle one.
Choosing to own a Chihuahua is a big investment, not because of the price tag, but because of the time, energy and love you’ll devote to his well-being. Chihuahuas are wonderful companions, and, if you raise your dog correctly you’ll find he’s even more than you imagined.
The Chihuahua has a vague history, although it is known that Aztecs refined the Techichi dog breed into a smaller dog breed. When the Spanish conquistadors destroyed the Aztec civilization in the 1500s, the Techichi dog breed was an essential part of the Aztec culture. This hardy little breed lived in small villages in the mid-1800s when the U.S developed a liking for this breed in the State of Chihuahua. By 1908 the first Chihuahua was registered with the AKC.
The Chihuahua is a compact little dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. This very feisty little breed has a large skull that is rounded. With a short muzzle that is somewhat pointed, the Chihuahua has large and full eyes. Ears are large and erect with tips that go outwards. This breed has a long, thin tail and carried erect, horizontal, or in a loop over the back.
The Chihuahua has two types of coat. It can either be longhaired or smooth. The longhaired breed has a soft, flat, or curly coat with an undercoat. This breed also has a large ruff on the neck and a feather on its tail, feet, and legs.
This breed can be any color with a coat that may be solid, marked, or splashed. Chihuahua’s most common coat colors are fawn, sable, red, black and tan, tricolor, and brindle. Shorter bodies are preferred in males.
The Chihuahua has a ‘terrier-like attitude. This is a small dog breed with a tremendous attitude. The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes this breed as “Alert, projecting the ‘terrier-like attitudes of self-importance, confidence, self-reliance.”
The Chihuahua, like all dog breeds, needs positive training and socialization from a young age. This alert yet sensitive dog breed enjoys a relaxed home. If socialized puppyhood, the Chihuahua is excellent with all pets and people but always needs time to adjust. This breed can be challenging because of its ‘terrier-like temperament. If you’re looking for an aggressive yet sensitive small dog breed, the Chihuahua makes for a great companion.
How to Co-exist With Your Dog Peacefully
Living with a dog as part of the family requires a little more than an extra bowl for food and some extra cleaning. A Chihuahua doesn’t have such high demands concerning his general care as some other dog breeds. However, you need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and how they behave.
There are lots of benefits to owning a Chihuahua as opposed to some of the other dogs but there are also things you need to watch out for. For instance, Chihuahuas don’t hold dog odor, generally. But they are very small and you’ll need to take care of them around big dogs and other dangers.
Chihuahuas live very long lives and are quite sturdy and healthy. Obviously, accidents can happen but they don’t suffer from many health problems and are quite cautious about where they put their feet.
How to live peacefully
Chihuahuas can be wonderful family pets or insufferable pests. They are a little more single-minded than other dogs but that doesn’t stop them from befriending the whole family.
However, small children make them wary because of the unusual behavior. You need to teach both your child how to behave and your Chihuahua that it’s safe to play with your child. Then they will spend time together happily.
Your Chihuahua will be quite apprehensive of strangers. In my opinion, they definitely need obedience training and a lot of socialization early on. If they lack that they will definitely be aggressive to strangers and you won’t have any way of controlling them.
How to deal with the problem sides
Your dog might have destructive tendencies. This happens because you’re not providing enough entertainment. It’s the same as people; if you don’t have something to do you figure something out for yourself. The only difference is what they think is fun might not be what you had in mind.
If you find your dog likes to chew and scratch stuff give him more things to do. Play some new games together, spend more time with him and give him some chewing toys. Also, beware of leaving any electrical wires within reach. You might trust them to leave them alone but they only need to venture too far once.
They need some grooming and occasional bathing. Both smooth and long-coated varieties shed year long so they need relatively frequent brushing. They don’t hold doggy odor, though, so bathe them only when you deem necessary.
One thing to look out for is, because of their small size, dust and dirt tend to get into their eyes. Nothing to worry about, they have tears to get it out of there. However, these tears can irritate the skin under the eyes. All you need to do is wash the hair under the eye periodically.
