Chihuahua Dog Breed Facts & Information

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world, weighing just between two and six pounds. Though it's tiny, it's fiercely loyal and makes an excellent family pet because it was bred for companionship. You've seen famous Chihuahuas in "Taco Bell" commercials and "Legally Blonde." Now, it's time to get up close and personal with these lovable pups.

Close-Up Portrait Of Chihuahua Against Pink Background
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The basics

Chihuahuas are tiny, but they are also mighty. They are very energetic and have a long lifespan of 14-18 years. They are big on barking but likely won't drool a lot or dig up the yard. The AKC classifies them as a toy breed, and the UKC classifies them as a companion dog. They are highly intelligent and easy to train, but also stubborn. About 80% to 90% of newborn Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot in their skull called a molera. Normally, it'll close, but it never goes away in some of the dogs.

The history

The history of the Chihuahua is muddled, and no one can agree on where the dog came from. Some historians say the breed originated in the 1500s and can be traced back to Spain, while others believe that the Aztecs or Incas first bred it. The breed got its name from the Mexican state Chihuahua, where the pup was first discovered in 1850. The first Chihuahua was registered with the AKC in 1908 (his name was Beppie). Since these dogs were also found in Texas and Arizona, they were called the "Texas dog" and "Arizona dog" before they were known as simply Chihuahuas. Today, they are commemorated on Cinco de Mayo in Mexico with the running of the Chihuahuas, owner-dog lookalike contests and costumes.

A little white chihuahua is playing outside
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The personality

Chihuahuas love getting attention from everyone. They are charming and loyal, and will adapt to any situation. They love hanging out on their owners' laps and playing around, since they have a seemingly never-ending amount of energy. If these dogs feel threatened, they may snap at someone, and if they are not properly trained, they may want to establish dominance over their owners.

The appearance

Chihuahuas only weigh between 2 to 6 pounds. Females are 7 inches tall, and males are 9 inches tall. They have both short and long coats that fall flat and straight. Some Chihuahuas will have a smooth and short coat, while others will have a long and soft coat. These dogs come in any color and aren't demanding when it comes to grooming. Their ears are naturally upright and they have pointed and short muzzles and round eyes. Some Chihuahuas are more likely than others to be overweight, so it's important to not give them too many table scraps and to only feed them high-quality dog food.

Chihuahua dog sleep on bed.
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Chihuahua essential facts

  • Personality: Active, loyal, energetic, charming
  • Energy level: High
  • Trainability: Highly trainable, but needs to be done early, because they will walk all over you if they are not trained.
  • Good with children: Yes, but not if they are temperamental or poorly trained.
  • Good with other dogs: Needs supervision, but they typically get along well with other dogs.
  • Shedding: Not much
  • Grooming: Low. Smooth-coat dogs need some brushing and bathing regularly, while the longhaired dogs need to be brushed at least once a week.
  • Barking Level: High, because they want attention
  • Height: Males: 9 inches at the withers, Females: 7 inches at the withers
  • Weight: 2 to 6 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 14-18 years