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Breed in the Spotlight: Chihuahua

Chihuahua’s are often said to be a small dog with a big personality. They might be the world’s smallest dog but they have the largest brain of any breed compared to their weight. Due to their size, Chi’s hate the cold but love snuggling up to their owners. They are smart and totally devoted to their humans, making them a great choice first time dog owners.

Physical characteristics

Being the smallest breed means some Chi’s will only weigh a minute 0.45kgs when fully grown, with a maximum weight of around 2.75kgs. They come in a wide variety of colours, as well as a long and short coat. There are also two different types of chihuahuas, apple and deer head. On average apple heads tend to be smaller and have a shorter snout with wider set eyes, whereas deer heads have a longer snout and with a more streamlined ‘deer-like’ appearance. Both make excellent companions so its up to you which one you prefer.

Temperament

Chihuahuas have developed a bad rap over the last few years. Many are fearful of larger dogs and reactive to humans they don’t know. They might be teeny-tiny and endlessly adorable but owners need to realise that they are still dogs and need to be treated as such. Too much coddling and too little socialisation and your furry friend could end up developing problems such as separation anxiety and guarding behaviours. However, due to their high level of intelligence they are comparatively easy and enjoyable to train. Owners can run into stubbornness when potty-training during the UK’s cooler months, as Chihuahuas are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures, so make sure you get them plenty of cute jumpers and jackets to counteract this. With proper training you will have an affectionate companion that loves you and every other dog and human they meet.

Care

This tiny pooch is well suited to city and apartment living as they do not require a large amount of exercise. For many, two shorter 30 minute walks a day is ideal but this of course depends on the individual dog’s energy levels. If you are not a fan of grooming opt for a short haired variety, as longer haired Chi’s will need daily brushing. Something else to keep in mind is since this breed often has protruding eyes, they benefit from a gentle daily eye-wipe to clear any debris and prevent irritation and infection.

Health

The Chihuahua is one of the healthiest and longest living breeds and can live happily into their teens and in some cases even their early twenties! They have a few minor health concerns and some more serious ones depending on whether you choose an apple or deer head Chihuahua. Around 80% of apple heads are born with a molera (soft spot) on their head. A molera is when a dog’s skull is not fully fused together and in Chi’s they do not always close as they grow, therefore they are at more risk of serious/ fatal head injuries. With all Chihuahuas dental care is of paramount importance. As with many small breeds their teeth are particularly packed and chewing a dental stick will not be enough to thoroughly clean their teeth. Daily brushing is recommended as well as yearly dental checks. Lastly, they are a super small and fairly delicate breed and are therefore prone to fractures and displaced kneecaps, handle them carefully and try to avoid letting yours jump off high furniture.

Chihuahua

Olivia Chuah