Q1: What is the AKC Standard for Chihuahuas?
The Official Breed Standard as described by the Chihuahua Club of America,
Parent Club of the American Kennel Club is:
alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with
terrier-like qualities of temperament.
Weight - A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6
pounds. Proportion - The body is off-square; hence, slightly longer when
measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, than height at the
withers. Somewhat shorter bodies are preferred in males. Disqualification - Any
dog over 6 pounds in weight.
A well rounded
"apple dome" skull, with or without molera. Expression - Saucy. Eyes - Full, but
not protruding, balanced, set well apart-luminous dark or luminous ruby. (Light
eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible.) Ears - Large, erect type ears,
held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when
in repose, giving breadth between the ears. Muzzle - Moderately short, slightly
pointed. Cheeks and jaws lean. Nose - Self-colored in blond types, or black. In
moles, blues, and chocolates, they are self-colored. In blond types, pink nose
permissible. Bite - Level or scissors. Overshot or undershot bite, or any
distortion of the bite or jaw, should be penalized as a serious fault.
Disqualifications - Broken down or cropped ears.
Neck - Slightly arched, gracefully sloping into lean shoulders.
Topline - Level. Body - Ribs rounded and well sprung (but not too much
"barrel-shaped"). Tail - Moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in
a loop over the back, with tip just touching the back. (Never tucked between
legs.) Disqualifications - Cropped tail,
Shoulders - Lean, sloping into
a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under,
giving a free play at the elbows. Shoulders should be well up, giving balance
and soundness, sloping into a level back. (Never down or low.) This gives a
chestiness, and strength of forequarters, yet not of the "Bulldog" chest. Feet -
A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pads cushioned.
(Neither the hare nor the cat foot.) Pasterns -
Muscular, with hocks well apart,
neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy. The feet are as in
In the Smooth Coats, the coat should be
of soft texture, close and glossy. (Heavier coats with undercoats permissible.)
Coat placed well over body with ruff on neck preferred, and more scanty on head
and ears. Hair on tail preferred furry. In Long Coats, the coat should be of a
soft texture, either flat or slightly curly, with undercoat preferred. Ears -
Fringed. (Heavily fringed ears may be tipped slightly if due to the fringes and
not to weak ear leather, never down.) Tail - Full and long (as a plume).
Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck
desired and preferred. Disqualification - In Long Coats, too thin coat that
Any color-Solid, marked or
The Chihuahua should move swiftly with
a firm, sturdy action, with good reach in front equal to the drive from the
rear. From the rear, the hocks remain parallel to each other, and the foot fall
of the rear legs follows directly behind that of the forelegs. The legs, both
front and rear, will tend to converge slightly toward a central line of gravity
as speed increases. The side view shows good, strong drive in the rear and
plenty of reach in the front, with head carried high. The topline should remain
firm and the backline level as the dog
Alert, with terrier-like
Any dog over 6 pounds in
Broken down or cropped ears.
Cropped tail, bobtail.
Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.
Q2: How long do Chihuahuas live?
Chihuahuas are the most long lived of any breed of dog. Life spans of 15+
years are not uncommon.
Q3: How much exercise do Chihuahuas need?
One of the reasons that the Chihuahua is a popular breed is that they don’t
require much more exercise than they will get running around your house or
apartment during a typical day. While they enjoy an occasional walk, they are not good jogging
companions. Simply allowing them to run around the yard for a few minutes can
often provide adequate exercise. Chihuahua’s are known for quick bursts of energy that will come and go
throughout the day, and therefore do not require large exercise areas. Chihuahua’s can be trained to fetch
small toys and this game is an excellent indoor activity. As puppies, Chi’s are boisterous
and energetic; however, as they get older they can easily become couch
potatoes. If it looks like your Chi
is gaining too much weight, in addition to getting him out for a walk every once
in awhile, you may want to consider decreasing the amount you’re feeding
Q4: Do Chihuahuas need special dog food?
Well, yes and no. They have the same nutritional needs as other dogs in
proportion to their size. However, they have very small mouths and teeth so they
can't handle large nuggets very well.
We strongly recommend that you avoid mass-produced commercial brands of dog
food. Even many of the premium gourmet brands contain all kinds of
dangerous and disgusting ingredients that you really don't want to feed your
dog. Chihuahuas prefer a few small meals daily, rather than one big
meal We leave a small bowl of dry food out for our Chihuahuas in addition
to two small prepared meals each day.
Q5: Are Chihuahuas good with children?