Of course, exercise caution when you’re traveling with your dog and use your judgment in unique situations. If you think a situation is dangerous for your dog simply leave.
This very self-important breed does well with plenty of on-leash exercises. Pet owners need to be careful that Chihuahua does not run away if off-leash. Early socialization with other dogs, people, and animals is highly recommended.
Puppy training classes for your dog are a definite must since this breed can only benefit from dog training classes. That said, the Chihuahua is sensitive yet active and playful. This breed gets scared easily and can also get aggressive very quickly, barking a lot.
Positive dog training for the Chihuahua needs to be consistent. Yet, one needs to consider this breed’s sensitivity and not break his playful spirit with unnecessary reprimands.
This is a tiny dog breed that needs plenty of reassurance and socialization. This breed does well with older people but can be with families in a not too rowdy household. The Chihuahua does not like loud noises.
Possible Health Concerns
The Chihuahua is a healthy dog breed that may be prone to a few health conditions.
- Heart Problems – also known as Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), happens when the mitral valve thickens and degrades over time. Coughing and difficulty breathing are signs.
- Dry eyes may affect this breed and can result in blindness. See your veterinarian if you notice excessive blinking, sticky or red eyes.
- Patellar Luxation – occurs when the kneecap is dislocated. You’ll need to visit your vet, or it may lead to arthritis.
As with all dog breeds, this small dog breed needs daily walks and off-leash trips to the dog park and beach. It has a low activity level and does well with apartment living and as a companion dog for seniors. This breed is the ideal city pet that you can take with you everywhere.
Some Chihuahuas pick up weight quickly and can become obese. Feeding this breed high-quality dog food, especially for smaller breeds, is essential. High-quality dog food formulas for the appropriate life stage are always needed. Pet parents should never neglect to feed a well-balanced diet. Dog food that works for one Chihuahua may not work for another.
Chihuahua owners should assess their dog’s activity level, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he or she may be prone to. Ask your veterinarian about the best high-quality food options that will help to give your Chihuahua a longer and healthier life! It will also help your dog live a longer and healthier life.
Give this breed fresh fruits, salmon, chicken, vegetables, minerals, and fiber is a plus. Consider a high-quality, all-natural diet with no additives, no cheap fillers. Treats should be healthy and low fat to prevent obesity.
Proper Grooming and Bathing
Coat care is generally pretty simple for a smooth-coated Chihuahua, and only slightly harder for a long coat Chihuahua. Dogs need grooming all year long as they shed all the time.
You basically have three choices – trim, brush or vacuum. But that’s only a label. It doesn’t tell you anything about what you need to do to keep your dog in top shape.
Nail clipping is something that should become routine for you sooner or later. It’s a good idea to start clipping them early and to do it often so the dog gets used to the procedure.
First of all, why bathe your dog? It removes dead skin from the coat, just like it removes dead skin from the skin for us. One bath a month is usually enough for a Chihuahua, but you can choose to do it more often if you feel so. However often you do it make sure you use a quality dog shampoo and a good conditioner that doesn’t dry the skin.
The reason you bathe a long-haired dog more often than a smooth-coated dog is because dirty hair gets matted very easily. Once it starts tangling it’s very hard to deal with. There’s no other reason to do it.
Start bathing at 10 weeks of age, not earlier. When you’re doing this for the first few times make sure you talk to your dog and reassure him that it’s all right. Positive reinforcement will help him calm down and get used to the process. Gradually introduce the hairdryer because he might be afraid of it at first.
Never let any water enter the ears. It can easily cause infections and other nasty things. Use cotton balls to cover his ears. Don’t leave him unattended in a body of water so he doesn’t drown. Also, check up on any water before using it on your dog.
If you let your dog’s coat start to mat you’ll have a much harder time trimming and bathing him. Keep a watchful eye out on that and work out any mats before they become big problems.
It’s also a good idea to brush any excess hair before you bathe your dog. Also, be more careful once your dog is wet because he’ll be much more slippery. Grooming and bathing should be fun times for you and your dog, where you get to splash some water over your shirt and laugh about it. If you don’t regard this as a fun experience it’s going to become just another chore you have to do.
