All About Chihuahuas

About This Breed

The Chihuahua may have been brought to Mexico by Chinese traders. Another possibility is that the breed was created by the Toltec’s and the Aztecs from an ancient breed known as Techichi.

Learn even more about the breed and meet other Chihuahua parents in our Chihuahua Group in the Pet360 community.

Physical Characteristics

The Chihuahua is a small dog with a fine bone structure. Its head is apple shaped with erect ears and round eyes.

COLOR(S)

The Chihuahua can be fawn, black, red, black and tan or black and white.

COAT

Long or short.

Personality and Temperament

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Low

POSITIVES

The Chihuahua is known for its varied temperament. For example, while the Chihuahua is reserved towards strangers, it is friendly with pets and other household dogs. However, this sassy dog has become a favorite among toy dog lovers, especially for its extreme devotion to its master.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

One thing to know about Chihuahuas are they have a nervous personality which can make them unpredictable and aggressive with small children and strangers. The Chihuahua frequently barks and is known to be a “fear biter, ” which may cause them to snap at kids and strangers that try to pick them up.

Care

IDEAL LIVING SITUATION

As the Chihuahua is generally an indoor dog, it is not fond of the cold, preferring instead warmer regions. The Chihuahua fares the best in a small home or an apartment.

 SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Chihuahua has a very delicate build; therefore, it can be injured easily. For the smooth Chihuahua variety, coat care is minimal, while the long-coated dog needs to be brushed twice or thrice a week. The Chihuahua's exercise needs can be met simply by running around the house, although it enjoys exploring yards or going for a short leash-led walks.

Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Chihuahuas:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Heart problems

History and Background

The one thing about Chihuahuas are their debated background. The history of the breed is quite controversial. According to one theory, it was originally developed in China and then brought to the Americas by Spanish traders, where it was interbred with small native dogs. Others speculate it is of South and Central American origin, descended from a small, mute dog -- the native Techichi -- which was occasionally sacrificed in Toltec religious rites. It was believed that this diminutive red dog guided the soul to the underworld after death. Thus, all Aztec families kept this dog and buried it with the deceased member of the family. (Curiously, the Toltecs and the Aztecs also fed on the Techichi.) When not used in burial rituals, however, the Aztec and Toltec priests and families took great care of the Techichis.

The ancestors to the Chihuahua nearly became extinct during the 1500s, when the Aztec Empire was decimated by Hernán Cortés and the Spanish colonizers. In 1850, three small dogs -- now thought to be modern versions of the Chihuahua -- were discovered in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from which breed gets its name. Border states within the United States, such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, soon began to see a massive import of the dog breed. However, it wasn't until the Rhumba King, Xavier Cugat, began appearing in films carrying a Chihuahua dog in the early 1900s, that the breed gained its celebrity. Today, it has emerged as one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

The Chihuahua is a popular breed used in the entertainment business, such as the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" advertising campaign featuring a cute, Spanish-speaking Chihuahua.

Visit Adopt-a-Pet.com to find an adoptable Chihuahua in your area!