Meet the Adorable Chihuahua

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The Chihuahua, known to be the smallest breed of dog in the world is said to have originated from and named after a state in Mexico. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Chihuahua under the Toy group in 1904.


Appearance 

Chihuahuas have an average height of 15 to 23 centimeters, although some can grow up to 30 to 38 centimeters. They generally weigh anywhere from 3.3 to 6.6 pounds.

There are two varieties of Chihuahua - the smooth coat or short haired and the long coat. Coats can vary from a solid color to a combination of colors, or with markings. The AKC recognizes solid black, chocolate, cream, fawn, red, blue, gold, silver, white, brindled, sabled, merle, and selected combination of colors.

The UK Kennel Club (UKC) considers the short and long haired Chihuahua as two separate dog breeds. Both types can either be "apple head" or "dear head" in reference to the shape of their heads. An "apple head" Chihuahua has a round head, close-set eyes, short ears and legs. On the other hand, a "deer head" Chihuahua has a flat-topped head, eyes set wider apart, larger ears, and longer, slender legs.
 

Health 

Chihuahuas' lifespan averages between 12 to 20 years. They are generally healthy dogs that live long with their human family.

The Chihuahua is the only dog breed to be born with an incomplete skull. This is called the "molera", which are common in Chihuahua's with apple-shaped head especially during the first six months. In some cases, however, the molera doesn't close completely and thus, they require extra care to avoid injury.

Chihuahuas love food so they have a tendency to overeat and become obese so it is crucial for their owners to be aware of their nutritional need and make sure they are not overfed. It is worth noting that obesity can lead to other health problems including tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, joint injuries, and shortened life span.


Temperament

Despite its smallness, the Chihuahua has a big personality. They are smart, alert, energetic, and very loyal to their person. They also love to cuddle and burrow themselves in their beds. Because of their size, they don't need a large ground for exercise, and thus, are ideal pets for dog lovers who live in small homes or apartments.

It's important for Chihuahuas to be trained and socialised as early as possible as they can be overly protective of their human and like many small dog breeds, are likely to develop the "small dog syndrome".

If you're thinking about getting a Chihuahua, seriously consider if this dog breed is right for you. Don't support puppy mills or buy from pet stores. Adopt a dog from a shelter or animal rescue center. 
references: Wikipedia, AKC

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