Who doesn't have a soft spot for the chihuahua breed?
If you're looking for chihuahua care facts, or a breakdown of chihuahua facts and myths, you've come to the right place. We've listed everything from chihuahuas' temperament through to their health.
As a breed, chihuahuas love nothing more than spending time with people and their pet parents. As they are such a little dog, they easily fit into apartments, and they require minimal exercise and grooming. Be aware, as always, that if you are thinking of finding a new furry chihuahua friend, it's best to adopt and not shop, as there are many chihuahuas in need of good homes in animal shelters or foster care.
Breed Facts About Chihuahuas
Do you find yourself wondering, 'how much is a chihuahua?', find yourself yearning to know more long-haired chihuahua facts, or wondering about apple head chihuahua facts? If so, this is the list for you.
1. Chihuahuas come from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, an area that borders the American states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
2. Chihuahuas are the world's smallest dog breed, and a member of the toy group of dog breeds.
3. Chihuahuas tend to be between six and ten inches tall.
4. Typically, these small dogs won't weigh more than six pounds.
5. Although chihuahuas are now recognized as one of the smallest dog breeds, chihuahuas may have been much larger historically! Breed experts theorize that the Mexican Techichi was crossed with either a Chinese Crested or Maltese 'pocket dog' to create the chihuahua that we know and love today.
6. Around 80 - 90% of chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on their heads called molera, just like human babies!
7. However, unlike human babies, a chihuahua might have that soft spot for their entire life. Whether that spot stays depends on the size, genetics, and skeletal structure of the chihuahua, but it shouldn't cause any health problems.
8. Chihuahuas may come in a variety of colors, from black to sable, and blue to bridle. There are 30 recognized colors that chihuahuas could come in.
9. The rarest chihuahuas are those colored pure white.
10. Chihuahuas can also have 11 recognized markings.
11. The color of a chihuahua's nose can also range from black and brown to gray and pink - sometimes they can also be two-toned.
12. There are two main types of chihuahua: the breed can either be apple headed or have deer shaped heads.
13. Apple headed chihuahuas have a bulbous round head, shorter ears and legs, and more bulging, close-set eyes.
14. Deer headed chihuahuas have a narrower head, a longer snout and ears, longer legs, and more widely set eyes.
15. The American Kennel Club prefers apple headed chihuahuas if they are going to be show dogs.
16. Chihuahuas can also be one of two official varieties: either the short hair chihuahua (the correct term is smooth coat chihuahua), and the long hair or long coat chihuahua.
17. Smooth coat chihuahuas typically have hair between a half or three-quarters inches long, whereas long coat chihuahuas have softer, longer hair between one and one and a half inches long.
18. Since 1952, the American Kennel Club has classified long coat and small coat chihuahuas as separate varieties of the same breed.
19. Chihuahuas with long hair shed less, but need to have their fur brushed daily to prevent tangling. Short haired chihuahuas shed more.
20. That said, chihuahuas as a breed are very light shedders: they rank at number seven among dog breeds that shed the least amount of hair.
21. Female chihuahuas shed more than males, this is because of their hormones. After a mother chihuahua has delivered her pups, she is also more likely to shed more than normal.
22. Long hair chihuahuas have specific terminology for their hair: the fur on the tips of their ears is known as 'fringe', whereas the fur on their legs is known as 'furnishings', and the fluff on their tail is called a 'plume'.
23. Two smooth coat chihuahuas can have long coat chihuahua puppies if they have the hidden long coat gene. Two long coat chihuahuas cannot, however, have smooth coat puppies, because the long coat gene is recessive.
24. Chihuahuas enjoy long lives - the lifespan of a chihuahua can be anywhere between 14 and 16 years. Try calculating that in dog years!
25. Chihuahuas are actually born with floppy ears! Their ears will only start to stand more erectly when these little dogs turn six months old.
26. Don't be worried if your chihuahua's ears don't ever stand up, though. It's not the breed standard, but it's also not a problem.
27. Chihuahuas are a relatively expensive breed, even though they are a small dog type. Chihuahuas can cost anywhere between $800 and $1500, depending on a breeder's discretion, and depending on the puppy's size, sex, intelligence, disposition, and personality.
28. The average size for a chihuahua litter is between two and five puppies.
We've told you about chihuahuas as a breed, but what about their typical character or temperament? Read on to find out.
29. Chihuahuas are affectionately known as 'chis' by their fans.
30. Chihuahuas are known for shaking and shivering, which can be because of low body temperature, anxiety, and excitability. Other dogs also shake, but it is particularly common in chihuahuas.
31. Don't be fooled - chihuahuas have the biggest brain in the dog world, relative to their size. They're super smart and very easy to train as a result.
32. In fact, chihuahuas do well when competing in obedience or agility trials at shows, and they can make great service dogs, particularly as emotional support dogs.
33. However, chihuahuas can be difficult to housebreak because they have small bladders and are very stubborn, so take a while to learn to do their business outside.
34. Chihuahuas can be bossy and willful as a breed, so it's best to be firm with them and let them know who is boss, so they learn not to be too cheeky.
