Their size and elegance allowed Chihuahuas to quickly gain great popularity, to become one of the most famous canines. They are known as the perfect purse pet, mini-toy, miniature dog, etc.
So today we will answer some questions like are they the smallest breed? How small can they be? Benefits of having such a small dog andmuch more!
So, are Chihuahuas the smallest dog breed?
Yes. It is widely considered to be the smallest dog breed in the world according to The American Kennel Club.
They should weigh less than 6 lbs and they are less than 8 inches tall, on average. In fact, according to the official breed standard adopted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), they cannot weigh more than 6 lbs. The British standard also states that weight between 4 – 6 lbs. is preferred.
Today it has become one of the most famous dogs because of its mini size since they can be taken everywhere and also because there is a large industry around accessories for a Chihuahua.
The smallest Chihuahua in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records
Milly, a Chihuahua from Puerto Rico, was named the world’s smallest Chihuahua in 2014 in terms of height, at only 3.8 inches, as published by the Guinness Book of World Records.
To achieve the title, she sent Guinness photos, videos, and documents certified by veterinarians on December 1, 2012, when the puppy turned one year old.
Milly’s owners say that when she was born in December 2011 she was so small she could fit in a teaspoon and had to be fed with an eyedropper.
And not only that, Milly dethroned another Chihuahua! Boo Boo, a resident of the United States and until then considered the tiniest dog on the planet, at 10.6 centimeters (4 inches).
In the second category of Guinness records for tiny dogs, the title of the smallest dog in length, Heaven Sent Brandy. You guessed it! Another long Chihuahua from Largo, Florida inscribed her name in history with her 6 inches in length.
Why are Chihuahuas so small?
When you see your adorable, tiny Chihuahua, don’t you find it impressive that it has the same ancestry as a St. Bernard?
The small figure of these dogs is due to the artificial selection made by humans in the last centuries.
Miniature breeds, such as the Chihuahua, develop and mature more quickly than large breed dogs. At birth, a Chihuahua typically weighs between 2.5 and 5.5 ounces. The standard Chihuahua breed requires a maximum adult weight of 6 pounds.
Today’s Chihuahua is a much smaller dog than its predecessor.
The most widely accepted hypothesis states that the Chihuahua descends from a companion dog of the pre-Columbian Toltec civilization, called Techichi.
It is believed that the ancestor of the Chihuahua, Techichi was slightly larger and stockier with a larger muzzle as well.
Its character was passive and docile and it could have been a helper in the labors of ancient American civilizations, such as harvesting corn and other crops.
We know the appearance of Techichi through codices, sculptures, and archaeological remains found in Mexico, where the oldest date back to the 9th century.
Genetic research has shown that today’s Chihuahuas are the result of crossbreeding with European dogs.
But they have also discovered that one of the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes now present in Chihuahuas is unique to their breed and was also detected in pre-Columbian dogs from Mexico.
So, they are possibly the result of crossbreeding the ancient Techichi with European miniature dogs.
Types of Chihuahuas
Within the Chihuahua breed, we can find different types according to their coat and head. Most classifications are made only by the different shapes of the head since the coat can vary in the same breed of dog.
Apple-headed Chihuahuas are named for the shape of their skull, which is very similar to that of an apple.
These Chihuahuas are characterized by having a wide forehead in relation to the rest of their head. Their ears are erect as if they were alert all the time, and their eyes are bulging.
The body of this type of dog is rather small and very narrow, compared to the head, which is striking. Their skull is wider than their jaw, creating this peculiar shape.
Chihuahua deer head
All Chihuahua dogs that are not classified as apple-headed automatically become deer-headed.
They are characterized by a sloping forehead and a smaller, elongated head. They have a slender body, as the elongated head complements the body more. It is a little taller and more elongated than the rest of the species of the same breed.
As its name indicates, its coat is longer, softer, and double-coated. It is said that it can take up to 3 years, or more, to grow completely.
These Chihuahuas can also be apple-headed or deer-headed.
Although it is known as “a type of Chihuahua” it is not really a real type or a separate breed. These Chi’s are usually the result of a genetic defect caused by overbreeding to find a chi of a specific color.
Miniature Chihuahua or teacup
Most people use both terms to refer to this peculiar Chi.
It is a very small Chihuahua, measuring less than 9 inches and weighing 5 pounds or less only in its adult stage. If a specimen exceeds these measurements, it automatically ceases to be “miniature”.
These Chihuahuas are also not a distinct breed but a sub-type or designation popular with Chihuahua owners and breeders. Any specimen that meets these measurements falls into this category.
