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Everybody knows the Chihuahua is a small dog, but it has received a lot of publicity, Hollywood-wise. In fact, many commercials, TV ads, and movies have included this loving cutie as one of their actors or actresses. It has also been quite a popular pet for apartment people and senior citizens.
The breed comes from the Toltec civilization, from the Techichi dogs crossed with Oriental hairless dogs. These dogs were bigger than Chihuahuas. The Toltec civilization was eventually conquered by the Aztecs, and their old community is the present-day Mexico City. However, its name comes from a state between west Texas and New Mexico, which is Chihuahua State, where it was discovered first in the 1850s. Later on in 1904, the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed.
Of all the registered breeds in AKC, the Chihuahua is the smallest, weighing in at about 2 to 6 pounds. There is no height standard, but most of them are 6 to 8 inches in height. They have longer bodies than their height, like most dogs. Though they are miniature in size, the Chihuahua is a muscular dog, with a distinctive round skull, and large eyes and ears. The ears rise upward when it is alert or excited, and downward when at rest. It has a short but pointed muzzle, and a graceful-looking neck. It also has well-sprung and rounded ribs with a medium-sized tail.
There are two types of Chihuahuas according to coat: the smooth-coated which have a glossy and soft coat, and the long-coated ones which have flat or slightly curly coat and has an undercoat. The coat can be solid, or white with splashes of color.
The Chihuahua’s temperament is similar to that of the Terrier. They are cheerful, active, and graceful; they also move very quickly. They are also easily provoked to anger or grumpiness. They are temperamental, and will not entertain people other than his owner(s). It may be stressful for people with noisy children, but can be a good pet for the elderly and apartment residents.
They are curious and mischievous, so you have to keep an eye for whatever they do around the house – they will explore absolutely anything in their path. But in contrast, they are also loyal and loving partners in life. Most Chihuahuas ride in their owner’s bag or purse, or even in their owner’s arms. They enjoy trips outside.
A normal Chihuahua’s average life expectancy is 16 years. They have some genetic diseases such as a knee injury known as slipped stifles, caused by weak joints, which is common for small breeds. They may also suffer from eye problems, jawbone disorders, heart diseases, and problems with teeth and gums. But these can be prevented by selecting carefully from breeders and following precautions, such as not allowing a Chihuahua to jump from a really high place that might sprain its legs or injure its joints.
Because they are small, they are also at risk of getting caught as prey in the outside world, and being dominated by bigger canines and animals in a home.