Dog Breeds Articles

Travel through the mysterious past of the Chihuahua to find more about the popular breed loved by so many today.
History of the Breed

Though the chihuahua comes from a mysterious past, today, the chihuahua is one of the most recognizable breeds. They are believed to be one of the oldest breeds of the new world continents. They go back as far as about 2,000 years and though they were long believed to be exclusively Mexican, the Chinese were probably the first to actually develop the breed. The orientals have been in the art of “shrinking” for many centuries (another common example is the popular Bonsai trees). When these proto-chihuahuas, called Techichi, were brought to Mexico around the age of the Toltec civilization (around 10 A.D.), they became the favorite of royalty for both the purpose of companionship and eating. They also became popular sacrificial animals. Every time a human was sacrificed to their Gods, his dog would also go with him. The Techichi was a short-legged dumpy dog by comparison to today’s graceful, happy chihuahua. The chihuahua we know today is believed to have been perfected around the early 1850s, and were not held by royalty anymore, but instead were downgraded to being smuggled by peddlers. They were then called “Chihuahua”, after the city of Chihuahua in Mexico where the breed was first discovered by Caucasians. These lovable, tiny dogs were either smoothcoat, longcoat, or hairless. The hairless version is still around, but now known as the Xoloitzcuintle, or Mexican Hairless. Today, the smoothcoat and the longcoat are the 2 most desirable varieties. Chihuahuas were first recognized by the AKC in 1904.

General Appearance

Small. Legs not too long, not too short, aligned straight with the chest and rear (not cow-hocked or bowed). Back straight, somewhat longer than tall. Head should be round domed (apple-domed) with a well defined stop. Muzzle should meet a 90 degree angle. Eyes are round, wide-set and large, but not protruding. Tail should curl over the back, but not pig-tailed, but curled enough to where the tip barely touches the back. There should be some length to the neck, but it should not be too long, yet it shouldn’t have the appearance of sitting directly on the shoulders. The ears should be carried at 40-degree angles when at rest. The smoothcoat can be either close or plushy (double-coated smooth). Longcoats should appear fluffy, with feathering most pronounced on the ears, legs and tail.

Proportion and Size

Height should be no more than 9 inches at the shoulder. Weight should be no more than 6 pounds.


Any color acceptable, fawn, black, red, blue, white, chocolate, lilac, brindle, cream and even merle. In any pattern.

Temperment (including suitability with children

Described as the “big dog in a little package”, chihuahuas display an amazing terrier-like personality. Chihuahuas are loving dogs with people. They love to seek the warmth of their owner. Chihuahuas tend to attach themselves to one member of the family. They are not recommended for small children. Older children would be more ideal. They are quite suspicious of strangers however.


Chihuahuas can be trained to do anything a larger dog can–on a smaller scale of course. Potty training takes a little extra time and effort. Though chihuahuas are habitually stubborn and even sometimes pig-headed, they are very intelligent dogs.

Exercise Needs

20 minute walks are good enough for chihuahuas mostly to avoid obesity–a common, life-threatening problem in chihuahuas.

Grooming Needs

Smoothcoats are basically wash and go. Longcoats require usually only a small amount of brushing.

Fun FAQs

Here are some things I am typically asked about chihuahuas:

Are longcoat chihuahuas a new breed?

No. Longcoats have been around as long as the smoothcoats.

Did the longcoats come as a result of crossbreeding?

No one is really sure how the longcoats came about. Every smoothcoat dog carries a longcoat gene somewhere.

Do chihuahuas come in different sizes, ie standard, toy or teacup?

There is no such thing as a standard, toy, tiny toy or a teacup chihuahua. The teacup myth was concocted by backyard breeders and puppymills as a ploy for making money, saying these are “special” breeds. The AKC says a chihuahua can be up to 6 pounds. Over 6 pounds is undesirable.

What is the difference between a “deer” chihuahua and an “apple dome” chihuahua?

The answer is simple, the shape of the head. Deer head chihuahuas have flatter heads, eyes closer together and usually longer noses. Apple dome chihuahuas, which are more desirable, have a rounded head, usually a shorter muzzle and wider set eyes.

Is it true chihuahuas tend to prefer companions of their own kind?

Chihuahuas can get along well with any other dog, as long as the dog isn’t too rambunctious. They can get along well with cats and even rabbits. The reason most people who have one chihuahua will get another is ADDICTION. These little dogs grow on a person very quickly.
Additional Resources

View Chihuahua Pictures in our photo album.

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