The Chihuahua Dog that we know today was named after its area of origin, Chihuahua, Mexico. Archaeologists have given us the best account of this breed's history by finding its association with the ancient Aztecs. The Chihuahua was both a religious necessity and a working dog for the Aztec priest. It earned its keep in the temples by controlling the rodent population. Archaeologists also show that this breed lived a life span almost double to that expected by today's Chihuahua owner. I believe there is an association between this breed's unique nutritional requirements, the nutrient levels found in all breed dog foods, and this breed's reduced life span.
The Chihuahua Club of America will provide some information on things to consider when getting a pup. This handout is only provided for your information and it is up to the buyer to make every effort to see that the puppy you purchase is healthy. It is truly BUYER BEWARE. A puppy is a living creature, so any mistake can be very costly in vet bills and heartbreak. Please be careful.
Chihuahua Veterinarian and the Breeder
After careful consideration, you've decided the Chihuahua is the right dog for you. You may want to get names of breeders through referrals or the classified ads in the newspapers. Please ask the breeders a lot of questions about the health of their dogs, including genetic diseases and the dogs' general overall health. Ask the breeder about the pup’s parent’s and/or grandparent’s history of disease or health problems. Ask them questions about the pups that they have sold over the past years. Are those pups still healthy and happy? You may want to ask the breeder for referrals from past puppy buyers. Be sure to listen carefully to what the breeders are saying.
Chihuahua Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height, only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. As a result, height varies more than within many other breeds. Generally, the height ranges between six and ten inches. However, some dogs grow as tall as 12 to 15 inches - 30 to 38 cm. Both British and American breed standards state that a Chihuahua must not weigh more than six pounds for conformation. However, the British standard also states that a weight of two to four pounds is preferred and that if two dogs are equally good in type, the more diminutive one is preferred. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard calls for dogs ideally between 1.5 and 3.0 kg, although smaller ones are acceptable in the show ring. Pet-quality Chihuahuas often range above these weights, even above ten pounds if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight.
Like every other dog breed, the Chihuahua is not free of genetic diseases and you should ask your veterinarian for more information than we can tell you about here. These are a few things you may want to ask about:
• Luxation of the knees (Patella Luxation) and elbows.
• Epilepsy or seizures from other causes which can be hereditary and have dangerous consequences.
• Collapsed trachea, where the dog has serious trouble breathing. The Chihuahua does sometimes make honking noises, which is normal for them and only lasts a few seconds. A collapsed trachea is a more serious condition than just honking.
• Although not necessarily a genetic condition, one thing you should know is that the Chihuahua pups are very tiny and cannot always eat enough at one time to keep their blood sugar levels normal. So if your pup seems lethargic take it to the vet at once.
• Heart Disease.
When you go to look at the pups, check them out closely to see if they look healthy and clean. All puppies are cute!! Look for clear eyes, clean ears, and clean rear end. Their coat should be soft and healthy looking. They should walk well on the ground. They should not be coughing or have a runny nose. They should be weaned and thriving on puppy food, not mother's milk. They should be friendly, and not really scared. Also, check the pups and adults for the presence of fleas and ticks. This can be a serious health concern. Fleas and ticks can make the pups ill, and there could be other parasite problems. Ask the breeder about a health guarantee or guidelines. The breeder should be able to show you at least one of the parents. Make sure that the parents are healthy, have a good temperament, and look like Chihuahuas should. It is more than likely the puppy will grow to look like and maybe act like one or the other of its parents.
Rain forests and jungles of Mexico and South America provided the native food supplies for this breed. Tropical fruits such as mango and avocado were plentiful in this environment and would have been a staple of the dietary intake. Meats were rodents or wild boar and poultry. For today's Chihuahua I recommend foods that contain avocado blended with poultry and rice. However, I feel you should avoid feeding a food that contains beef, or beet pulp to this nutritionally delicate breed.