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Need to know Chihuahua
The Chihuahua has become something of a handbag dog (he certainly fits the job very well in terms of size) but don’t be fooled into thinking he is easy to look after. A Chihuahua must be gently socialised as early as possible to prevent defensive and aggressive behaviour.
TEMPERAMENT: Highly intelligent, spirited and limelight lovers. The phrase ‘little dog syndrome’ has never been more appropriate than it is for the Chihuahua. These little canines may be small in size but they have one huge personality.
APPEARANCE: Chihuahuas are the smallest of all dogs and come in two varieties: short smooth hair and long haired. Regardless of hair, both types are elegant and compact in shape and always appear alert.
AVERAGE HEIGHT: 15-23cm (6-9 inches).
AVERAGE WEIGHT: 1-3kg (2-7lbs).
OUR TOP TIP: Chihuahuas really don't like the cold so a stylish jacket will help keep him cosy and content at all times.
The Chihuahua could be the oldest breed on the American continent with the exact origins remaining somewhat of a mystery.
EARLY REFERENCES: Many agree that the breed originates from the Mexican State of Chihuahua and came to Europe sometime around the end of the 19th century. However some claim they originally came from China.
RECOGNITION: Chihuahuas were officially named when they first came to prominence in America, around 1895.
BREED SUBTYPES: The Chihuahua is found in a huge variety of colours including black, white, red, fawn, sable, chocolate and cream but should never be dappled in appearance.
The Chihuahua is a fairly healthy breed in general and only prone to a small number of hereditary conditions, particularly with their teeth and eyes so regular checks are advised.
INHERITED CONDITIONS: As with other toy breeds, Chihuahuas are also prone to a disease called Hydrocephalus. It is often diagnosed by the puppy having an abnormally large head, during the initial months of life along with symptoms such as a soft skull plate rather than a solid bone.
LIFESPAN: 15 years or more.
EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS: Thanks to his size the Chihuahua needs minimal exercise - up to 30 minutes per day. He should also have plenty of space (relative to his size) to investigate his surroundings as this helps to prevent a nervous disposition.
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