Among the most popular of the breeds, the first Chihuahua dogs were thought to have been bred in the Mexican region of Chihuahua in the mid 1800’s. Since then Chihuahua dogs have spread worldwide and gained international acceptance, first gaining entrance into the American Kennel Club in 1904.
Thought to have originally descended from the ancient Teichi breed of Central America, some believe that Chihuahua dogs represent a cross between this and one or more Asian breeds brought by European explorers early in the discovery of America. Though thought to have existed as far back as the 1500’s, the breed in its modern form was not discovered by westerners until about 1850 when several long haired dogs were found amongst the ruins of a Castle constructed by an ancient Mayan ruler. Since their acceptance into the AKC, they have become the twelfth most popular breed.
Chihuahua dogs are the smallest of the dog breeds and encompass a range of sizes, from the standard to so called “tea cups.” The officially size range recognized by the American Kennel Club is 3 ½ to 6 ½ pounds and about six to ten inches tall. Many breeders have attempted to create a Chihuahua that is significantly smaller than this but these breeding programs have been condemned by the AKC and other organizations for the negative health consequences they have on the already susceptible breed.
When considering Chihuahua dogs, many people think of ill tempered, sensitive, suspicious animals with small beady eyes. Though these characteristics are not entirely uncommon in the breed, they do not do it justice by any means. It is true that Chihuahuas are frequently dominant towards humans and dislike being handled, but they also possess a wide range of positive characteristics such as playfulness, loyalty, curiosity and vigor. Chihuahuas are particularly susceptible to genetic influence of their temperament, and before purchasing a puppy, it is a sound idea to meet the dog’s mother and father to gain an idea of what their offspring’s disposition might be like.
Chihuahua dogs are prone to a number of health problems and must be properly cared for in order to prevent the unnecessary risk of serious illness.
Like a human baby, Chihuahua puppies are born with a soft spot at the top of their head, a condition known as a molera. Unlike humans, though, Chihuahua moleras do not always disappear completely. It is important that Chihuahuas, particularly during their first months, have their heads treated gently.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a fairly common condition in Chihuahuas. It is important that the owners be vigilant about watching for the warning signs of this disease: glassy eyes, excessive tiredness, and irritability. Hypoglycemia is very treatable but can cause death if left to its own devices.
Chihuahuas are also prone to numerous genetic disorders such as hear murmurs, Luxating Paletta, and Cystinuria. For this reason it is important that prospective owners choose a reputable breeder who has taken pains to minimize strains of genetic disease in his stock and can show an extended lineage for each puppy.