Cordova_iStock_000002299708_Medium.jpgHere in Texas, we’re no strangers to the Chihuahua. This pint-sized dog is a very popular family pet. But don’t let their small size fool you – Chihuahuas are full of personality. Let’s take a minute to learn more about our unofficial state dog: the mighty Chihuahua.

Getting to Know the Chihuahua

If you’re lucky enough to know a Chihuahua, you value the unique characteristics of the breed. A member of the toy group, the Chihuahua was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904. They are thought to have originated in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico and are one of the oldest breeds in the country.

Chihuahuas come in two varieties – long and smooth coated – and are accepted in nine different colors. Their big ears and doe-eyes are quite endearing, but don’t be fooled by their sweet appearance. These little stinkers will rule the roost if you let them.

Unique Chihuahua Challenges

As with any pet, owning a Chihuahua has its own unique challenges. Before adding one of these little canines to your family, be sure you’re aware of the special problems you might encounter as a Chihuahua owner. These may include:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially as puppies
  • Open soft spot in the skull (open fontanelle)
  • Trick knees (luxating patella)
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Potential for aggression

These little tykes are generally happy and low maintenance, but every dog needs proper care.

The Chihuahua as a Pet

Chihuahuas make great family members. They’re fiercely loyal to those they love, but they can also be stand-offish and even aggressive if they feel threatened. While they often get along well with other pets, Chihuahuas don’t always do well with children. However, in the right situation, they can fit into a household with kids.

Chihuahuas might be small, but they still need attention (especially the long-haired variety, which will require grooming). Because of their size, it’s easy to forgo training, but these boisterous little beasts are often a bit bossy and would benefit from some degree of training.

Chihuahuas are also prone to obesity due to their tiny caloric requirement and often sedentary lifestyle. Be sure your little friend gets plenty of exercise and maintains a healthy diet. If you’re giving your Chihuahua some outdoor time, take care to protect their tiny bodies from the cooler weather and any rough play. Doorways and big falls are not their friends!

Here at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, we adore Chihuahuas. We think these little dogs make wonderful companions, so please share your Chihuahua with us on our Facebook page. We love to see them all!