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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

It was a dark night in Texas, and the weather service warned of hail and possible tornadoes. My stepson ran through the rain to the driver’s side of my truck and paused when he heard the whimper of a dog. He glanced beneath the car and found the smallest dog he had ever seen. So, it was a chihuahua, and he was terrified of the thunder, begging for help with his head cocked to the side and one tiny paw raised to his chest.

We dried him off and cuddled him through the storm. The following day we started our search for his owners, hanging fliers with photos and contacting local dog clubs, kennels, and veterinarian offices. Months later, the dog was still with us. We had him neutered and vaccinated and gave him a name: Chewy, the Chewchewcabra.

For his comfort and safety and that of my other animals, I researched chihuahuas extensively and had many chats with my vet and other experts about the chihuahua breed. I’ve tried to include as much of that research as possible and details of my personal experiences in this article.

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A Big Dog in a Small Body: The Chihuahua Personality

Chihuahuas are dogs with attitudes. They have a sense of self-importance and are also confident and self-reliant. I’ve never seen a chihuahua lacking these personality traits. I’ve had 90-pound Labradors who believed they were lap dogs and 5-pound chihuahuas who appear to believe they are 90-pound guard dogs. This is most likely because chihuahuas know they are tiny and tend to be overprotective of their personal space.

Regarding love and affection, chihuahuas require a tremendous amount of both. One morning, I walked past my stepson’s door and noticed he was trying to brush his hair with our chihuahua in his arms. I asked why he was holding the dog, and he replied, “He wouldn’t let me put him down!” The dog tilted its head backward, looked at me lovingly, upside down, and then threw his head against my stepson’s chest. Yes, they can be a bit dramatic.

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Size and Appearance

Chihuahuas have large, round-shaped, wide-set eyes. Their eyes protrude slightly and are easily injured, which is another reason they are not recommended for homes with small children. Their ears are tall and pointed, and their tails are long and point up or curl against their backs. They can have either short noses with round heads or long noses with elongated skulls.

The shape of a chihuahua’s head is essential to breeders who often use the terms “Deer Head” and “Apple Head.” So, the Apple Head is a round shape preferred by breeders and the AKC “. The Dear Head (or doe head) chihuahua has a head that resembles a baby dear with an elongated neck.

Five to six pounds is an average size for chihuahuas and the judging standard set by the AKC. The average height of a chihuahua is between six to 10 inches tall. They may have short or long hair and are white, black, tan, brindle, and many other colors. Their life span is 14 to 18 years, but I have known chihuahuas who were 20.

“Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature, or Standard.” They are terns that disreputable breeders sometimes use to inflate the price of puppies, and the truth is chihuahuas vary in size.

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Chihuahua Behaviors

Like many small dogs, chihuahuas like to burrow. They will often try to crawl beneath the covers on beds or throw blankets on couches and chairs. As cute as this may be, it is dangerous for tiny chihuahua puppies to sleep beneath the covers. Someone might roll over on them during the night, or the puppy could injure itself, falling or jumping from the bed.

Chihuahuas have a habit of raising one paw that sometimes confuses new owners who ask if their dog is injured. Not at all. Chihuahuas grow their feet because it is part of their body language and a submissive gesture. Look closely, and the submissive behavior becomes more apparent. Chihuahuas do not simply raise one paw. And they also duck their heads and stare lovingly into the eyes of their owners. The chihuahua asks for something, such as food, affection, or being picked up and held in your arms.

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Training and Socialization

As with most dogs, it’s easiest to train chihuahuas as puppies, but dogs can be taught new tricks as young as nine!

Instruct family members to remain calm around the chihuahua and to treat the dog with patience and gentle care, and the dog will learn to behave the same way.

It is a good idea to introduce chihuahua puppies in social settings as early and often as possible. Suppose the dog lives with children and other animals. In that case, I believe it is best to have the children and other animals inside the home first, then bring the chihuahua into the house, so the chihuahua does not try to establish dominance.

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Health and Safety

Chihuahua puppies have high metabolisms and should always have food available, so they do not become hypoglycemic. Chihuahuas younger than five months are more prone to hypoglycemia than older dogs. The Chihuahua Club of America website provides additional information on puppy care. Adult dogs should be fed twice a day. They also like to play with their food, which is fun to watch. They might hide their food in furniture, so do a bit of searching when cleaning the house.

Chihuahuas are energetic but can exercise in small spaces and make good city dogs. Your dog can maintain her girlish figure with a quick run around the apartment each morning.

