Getting To Know The Long Haired Chihuahua
by Dan Stevens

Getting to know your dog starts by getting to know its breed,and that includes getting a better idea about its appearance, personality, and health requirements. Here's what you need to know about the long haired Chihuahua:

Known as the smallest of all breeds, the Chihuahua is a popular breed, partially due to commercials and celebrity ownership. Originating from Mexico, this breed is also known for its longevity, living upward to 18 years or more. Interestingly, the Chihuahua dates back to Aztec royalty but over time, it was taken into Mexico by the Spanish settlers and then on into the United States. Although this history is what the majority believe, a small number of historians favor the story of the Chihuahua coming out of Egypt, then making their way into Spain, followed by Mexico.

Today, you will hear terms such as "teacup" and tiny toy," which are not actually hybrids of the Chihuahua but definitions of size. Therefore, if you were to visit a breeder to find the dogs advertised as "teacup breeds," you would know there is no such thing. In addition, terms such as "deer face" or "deer head" are used to describe the apple shape of the head. The Chihuahua is small but generally a healthy breed although there are some special things to consider.

Physical Appearance

For the long haired Chihuahua, there is a smooth undercoat with a long overcoat. Some people mistake this particular breed of Chihuahua with that of a Pomeranian. Keep in mind that both the longhair and short hair versions of the Chihuahua are recognized by the American Kennel Club. In addition, the Chihuahua has an apple or dome-shaped head, with large eyes and erect ears.

Because height is so varied, this recognition usually includes only weight with overall body proportions being considered. For instance, a Chihuahua could be anywhere from 12 to 15 inches tall. However, dogs used for show would only weight six pounds or less although they can go down to around four pounds.
Dogs not used for show could be much heavier, going up to 10 pounds.

Just as the height and weight vary so does color and color combinations. The following are examples of the different options for the Chihuahua:

Temperament and Personality

Without doubt, the Chihuahua is one of the most loving and devoted of all breeds. This breed is very smart, alert, and often comical. The small size of the Chihuahua means it does not require much exercise although it is a playful breed. Because of this size, you find the breed a perfect choice for the elderly, the disabled, people living in apartments or high-rises, those with small yards, and so on. Unfortunately,this breed also has the reputation of being high-strung and difficult to train but with good socialization and training,the Chihuahua makes an excellent pet.

A Chihuahua is typically better with adults although they will tolerate older children without much trouble. Just keep in mind that because of the small size, the potential of injury when handled by a small child could be significant. Therefore, most breeders do not recommend the breed for households where small children live.

Health

Because of the small stature, the Chihuahua is very sensitive to cold weather. For this reason, you will often see this breed in coats and sweaters during the wintertime, and even sometimes in the summer, to keep body temperature comfortable. Other important things to consider when buying a Chihuahua is the need for good dental care, and pregnancy and birthing can be difficult.

In addition, this breed will on occasion suffer from neurological issues specific to seizures and epilepsy. A Patella Luxation is another concern, a problem that develops with the kneecap. A collapsed trachea is somewhat common, causing a coughing and almost choking sound. If treated with surgery early on, the problem can be corrected without too much difficulty and in some cases, various types of medication can be used to help with the symptoms.

This breed is born with an incomplete skull. In other words, unlike other dog breeds, the Chihuahua has a soft spot in the skull called the Moleras. Although this area will grow together as the dog ages, special care needs to be given during the initial six months. Eye infections are another possible health concern because of the large round shape. However, proper cleaning and being aware of the risk are usually the best forms of prevention.

Finally, the Chihuahua falling within the Merle color family tends to have far more health problems than other colors. Somehow, genetics play a role, creating a variety of health problems to include deafness, blindness, sterility, hemophilia, among other things. Therefore, when buying a Chihuahua, this information should be considered.

About The Author: Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of SitStayFetch, a leading dog training guide having sold over 21,000 copies (and counting). See http://www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/dogbreeds/chihuahua.phpfor more on dog breeds.

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