Because of the designer dog and purse puppy craze, a variety of Chihuahua mixed puppies have been created. Sharing the same genetic makeup, the long-haired and smooth-coated Chihuahuas, with apple-shaped heads, are the only two recognized by the American Kennel Club.
History and Classification
Believed to have descended from the fennec fox, a small canine species with over-sized ears, the earliest records for the Chihuahua are from the Mexican state of the same name. Recognized by the AKC in 1904, and classified as a companion dog in the organization's toy group, the Chihuahua's breed standards dictate he must weigh less than 6 pounds. The Chihuahua's body is squared in shape. Chihuahuas should measure longer from his shoulder to buttocks than in height from his feet to withers. Shorter bodies are preferred in males. Chihuahuas can wear any coat color, including freckles, splashes and markings, for the show ring. Breed standards state a Chihuahua's ears and tail must not be altered, his ears must be erect, and his coat should be full and without bald spots.
Types of Chihuahuas
While only two varieties of Chihuahuas are recognized by the AKC, there are numerous types available. When choosing your Chihuahua puppy, his eyes should be alert, his coat full without bald spots, and his temperament should be playful and active. Besides the Chihuahuas with an apple-shaped head, rounded with a distinct forehead, some Chihuahuas have deer-like characteristics. These deer-faced Chihuahuas have a long face and nose, and smooth cheekbones. Chihuahuas with the deer-like classification have a sloped forehead, smooth chest and slender legs like a deer. A Chihuahua's coat can be a variety of colors, tan being the most common. Other colors for Chihuahuas include black, blue, cream, red and chocolate. Chihuahua coats can be solid with various marks of patterns such as marbling, called brindle, merles, black masked and spotting on white.
Understanding Your New Pup
Chihuahuas are a popular pet, but it is important to learn about the dog prior to bringing him home. Chihuahuas make good family pets, but only in homes with older children. When the opportunity arises, Chihuahuas will bond with one person, and as a result, seem antisocial. Small, but spirited, these dogs can adapt to almost any living conditions and require minimal exercise. Chihuahuas are sensitive to temperature changes and become cold quickly. Chihuahuas are the smallest breed and are hardy with few health problems. A Chihuahua's life span is 14 to 18 years. These diminutive dogs demand a lot of attention, and always want to be with their people. Chihuahuas do well with cats and other pets, as long as they are socialized early. Chihuahua enthusiasts boast of their hilarity, and claim Chihuahuas are fun, love to play and enjoy their position as the household watchdog.
Once affectionately known as mutts, many of today's mixed breeds are specific and their matching is on purpose. Chihuahuas are a popular choice when mixing two breeds, as they lend the genes necessary to assure a small-sized dog. These hybrid dogs give owners the opportunity to choose a future litter's relative size, coat color and temperament. Some of the popular Chihuahua mixes include the Chiweenie, a Chihuahua mixed with a dachshund; a Chorkie, a Yorkshire terrier-Chihuahua mix; a Cheagle, Chihuahuas mixed with beagles; Malchi, a Maltese-Chihuahua mix; Chiranian, a Pomeranian mixed with a Chihuahua and a Taco terrier, which is a Chihuahua mixed with a fox terrier.