BREED SPOTLIGHT

Breed Spotlight: Chihuahua

3 min read Sep 13, 2022

Chihuahua Quick Stats

Lifespan: 14 – 16 years

Weight: Up to 6 lbs.

Height: 5 – 6 inches

Do I Shed?: Yes

Personality: Spunky, energetic, affectionate

Common Health Problems: Heart disease, eye disease, loose kneecaps

Chihuahua: How Do I Look?

Chihuahuas are usually small enough to fit in a purse, with slightly curled tails and heart-shaped faces. One of the smallest pedigree dogs in the world, Chihuahuas are extremely compact. They come in a variety of colors and two coat lengths, giving these fun-loving dogs gorgeous looks to complement any family.

Coat Type and Colors

You’ll find two coat types in Chihuahuas: short and long coats. No matter their coat length, Chihuahuas come in a variety of colors such as:³

  • Black
  • Black and tan
  • Blue and tan
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate and tan
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Fawn and white
  • Red

Shedding and Grooming

Chihuahuas shed all year long but the shedding increases more during the fall and winter. Short-haired varieties should be brushed weekly, while long-haired Chihuahuas need biweekly brushing. Regular baths are a must to keep their coats shiny.

Ears

Large, upright, broad, and slightly round at the tip,  Chihuahua ears help provide their characteristically perky expressions.

Drooling Level

Chihuahuas aren’t known for drooling. If your pup is drooling, it could be a sign of periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums similar to gingivitis in humans. Since Chihuahuas are particularly prone to dental disease, it’s important to keep an eye on their drooling level and dental health.

Chihuahua: Personality Traits

What My Online Dating Bio Would Say:

I am short, I am stout, and you’ll definitely hear me shout! I am the life of the party. Need a new friend? I am your dog. Put me in your carry-on bag and let our lifelong adventure begin.

Behavior

Chihuahuas are popular because of their quick-witted nature and goofy antics. These toy dogs are lively and love playing with humans and other dogs, even though their confidence may get them into conflict. However, their affectionate nature makes up for their spunky attitude.

Trainability

While these dogs aren’t great sportsmen, Chihuahuas are trainable and benefit from consistent play with their owners. They can be mischievous but they love pleasing their humans, so positive reinforcement is key to training Chihuahuas to listen, sit, or return to you on command.

Exercise Needs

Similar to other toy dogs, the Chihuahua's exercise needs are low. They’ll be happy with a quick walk or playing in small spaces like apartment living rooms. If they start to pant during their walks, pick them up to carry them so you can avoid overexerting their compact legs.

Are Chihuahuas Good With Kids?

Chihuahuas cannot handle roughhousing with kids, unlike other dogs. These dogs are great matches for elders or older children who can handle the dog with care.

Are Chihuahuas Good With Other Pets?

It depends. Chihuahuas’ high energy may test the patience of larger dogs and cats. You may want to think about the personalities of your other pets before bringing a Chihuahua home.

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake?

There are many reasons why a Chihuahua shakes. This breed has a high metabolism which may cause them to shake as they burn off calories. Some dogs shake when they are anxious or overly excited to see you. Most commonly — due to their small size — the tiny creature may be cold! Pet parents of Chihuahuas should consider purchasing cute coats and stylish sweaters to keep them warm during the winter months.

Barking Level

Chihuahuas are yappy, vocal creatures compared to other popular dog breeds. Consider this fact if you are living in close quarters like condominiums and apartment complexes.

Chihuahua History

The state of Chihuahua has been named the largest in Mexico. It is said that these charming animals descend from Techichi, an ancient dog from the Toltec civilization, that Native Americans captured and domesticated. Archeologists have found paintings and statues of the Techichi that look similar to the present-day Chihuahua.⁴

Formerly recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904, these companion animals continue to bring joy to people with their cute small features and big personalities.³ These “purse dogs” can behave like tiny monarchs in people’s homes, but that may be why we love them.

Common Chihuahua Mixes and Varieties

There are dozens of varieties of Chihuahuas to choose from. Aside from short and long-haired varieties, here are some of the popular mixes and niches you can bring home:

  • Apple head Chihuahua: This is a Chihuahua with a side profile similar to an apple, with an underbite and an exaggerated forehead.
  • Deer head Chihuahua: This variety is like the apple head Chihuahua, except their nose and ears are pointy with less prominent eyes.
  • Teacup Chihuahua: This Chihuahua that is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
  • Chipit: This is a pitbull and Chihuahua mix.
  • Chug: This is a pug and Chihuahua mix.
  • Jack Chi: This is a Jack Russell terrier and Chihuahua mix.
  • Pomchi: This is a Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix.
  • Chiweenie: This is a Chihuahua and dachshund mix.
  • Chorkie: This is a Yorkshire terrier and Chihuahua mix.

Chihuahua Health Issues

Chihuahuas are one of the longest-living dog breeds, sometimes reaching up to 18 years old. However, this long life span doesn’t make them immune to the various complications that can incur from either illness or injury. Some Chihuahua health issues include:³

  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Periodontal disease: This is an infection that causes inflammation in the gum line.
  • Otitis: This is a type of outer ear infection.
  • Gastritis: This is an uncomfortable irritation or inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Corneal ulcer: This is an open sore on the eye that causes pain and potential blindness.
  • Atopic dermatitis

How Pet Insurance Can Help Chihuahuas

Given the long lifespan Chihuahuas can have, you should plan ahead for their veterinary care. For example, your new puppy will need plenty of wellness checks and vaccinations while your senior Chihuahua may develop something like arthritis. These visits can cost thousands of dollars that may drain your bank account if you aren’t careful.

Pyoderma

Pyoderma is a common disease that broadly refers to three different types of skin infections: surface pyoderma, which are bacterial infections on the surface of the skin; superficial pyoderma, bacterial infections that occur within the skin; and deep pyoderma, a rare form where bacteria manifests beneath the skin. Lesions, hair loss, and redness are all symptoms of pyoderma. A MetLife dog insurance policy may help cover the cost of diagnosis, vaccinations, or treatment for your dog.1,2

For more information on how pet insurance can help your Chihuahua, check out our guide on how pet insurance works. And remember, signing up for dog insurance while your Chihuahua is a puppy is smart as it can ensure your dog has coverage before something becomes a preexisting condition.

Protect your Chihuahua

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

³ “Chihuahua,” American Kennel Club

⁴ “Chihuahua,” Federation Cynologique Internationale

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