In honor of Felix, the Senior Chihuahua who was quickly adopted, the breed of the week is the Chihuahua! *Below information from dogbreedinfo.com*
The Chihuahua is a tiny toy sized dog. The body is longer than it is tall. The head is well rounded, apple in shape and the muzzle is short and pointed with a well defined stop. Puppies have a soft spot on the top of the skull called a "molera", which usually closes by adulthood. The large, round eyes are set well apart and are dark, ruby, and may be lighter in white dogs. The erect ears are large. The tail is long, sickle-shaped, either curled over the back or to the side. The coat comes in both a short coat or a long, wavy or flat coat.
This is the oldest breed on the American continent and the smallest breed in the world. Native to Mexico, where it received it's name from the Mexican State of Chihuahua. It was only brought to Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. What breeds were used to make up the Chihuahua are unclear, but some think it originated from the Fennec Fox.
The Chihuahua is a good companion dog. Courageous, extremely lively, proud and adventurous, they enjoy affection. Brave, cheerful and agile. Chihuahua's can be strong-willed without the proper human leadership. They are loyal and become attached to their owners. Some like to lick their owner's faces. Socialize them well. For some, they may be slightly difficult to train, but they are intelligent, learn quickly, and respond well to proper, firm but gentle (positive reinforcement) training. May be difficult to housebreak. Do not let the Chihuahua get away with things you would not allow a large dog to do (Small Dog Syndrome), such as jumping up on humans. While it may be cute for a 5 pound tiny dog to put his paws on your leg when you come home from work, it is allowing a dominant behavior. If you allow this little dog to be your pack leader they will developed many behavior issues, such as jealousy, aggression with other dogs and sometimes with humans, and will become undeniably suspicious of people except for their owner. When strangers are present, they will begin to follow their owner's every move, keeping as close as possible. A Chihuahua who is pack leader of their humans may snap at children. This breed is generally not recommended for children, not because they are not good with them, but because most people treat the Chihuahua differently than they would a large dog, causing them to become untrustworthy. Because of their size, this breed tends to be babied and things we humans clearly see as bad behavior for a large dog is looked over as cute with a small dog.
Height: 6-9 inches (15-23 cm.)Weight: 2-6 pounds (1-3 kg.)
Prone to rheumatism, slipped stifle, colds, and gum problems. Also corneal dryness and secondary glaucoma, do to their protruding eyes. Gains weight easily. Take caution around toxic products such as chocolate or fertilizer. This is a very small breed and it will not take much to poison them. Chihuahuas are often born via cesarean section because puppies are born with relatively large heads. Susceptible to fractures and other accidents in puppyhood. Some Chihuahuas have a molera, an unclosed section of the skull which can remain open throughout life. This makes the dog prone to injury. Has a tenancy to wheeze and snore, because of their small, short muzzles. Prone to stress, caused by the owners tendency to treat them like little babies. All dogs, even tiny ones, need to feel their owners are strong minded beings able to handle the entire pack.
Although it is tempting to carry these dainty creatures about; these are active little dogs, who need a daily walk. Play can take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs who do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display a wide array of behavior problems, as well as neurotic issues. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off lead, such as a large fenced in yard.
About 15 or more years.
The smooth, short-haired coat should be gently brushed occasionally or simply wiped over with a damp cloth. The long coat should be brushed daily with a soft bristle brush. Bathe both types about once per month, taking care not to get water in the ears. Check the ears regularly and keep the nails trimmed. This breed is an average shedder.