Adopting a Chihuahua
Keep in mind that when adopting the Chihuahua, he may appear nervous and aggressive at the shelter. It’s best to take your time to make a decision and visit the Chihuahua rescue a few times to get to know him. All Chihuahua’s will have huge personalities and make for excellent companions.
This feisty breed needs time to adjust to new surroundings and will be very nervous at first. Your adopted Chihuahua may take a while to adapt to his new home, but once he’s settled down, there’s no turning back. He’ll be back to his confident self, ready to be the best companion out!
The Chihuahua makes for a terrific adoption! As always, make sure that you’ve made your home safe before welcoming your rescue. There will be many areas of your home and garden that your new rescue will have access to!
Myths and Facts on Housebreaking
If you ignore this aspect of your dog’s life you’ll be very upset, very fast. There are lots of things you should and shouldn’t do to housebreak your dog effectively. There are also a lot of myths running around causing people to neglect important information they can use.
Furthermore, these misconceptions lead people to insist that some dogs are bad and that they should stay away from them. Successful housetraining is probably the most important part of a healthy relationship and a happy life with your Chihuahua.
Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process. In a nutshell, all you have to do is prevent your dog from going to the potty inside and reward him for going outside. Easy as pie, but takes a little longer to bake than your usual pie.
Myth 1: When an accident occurs you should rub your dog’s nose in it
Punishing a dog after the deed is pointless. Your Chihuahua doesn’t think about time the way you do. He doesn’t associate your punishment with something that happened in the past.
He’ll think he’s in trouble for what he was doing then. This will make him fearful of sitting prettily or even coming to you. Then you have a whole bunch of other problems in your head.
Myth 2: Adult dogs cannot be housebroken
This is a biggie. Many people don’t even consider getting an adult dog because they think they’re impossible to housetrain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are several advantages you will never get from a puppy.
First and foremost an adult dog might already be housetrained, whew, aren’t you glad that’s over? If he hasn’t then you need to start fresh and teach him all over again.
The fact is, adult dogs can be housetrained the same as puppies. They can also hold their own a lot longer than puppies can, and don’t have to go as often. On the other hand, they will make bigger messes.
Myth 3: If an accident happens, it’s the dog’s fault
Dogs, especially puppies, have limited bladder control. Chihuahuas younger than 20 weeks need to go potty every hour when they’re awake. Every hour, can you dig it? Under 12 weeks old they need to go even more often.
A general rule you can use for older puppies is to take how old they are in months, add one and you have the number of hours he can hold it. Of course, nothing substitutes first-hand experience on how your Chihuahua behaves, but it gives you a guideline.
Myth 4: Crate training has nothing to do with housetraining
Crate training is the best way to control your Chihuahua. If you didn’t know, dogs like to sleep in a clean area (who doesn’t?) and, if they can help it, they will never sleep in a soiled area. Your Chihuahua will try his best not to soil the bed, and that gives you an advantage.
Confining him there when you can’t keep an eye on him will give you peace of mind that he won’t start the bad habit of going into the house. You have to be reasonable because at some point he won’t be able to hold it anymore.
Myth 5: Newspapers are a great idea
While it might work, it’s not a good idea. It teaches the dog it’s ok to go inside the house and it doesn’t teach him to hold it. He might not be really housebroken if this is the way you decide to teach him.
On the other hand, you might live on the 14th floor of a building and you’ll never get out in time. If that’s the case it might be a better idea to get an adult Chihuahua because he’s much more capable of control.
Housebreaking your dog is a key component to a healthy and frustration-free life. Don’t neglect it or you’ll hate yourself later. Take responsibility, be patient and pretty soon you’ll have a housetrained Chihuahua.
Good Leash Manners
Going out for a walk gives you the excitement and dynamic of a wolf pack. Of course, your Chihuahua is no wolf, but you could consider him to be a scaled-down version of a wolf, with less fur and duller teeth. But anyway, the idea is that you’re traveling as a pack to see what’s up.
