This Chihuahua dog belongs to one of the most iconic dog breeds in the world.

Small but Spunky! All About the Chihuahua


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If you’ve ever met a Chihuahua dog, you know they can be full of personality! From their big, bright eyes ✨ and mischievous grins, to their abundance of energy and love of cuddles, it’s hard not to be charmed by these lovable little pups. Are you curious about long-haired Chihuahuas or teacup ones?

You’ve come to the right place. We’ve worked up a full dog breed profile just for you…

Chihuahua dog history

Chihuahuas are some of the most iconic and beloved dog breeds in the world. They’ve been around for centuries, with their origins rooted in Mexico. These small, spunky dogs are believed to have come from the Techichi, a small dog breed that was present during the ancient Toltec civilization in Mexico.

The Chihuahua first made its way to the United States in the late 1800s and has been popular ever since. Later the Chihuahua would be considered the smallest recognised dog breed in the American Kennel Club.

If you’ve ever met a Chihuahua dog like this one, you know they can be full of personality!

Breed facts and figures

Only two types of Chihuahua breeds are recognised by Dogs New Zealand – short-haired and long-haired. According to the internationally recognised breed standard, all other types of Chihuahuas are considered varieties of the same breed.

CoatSmooth short coats or longer fringed coats
Life span12 – 20 years
Temperament Loyal, extremely intelligent, charming, ‘big dog attitude’
WeightFemale: 2.3kg – 3.3kg 
Male: 2.8kg – 3.7kg
Height at withersMale: 23cm
Female: 18cm

Pearl the chihuahua – no taller than a teacup!

Do you know about Pearl the Chihuahua? She’s shorter than the standard television remote and has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the planet’s shortest living dog! That’s as smol as smol can be.

At the time of Pearl’s birth, she was under 9.14 cm tall and 12.7 cm long. She’s up to 553g now thanks to chicken, salmon, and other high-quality foods, according to Pearl’s fur parent, Vanesa Semler. Get to know this pocket-sized diva in the video below…

A Chihuahua dog’s behaviour profile

In the paws of an untrained Chi, the household will soon run like a Napolean-esque empire. Learn how to train your Chi the correct way by reading this ‘Positive Reinforcement For Dog Training‘ article.

These clever scamps can be very playful and will expect nothing but the spotlight at all times. Chihuahuas are too small for roughhousing with kids, and cold weather requires special care, but they’re adaptable as long as they get lots of time on your lap.

Because of their size and personality, these su-paw stars are great for apartments (read about other small dog breed for apartments if that’s what you’re looking for). They don’t require a lot of space to be happy and content.

Although Chis love to run and play and can usually get enough exercise in a small space like an apartment. Most of the time this breed is satisfied with just trotting around following their favourite hooman. Chis are perfect for folks looking for a snuggly companion who will be mutts about them! 🥰

Tip: Keep your dog’s weight and condition under control with short, slow walks.

Their health problems

When it comes to health, Chihuahuas are prone to certain health issues such as obesity, hypoglycemia, and dental problems.

Don’t worry though! Our PD Insurance Deluxe plan covers a range of dental treatments for your Chi, capped at an annual limit. Getting your pup proper dental treatment can give them a happier, longer life. For more info, check out our ‘Pet Dental Insurance: What’s Covered?‘ article.

High priority: Dental care should be a part of routine pet care alongside pet vaccinations.

Grooming needs

These floofs are some of the cutest, most loyal dogs around. However, they can also be quite a handful when it comes to grooming (a nice reminder of their terrier-like temperament!). A Chi’s coat is prone to tangles and matting, so regular grooming is essential.

Before you start grooming your doggo, it is important to make sure you have the right supplies. A good-quality slicker brush and comb are essential for the job, as is a gentle shampoo specifically designed for dogs. If your long-haired Chihuahua’s coat is particularly long, you may also want to invest in a pair of grooming shears (give this best-selling Andis Pulse ZR II a try).

Once you have all the supplies you need, it is time to start the grooming process. Begin by brushing your Chi’s coat thoroughly with the slicker brush, working out any tangles or mats. Then, use the comb to make sure the entire coat is free of knots and debris. Once you have finished brushing and combing, it’s time to give pup a bath.

Bath time…

Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and add a few drops of the gentle shampoo. Make sure you avoid getting any soap in your Chi’s eyes. Gently massage the shampoo into your pup’s coat, paying special attention to any areas with mats or tangles. Rinse the shampoo off with lukewarm water, then wrap your pup in a towel until they’re dry.

