The Chihuahua is a very small breed of dog, weighing between 2 to 6 pound and between 6 to 9 inches tall. The breed originated from Mexico. There are two varieties of the Chihuahua, the smooth-coated and the long-coated. Coat colors include black, white, tan, sable and multi-colored. The head of the Chihuahua is rounded with erect ears and large, round, protruding eyes.
The Chihuahua is born with a molera, an unclosed portion of his skull. Caution should be taken to prevent an injury. At about six months of age, the skull is usually filled in, although some Chihuahuas retain the molera through their whole lives. Care should be taken by Chihuahua owners to avoid head injury.
Chihuahua owners should be aware that the eyes of the Chihuahua are also vulnerable to injury. The Chihuahua is also predisposed to dryness of the cornea, glaucoma, epilepsy, seizures and rheumatism.
The Chihuahua also has tendency to develop hypoglycemia and should be encouraged not miss any of his meals. Chihuahua owners should watch for symptoms of hypoglycemia which include neck spasms, low energy, sluggishness and irregular and clumsy movement. If the Chihuahua experiences a hypoglycemic attack, Chihuahua owners should quickly apply honey on the gums to raise the blood sugar level. A visit to the veterinarian may also be necessary depending on the severity of the attack.
The Chihuahua is sometimes a finicky eater. In an effort to encourage eating, owners may mix small quantities of meat or vegetable into his dry food. However, some Chihuahua owners make the mistake of overfeeding their dogs. The weight of the Chihuahua should be carefully monitored since an overweight Chihuahua may be more susceptible to joint injuries and other impairments including a shortened life.
The Chihuahua is a loyal companion of his owner and enjoys attention. Chihuahua owners should not permit their dogs to display dominant behaviors including jumping, growling, pulling on the leash and defying commands. As with all dogs, the Chihuahua must be taught that the owner is the leader of the pack. If dominant behaviors are ignored by Chihuahua owners and allowed to continue, aggression to humans and other dogs may result.
It is also important to socialize the Chihuahua. It is to his advantage to encounter people and other dogs in friendly surroundings such as his home, the neighborhood park or the veterinarian’s office. The Chihuahua will also benefit from a puppy obedience class.
The Chihuahua is an active, lively dog who requires regular exercise. Chihuahua owners should not be misled into believing that exercise is not important because the Chihuahua is a small dog. Daily exercise may include walks through the neighborhood, running in a fenced-in area or chasing after a ball or toy.
The Chihuahua does not enjoy cold weather and can get a chill quickly. It is advisable for the Chihuahua to wear a dog coat in extremely cold weather.
Although he may not enjoy it, Chihuahua owners should bath their dog every five to six weeks. The coat may be brushed or combed occasionally between baths. The eyes and ears should be examined checked on a regular basis. The toenails of the Chihuahua should be kept trimmed.
If their dog is healthy and well taken care of, Chihuahua owners can expect a life span of about fifteen years.