Chihuahuas are fascinating little dogs, aren’t they? I know I am totally in love with the breed.
So I decided it would be fun to gather together 55 facts about these wonderful little pups. Many are from our weekly newsletter but some aren’t.
I’m sure many of you know some of them but there may be some surprises for you.
- You should never attach a leash to your Chihuahua’s collar because their little necks are fragile. Instead get a harness to attach the leash on to.
- Chihuahua noses can be different colors including black, brown, gray and pink. Sometimes they can be two tones too. (My Lucas has a dark brown and pink nose).
- Completely white Chis are the rarest of all the colors.
- Chihuahuas used to be larger than the now standard 2 to 6 pounds. It is believed they were bred with the Chinese Crested to make them smaller.
- Chihuahuas started becoming really popular as pets in the 1960’s.
- The average size of a Chihuahua litter is 4 pups.
- The folks in the US first became aware of Chihuahuas when they found them in the Mexican state of Chihuahua around 1850. They soon became popular among the border states of Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico.
- The Chihuahua Club of America was founded in 1923.
- Remember the Taco Bell dog? Her real name was Gigdet and she was in hundreds of commercials (not all for Taco Bell). She lived til 2009 and died at the age of 15.
- Ever wonder why there are long hair Chis and short hair Chis? Papillons were bred with short hair Chis to make long hair Chis.
- Chihuahua puppies are born with floppy ears. They start standing erect as they get older. If they aren’t up by 6 months of age, they probably aren’t going to go up.
- Chis with floppy ears are not the standard in the breed, but they can still be pure bred Chihuahuas and have ears that lay down instead of stand up.
- Chihuahuas come in over 30 different varieties and colors! That’s a lot of variety!
- The Aztecs believed the early ancestors of the Chihuahua had the power to take a disease from a human and transfer it to themselves as a way of protecting their owner and that myth is still alive and well today.
- The ancient Aztecs also thought Chihuahuas could take away their sins.
- Along with being called the Arizona dog, Chis were also called the Texas dog in their early days in the USA.
- Chihuahuas are such a loyal dog that they have been actually known to die of a broken heart when their owners die. Now that’s loyalty!
- Chihuahuas were used as hot packs in ancient times. Maybe that’s why they always want to be sitting on us.
- Chihuahuas are considered a ”natural” dog because their coats are not sheared or clipped, and their tails and ears are not docked.
- Believe it or not, most long hair Chis shed less than short hair Chis. Long coated Chihuahuas shed twice a year and during that period, they can shed a lot but if you keep them brushed, it shouldn’t get out of control. Short coated Chis shed all the time.
- A legend of an Aztec princess during the time the Aztecs ruled the Mexican states that she kept over a thousand tiny dogs (believed to be the ancestors of today’s Chihuahuas) and each dog had it’s own servant. After the dog died, the servant was killed so she could continue to serve the dog in death.
- The dog species that originally made up the Chihuahua breed are often debated. One theory is that Fennec foxes helped to develop the breed. This is plausible. In 1980 a Fennec fox was successfully bred with a Chihuahua.
- Though both apple-headed and deer-headed Chihuahuas are popular today, the CCA (Chihuahua Club of America) states that the standard of the breed is the Apple-headed Chi.
- In over 100 years of the show’s history, a Chihuahua has never won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.
- The Chihuahua has the largest color combinations of any breed. Chihuahuas can come in just about any color combination. The color varieties are as big as you can imagine. Their hair also comes in long, short or mid-coat. It can be wiry or silky, and can be a single coat or double coat.
- The Aztec Indians wiped out the Toltec nation during the 12th century but spared their dogs which were called the Techichis. They admired the dogs because their “job” was to guide their owner’s soul to safety in the afterlife. They kept the dogs so they could help them reach the after life when they died.
Unfortunately for the dogs, when an owner died, he was burned and so was the dog.
- Long haired Chihuahuas have their own lingo for their hair. Their tail hair is called the Plume. The hair on their legs is called Furnishings. And the hair falling from their ears is called Fringe.
- Did you know that 2 short haired (or the correct term is smooth coated) Chis can produce long haired Chi puppies. Yep, they can. It has to do with the fact that all Chihuahuas have dominant and recessive genes so there is a chance to produce both long and short haired Chis from parents who are both short haired (or both long haired).
- A Chihuahua’s resting heart beat is between 100-140 heart beats a minute. A human’s resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats a minute.