There’s a lot of focus put on the importance of a daily walk for your dog, yet little emphasis is placed on why. To really get a grasp of the implications you need to start thinking less human, more dog.
Of course, you know there’s no danger. You live in a city where there are no wolves, you don’t need to hunt for anything, shelter is provided, and you basically have all your basic needs fulfilled. You don’t need to worry about anything.
Going out for a walk
He doesn’t have the same long-term awareness you have, and his most busy thoughts are about food playtime and his loved ones.
When he’s out on a walk with you that’s all he thinks about. What’s that smell? Should I be scared? I’m fine, he’s here protecting me. Maybe we can find something to eat.
This activity is a lot more fun if you participate. If the dog pulls on the leash he doesn’t get that you are participating. If he would he’d gladly stay by your side waiting patiently to see where you’re headed next.
Loose leash manners
Some people think it’s impossible to control a Chihuahua (yeah). Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash is easy. Get a buckle, a leash, and get out there. Here’s what you do. Pick a command name for starting to walk and start walking.
The instant the leash gets tight turn the other way and say the command again. He’ll have to follow you and he might jump ahead and start pulling again. As the leash gets tight again turn the other way and say the command word.
Keep repeating until he stops pulling. The moment he’s walking on a loose leash give him a small treat and praise him for being so clever. It’s easy; if he pulls he doesn’t get to go where he wants.
Chihuahuas love having something fun to do, and they’ll keep pestering you even when you want to work or watch some TV. You’re not always up to the challenge and sometimes you don’t really feel like playing. But some part of you yearns to show him some love.
People usually turn to ignore their dogs as they get a little lazy. But after a while, they can’t stand the guilt and whining and go ahead and drop whatever they were doing for some playtime. Feeling guilty about not having time to play with your Chihuahua is not a good way to go about it.
So what’s left to do, the situation calls for your intervention, yet you’re not exactly in a position to do something about it. If you’ve been paying attention to your dog you’ll see he sometimes entertains himself with games. If you provide enough variety in his activities he will figure out stuff to do by himself.
Puzzle toys might be the answer
If you’re thinking about buying some toys you’ll need to make sure they’re not too big for your Chihuahua and not too small either so they can’t choke your dog. There are several types of puzzle toys you can get; most are available at any pet store.
Stuffable rubber toys are shaped like a cylinder and are obviously made of rubber. They have a hollow center that can be stuffed with peanut butter and topped with some string cheese to cover it up.
The best thing about this kind of toy is it stays interesting long after your little dog’s tongue obliterated the peanut butter from there. The smells stick to the toy and that’s all your dog needs.
Now you have a great way to keep him entertained when you don’t have the time for it. Besides, it would be a little weird if that little guy could control you in such a way that you always do what he wants.
On top of that, there are even more interesting toys for your dog. There’s a toy that gives treats as your dog nudges at it. One even allows you to record your voice. Talk about being a robot.
Furthermore, you can take a look at plush toys that have little toys inside your dog can try to remove. Many dogs love this, but your Chihuahua might not. Give it a try and see how it goes.
Lastly, it’s quite possible your dog will be obsessed with just one toy. No matter what you do, he doesn’t care. You can get 10 identical toys to the one he likes and he won’t even budge. That’s usually not a problem, but when the toy is barely recognizable anymore you need to do something.
What you can try is wrapping the new toy in the remains of the old one. Chihuahuas, like any dog, go a lot by their sense of smell, and if they smell the same they’re ok.
Tracking is an Excellent Game
There are plenty of nose games around and you can teach your Chihuahua to find items, people, your keys, you and many more. They are more or fewer variations on the same theme, you teach him to find stuff using his nose.
The aforementioned games are all air scent games, that is, the dog puts his head up, takes a sniff and looks for something specific. Outdoors trailing involves a different kind of scent tracking.
Tracking is right up there at the top of the most useful skills a dog can have. Tracking is used to find lost people, food and track down criminals. Of course, you’re not going to teach your Chihuahua to catch criminals, but that doesn’t deprive you of having fun tracking.
