Thinking about getting a Chihuahua as a pet? They are one of the most loyal pets you can own. But Chihuahua parents will tell you that there are a few Chihuahua facts you need to know about this smallest breed of dog.
These little dogs do not like going from one owner to another. Chihuahuas are very well-known for their shivering/shaking bodies. They get very nervous around people they don’t know and are best and the most loyal if they have known you since they were a pup.
Physical Characteristics of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are one of the world’s smallest dogs. They typically only weigh between 1 and 6 pounds and are between 6 and 9 inches tall. They have wide eyes and pointed ears. There are over 30 different colors combinations for the chihuahua.
There are two types of Chihuahuas: long-haired and smooth-haired (short). The smooth coat needs to be brushed on occasion with regular baths. The long coat chihuahuas need to be brushed once a week (due to tangled long hair) and cleaned.
There are two different head shapes for Chihuahuas. The apple head Chihuahua has a full, round head that resembles a fruit. The deer head Chihuahua has a narrower face, which resembles a deer.
All Chihuahuas need to have proper dental care to avoid dental disease and nail trimming. They do best when they receive positive reinforcement training methods.
The Chihuahua comes from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, so they were bred for climates that are warm in nature.
Chihuahuas actually do not do well in cold weather. Be prepared for them to slid under your covers to keep warm or get them some warm sweaters before the winter months.
Facts About Chihuahua Habits
Chihuahuas are very energetic dogs and have a loud bark. These small dogs need to exercise or be played with for at least 20 minutes daily to get out the energy. The good news is that they can do all of their daily exercise in the comfort of their own homes.
Chihuahuas can get a bad reputation for their unpredictable personality. They have anxiety towards strangers, so it is best to get one when they are pups and have them around as many different people as you can so they get used to others.
Even though they're the smallest dog breed, they aren't the best pet for young children–they're much better with older children.
The Chihuahua’s favorite food is meat. They love to eat chicken, beef, lamb, fish, etc. Take out the bones so they don’t choke on them.
Chihuahuas can eat any brand of dog food meant for small dog breeds. Puppies tend to eat bite size kibbles. These tiny dogs don’t need anymore than half a cup of food per day, unless a veterinarian gives them a special diet.
Never give your Chihuahua chocolate because it is very toxic to them. It is also a good idea to keep grapes away from them as they are small enough to swallow but get stuck in their airways.
Don’t be surprised if you see your Chihuahua eating grass. Eating grass helps with their digestion, especially if they are nervous.
Female Chihuahuas are pregnant for 50-68 days. The average litter is 1-3 pups. Due to their small size, they can have difficulties delivering and may require cesarean sections.
It is important that Chihuahua puppies are seen right away by the vet so it can be determined if they have any health ailments. They can have health problems such as heart disease, eye disease, loose kneecaps, or epilepsy. It is good to catch these health issues early so you can do your best to protect your dog.
Despite the pointy-eared appearance they are known for, Chihuahua pups are born with floppy ears. If a Chihuahua’s ears are still floppy by six months old, it’s very likely that they will stay that way. Most will be erect and pointed straight up.
Classification/Taxonomy of Chihuahua
Here is the Chihuahua's scientific classification.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Canidae
- Genus: Canis
- Species: Canis Lupus
No one knows for sure how far back the Chihuahua breed first appeared, but we do know they weren't recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1904.
In the 1800s the Chihuahua puppies were given as a wedding gift in Mexico. They would present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and in the center was the Chi puppy.
It is believed that Chihuahuas are descendants of an ancient breed, the Techichi.
Lifespan of Chihuahuas
A Chihuahua's lifespan is between 12 and 20 years. Some of the factors that impact their lifespan are:
- Oral Care
- Activity Levels
Teacup Chihuahua Facts
One species of Chihuahuas is the teacup Chihuahua which is the smallest of all the chihuahuas. When they are born they can actually fit inside a teacup. Many Chihuahua owners love dressing these dogs up and showing them off!
Cool Chihuahua Facts
- One nickname for a Chihuahua is the “purse dog” because they are so small they can fit into a purse.
- Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Marilyn Monroe, Ashton Kutcher, and many others have been seen with these little “purse dogs” around town.
- These dogs stay small, so you don’t need a big yard for them.
- The word Chihuahua actually means “between two waters.”
- Before being officially named “Chihuahuas,” these dogs were called Arizona or Texas dogs.
- When comparing brain size in relation to body dimensions, Chihuahuas have the largest brains of all dog breeds.
- Chihuahuas actually live longer than most dog breeds.
- The average healthy human adult has a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. The Chihuahua’s resting heart rate is normally 100-140 beats per minute.
- A Chihuahua can run up to 10-15 mph.
- Chihuahuas aren't very good with small children.
- Midget, owned by H. Raynor of Texas, was the first officially registered Chihuahua in 1904.
- Chihuahuas can be overprotective towards its master and may bite anyone who will get close to them.
- The AKC registered this breed under the “Toy” breed.
- The AKC refers to these dogs as “saucy” because of their big personalities and tiny bodies.
- An old folklore says, Chihuahuas can treat respiratory ailments, such as allergies and asthma by putting them beside the person.
- It is believed Chihuahua’s lineage goes back to the Techichi dog.
- The Chihuahua Club was founded in 1923 by a group of breeders.
- Miracle Millie, a Chihuahua that was only 3.8 inches tall, is currently the world’s smallest dog.
- Gidget the Chihuahua is most famous for being the Taco Bell mascot that appeared in several commercials saying, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” during 1997-2000.
- Another nickname for the Chihuahua is Chi.
- Chihuahua puppies have a molera, which is a soft spot on their skull like human babies do. Most will outgrow it but not always.
- In 2018, a Chihuahua rescue by the name of LOL gave a record-breaking birth to 11 puppies!
- They are moderate shedders, even the long-haired do not shed more than the smooth. There are two shedding seasons for them, Spring and Summer.
- A female Chi actually sheds more than the male does.
- Female Chis tend to shed more than males do. A chihuahua has never won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
- Keep in mind that due to a Chihuahua’s size it is important to remember not to leave them outside alone. There are many predators that will attack them.
- A Chihuahua never sees itself as a small dog and will actually go up against a much bigger one.
- The Search-and-Rescue force of the Japanese Police has a rescue Chihuahua named Momo, and her small size enables her to crawl through tight, difficult-to-reach spaces.
We hope you've had fun learning all these Chihuahua facts! Let us know what other interesting things you know about them. We can’t wait to hear more.
Here are some other fun mammals that you might want to learn about.