Chihuahuas can be very good with children if they are trained to handle it
well. However, small children can be very dangerous for Chihuahuas because
they may not understand how fragile these animals are or have the physical
dexterity to avoid hurting them by laying, falling or stepping on them.
It's always best to hold the Chi while small children are about. Then you
can let the children approach to pet and pamper under your direct coaching and
Q6: What is a Teacup Chihuahua?
The short answer is: There is no such thing as a Teacup Chihuahua. The long
The Chihuahua Club of America, Parent Club of the American
Kennel Club makes the following statement in regard to the teacup
Tea Cup Statement
Is A Chihuahua
The Official AKC Breed Standard describes the
Chihuahua as a small dog that comes in two varieties or coat types. The
difference in coat type (the Long Coat and the Smooth Coat) is the only official
description used to identify a difference within this breed. Our standard does
not categorize the Chihuahua by size.
For the purpose of showing and
record keeping, the American Kennel club includes the Chihuahua (along with 19
other breeds) in the Toy Group. Therefore, irrespective of their weight or
physical stature ALL Chihuahuas registered with the AKC are considered to be a
toy breed of dog.
As with all living things, there will be size variance
between individual dogs within this breed. Look within the human family -
brothers and sisters will differ in height and in weight, as well as other
physical attributes. They are described as humans, male or female, and there is
seldom if ever a need to break the description down further. The same holds true
in regard to the Chihuahua; they are Chihuahuas - Long Coat / Smooth
Unfortunately, the additional adjectives used to describe the size
differences and physical appearances are many and have been misused for so long
they now seem legitimate. Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard -
are just a few of the many tags and labels that have been attached to this breed
over the years. The Chihuahua Club of America is concerned that these terms may
be used to entice prospective buyers into thinking that puppies described in
this way are of greater monetary value. They are not and the use of these terms
is incorrect and misleading.
Occasionally, within a litter, there may be
a puppy that is unusually small. That puppy is a small Chihuahua and any other
breakdown in description is not correct. To attach any of these additional
labels to a particular puppy is to misrepresent that Chihuahua as something that
is rare or exceptional and causes a great deal of confusion among those new
fanciers who are looking for a Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua Club of America
does not endorse nor condone the use of any of these terms and would caution the
perspective puppy buyer not to be misled by them.
We recognize that many
Chihuahua fanciers do want the very small puppy. While they are adorable and can
be perfectly healthy, the buyer should be cautioned as to the extra care that
may be required with regard to their general health and well-being.
Q7: I've heard that Chihuahuas are nervous, high-strung dogs. Is
Yes, Chihuahuas tend to be high-strung dogs, meaning that they are generally
nervous about changes in their environment, tend to bark easily, and are
suspicious of strangers. They also tend to be emotional and will pout when they
aren't happy. express their The are also very loyal to their masters,
however, and therefore can be trained and socialized to minimize these
Q8: What are the differences between the smooth coat and the
long coat Chihuahuas?
The issue of whether or not there is a difference in personality seems
to be a topic of debate within the Chihuahua community. Some claim that there is
no difference in personality; others claim that longcoats have a tendency to be
"soft-tempered" while smoothcoats tend to be more aggressive.
tend to have coarser fur than longcoats -- almost like bristles in some cases.
Smoothcoats shed more than longcoats. However, longcoats do shed as well.
Heavily coated longcoats require brushing about once a month, but this can be a
pleasant exercise for both Chi and master rather than a chore. As far as bathing
is concerned, as a general rule, the longcoats will need to be bathed more
frequently, and it'll be a longer process (both washing and drying).
Q9: Is it safe to take your Chihuahua on a cold weather
As long as you are aware of the fact that Chihuahuas, especially short haired
ones, have a difficult time maintaining body temperature in the cold. If the
temps dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then a sweater or jacket is highly
recommended. If the temps are below freezing, then limit the time that your pet
is in contact with the ground to a few minutes at most.
Q10: Are Chihuahuas sociable with other dogs?
Chihuahuas generally do not get along very well with other dogs. However,
they usually get along well with other Chihuahuas. They can also be socialized
to get along with dogs of other breeds.
Q11: How Can I Prevent Kidney/Bladder Stones?