35. Chihuahuas originated as desert dogs, so they don't like the cold or wet weather.
36. Wild chihuahuas also used to climb trees for warmth and protection, but you wouldn't know it today, as these dogs love to lounge in their owners' laps.
37. There may be a reason that chihuahuas love sitting on people's laps - they may have been used by the Aztecs and Mayans as hot packs, to warm themselves up in cooler climates.
38. A study demonstrated that chihuahuas are one of the most aggressive breeds towards humans and other dogs that aren't also chihuahuas. It's best to try and counter this fierceness by socializing chihuahuas with other people and breeds of dog as early as possible, to encourage less feisty behavior.
39. Don't be fooled by the marketing - there is no such breed as a teacup chihuahua. Any chihuahua puppy that you are likely to come across in their early years will be teacup sized, which is to say small.
40. If your little dog has a big attitude, that's normal - chihuahuas, like other toy breeds, can have 'small dog syndrome', where they become aggressive, stand their ground, bark, or growl when confronted with larger dogs, animals, and people. It's generally believed that this is done to make up for the dog's size.
41. As a breed, chihuahuas really like retrieving things - toss a ball or a toy for your little dog and they will chase and retrieve it with enthusiasm.
42. The American Kennel Club specifically refers to chihuahuas as a 'saucy' breed - probably as a result of their big personalities.
43. As a breed, chihuahuas can be prone to phobias, particularly separation anxiety, and fear of crowds or loud traffic.
44. Chihuahuas are also known for alerting their owners to fires and medical emergencies - so don't be taken in by this dog's small size! They have a strong sense of hearing and are very alert, so are great watch dogs to have around.
45. There are actually multiple examples of chihuahuas saving the lives of their owners: for example, in 2007, a five-pound chihuahua named Zoey protected a 1-year-old boy (the grandson of her owner) from a rattlesnake bite by jumping in front of the boy. Zoey was bitten, but received medical treatment and recovered.
46. Chihuahuas are, in fact, known for their loyalty to their owners: they have been reported to die of a broken heart when their owners pass away.
47. Whilst a chihuahua is likely to love everyone in their family, they will be particularly attached to one owner.
48. Scientists believe that chihuahuas developed their burrowing instinct as a result of their ancestry and relation to the Techichi. Chihuahuas love to burrow under anything - from blankets to clothing. When the Techichi used to roam North and Central America, it is likely that they also burrowed in sand and vegetation for warmth and protection from predators.
Health Facts About Chihuahuas
We answer your burning questions around chihuahua health facts, helping you stay fully informed about these little dogs.
49. As discussed above, chihuahuas have the biggest brain relative to their size, compared to other dogs. However, this can cause health conditions, as a chihuahuas neck has to take a lot of weight, and their skull size can put pressure on their brain.
50. Like many other small dogs, chihuahuas suffer from dystocia, which can cause complications when giving birth. This results in many mummy chihuahuas having to have caesarean sections.
51. Chihuahuas can also have dental health problems. Chihuahuas are at greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease as a result when compared to larger dogs.
52. The neck of a chihuahua is fragile, so be sure to not attach a leash to a neck collar, but to use a harness instead, attaching a lead to that.
53. Chihuahuas are dogs that are prone to a medical condition called 'patellar luxation', where the kneecap (or patella) of a dog slips out of the groove socket in its femur bone.
54. The University of Georgia College Veterinary found that the top three leading causes of death for chihuahuas are physical trauma, infection, and heart disease.
55. The leading cause of death in chihuahuas is cardiovascular disease: a good diet and exercise are great ways to ensure that these small dogs have the longest lives possible.
56. As with many other toy breeds, chihuahuas may suffer from reverse sneezing, a medical condition whereby air is pulled through the nose of the dog, resulting in them making wheezing sounds during an episode and struggling to breathe.
57. Chihuahuas have a greater risk of reacting badly to vaccinations compared to other dogs, according to research by Purdue University. Vaccination is, however, an important preventative measure of maintaining the health of your chihuahua.
58. It's easy to overfeed a chihuahua, but they don't need any more than half a cup of food for the entire day.
59. When outside with a chihuahua, stay alert and supervise them. They have been known to be swooped up by eagles or hawks, and attacked by wolves and cayotes. It's even reported that alligators have attacked chihuahuas before!
Chihuahua World Records
A chihuahua holds the world record for both the smallest dog in the world by height and by length - find out just how tiny these record-breaking dogs actually were!
60. In 2015, at Daytona Beach, 209 costume-wearing chihuahuas gathered to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, setting a new world record for the largest gathering of chihuahuas in costume.
61. In 2011, a chihuahua called Coco gave birth to the largest litter of chihuahua puppies ever recorded: she was the proud momma to 10 chihuahua pups.
62. The smallest dog in the world by length is a long coat female chihuahua named Brandy. She measures just six inches from the tip of her tail to her nose. By comparison, the largest dog in the world is over 7 feet long!
