Get out of my way! I'm a Chihuahua!

Hi there. My name is Chico. I'm a Chihuahua, the smallest breed of dog in the world and the oldest breed on the American continent. Some say we were introduced to Mexico by the Chinese and only brought to Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. We take our name from Chihuahua in Mexico where we were discovered in 1850. So we have a very long and proud history.

I am not your average Chihuahua. I am a very small example. Your average Chihuahua is 6-9 inches where even on tiptoe I can't make 6 inches. Your average Chihuahua is 2-12 pounds (1-6 kg) but I am an ounce, at least an ounce, under 2 pounds. And my ears are much too big to be average, too. And my tail curls over my back beautifully, although I must admit that's pretty common in Chihuahuas.

Chihuahua Dressed for a WalkCredit: Wikimedia

Dressed for a Walk

My mother was average. She had two puppies each litter. Now that is average. Three puppies would be less average. She had a short-hair and a long-hair pup when she had my sister and I but that's pretty par for the course too. My long hair has taken a full two years to develop and I don't need any trimming and only light grooming. My sister, Chicquita, sheds more hair than I do. I have a downy undercoat and soft fine guard hairs. I get brushed with a soft bristle brush each day and my sister just gets brushed occasionally or they'll just wipe her over with a damp cloth. We get a bath about once a week – no water in the ears please – and we're forever getting our nails trimmed. I hate it!

Long-haired ChihuahuaCredit: Wikimedia

Beauty personified - sorry, doggified.

Chihuahuas can be any colour and any pattern – spotted, merle, sable, whatever. Now did you know that? I am a blue which is considered rare, so I'm told. People who don't own a blue Chihuahua say it doesn't matter but I think we know better, don't we? Who wants 'average' if you can have 'rare'?

They talk about mini and teacup Chihuahuas; pocket size and tiny toy but there are only two varieties officially recognised by the Chihuahua Club of America and that's short-haired and long-haired.

I am absolutely devoted to my master. Luckily Chicquita adopted Master's mistress. Master is much more devoted to me than to mistress so it's good that Chicquita and mistress have each other. I wouldn't want to be sharing Master with anyone I can tell you. I follow Master everywhere, particularly if we've got visitors, but I do wish he'd stop tripping over me. One of these days he'll do me a nasty injury.

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Another problem for me, again it's because I'm not really 'average', is that I have a molera. What's that I hear you ask? It's when the skull doesn't close up completely. We're all born with large heads so you need your veterinarian to be on the alert if your bitch is due to whelp in case a caesarean is called for. Sometimes pups have hydrocephalus and it's mistaken for a molera. Some moleras close up and some don't. If they don't, you'll always be prone to injury.

Chihuahuas are also susceptible to slipped stifle, gum problems, and eye infections (mainly due to our beautiful, large protruding eyes which are only inches off the ground so we suffer from corneal dryness). Some of us have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as well and epilepsy can be a genetic weakness in some families. Not in mine though. No wonder we get a bit aggressive at times – all these problems we might or might not have.

Chicquita and I don't like small children, strangers and other dogs. Best to snap first I say then they leave you alone. I don't like dogs much at all. I don't mind saying hello to a Chihuahua but I soon put other dogs in their place, especially big ones. I have to be really quick and get in first though; otherwise I'd get trounced. I have a good, hard nip – I'm not a bit frightened of them - then Master picks me up and I snarl and go on something fierce. That puts the wind up them, I can tell you. Master's friend says if I'd had been properly 'socialised' when I was young, I wouldn't be so aggressive. We found training a bit difficult. By the time Master (or mistress) called out 'Chi...' we were both on our way, ready and willing to do what they wanted but we were never sure who was supposed to be doing what. So in the end we didn't do much at all. Except dote on them.

Chihuahua Protecting his BoneCredit: Wikimedia

Don't mess with me!

Some of our Chihuahua friends have been 'socialised' as they call it and they tolerate all sorts of riff-raff – children, dogs of all breeds – but that's not for me. I suppose I am 'average' in that respect. We're all a bit highly strung I guess. But we make excellent watch-dogs. Because we're small we adapt well to city living and small apartments but we still like our walks. We don't want to be carried everywhere we go. No way! Even when it's cool, just put a jacket on us and we'll be off outside quicker than you can put a lead on us. We tend to wheeze and snore a bit because of our short nose.

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Lately things have changed in our life though. We used to be really picky eaters but we gradually trained the master and mistress to only give us stuff we liked but then, as we got older, we started putting on the weight. Then someone told our owners that getting too fat can lead to tracheal collapse (whatever that is), joint injuries (injuries to your knees and hocks), chronic bronchitis (which makes you cough and wheeze) and it all might make you die sooner. So blow me down if we're not on diets now. The average life span for a Chihuahua is 8-18 years but I'll be around longer than that. 'Cause I'm not average.