Varieties of Chihuahuasby Caroline Jackson
For little dogs, Chihuahuas pack a big punch. They may be small and stature, but they can bring just as much love into your life as a bigger dog. If you decide to adopt or purchase a Chihuahua for your family, you'll need to know a bit about the breed to make the best choice.
A Chihuahua's coat comes in two basic types -- smooth and long. Smooth coats lie close to the dog's skin while long coats have an undercoat and longer feathered hair on the dog's legs. The long-hair Chihuahua's coat can be smooth or wavy. If you're looking for a low-maintenance pet, the smooth-coat Chihuahua may be for you. Long-coat Chihuahuas require a little extra commitment and grooming.
Chihuahuas are a colorful breed. These playful pups can have solid, tri-color, brindle or spotted coats that are tan (also called fawn), chocolate, black, cream or merle. Merle Chihuahuas have a gray- or red-speckled coat and occasionally light-colored eyes. This coat color is more rare than the others and can be accompanied by health concerns such as blindness and deafness. Before adopting, be sure to thoroughly investigate any breeder offering merle Chihuahuas. Ask the breeder if he offers a health guarantee and a refund in case problems occur.
One of the first decisions to make when choosing a Chihuahua is whether you want a deer-head or apple-head type. The American Kennel Club has designated the apple-head look as standard for the breed. This means the dog's head should be rounder, with a short muzzle and a large forehead. Deer-head Chihuahuas have a longer muzzle and a forehead with a less severe slope and wider-set eyes, giving them the appearance of miniature deers.
The Teacup Myth
Some breeders claim they sell a special type of "teacup" Chihuahua. In reality, there's no such thing. There are only dogs who are extra small -- these are not a separate type or variety of Chihuahua. While these extra-miniature pups can be cute, they also carry with them a host of health problems. Their small size makes them vulnerable, prone to injuries, and likely to develop blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia.
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