One of America's favorites in the Toy Group is the Chihuahua, (pronounced sha-wa-wa). At maturity the Chihuahua may be only 5 inches tall and the standard requires that they be under six pounds. There have been adult Chihuahuas that weigh only about one and half pounds. This tiny dog is reputed to be the smallest dog in the canine world. There are two varieties, the long coat and the smooth coat and except for the difference in the length of the coat they are the same breed and there is no distinction between the two in their standard. A smooth coat has exactly that, a sleek and shiny close fitting coat with a well furred tail. The long coat has fringes of long hair around the ears and neck and feathering on the legs, tail and the breech or "pants" on the rear legs. All colors are permitted. The Chihuahua should have a "domed head", rounded skull and large eyes, very expressive. The ears are erect and in proportion to the head.
The Chihuahua is believed to be of Mexican origin and may have been originally bred by the Aztec Indians. They are named after a Mexican state and first gained popularity in Mexico.
With a dog this small health can be a major concern. First of all, although they get along well with most other dogs, they believe they are bigger than they actually are. If they are housed with larger dogs and jealousy occurs, the little dog will not stand a chance as far as defending itself. Care must be taken that they are not put in situations where they can not fend for themselves. Small children need to be watched, the Chihuahua has fragile bones and especially when they are puppies these bones can be broken easily. Furthermore the Chihuahua has a soft spot in the skull in the center of the head. This is recognized in the standard and is unique to the breed. If the dog is injured in this soft spot it can of course cause grave problems which could lead to its death.
The Chihuahua is a lively and intelligent dog with great affection for its owner. It becomes very bonded and will usually not let its master out of its sight. They are a dog that fits well into a pocket bag and often can go with the owner wherever the owner goes. Like a cat, it can be easily traced to paper or a litter box in the house which makes it much easier to deal with when traveling. It is a bossy little breed, not having any idea that it is not a big dog. The Chihuahua is a noisy watchdog and often will snap if not socialized as a puppy. One of the problems is that many owners do not treat this dog as they would a larger breed and often it is not trained to have but rather is coddled and carried around and never learns properly manners when greeting strangers. A well trained Chihuahua is a delightful dog and a loving companion.