Is a Chihuahua Right for You and Your Family?
Are Chihuahuas very nervous?
Yes, Chihuahuas bark, run, and jump when they get excited. They also behave this way around strangers because they are nervous or because they feel territorial, depending on the dog’s temperament. Constant training is needed to help resolve this behavior over time.
Should I get a male or female chihuahua?
Focus more on the dog’s personality than gender. You want a dog that is compatible with you for life.
Either way, you are likely spaying or neutering the dog. Unless you are a professional breeder, you should have your dog spayed or neutered.
A spayed female dog will no longer experience menstruation or “estrus” since her uterus and ovaries have been removed.
A castrated male has had his testicles removed, so he can no longer create sperm to reproduce. Although this may sound callous, it is necessary to help control the animal population. And it also has many indirect benefits for the health and behavior of the dog.
Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Chihuahua:
Spayed female dogs will not get a painful and life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra.
Spayed females also have a significantly lower risk of developing mammary tumors
Male dogs that have been neutered cannot get testicular cancer and have a much lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Neutered males also roam less and have gentler or less aggressive behavior than their non-neutered peers.
What is the soft spot on the chihuahua’s head?
All Chihuahuas have a soft spot or fontanelle on the top of their heads. It is a small opening that makes their heads more fragile if injured than other breeds. This area is medically called a “molera”. The molera makes them less ideal for families with young children, as small children can accidentally play too rough with such a small and fragile dog.
Why do chihuahuas shake? Chihuahuas shiver when they are cold, anxious, excited, frustrated, or unhappy. They have a high metabolism and a sensitive central nervous system, this shivering is a normal physiological response. Doesn’t mean they’re cold all the time,
How much exercise do they need?
Not much. Great apartment dog due to its small size and ability to tolerate small spaces. The chihuahua still likes to go out into the neighborhood at least once a day, to enjoy different sights and smells. However, along with the high-strung character trait, the Chihuahua is not very social with other dogs or people outside the home, and can get into trouble if not well supervised.
Did you know that Chihuahuas are known for “burrowing”?
What is “burrow” when it comes to the Chihuahua? When the dog makes a small den in something soft and warm. It can be used clothes, fresh clothes, most commonly sheets and blankets. This digging behavior is a classic Chihuahua trait reported by many owners and is a sign of affection. The dog is trying to snuggle up, stay warm and comfortable around you.
Breed history and traits
The origin of the Chihuahua is not certain; there are three ideas how this little dog came about. Some say that the chihuahua was used in sacred rituals by pre-Columbian indigenous nations, as they were seen as sacred beings. Another idea is that dogs originated in Malta, an island in the Mediterranean where they traveled on trading ships to Europe. Supporters of this theory believe that there are famous paintings of small dogs in the Sistine Chapel from 1492 that resemble the Chihuahua in size and appearance. The third idea is that the Chihuahua was brought to Mexico from China more than 200 years ago. In support of this theory, Chihuahuas would have descended from Techichi, a breed of companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. The Aztecs learned about the dog when they conquered the Toltecs. The Aztecs believed that the dog contemplated mystical powers. At that time, the chihuahua was even larger than what we know today. Over the years the breed has been bred to be even smaller, to the size we commonly see today. The Chihuahua’s popularity spread between Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, where the breed was adopted into the United States. The Chihuahua was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and has remained consistently popular.
Chihuahuas for family dogs
Chihuahuas tend to be loyal to one owner. These dogs can also become very protective of that owner and very territorial. Chihuahuas are known to be aggressive when on the defensive and may not be suitable for a family with young children. A family with tweens or teens is likely to be a better fit.
This breed of dog has a reputation for being a “picky eater”, the owner will need to make sure the chihuahua gets the nutrition it needs. The Chihuahua is at risk of becoming obese if fed scraps of food and human food, which will decrease the overall health and lifespan of the dog.
But these dogs crave attention, affection, and exercise. They love to be petted and are eager to please. They can bark a lot, but will learn to be quiet with consistent, firm training. When socialized with other dogs, they are known to prefer the company of other Chihuahuas to other breeds of dogs. The Chihuahua will often “shiver” when stressed, excited, or cold. This is a psychological and biological behavior that fosters the bond between dog and owner. These dogs also like to snuggle up and dig into their bedding to “get comfortable” and this can lead to more playful behavior with dog and owner, reinforcing the bond again.
Many Chihuahua owners struggle to potty train the dog properly to “go outside.” For this reason, many owners find it easier to set up an indoor or patio area for the dog to use for urination and defecation, which the owner must clean regularly.
Chihuahuas are generally intelligent and practical, but they take a long time to learn trainable skills, as we see with their “potty training.” To be successful, patience and perseverance are essential.
This small breed is ideal for apartment living. Ideal for smaller families with an older child or two. Especially good for couples, as these dogs can be territorial and don’t like to be ‘dethroned’, if a new baby arrives for example. They prefer fewer environmental stimuli and do well with predictability.
Most dogs will be healthy at the time of adoption, but as they age, certain breeds have varying susceptibilities. Start by choosing the healthiest dog you can and find a vet you can work with to keep your dog’s health at an optimal level for life.
Chihuahuas are very susceptible to certain health problems such as epilepsy (a seizure disorder), hydrocephalus (a congenital disorder of the fluid around the brain, because these dogs are born with a soft spot on the skull known as a morela, which is sometimes not closes properly as they grow Chihuahuas are also prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to their small size Tearing and infections are common in this breed due to their large, round eyes and small eyelashes that They don’t offer much protection.
A friend of mine several years ago had a chihuahua who developed a seizure and spinal disorder as he aged. He had to take his dog to the vet many times for several frequent and challenging seizures. Chronic spinal problems then set in and the dog required even more medication and medical attention. He supported his little dog as best he could but the conditions did not improve, they even got worse with time. This is a fragile dog that is prone to numerous health problems.
Some people have chosen to monitor their dog’s health with the FitBark, a wearable, discreet device that attaches to a dog’s collar and constantly monitors your dog’s activity, sleep, and nutrition, and is breed-specific. FitBark easily pairs with your Fitbit, Apple Watch, HealthKit, or Google Fit device to track progress. Researchers and veterinarians have developed a unique algorithm to provide you with real-time quantitative data on your dog’s health. Great for finding out how your dog is really feeling and facilitating communication during follow-up vet appointments.
Building a good relationship with your veterinarian will give you the confidence to care for your dog. Many conditions are manageable with symptomatic control.