Chihuahuas are lovely family pets, but they are small pets, and households with small children should consider safety issues for the dog. When you hold a chihuahua’s paw in your hand, the bones feel as tiny as the bones of a bird. Imagine what would happen if a toddler picked up a chihuahua puppy and dropped it on the hard ground–it would be a traumatic and heartbreaking experience for the entire family and the dog.

Short-haired chihuahuas do not need to be groomed. Long-haired chihuahuas need occasional brushing. (But how long does that take on a five-pound dog?)

Because chihuahuas are a small breed, their size leaves them susceptible to health issues such as heart murmurs. It is essential to monitor your dog’s health closely. Take your dog in for regular vet health checks and watch closely for signs of poor health when your dog starts to age.

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Out in the Cold

Chihuahuas enjoy spending time with the family, and like most dogs, your chihuahua may enjoy going for walks. Due to their size, they will become tired much faster than other dogs. Try to count how many steps your dog takes compared to each one of your steps.

When walking chihuahuas in northern states or cold weather, remember that they are sensitive to cold. Weather extremes can be deadly for all small dog breeds. Sweaters, coats, and even doggy boots are recommended if the dog is taken outside for walks in the snow, particularly puppies. A chihuahua puppy’s paws are so tiny they could freeze to the ground within seconds. I knew a woman once who told me her dog’s paws froze to the sidewalk in the wintertime.

Like all small dog breeds, Chihuahuas should never be left outside in cold weather. Children, cats, dogs–no living creature should be left in a vehicle during hot or cold, even with a window cracked for ventilation. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, “On an 85-degree day…the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within only ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke.”

I do not believe in leaving pets outside at night, but it is dangerous to do so with small breeds. They are prey for owls, hawks, eagles, and coyotes. It is also best not to leave them alone outside as they are a popular breed and frequently stolen. And it is highly recommended that they have microchips for identification.

A Brief History of the Breed

In addition to being the smallest dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club, the chihuahua is also one of the oldest dog breeds. Although the breed was first registered in 1904, its ancestry is quite extensive.

The chihuahua’s ancestor is believed to be the Techichi, which was a companion dog for ancient Toltec people. It is also thought the chihuahua’s ancestors existed before the Mayans. The American Kennel Club’s history of chihuahuas states that images of the dogs were found in materials at the Pyramids of Cholula, which would have been before 1530. Pictures of chihuahuas can also be found at Chichen Itza.

Christopher Columbus may have returned to Europe with chihuahuas on board–a letter to the King of Spain mentions the dogs. It is also believed that another dog, the Asian Chinese Crested, was bred with the chihuahua to reduce its size even more.

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The Adoption vs. “Rehoming” Controversy

Popular movies featuring talking chihuahuas and using the chihuahua as the promotional symbol for a Mexican food restaurant chain have increased the dog’s popularity.

Unfortunately, when pet owners realize that chihuahuas are fragile or require more attention than the pet owners can or want to provide, they sometimes abandon the dogs, leaving them to fend for themselves. The frequent abandonment and abuse of chihuahuas have led to numerous chihuahua rescue organizations.

The 2008 release of the popular children’s film Beverly Hills Chihuahua inspired many animal activists to write about the possibility that families would purchase chihuahuas due to the film’s appeal without researching their unique traits and requirements. At the end of the film, a disclaimer states: “The producers, Walt Disney Company, and American Humane Association want every pet to have a loving and permanent home. If you are adopting a pet, be sure you are ready for a lifetime commitment and research your choice carefully.”

Local neighborhood websites continue to post ads for chihuahuas with “rehoming fees” averaging $300 or more. Since a chihuahua can have up to ten puppies, the potential for breeding abuse is tremendous.

The talented comedian George Lopez

The talented comedian George Lopez, whose voice is the voice of Papi, one of the chihuahua stars in the film. So, he stated that Papi was rescued the day before he was scheduled to be killed at a shelter. Many beautiful chihuahuas are available for adoption at shelters, showing many abandoned chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas, like all dogs, are loyal, compassionate animals that want to be loved by their family members.

Before purchasing or acquiring a chihuahua, please ensure that you are prepared to provide a safe, suitable environment for the dog.

Local neighborhood websites continue to post ads for chihuahuas with “rehoming fees” averaging $300 or more. Since a chihuahua can have up to ten puppies, the potential for breeding abuse is tremendous.

The talented comedian George Lopez. Whose voice is the voice of Papi, one of the chihuahua stars in the film, stated that Papi was rescued the day before he was scheduled to be killed at a shelter. Many beautiful chihuahuas are available for adoption at shelters, which also shows many abandoned chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas, like all dogs, are loyal, compassionate animals that want to be loved by their family members. Before purchasing or acquiring a chihuahua, please ensure that you are prepared to provide a safe, suitable environment for the dog.

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