Directory of Dogs : Dog Dictionary - reference guide to Chihuahua

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Facts about Chihuahua

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A graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.

Breed standards for the Chihuahua do not generally specify a height, only a weight and an overall description of their proportions. Generally, the height ranges between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) at the withers. However, some dogs grow as tall as 12 to 15 inches (30 to 35 cm). Both British and American breed standards state that a Chihuahua must not weigh more than 6.0 lb. (2.7 kg). However the British standard also states that a weight of 2-4 lb. (1-1.8 kg) is preferred and that if two dogs are equally good in type, the smallest is preferred. Pet-quality Chihuahuas (that is, those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) can, and do, range above these weights, to 10 pounds (4.5 kg), or even more if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight. Oversize Chihuahuas have been seen in some of the best, and worst, bloodlines. Breed standard for both the long and short coat Chihuahua will typically be identical except for the description of the coat. The two basic body types of purebred Chihuahuas are Deer headed or Apple headed. Characteristics of the Apple headed Chihuahua are short noses, an apple shaped head, and close- set eyes. On the other hand, Deer headed Chihuahuas have an elongated nose that resembles Doberman Pinschers. Most importantly, Deer headed Chihuahuas should not have a head shaped like an apple. The Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world.
The Kennel Club (UK) and American Kennel club only recognize two varieties of Chihuahua: the long-coat and the smooth-coat also referred to as shorthaired. The term smooth-coat does not mean that the hair is necessarily smooth, as the hair can range from having a velvety touch to a whiskery feeling. Longhaired Chihuahuas are smoother to the touch, having soft, fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat, which gives them their fluffy appearance. Unlike many longhaired breeds, shorthaired Chihuahuas require no trimming and minimal grooming. Contrary to popular belief, the longhaired breed typically sheds less than their shorthaired counterparts. It may take up to two or more years before a full longhaired coat develops.

The AKC Chihuahua standard lists under color: "Any color-Solid, marked or splashed". This allows for all colors from solid blacks to solid whites, spotted, or a variety of other colors and patterns. A few examples are Fawn, Red, Cream, Chocolate, Blue, and Black. However the UK Kennel Club decided in May 2007 not to register puppies with Merle coloration due to the health risks associated with the gene responsible, and in December of that year formally amended the Breed Standard to say "Any color or mixture of colors but never merle (dapple)." Other countries' Kennel Clubs such as Canada and Australia have also disqualified Merle. However, in May 2008 the Chihuahua Club of America voted that merles will not be disqualified in the United States and they are fully registrable and able to compete in all AKC events.
Patterns, all with or without white markings, include:

 Irish spotting
 Piebald spotting
 Extreme white spotting
 Brindle
 Masks
 Merle
 Tan points

Classifying Chihuahua colors can be complicated due to the large number of possibilities. Examples would be a blue brindle or a chocolate and tan. Colors and patterns can combine and affect each other, resulting in a very high degree of variation. That said, the classic Chihuahua color remains fawn. No color or pattern is considered more valuable than the others. Although blue is considered rare, it is so-called "deer Chihuahua" and the American Kennel Club Chihuahuas are not well suited as small children's pets because of their size, temperament, and tendency to bite when frightened. It is recommended that children be school age or older before adding a Chihuahua to one's home. Also, many Chihuahuas focus their devotion on one person, becoming overly jealous of that person's human relationships. This can be mitigated through socialization. Chihuahuas also tend to have a "clannish" nature, often preferring the companionship of other Chihuahuas to other dogs.
The American Kennel Club registered its first Chihuahua in 1905.
Chihuahuas breed clubs often inform the public about the breed, host competitions, and other activities. For example, the Chihuahua Club of America formed in 1923, and the British Chihuahua Club, formed in 1947, provide these services.


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