Watch Lou the Chihuahua take a dramatic bath below…

If your Chi has a long coat, it’s time to use the grooming shears. Start by brushing the coat in the opposite direction it normally lies, to help make sure it’s free of tangles. Then, use the shears to give your pup an even trim. If unsure of how to properly use the shears, best seek help from a professional groomer.

Finally, finish off the grooming session by brushing your Chihuahua’s coat one last time. This will ensure their coat is soft, shiny, and free of tangles. Your pup will thank you for the extra effort.

With a little bit of practice and the right supplies, grooming your Chi can be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Regular grooming sessions will ensure your pup always looks their best – and you can take pride in knowing you’re taking great care of your little furball!

Long-haired Chihuahua info

The long-haired Chihuahua is immediately recognisable because of its double coat, with the outer coat being longer and thicker than the inner coat. Grooming for long-haired Chihuahuas is a little different. Aside from their fur, they’re like any other Chi.

The long-haired Chihuahua comes in a range of colours and patterns. There are some that have solid coats and some with two or three different shades. Also, they’re often found with masks, which means they have darker patches of fur around their faces. It’s also not uncommon to see cream, fawn, red, or even merle markings.

There’s no evidence that Chihuahuas’ hair length affects their temperament. Like any short-haired pup, these doggos have very, very big personalities!

Speaking of personalities, ever wondered which dog (or cat) is most like you? Well, now you can find out with our PET PAWSONALITY test! Find out what breed you are at heart and share it with your friends – click here:

Teacup Chihuahua info

Are you considering adding a teacup Chihuahua to your family? If so, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with this dog breed.

Teacup Chihuahuas – like Pearl the Chihuahua – we featured above – are the smallest breed of Chihuahua, often weighing less than 1.4 kg. While these teensy tiny pups come with lots of love and affection, it’s important to understand the potential risks that come with owning a teacup Chihuahua.

Common health issues

The most common health issues among teacup Chihuahuas include patellar luxation, hydrocephalus, tracheal collapse, and hypoglycemia:

  • Patellar luxation causes the kneecap to slip out of place, often resulting in pain and lameness.
  • Hydrocephalus occurs when there’s too much fluid in the brain and can cause seizures.
  • Tracheal collapse is where trachea or windpipe collapses, making it hard for the pup to breathe.
  • Hypoglycemia occurs when the pup’s blood sugar levels drop too low, causing lethargy, weakness, and tremors.

It’s also important to be aware teacup Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues. This is due to their small jaws and crowded teeth. Without proper dental care, these pups can experience severe tooth decay and gum disease. Check out this ‘Does My Dog Need Braces for Good Dental Health?‘ article for more info on dental care.

How to take care of a Teacup Chihuahua

When it comes to diet, teacup Chihuahuas should be fed high-quality dog food that’s specifically designed for small breed dogs. These pups can be prone to obesity, so make sure they get the right amount of calories and nutrients.

Teacup Chihuahuas need plenty of exercise. They’re an active breed and love to run around. However, due to their small size, you must keep a close eye on them and ensure they’re not overexerting themselves.

Overall, teacup Chihuahuas can be a wonderful addition to your family. However, be aware of the potential health risks associated with this breed. Discuss any concerns with your veterinarian and provide your pup with plenty of love and care.

If you’re looking for a loyal and lovable companion, then the Chihuahua could be the perfect dog for you. With their small size, intelligence, and lively personalities, they make a great addition to any home. With proper care and attention, your Chihuahua can be a happy and healthy companion for many years to come.

This tamed black Chihuahua wears a mini red bandana around its neck as it strolls outside.

More on dog breeds

Have you been looking for a dog breed that fits your lifestyle? Check out these articles to help you on your quest for finding the perfect puppy.

  1. The Oh-So-Bright Border Collie: A Profile
  2. Do You Know This About Dalmatian Dogs?
  3. French Bulldog: Little Guy, Big Personality!
  4. Labrador Personality and Profile: Top Dog Breeds in NZ
  5. The Kindest Dog Breeds

Dog insurance for spunky Chihuahuas

There’s nothing we love more than Chihuahuas’ goofiness and ‘big dog’ attitude. There are some…challenges, though. For example, you can get pretty steep vet bills if you have a long-haired Chihuahua who eats things it shouldn’t. Or one whose playfulness sees it jumping from heights it simply can’t land.

Why not check out our dog insurance plans? It’s comforting to know the cost of treatment shouldn’t be a problem if your Chihuahua decides to ingest a shoe for a main course or falls ill out of the blue.

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