Intelligent, adaptable and fiercely loyal, Chihuahuas would be equally happy in a small apartment or a larger house. Their sweet, loving nature means they make excellent companions. Though they are small, they are certainly not short on personality, and they would be an entertaining addition to a family home with older children. Some highlights:
They are low maintenance for grooming.
Because of their intelligence, they are easily trained.
They are in the top ten list of recommended watchdogs.
Their size and adaptability makes them great agility dogs.
They are fun-loving and excitable, so would brighten up any household.
As with any breed, there are some important things to consider before buying your Chihuahua puppy. Some downsides to the Chihuahua:
Well-bred Chihuahua puppies tend to be expensive.
House training can be a difficult process.
Their fierce loyalty can make this breed overprotective of their family, and hostile to strangers.
Chihuahua puppies must be handled very carefully in the first weeks of their life, as their skulls are soft.
This breed is not recommended for families with children younger than 8.
Renowned for being the worlds smallest dog, there is some debate as to where Chihuahuas initially originated. Based on images of similar looking dogs in frescoes, some believe they originated in Spain or Malta, but it is most likely that they came from Mexico. The first instances of Chihuahuas as we know them now appeared in Mexico in the 1800s, where they were sold to tourists. It was around this time that the breed also became popular in the UK.
Chihuahuas are small, attractive dogs with short snouts and alert, upright ears. They may be smooth-coated or long-coated.
Typically a Chihuahua will weigh between 1.8 and 2.7kg.
Chihuahuas come in a range of colours, including: black, white, fawn, cream, chocolate and gold.
Chihuahuas are faithful and vivacious dogs, full of personality. Their independent streak can sometimes be an issue when disciplining them, but they will always respond well to positive affirmation, love and affection. Bold and confident, they can sometimes be in danger of overestimating their size.
Chihuahuas make excellent guard dogs, as they bond fiercely to their owners and can be naturally mistrustful of strangers.
A Chihuahua will bark at the sign of an intruder, but can be trained not to bark excessively.
Chihuahuas are intelligent and therefore easy to train, but must be trained from a young age with lots of positive affirmation to ensure that they do not develop an attitude. If you give an inch, this dog will take a mile, so you should stick with established ground rules and enforce them. As with most dogs, Chihuahuas would benefit hugely from early socialisation to ensure that they become comfortable around people, and that their natural distrust for strangers does not extend to friends and family members.
Chihuahuas are incredibly playful dogs, and love the stimulation of an interactive indoor game.
Though Chihuahuas are suitable for households with older children, they should not be around children younger than 8, as there is danger of the child accidentally injuring the dog.
Chihuahuas are not naturally sociable dogs, though they may be trained to be more accepting of other pets and dogs by early socialisation. Owners should be wary that Chihuahuas can become aggressive towards other dogs, and will not back down even when confronted by much larger dogs than themselves.
As mentioned, Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal and form a strong bond with their owners. They would enjoy accompanying their owners everywhere, and may become unhappy if left alone for more than a few hours. Owners leaving the house for longer than that period of time should arrange for their dog to be checked on.
Chihuahuas are incredibly susceptible to cold and wet weather, and prone to shivering. Owners should provide their dog with a coat in such conditions.
Like most small breeds, Chihuahuas are long-lived dogs, so the owner should expect to be caring for their Chihuahua for up to 18 years.
Although they are small, their size can be deceptive. Naturally energetic, a Chihuahua will be happy to keep playing for as long as you have time to play with them. They would benefit from around 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, and their owners should take care to ensure that they don’t tire themselves out in hot weather.
Chihuahuas don’t suffer from any major health issues, but like all breeds they may inherit certain genetic conditions such as patellar luxation, hypoglycemia and heart murmurs. To give yourself the best possible chance of having a healthy dog, make sure to acquire it from a responsible breeder who provides you with health clearances.
As mentioned already, Chihuahuas are incredibly adaptable dogs, and would be happy in a studio apartment or a rambling family home. As a breed they enjoy being indoors and outdoors. As much as a Chihuahua would love chasing squirrels around in a garden or park, it would be equally happy playing fetch in your living room.
As a rough guide, a Chihuahua should be fed between a quarter and a half cup of dry food a day, though this may vary based on individual needs.
Chihuahuas generally need grooming for a few minutes around once a week. Owners may use either a grooming mitt or a brush. Short bristles would be suitable for a smooth-coated dog, or a pin brush for one with a longer coat. Owners should check their Chihuahua’s ears when grooming, as they may need cleaning.
Chihuahuas shed small amounts of fur year round, but may shed more in the spring and autumn months. In those months, more regular grooming may be required to minimise shedding.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700-1500 for a well-bred Chihuahua puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £10 per month for veterinary insurance, £20 for food
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Chihuahua Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Chihuahua puppy buying advice:
Prospective owners should make sure to carefully choose breeders who provide health clearances for patellas and heart conditions.