63. The smallest dog in the world by height is also a chihuahua named Miracle Milly: when she was measured by the Guinness World Records team in February 2013, she stood at only 3.8 inches tall.
Fun Facts About Chihuahuas
Do you know what link chihuahuas have with Cinco de Mayo, or what the ancestry of this little dog is likely to be? Thankfully, we have the answers in this section of chihuahua facts.
64. An ancient breed and companion dog, the Techichi, are believed to be the ancestors of chihuahuas. Toltecs in Mexico kept Techichi as lap dogs as early as the 9th century CE. The Toltec, Aztec, and Maya civilizations saw Techichis as guardians of the afterlife and believed the dogs would help their deceased owners cross over into that afterlife.
65. It is broadly agreed that chihuahuas come from Mexico, but experts disagree as to how they got to Mexico from Europe. Some think the little dogs may have reached South America by way of Christopher Columbus, who may have brought some chihuahuas from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean.
66. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico: in Chandler, Arizona and Denver, Colorado, locals celebrate the holiday with an annual chihuahua race and owner-dog lookalike competitions. Some animal shelters and veterinary clinics also offer free services to spay or neuter chihuahuas at this time of year, too.
67. Chihuahuas can be found in art dating back to 300BC, on pots and in sculptures. The breed is also visible in 13th-century paintings - look out for the chihuahua in the 1482 The Trials and Calling of Moses by Sandro Botticelli.
68. The Search-and-Rescue force of the Japanese Police has a rescue chihuahua. She is a dog named Momo, and her small size enables her to crawl through tight difficult to reach spaces.
69. In the 1990s, the company Taco Bell ran commercials that featured a chihuahua who was named Gidget, and had been found at a kennel.
70. Gidget also starred in the film Legally Blonde 2, and was credited with raising the popularity of the chihuahua dog breed.
71. Celebrities like Madonna, Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, and Demi Moore are fans of these small dogs.
72. A chihuahua is the brand and mascot of a Minor League baseball team, the 'El Paso Chihuahuas': their logo is a snarling chihuahua wearing a spiked collar.
73. You'll be able to spot a chihuahua in movies including Legally Blonde (both 1 and 2), Oliver & Company, Phineas and Ferb, Beverley Hills Chihuahua, and many others besides.
74. Chihuahuas are also one of the oldest official breeds: the American Kennel Club was founded in 1885, and chihuahuas were officially recognized soon after in 1904.
75. The first registered chihuahua with the American Kennel Club was a chihuahua named Midget. He was a chihuahua with a long coat, lived in El Paso, Texas, and was registered in 1904.
76. The Canadian Kennel Club registered its first chihuahua registration two decades after the AKC, in 1929.
77. The Chihuahua Club of America (CCA) was founded in 1923 to provide educational resources about the breed, as well as the responsible breeding of the small dogs.
78. Before the name 'chihuahua' was settled on for the breed, the dogs used to be named after the region in which they were found. Some chihuahuas were once known as 'Arizona' and 'Texas' dogs as a result.
79. In fact, the unofficial state dog of Arizona is the chihuahua. This small dog is also the unofficial state dog of New Mexico, too.
80. Equally, all small dogs to be found in the south of the United States and northern Mexico were called chihuahuas in the late 1800s and 1900s. This has led to the belief that the Mexican small hairless dog known as a Xoloitzcuintli was actually a chihuahua.
81. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was not unusual to see packs of chihuahuas roaming the southwestern United States. Sometimes you can still find packs of wild chihuahuas in certain areas of the U.S.
82. In 2014, a group of stray chihuahuas overran the small town of Maryvale in Arizona, terrorizing locals, harassing the townsfolk, and teaming up with larger dogs.
83. A chihuahua has not yet won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Neither have any other, much larger, dog breeds, including the golden retriever, great dane, and labrador retriever.
84. Old folklore suggests that chihuahuas could cure asthma and other respiratory problems. It was believed that the breed had the power to transfer diseases from their human owner to themselves, absorbing the condition in order to protect their owners. There is, however, no evidence to support this myth.
85. Chihuahua actually means 'between two waters' and is a word that derives from a Nahuatl word for the same.
86. In 2015, a chihuahua called Lucy helped to nurse two abandoned kittens at a New York animal shelter. Who says cats and dogs can't get along?
87. In the late 1800s and early 1900s in Mexico, it was fairly common for a groom to gift his bride a bouquet of flowers with a small size chihuahua inside.
88. The most popular name for a chihuahua is 'Chico', which means 'small boy' in Spanish.
89. If you frequently find yourself wondering, 'how do you spell chihuahua?', you're not alone. It was discovered to be the most difficult word for people to spell in Arkansas and South Carolina in 2017 by Google Trends.
90. There's a chihuahua in the UK who has a $19,000 wardrobe of Dior and Chanel-inspired dresses. She is owned by professional dog groomer Sian Butler, is called Lily, and is a fawn-coloured smooth coat chihuahua.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the best chihuahua fun facts, then why not take a look at our list of bear facts, or perhaps shark facts are more your interest.
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