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Chihuahua: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

Chihuahua Dog Breed

  • Breed: Chihuahua
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Weight: 1 to 3 kg
  • Height at the withers: 33 to 40 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
  • Fur: short or long
  • Color: solid, with marks or spotted – white, brown, black, brown, red, cream
  • Temperament: courageous, strong-willed, lively, loyal, attentive, people-oriented

Chihuahua: history

The Chihuahua probably comes from Mexico, where the Toltecs and Aztecs kept it as a house dog. Legend has it that Chihuahuas were not only considered sacred sacrificial animals but were idolized by Aztec chiefs for their bright eyes and rounded heads, even accompanying them to their graves. The animal should show them the way through the underworld to paradise, on the condition that the owner treated the little dog well during his lifetime.

The breed status of Chihuahuas originated in the United States in the mid-19th century. Shortly thereafter, the little dogs spread all over the world. In 1904 the first description of the breed was documented in the magazine “Our Dogs”. This comes from the variety artist Rosina V. Casselli, who trained Chihuahuas for their performances. The first registration in the US studbook followed in the same year. The first dogs of this breed were registered in Germany in 1956.

The Chihuahua is assigned to FCI Group 9, Section 6, FCI Standard No. 218. He is the smallest dog breed in the world.

With such an energetic four-legged friend, the risk of small and large mishaps, which can sometimes end up at the vet, should not be underestimated. He is well protected with the dog health insurance of the DFV. The DFV animal health protection provides up to 100% reimbursement of costs in the event of illness and surgeries. For the all-round carefree package, the DFV dog liability insurance offers protection against personal injury, property damage, and financial loss caused by your four-legged friend. So you are really covered for all skins!

Chihuahua: breed characteristics

Essence and temperament

Little Chihuahuas are instinctively picky about who they give their affections to. Once he has made his decision, he is very attached to his favorite and remains loyal, even if he is cared for by several people. His nature is lively, alert, courageous, and restless. He boldly and fearlessly faces even the biggest dogs.

Owners should pay attention to a consistent education of the small pet because otherwise you will quickly be confronted with a moody and stubborn little tyrant who expresses any dissatisfaction with loud, nervous barking. With appropriate discipline and clearly set boundaries, the Chihuahua is very attentive, capable of learning, and clever.

The breed requires a lot of attention overall. However, if the Chihuahua is spoiled and coddled too much, it quickly becomes jealous and possessive. Long-haired specimens tend to have a gentle, easy-going disposition, while short-haired Chihuahuas often behave energetically and attempt to usurp the pack leadership.


The Chihuahua is the smallest of all dog breeds and reaches a maximum shoulder height of 20 cm and a bodyweight of up to 3 kg. It has an apple-shaped head with protruding beady eyes, a tail that curls over its back, and large, bat-wing-like ears that protrude from the head. His physique is compact and well proportioned. The little dog has slender yet muscular legs.

Depending on the breed, the fur can be smooth, wavy, long, or short and come in many different colors. Colors such as black and white, but also many shades of brown, red, and cream are possible.

Chihuahuas with long hair are descended from a cross with Papillons and have bushy tails and ears, as well as thickly-haired legs.

Chihuahua Puppy Training

Puppies of this breed need a loving but consistent upbringing. Small Chihuahuas should not be coddled under any circumstances, as they can quickly become moody and reluctant to obey. Otherwise, Chihuahua puppies are extremely trainable and clever.

Since small dogs tend to bark a lot and frequently, e.g. B. if someone rings the doorbell or walks past the apartment, you should consistently counteract this behavior in Chihuahua puppies and show them that barking is undesirable.

In addition to being housebroken and learning various commands, the little ones should be made familiar with other dogs from the start. They have to learn to get along well and appropriately with other dogs, even if they are larger. Because the brave Chihuahua tends to overestimate himself, he needs to know his limits well. Attending a dog school can be beneficial for education.

Activities with the Chihuahua

The almost 20 cm small Chihuahua needs a lot of exercise and mental challenges. He doesn’t want to be carried around in a bag all the time but prefers walks in the forest, ball games, or targeted training.

The activity should always be adapted to the physical abilities of the small dog. In general, any dog ​​sport that focuses on agility and intelligence rather than endurance and strength can be practiced with the Chi.

Sports for the Chihuahua


“Agility” means “agility” or “nimbleness”. This dog sport is a varied obstacle course that the dogs go through under the guidance of their humans. Equipment such as hurdles, footbridges, tunnels, or seesaws is used. The various obstacles are completed in a different order. It depends above all on speed, dexterity, and good leadership in the dog. In agility, master and dog must be able to harmonize, complement and rely on each other.

However, the hurdles must not be too high for the small dog. Otherwise, the training can also be wonderfully supplemented with intelligence games and tricks.

Dog dance

In the Dog Dance, the dog and owner move rhythmically to the music together. The dog owner guides the four-legged friend with voice commands and body signals. Both partners are challenged physically and mentally. Working out the tricks and the choreography is based on trust and harmony between man and dog.

Typical tasks of the dancesport are z. B. Slalom running around human legs, walking backward or sideways, doing jumps, turns, paw work, and manikin.