There are several factors that can cause
stones. Some of the most common are:
Urine pH. pH is an indicator of acidity
level. It can be measured via hydrogen
ion concentration. a pH of 7 is
neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7
is alkaline. Generally, dogs tend to
have slightly acidic urine around 6 -
6.5. Unfortunately, calcium
oxalate stones have a propensity to form
in acidic to neutral urine. Urine pH
needs to be measure immediately upon
voiding from the bladder for it to be
accurate. Have your vet check this while
assessing your Chi's symptoms. If the pH
is low then you can reduce the acidity
of your Chi's diet to reduce the
likelihood of stone formation. The
addition of 1 tablespoon of sodium
bicarbonate (baking soda) or better
yet, potassium bicarbonate per liter of
water to your Chi's water and/or food
Bacterial infection. The vet should also
culture the inside of one of the stones
to determine if bacteria is the cause,
since urine is supposed to be sterile.
You can also have a culture performed of
your Chi's urine without the stones, but
it must be performed against a fresh
sample of urine, because bacteria will
invade it very quickly once it leaves
the body. If the culture is positive,
then the vet can test several
antibiotics on it to see which is most
effective. and treat the Chi with that
Dehydration. Insufficient liquid intake
can result in a higher concentration of
minerals in the urine. This can result
in more frequent occurrence of stones.
Encourage your Chi to drink lots of
Infrequent urination. The longer the
urine stays in the bladder, the more
likely the minerals can condense and
crystallize to form stones. Try to
encourage your Chi to urinate 6 or more
times a day if he/she is prone to
Hard water. If you live near the beach
or other lowland areas, then your tap
water is likely hard, meaning that it
has a higher mineral content than
normal. You can use a water filter to
reduce the mineral content of the water,
or even buy distilled water to eliminate
all mineral content, if your Chi has
ongoing struggles with stones. Avoid
spring water, however, since it can also
be high in mineral content.
Diet. An imbalance of nutrients or a
diet that is too high in certain
minerals or too low in others can
increase the likelihood of stone
formation. This is a very complex topic
and there are dozens of chemical
processes that can be involved. in
general however, if the stones are
calcium oxalate, increase the amount of
magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium in
the diet. Increasing dietary magnesium
and phosphorus decreases the amount of
calcium in the urine, and increasing
dietary calcium reduces absorption of
oxalates from the intestines.
Potassium citrate may
help prevent calcium oxalate stone
formation because it forms a soluble
complex with oxalates and promotes the
formation of alkaline urine. Some people
use 1 tablespoon of potassium citrate
combined with a tablespoon of potassium
bicarbonate mentioned above in a 1:1
ratio added per liter of water as a
Genetic factors. There isn't a lot you
can do about this, but some dogs are
just predisposed to the formation of
stones because of abnormalities or
genetic mutations. You can ask your
breeder if other owners have reported
problems with their Chi's. If it turns
out that your Chi is prone, then I would
recommend using most or all of the tips
mentioned above to help minimize the
frequency and severity of stone
Disease. Sometimes kidney/bladder stones
are symptoms of another illness. A
thorough medical evaluation is
recommended to help rule out other
Aging. Some dogs, especially males,
become more prone to stone formation as
they age because of changes in hormone
levels. In addition to the preventative
measures mentioned above, hormone
replacement therapy may also be a
Q12: At what age can I start walking my Chi on a leash?
The earlier you start
teaching her, the better. You need to use a
halter rather than a collar. A halter
spreads the force of a leash across her
chest, rather than focusing it on her neck.
I would start by having
her wear the halter for a little while each
day. You may want to start out with only
5-10 minutes, if it seems to bother her.
Then gradually increase the time as she
adjusts to wearing it.
After she is comfortable
with the halter, you can start leash
training in the house. Just connect the
leash and coach her to walk in the "heel"
position, which is just to the left or right
of you, and slightly behind your outside
foot (with her chest about even with your
heel). Thsi is the safest spot for
her while walking. As you gently guide her
on these initial "walks", give her lots of
engouragement when she does it correctly,
but don't scold her if she doesn't "get it"
Try to keep enough tension
on the leash so she doesn't play with it or
walk on it. Don't drag her, but use enough
force so that she can feel the slight tug
forward as you encourage her forward with
your gestures and words. You can also use
treats as rewards if you wish, although I
prefer not to do so. I want "encouragement"
to be the reward for good behavior. It has
always given me the best long-term results
As she begins to
understand and respond to the leash, you can
gradually increase the time and distance. Be
patient here, and it will pay great
dividends when she graduates to "outside"
walking with all of the distractions that
Feel free to introduce
verbal and/or hand signals if you want her
to have great manners and control. This
would be the time to start introducing the
heel position. Have her sit when you stop,
and walk in the heel position when you walk.
When she is ready to move
outdoors, take short walks initially and
gradually increase the time and distance.
Please let us know if you discover any other
tips that help.