- Despite their bravado, Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world.
- Chihuahuas are the ultimate snob. They generally do not like other dogs but if there are other Chihuahuas around, they will hang out with them and snub any other breed of dog nearby. I wonder if it’s because they are just more comfortable with dogs their own size.
- Chihuahuas can range from 1 to 10 pounds. But the standard for the breed is between 2 to 6 pounds.
- Chihuahuas are one of the most long lived breed out there. Their live span averages from 12-15 years but some have been known to live well over 20!
- Chihuahuas are a descendant of the Techichi dog. The Techichi dog didn’t bark at all and was considered mute. Other breeds of dogs that are thought to make up a Chihuahuas descendants are the Perro Chihuahueno, Maltese Pocket Dog, the Papillon, and the Chinese Crested.
- In the 1800’s it was rumored that Chihuahuas were actually a cross between a rodent and a dog!
- Did you know Marilyn Monroe owned a Chihuahua? She did! But the details about this Chi are hard to find. No one seems to remember what gender it was or the name of the dog. Although a reader told me that she read that the dog’s name was Maf after hearing Frank Sinatra talk about the Mafia.
- Other stars to own Chihuahuas are Reese Witherspoon, George Lopez, Rosie O’Donnell, Mickey Rourke, Madonna, Brian Littrell, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Paula Abdul, Kimberly Stewart, Britney Spears, Sharon Osborne, Katherine McPhee, Anne Heche, Hillary Duff, Christina Rici, Alyssa Milano, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Paris Hilton.
- Just like human babies, Chihuahua puppies have a soft spot on their heads called a Molera that usually closes up after a year. Sometimes they will have that soft spot all their life.
- Considering their body size in relation to their brain size, Chihuahuas have very large brains.
- It’s really easy to overfeed your Chihuahua and they probably don’t need as much food as you are feeding them. Most Chihuahuas don’t need more than a half a cup of food for the entire day.
- The largest recorded littler of puppies born to a Chihuahua was 10 puppies. That’s a lot of pups for a Chi mama!
- The Toltec and Aztec Indian tribes in Mexico considered Chihuahuas to be sacred. Unfortunately for the poor Chihuahuas though, that meant they were sometimes used as sacrifices in religious ceremonies.
- In 1904, a Chi named Midget was the first Chihuahua to be registered with the AKC. He was owned by H. Raynor of El Paso Texas.
- Despite being prone to chills and shivering due to being cold, many healthy adult Chihuahuas enjoy playing in the snow. This is okay as long as the Chihuahua only stays out about 20 minutes in above freezing temperatures and is kept on a leash or supervised in a safe, enclosed area.
- Some say that Christopher Columbus believed this breed was mute when he first came across them. The facts are just a little bit different. Historians agree that he must have been surprised by his discovery of the Chihuahua; a dog never previously seen by the Europeans. However he didn’t make a written record that the dogs were mute. He must have came across a Chi that was a bit shy; and he did make a note in his journal that the breed seemed rather quiet.
- A popular urban legend says that chihuahuas can cure asthma. (Not true, I still have asthma. Lucas you aren’t doing your job!)
- Chihuahuas first appeared in artwork 300 BC.
- Chis should always be supervised when outside. Because of their small size, they have been known to be swooped up by eagles and hawks, attacked by wolves, coyotes and even alligators.
- There are many stories about unscrupulous ‘puppy’ sellers having sold rats to naive customers, passing them off as Chihuahua puppies. There is at least one documented case from Brazil in which a person paid $487 for a rat after being told it was a Chihuahua.
- Since this breed is so tiny, a miniature teacup Chihuahua is a redundant term. They are ‘teacup’ sized’ though this terminology is a marketing term and not an official canine classification.
- Chihuahuas have more Cesarean sections than any other breed due to the newborns’ extremely large head in relation to their body and the narrow width of most Chi females.
- Female Chis shed more than males. They specially shed even more if they have not been spayed because of the hormones. They will also shed more than normal after delivering pups.
- There is some belief that Chihuahuas may have some roots in the Mediterranean and became established on the island of Malta. A small dog similar to a chihuahua lived there that had a Molera (soft spot on head). Chis are the only breed with that trait.
- Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized breed in shelters. Pitbulls are the first.
- Chihuahuas can love everyone in their family but they usually bond very strongly with one person.
Hope enjoyed all these Chihuahua facts. I enjoyed compiling them for you.
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