Chihuahua – Dog Breed of The Week

Fully capable of competing in dog sports such as agility and obedience, and is among the top 10 watchdogs

The Chihuahua is a saucy little hot tamale and not just because of his association with a certain fast-food Mexican restaurant. He’s renowned for being the world’s smallest dog, but he may well have the world’s biggest personality stashed inside that tiny body. That larger-than-life persona makes him appealing to men and women alike.

Fun loving and busy, Chihuahuas like nothing better than to be close to their people. They follow them everywhere in the house and ride along in tote bags when their people run errands or go shopping. It’s not unusual for Chihuahuas to form a close bond with a single person, and they can become very demanding if they’re overindulged.

Besides being affectionate housemates, Chihuahuas are intelligent and fast learners. They can compete in agility and obedience trials with just as much enthusiasm and success as larger dogs. That said, they’re willful little dogs. You’ll be most successful if you can persuade them that competing — or simply doing as you ask — is fun. Use positive reinforcement in the form of praise and food rewards when training your Chihuahua. He won’t respond to harsh treatment.

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Height:6 inches to 9 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 3 to 6 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 18 years

Highlights
  • Choose a Chihuahua breeder who provides health clearances for patellas and heart conditions.
  • The Chihuahua is a long-lived breed; expect to care for him for up to 18 years.
  • Chihuahuas are prone to shivering when they are cold, excited, or scared. Provide your Chihuahua with a sweater or coat when he goes outdoors in cold or wet weather.
  • Chihuahuas can be unfriendly toward other dogs if they’re not socialized when young. Chihuahuas don’t back down from other dogs and this can cause a problem if they encounter a large aggressive dog.
  • Don’t leave your Chihuahua unattended in the yard. He could be attacked by a hawk, other birds of prey, or larger dogs or coyotes.
  • Chihuahuas can be reserved with strangers. Choose a puppy that was whelped and raised in a home with a lot of human interaction.
  • Chihuahuas are not the best dog to have when you have young children. Chihuahuas are fragile and a toddler may hurt the dog while playing. Most breeders won’t sell puppies to homes with children younger than eight years.
  • The Chihuahua’s ears can be prone to ear wax build up and dry skin.
  • Chihuahuas are happy as companions, but they do need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily and can go for much longer than you might expect. Monitor your Chihuahua, especially when he’s a puppy, so that he doesn’t wear himself out.
  • Chihuahuas have larger than life personalities and will run your life if you let them. They can be destructive when bored and can become finicky eaters if their diet is fussed over. Establish ground rules and stick with them or you’ll find yourself giving up your comfortable chair because your beloved pet has told you to move.
  • To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs for genetic health conditions and good temperaments.
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