By Terri Estes
This week, all eyes are on the tiny Chihuahua! One of the oldest breeds of the Americas, the Chihuahua was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904. This is the smallest recognized breed. Height is 5 to 8 inches at the shoulder and weight should be less than 6 lbs. The Chihuahua comes in a variety of colors and can have a long or short coat. The life expectancy is 13 to 15 years.
Originating in Mexico and named for the Mexican State of Chihuahua, its ancestry can be traced back to pre-Colombian times. The Chihuahua is the original pocket pup. This little dog packs a big punch. Sturdier than its size would suggest, the Chihuahua is generally a very confident dog. Like many small dogs, they may be overly aggressive towards other dogs. This trait has given the breed a reputation of having a bit of a “Napoleon complex.”
The Chihuahua is a very popular breed, and many are larger than the AKC standard. This does not mean that they are not purebred. It simply means that they don’t qualify to enter in confirmation shows. Chihuahuas do not breed true to size, and puppies from the same litter can mature in drastically different sizes from one another.
This little dog makes a great companion for quiet, less active households. A daily stroll or a run in the yard would achieve its daily activity needs. They do not tolerate the cold so they should not be left out for long periods of time. This breed loves to cuddle and is truly a lap dog. Because of their size, owners should take great care in protecting them from other dogs, or even birds of prey. They are also probably a little too delicate for unsupervised play with small children.
The Chihuahua is generally a healthy breed, but like many small breeds, they can have dental issues. They are also prone to medial patellar luxation, but they do tend to live long lives. So, if you are looking for a small dog with a big personality who does not need a lot of exercise and who loves to be in your lap, the Chihuahua could be the breed for you!
FUN ANIMAL FACT
A mule is an offspring of a donkey and a horse. Mules are sterile and cannot reproduce. George Washington appreciated the qualities of the mule and is said to be the first American breeder of the mule.