is the chihuahua the right pet for you?
the chihuahua, with its apple-head skull and large luminous eyes, can wear a remarkably human expression at times and will want to be with you most, if not all of the time.
warning: don’t buy a chihuahua if you don’t have the emotional real estate in your heart or the time for the complete love and attention of this furry little pet. they are like children.
chihuahuas can be smooth coat or long coat, apple head or dear head, blue coat or merle coat, there is no chihuahua breed standard distinction made between the two in the united states since both smooth coat and long coat can occur in a litter. experienced chihuahua owners say that each dog of this breed has their own unique personality; this is a very individualistic breed.
a few generalizations can be made. chihuahuas are graceful, energetic, and swift-moving canines. they have often been described as having “terrier-like” qualities; that is, the qualities of being alert, observant, and keen on interacting with their masters. they are extremely loyal and get attached to one or two persons.
these tiny and sometimes teacup size dogs are certainly unaware of their diminutive stature: they can be bold with other dogs much larger than themselves, and protective of their masters. they are fiercely loyal to their masters and wary of any strangers or new guests introduced into the household, which the chihuahua considers to be its personal domain. for these reasons, chihuahuas make good watch dogs (not guard dogs!).
the chihuahua needs a great deal of human contact: touching, petting, and general attention. if the chihuahua does not get this, she or he will use various attention-getting tricks until you give her/him attention. like using paws to lightly scratch the hand, a signal that says, “pet me now!” some owners who have had other, more independent breeds may find the chihuahua too needy. however, they give a lot of love and affection in return for your care.
keeping more than one chihuahua can greatly ease the dog’s stress when left alone each day if the owner works. they will compete for your attention when you get home though. because they are by nature gentle, loyal, and sweet-tempered, chihuahuas are ideal for single people, the elderly, the handicapped, and shut-ins.
chihuahuas will keep you company for hours by lying on your lap or beside your torso if in bed, and treat you like royalty. no one with a chihuahua in their household will ever be truly alone. they are quite happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and explore.
opinions differ on how to bathe a chihuahua. some say that bathing too often removes the natural oils from the coat, and thus dandruff will result and the coat will look dull. others say that shampooing on occasion with certain brands of shampoo can actually enhance the sheen of the coat. chihuahuas should be bathed at least twice a month, otherwise they develop an unpleasant smell. this is actually due to the skin cells that humans sloth off onto the chihuahua! so humans are the main contributors to that smell that can develop.
when bathing, take care not to get water into their ears, as an infection can develop. you will need to trim their nails at least once a month too. on the smaller dogs, cat claw trimmers can be used. it’s good to start a nail trimming routine early on so that your dog becomes accustomed to your handling its paws not to mention getting used to the clippers. owners should also be aware that chihuahuas are prone to knee problems like luxating patellas or “weak knees.” this can occur as they get older. if it causes difficulty in walking, take your dog to the vet.
if a chihuahua pup has its american kennel club official certificate papers, a new pup can run up to $600.00. the papers (which the breeder provides) mean that the parents of your chihuahua pup is registered with the akc and that the puppy is registrable.
additionally, some chihuahua breeders provide pedigree papers which trace the family history beyond the immediate parents. these papers are vital if you plan to enter your new dog into exhibitions and competitions. these certificates and papers ensure that the dog is a purebred; however, just because a dog has papers, doesn’t mean it is any more special than a pup bought from a friend.
toy breeds live the longest of any size dog. expect a life-span of 11-18 years.
when buying a leash for your chihuahua, remember that its neck is rather small and delicate compared to other dog’s necks. you cannot (and, indeed, should not) yank your dog around by the leash. a body-harness for small dogs is recommended for two reasons: safety and comfort. if fitted right, it will give your pet a secure and comfortable walk, and harnesses also ensure your dog cannot run into traffic or a bigger creature.
chihuahuas also prefer several small meals per day, rather than one big meal. they are high-strung dogs. “high-strung” can be defined as: barks easily, does not adapt easily to change in environment, is suspicious of strangers and will growl at them, and flips in circles and jumps around when excited (like when you come home after a five-minute absence, for instance). your friends will see the worst side of them and never believe you when you tell them that your little buddy is really a gentle, sweet-natured dog.
are chihuahuas good with children?
generally, no. however if you socialize them with children at an early age, chihuahuas will go out of their way to love, protect and accept children.
do chihuahuas need clothing?
owners must be very sensitive to the fact that short-haired chihuahuas, and even long-haired ones, are vulnerable to the cold. in temperatures of 35-40 degrees fahrenheit, it is recommended that you dress your chihuahua in a warm dog sweater for brief walks. walking your chihuahua in temperatures below 35 degrees fahrenheit is strongly discouraged, especially when there is a wind-chill factor.
in this, as in other aspects of dog maintenance, keep your dogs’ health top priority, not your own desire. it is a characteristic of the chihuahua to prefer to sleep under a cloth or blanket. they will even get under pillows in order to feel snug. if you are raising a pup, be sure to provide them with a soft towel or blanket in their sleeping area so they can burrow underneath it. don’t be surprised if your chihuahua scrambles under your blankets at night, even though your house or apartment may not be particularly cold.
chihuahuas are quite the sun-worshipers. they prefer to bask in the sun for hours and have been known to lie in a spot of sun no larger than the size of a half-dollar! unfortunately, they are not sensible in this regard and will stay in the sun even when panting begins.
watching your chihuahua in hot weather to be sure that they don’t suffer from heat stroke is a genuine chihuahua health concern. chihuahuas do shiver when they’re cold, but they also shiver when they are wary, excited, unhappy, or frightened. this is a result of having a high metabolism, and is a normal characteristic of this breed.
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below is a sample page from the section on chihuahua facts!