How to teach your dog basic tracking
First of all, get a harness for your dog. In this activity, you’re going to let him lead you so you want him to have freedom and not choke himself to incapacitation. Now all you need to do is set a trail in a certain way and place a big jackpot at the end, just like in Tom and Jerry.
Now get yourself on some flat ground where there isn’t much traffic. If you’re in a crowded park your dog will be confused by all the smells hovering around. You might find out that other animals are interested in the “trail” you’re going to set out. To get around this problem you could try using dehydrated lamb lung treats as they seem to be ignored by bugs and the like, but still, attract your Chihuahua.
Either tie your dog or have someone else hold him for you while you lay down the trail. Place a treat in front of one of your feet’s toes. Now take a baby step and place another treat at the toe-tip. Repeat until you’ve placed around 10 treats, at the end having a big jackpot glove with plenty of yummy treats.
Now put your dog at the start of the track and tell him the command word. If he has trouble just point the first treat out to him. When he puts his nose down, you get ready for some action. In no time he’s going to reach the glove. Praise him and play with him, giving him the glove full of yummy treats (you remembered to be generous, right?).
From here on out you can start making the track longer, adding turns and if you’re serious about it you can teach him to follow mile-long trails. One thing to look out for, since his nose is in the ground, so will his eyes be. You can purchase some doggy goggles to help protect your Chihuahua’s eyes. The most well-known brand is Doggles, you can check them out if you want to protect your dog.
How to Play Scent Games
Scent hounds have been an instrumental part of hunting for hundreds of years. Hunting with their nose has been a favorite activity among dogs and wouldn’t you love bringing some of that thrill into your Chihuahua’s life?
Sure, he will never be much of a hunter, but that doesn’t stop him from using his nose to find his favorite treats. If the idea rings to you take a look at some of these scent games.
There are many advantages to incorporating scent games in your exercise routine, especially for a small dog like a Chihuahua. You don’t need any conditioning to get started. You don’t need a lot of time to teach your dog how to play and he doesn’t need any physical conditioning. And your dog’s sense of smell doesn’t even diminish with age.
How your Chihuahua’s nose works
Unlike humans, a dog’s sense of smell is very refined and very powerful. This is the first sensory experience dogs rely on. They use it to find their mother’s milk before they have functioning ears or eyes and they keep using it forever.
We don’t know too much about dogs’ noses and why they are so refined, but we suspect they can smell different elements individually instead of smelling everything in a jumble, as humans do.
Another interesting thing is that a dog’s nose size doesn’t really make a difference. It’s just as good if it’s 3 inches wide as if it’s half an inch wide.
How to get started with scent games
Start by giving holding your hands out in front of him while one of your hands is holding a treat. Ask him which hand for the treat and let him sniff. If he sniffs the correct hand praise him and give him the treat. Otherwise, just ignore him.
This is probably the easiest exercise anyone could think of but it still works on many levels. He’s using his head to think about which hand is it, and he’s practically hunting. He’s using his nose to find food, one of the most basic needs of any living organism.
Once he’s a master of the basic game above you can add cups and turn it into something you can brag to your friends with. Essentially you’re teaching him the cup game.
Start with 3 cups (make sure they let smell through) and put on a big show while placing a treat under one cup, making sure he can see everything. Now ask him to find it. If he gets it praise him for his genius qualities and give him the treat, otherwise show him again and ask again.
Never tell him he’s bad because he can’t figure it out; it’s just a game after all. After he’s consistently doing the first cup correctly start adding switches. If he becomes confused you’re going too fast, go back to fewer switches and help him succeed.
During the game, he should figure out that it’s ok to touch, kick and roll over the cup containing the treat. It’s a game so have fun. When he’s mastered it you can have him beat your friends at the shell game.
Chihuahua Breeders in the USA
Tivoli Chihuahuas (Florida)
- Clermont, Florida
- (540) 6647978
Chihuahua Breeders in Canada
- Nanaimo, British Columbia
- (250) 7537297