Ren from the 90s cartoon, Ren and Stimpy, Taco Bell, celebrities with purse pooches, and movies such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua have made the world’s smallest breed of dog one of the most popular pets. It’s hard to determine where the Chihuahua’s history begins. One dated theory is that this dog originated in China and was brought to the New World by Spanish traders, where it eventually bred with the native pups. Other speculation contends that the original Chihuahua descended from the Techichi, a small mute dog from South America that was utilized in Toltec sacrificial ceremonies. Every Aztec family kept such a dog for it was believed that this breed guided souls to the underworld. When a family member passed away, the dog was sacrificed and buried with the deceased. Techichis were also a fine delicacy to the Toltecs. After the Cortes conquered the Aztecs in the sixteenth century, this particular breed was lost in history. It wasn’t until 1850 when 3 little pups were found in Chihuahua, Mexico and brought to the United States that it gained the attention of the public and still continues to do so to this very day.
There are two types of Chihuahuas; short-haired (in which the coat is short, smooth and glossy) and long-haired (long, straight or wavy coat with fringed ears). These two varieties of breed come in a variety of colors as well. Coat care for a short-haired Chihuahua is minimal; the usual 8 week bath. The long-haired Chihuahua requires a bit of grooming; at least a twice a week brushing. It usually stands 6 to 9 inches in height and should not exceed a weight of 6 pounds. The Chihuahua is a bit of a spoiled lap dog and when not being carried around like royalty can meet its exercise requirement just from running about the house. It does like the occasional exploration of the yard, a short walk, and especially outings with the owner. This dog does not tolerate cold well, so therefore, it is not an outdoor pup. It actively seeks warmth, even in warmer weather. These dogs make great apartment or condominium pets, but a Chihuahua wouldn’t mind being adopted into a family who owns a castle. As long as the owners remain at their beckon call.
The Chihuahua is a preferred toy pet because of its eternal devotion to a single owner. If you’re looking to adopt a pet with the most living demeanor with a side of sass, look no further than the Chihuahua. These dogs are known to be very protective of their owners and homes, so they tend to be reserved with strangers. They do get along great with other household pets. The Chihuahua’s attitude and watchdog traits are bigger than it is. Some come off quite bold and temperamental, while others shy from danger and look for solace in their owner. Beware as with any dog from the toy group that you may find trouble training this pup.
The Chihuahua is not known for major health concerns, although Pulmonic stenosis (a congenital heart problem where the opening in the heart between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery narrows and closes, eventually leading to heart failure), Hydrocephalus (accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, causing swelling and possible death), patellar luxation, Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) (low tear production, which causes dry eye and damaged corneas), and Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) have been seen in this breed. Potential owners should know that a trait common in the Chihuahua is a molera; a soft spot on the head created by an incomplete closure in the front of the skull. Thus, be more wary of allowing your pup to jump around or get into a situation where a head injury can occur, for they are more susceptible to them because of this. A healthy Chihuahua has a good life span; 14-18 years.
There are several means of information regarding Chihuahuas in your local area. You can find your new friend through Maryland Chihuahua Rescue (http://chihuahua.rescueme.org/Maryland) or through Animal Haus Chihuahuas, a breeder located in Bristol, Virginia and has specialized in Chihuahuas for 28 years. There is also the Washington D.C. Chihuahua Meet-up Group (http://www.meetup.com/dc-chihuahua/), where you and your pup can meet and mingle with other Chihuahua owners and dogs.