Dog Dance is a balanced and varied workout that engages many of the dog’s muscles and body parts that it would otherwise not consciously use. The dogs improve their coordination in terms of body awareness, balance, and movement.

International DogDance tournaments are regularly held in many parts of Europe.

Chihuahua: care

The Chihuahua’s silky coat should be combed once a week with a soft baby brush.

Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems. It is a good idea to start brushing your teeth regularly when you are a puppy. A varied diet also contributes to dental health.

In the cold season, the best way to protect your little dog from the cold and wet is to wear a dog coat.

Chihuahuas are prone to tear stains under their eyes. Owners should therefore also pay attention to the area below the eyes. The eyes should be clear and not watery. To remove tear stains, there are special tear stain removers.

When checking the ears, make sure that they do not smell and that the inner ears do not show any deposits or dirt.

Chi’s claws grow very quickly. If you can hear them clicking on the bottom, they are too long and should be trimmed. However, caution is advised, because nerve tracts run in the claws. If the claws are cut too short, this can lead to great pain.

Chihuahua: nutrition

When feeding the Chihuahua, the size of the food is particularly important. With dry food, the individual kibbles must be small enough to be chewed in the dog’s mouth. Experts recommend a mix of dry and wet food. The dry food cares for the teeth and the wet food keeps the Chihuahua’s water balance at a high level.

Especially with such small dogs, the wrong diet can quickly have fatal consequences. Incompatibilities are expressed through diarrhea and vomiting, which can quickly lead to life-threatening dehydration in small animals. The Chihuahua dog food should therefore contain particularly high-quality ingredients that a human could eat without hesitation.

Chihuahua: Typical diseases and breed-related problems

Dental diseases

The special head shape of the Chihuahua often leads to misaligned teeth, which promote reduced abrasion when chewing and thus tartar formation. The consequences manifest themselves in gingivitis, damage to the periodontium, and even tooth loss.

Another disease typical of the breed is milk tooth persistence. The milk teeth are still there, although the permanent teeth are already pushing in. In this case, the milk teeth should be extracted by the veterinarian to avoid chronic inflammation in the area of ​​​​the jaw and the mucous membrane of the mouth. The remaining milk tooth can also lead to serious changes in the permanent tooth.

To prevent tartar, daily brushing of teeth is extremely important for representatives of this breed. The dog should be used to a toothbrush and toothpaste from a young age. Soft dog toothbrushes and special dog toothpaste are suitable for this purpose.

The avoidance of tartar can also be promoted by diet. The texture and consistency of special dry food kibble can cause greater mechanical wear on the teeth, helping to clean the tooth surface. In addition, an increased fiber content ensures greater mechanical abrasion. Additives such as polyphenols and zinc salts inhibit bacterial growth. Essential oils in moderation have an antibacterial effect.

Urinary stones

Due to a genetic defect, the Chihuahua tends to form urate stones. This type of urinary stone forms when the pH of the urine is acidic. The urate stones express symptoms that resemble a bladder infection. A sick dog suffers from bloody urine, frequent urination, and pain when urinating. In the worst case, the urinary stones can lead to a displacement of the urethra, especially in male Chihuahuas.

The pH of the urine is influenced by the composition of the feed. Accordingly, adapted feeding can inhibit the formation of urinary stones.

Owners should pay attention to a needs-based, moderate protein intake. Protein sources such as muscle meat, milk, and egg products are recommended. Other sources of protein such as offal (liver, kidney) and certain types of fish (sardines, anchovies) should be avoided, as they have a high purine content and thus promote urate stone formation.

Diabetes mellitus

The Chihuahua is prone to developing diabetes. In the case of the metabolic disorder, either too little insulin is produced (type 1) or the effect of the insulin is reduced (type 2). As a result, the blood sugar level increases. The disease manifests itself through symptoms such as severe thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and weight loss through to corneal clouding. If left untreated, the disease can lead to serious physical damage, as the blood vessels and kidneys in particular are heavily burdened.

In addition to regular insulin injections, it is important to adjust the Chihuahua’s diet so that post-feed glucose surges are limited. Sugary feeds with readily available carbohydrate sources should be avoided. More complex carbohydrates such as starch (rice, potatoes, pasta, corn, tapioca, millet, cereals) can definitely be on the menu since glucose release is very slow here. In general, however, the feed should not exceed 50% starch in the dry substance.

Overall, the food should have a constant composition with suitable components so that the insulin requirement does not vary. It is advisable to feed the cat in several small meals and at fixed times.

Is the Chihuahua right for me?

Representatives of this breed are suitable as companion dogs for single people as well as for couples or families. A city apartment is not a problem for tiny animals. However, the little one should not be left alone for too long, because that means stress for him. Because of its small size, you can take it with you almost anywhere. This makes it easy to offer him enough exercise and activity.

If the children in the family are still very small, it is better to choose another breed of dog, because loud screaming and excessive fuss can easily stress and make the Chihuahua nervous.

Is the Chihuahua a family dog?

The Chihuahua is a companion dog and is ideal for small families with older children or individuals. Young children often stress and overwhelm this breed, which can lead to undesirable behavior. Therefore, the Chihuahua is better suited as a male/female dog or for a family with older children.

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