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Chihuahua

The Aztecs may have originally bred these tiny dogs as food, but these days a Chihuahua in your home will rule the roost. 

Originating in Mexico, the Chihuahua is the smallest recognised breed of dog weighing around 1.8 to 2.7 kgs. They are also a breed with one of the longest life expectancy of up to 20 years.

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Origin

Mexico, 9th Century 

Bred for

Food, heat pads 

Size 

“Toy” size weight 1.8 to 2.7 kgs Height 15 to 25 cm 

Colours

All dog colours except for merle

Life expectancy

12  to 20 years  

Coat

Short coated and long coat variants exist

Temperament 

Intelligent, loyal, protective 

Exercise requirements

Low (due to small size) 

Best suited for 

Childless households, or families with older children 

Apartment Friendly

Yes

Personality

Chihuahuas are intelligent and tend to bond strongly to one member of the household. This can lead to them becoming overprotective of that person so socialising with other people, pets and dogs from a young age is important. Due to their small size and delicate bodies they may be better suited to households without children or families with older children. Chihuahua’s can do well living in apartments as they are small, but they still need plenty of walks, play time and enrichment at home. Exercise is just as important for Chihuahuas as for bigger dogs to help avoid obesity.

Grooming

There are short and long coated Chihuahuas. The short coated tend to shed more than the long-coated varieties so both benefit from brushing several times a week. Make sure your Chihuahua’s nails are not left to overgrow as this can become uncomfortable for your Chihuahua and makes it more difficult to trim them later. They can be trimmed with nail clippers. Prevent parasites by ensuring your Chihuahua is on flea and tick control all year round.

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Chihuahua, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Get your Chihuahua used to eating biscuits from a young age to help encourage chewing and good dental health. Help prevent your Chihuahua from becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Patella luxation is a condition where the patella, or kneecap luxates or slips out of place. This condition occurs in many small breeds of dogs, and the Chihuahua is no exception. 

The five most common reasons for a Chihuahua to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data (from 2019) include:

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Gastrointestinal Conditions (tummy upsets) 

$274

$3,958

2

Heart condition (heart murmur, heart failure, valve disorders)

$282

$4,703

3

Skin conditions (infection, allergy)

$157

$1,593

3

Patella luxation

$532

$5,150

4

Ear condition (infections)

$241

$10,714

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Chihuahua names

  1. Coco
  2. Pablo
  3. Bella
  4. Buddy
  5. Lulu
  6. Archie
  7. Mia
  8. Pedro
  9. Charlie
  10. Frankie

Most popular female names  

  1. Coco
  2. Bella
  3. Lulu
  4. Mia
  5. Luna
  6. Olive
  7. Poppy
  8. Kiki
  9. Lily
  10. Lola

Most popular male names 

  1. Pablo
  2. Buddy
  3. Archie
  4. Pedro
  5. Taco
  6. Charlie
  7. Louie
  8. Rocky
  9. Bear 
  10. Benji

Did you know?

Moonie, the Chihuahua played Bruiser Woods in “Legally Blonde”, the movie starring Reece Witherspoon passed away in 2016 at the grand age of 18. 

Where can I get a Chihuahua?

Check out your local breed specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to visit your local pet rescue shelters where you might just find your new best friend! 

References

  1. American Kennel Club, Chihuahua, Accessed on 3/11/2020 
  2. Wikipedia, Chihuahua, Accessed on 3/11/2020
  3. Everything DOG as told by Chihuahuas, 9 Super Famous Chihuahua’s, Accessed on 3/11/2020

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka