Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dogs in the world. They have been bred for their small size and they are considered cute. However, there are some things which make them less than adorable. These include their short legs, narrow head and flat face. They do not look like what you would expect from a pet dog, but they actually resemble miniature ponies or poodles with tiny ears and tails.
The name “chihuahua” comes from the Spanish word “chehu”, meaning little. The first recorded use of the term was in 1825 when it referred to a miniature horse. Today, chihuahuas are known as either Mexican Hairless Dogs or Miniature Pinschers.
There are two main varieties of chihuahua: those that come from Mexico and those that originate in South America.
Miniature pinscher (or pinco) is a type of chihuahua that originated in South America. These dogs are smaller than standard chihuahuas and usually weigh between 20–30 pounds. They have shorter legs, a longer muzzle, and rounder faces.
They are called mini pinschers because they resemble miniature horses rather than miniature dogs.
The Mexican Hairless Dog is a type of chihuahua that comes from Mexico. These dogs are bigger than their South American relatives and can weigh between 4 and 9 pounds. They are smaller than most common chihuahuas which usually weigh between 5 and 10 pounds.
Those that come from the USA can weigh up to 12 pounds.
Chihuahuas are prone to health issues, but these can usually be avoided with responsible breeding and proper care. The average life span of a chihuahua is 15 years, but many of these dogs have been known to live longer than this.
Chihuahuas are prone to the same health issues as other types of dog such as hypoglycemia, epilepsy, and skin conditions. They are also prone to genetically transferred diseases which may affect their quality of life and ultimately cause their death. Some of these diseases includes:
• Heart problems – Chihuahuas are prone to a condition called “medullary thyroid carcinoma”, which is related to Cushing’s disease and affects 1 in 12 chihuahuas. It occurs when a puppy is between the ages of 4 and 6 months, and can be treated with medication or surgery.
Other heart issues may also affect chihuahuas, including but not limited to:
• Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) – A condition in which an unborn or new born dog’s blood does not flow from the left side of the heart to the right side as it should. The blood mixes with myocardial and oxygen rich blood, which can lead to enlargement of the left side of the heart.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Chihuahua: A Guide for Owners by L Slawson – 2020 – books.google.com
Chihuahuas by S Frank – 2019 – books.google.com
Genomic analyses reveal the influence of geographic origin, migration, and hybridization on modern dog breed development by N Lunis – 2009 – Bearport Publishing
Chihuahuas for Dummies by HG Parker, DL Dreger, M Rimbault, BW Davis… – Cell reports, 2017 – Elsevier
Grassland birds in prairie-dog towns in northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico by J O’Neil – 2011 – books.google.com
Trainability and boldness traits differ between dog breed clusters based on conventional breed categories and genetic relatedness by P Manzano-Fischer, R List, G Ceballos – Studies in Avian Biology, 1999 – researchgate.net