Small dog, big personality
“A chihuahua wants to be taken seriously, just like any other dog,” says Udo Kopernik of the Canine Association of Germany (VDH).
Mergel points out that, in general, this breed is quite easy to raise. However, you have to raise a Chihuahua like any other large dog and be consistent. Otherwise, the pet will very quickly start to make its own rules prevail.
Chihuahuas are surprisingly brave and their personalities are much bigger than their small bodies would suggest.
They are known for having a dominant and possessive personality, so being submissive is not in their nature; they are natural leaders, they are also, erratic, enthusiastic, witty, and extremely active.
Although they are among the smallest dog breeds in the world, Chihuahuas can interact with dogs larger than themselves without any problems. And denying them this type of interaction would cause them to adopt an aggressive attitude when they encounter larger breeds.
So don’t treat them like a baby. Their small size can be misleading and make us look as if our little Chihuahua is an eternal puppy, which is far from the truth. When they are adults, they are just like any other dog and should be treated as such.
Small dog syndrome, do you know it?
You may have heard on more than one occasion that small breed dogs are more aggressive than large dogs. Well, this is obviously not entirely true, since any well-mannered dog will have excellent behavior.
However, some small breeds present a syndrome called “small dog syndrome” which is a behavioral disorder caused by inadequate education of the dogs. When their owners accept inadequate behaviors that they would never accept in a large breed dog.
In general terms, small breed dogs tend to be spoiled because their mischief or misbehavior is funny, cute, and harmless.
And as you probably guessed, among the breeds that suffer the most from this syndrome are the Chihuahuas because due to their peculiar size we sometimes forget that they are not puppies anymore.
Avoiding this syndrome is relatively simple. If you have patience and apply an education based on rules (which every dog must follow to live well at home) since they are small and always treat them in the stage of life in which they are.
That is to say, that if they are adult or senior Chihuahuas they should be treated as such. As well as correcting their behavior, when necessary so that they understand that they do not have control of the house.
Benefits of having the smallest dog
They are compact. Today much of the population lives in cramped quarters, so a small dog seems to be the only option. Few dogs are smaller than Chihuahuas, and many people make their decision with that in mind.
Perfect for indoor living. Small breeds like Chihuahuas don’t need a garden or a big yard to be happy. They have the ability to adapt to any kind of space and make it their territory.
In fact, they have no awareness of their size, so they don’t know they are so small.
Less quantity. When it comes to keeping a smaller dog, the cost and effort will always be less. They need less food, less shampoo, fewer toys, and less effort.
Easy to handle. They are easy to handle even against their will (Yes, sorry friend!) and are easy to bathe and groom in general.
You’ll clean less. A Chi will always make less mess than a big one. It will shed less hair, drool less, throw less food on the floor, and mess less with its paws.
They are portable. So they can go with you anywhere because of their small size often entering places where normally dogs would not be accepted.
Their waste is small. Due to their small physique, their feces and urine are also small.
They have a long lifespan. Small breeds are longer-lived because they seem to age more slowly than large breeds.
In the past, Chihuahuas could live between 10 and 12 years. But nowadays with good nutrition, care, and lifestyle, in general, they can live 15 to 20 years.
Common problems for a small dog
Just as this small size has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages to which attention must be paid.
They are very sensitive to cold, so in the winter months, we recommend the use of warm clothing.
They are prone to obesity. They love to eat, especially sweets. It is necessary to take good care of their diet so that they do not exceed their ideal weight.
The eyes of this breed are very delicate, due to their large size in proportion to the body, in addition to their proximity to the ground, which facilitates frequent infections.
Chihuahuas, like other small dogs, require frequent dental care, so it is advisable to have at least an annual check-up at the veterinarian’s office and to brush them regularly.
Hydrocephalus, which is caused by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles, is another genetic abnormality that affects small breeds.
The skull vault normally enlarges as a result of this, but it may not happen until the puppy is several months old.
Miniature breeds have a small stomach and need to be fed several times a day with small amounts. Use dry feed, which will keep their teeth healthier, but at the same time be careful, as Chihuahuas tend to be overweight.
They are very sensitive to cold. They should be well wrapped up when they go outside, when they feel nervous or when the weather warrants it.
Remember that their size makes them a little more fragile. It is best to walk them on a leash to keep them safe by our side.
Little big dog
When you think of small breeds, the Chihuahua is one of the first that comes to mind, either because of the fame, they have gained thanks to movies like “legally blonde” for the records they are accumulating or thanks to celebrities like Paris Hilton.
But we know that size is only a “small” characteristic of all that these dogs are and what they have to offer. They are amazing, loyal pets full of charm and a big personality.