Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 16 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

chihuahua facts, arm, watch

Chihuahuas are loving and loyal dogs. However, they get a bad rep for their temperament. While it’s true that chihuahuas can be unpredictable animals, it shouldn’t be a problem with proper training. Take a closer look and know how to care for this breed with these chihuahua facts.

  1. The chihuahua is the smallest dog breed.
  2. Archaeological evidence shows that they originated from Mexico.
  3. A chihuahuas lifespan lasts around 12 to 20 years.
  4. Chihuahuas have an average weight of 3 to 6 pounds.
  5. The name of the breed came from the city of Chihuahua, Mexico.

  1. There are several theories of Chihuahua’s origins.
  2. One of the most common theories is that the Chihuahua’s ancestors are the Techichi breed. They are a small breed of dog from the Mayans and Toltecs in the 8 A.D.
  3. Chihuahuas can run as fast 30 kilometers per hour.
  4. Chihuahuas prefer the same breed as its companion over other breeds of animals.
  5. Up to 90% of chihuahuas have molera – a tiny opening in a puppy’s head, similar to the fontanelle or soft spot in an infant’s skull.
  6. Chihuahuas have big round eyes, erected ears, and rounded/apple-domed skull.
  7. Chihuahuas are extremely loyal to one particular person.
  8. Chihuahuas can be overprotective towards its master, to the point that it will bite anyone who will get close to them.
  9. They are one of the lightest shedders in the canine kingdom. In other words, chihuahuas don’t lose a lot of hair.
  10. Chihuahuas love to stay in the sunlight.
  1. Chihuahuas can be quickly frightened, thus provoking them to attack.
  2. Due to its nature, chihuahuas are not the perfect pet dogs for children.
  3. Dental care is the most important routine for chihuahua’s grooming.
  4. Hydrocephalus (water in the brain) is one of the most common health problems of a chihuahua puppy.
  5. ‘Texas’ and ‘Arizona’ dogs are its previous other names.
Table of Contents

Chihuahua Facts Infographics

Chihuahua Facts Infographics

The word chihuahua means 'between two waters.'

The term “chihuahua” came from a Nahuatl word which means “between two waters.” Many historians assume that the name is older than the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, which began in 1519.

Chihuahuas might actually have medicinal effects.

Scientists have found that exposure to dogs during childhood may reduce asthma symptoms and may protect them against eczema. They observed that children whose mothers were not exposed to dogs in their pregnancy have a greater chance to develop eczema by the age of 2 years, compared to children whose mothers had exposure to dogs.

Genes widely affect the chihuahua's temperament.

The genetics of the grandparents and parents of the chihuahua widely affects its behavior, attitude, and temperament. Generally, chihuahuas are alert, courageous, lively, and devoted.

The two largest kennel clubs officially recognize two kinds of chihuahuas.

The American Kennel Club and the UK Kennel Club recognize two kinds of  chihuahuas: the long coat chihuahua and the smooth coat chihuahua.

The smooth coat chihuahua is the most common and familiar breed for most people.

The smooth coat chihuahua is distinct for its apple-domed skull and short hair measuring around 1/2 to 3/4 inches long. The adult smooth-coat chihuahua grows from 15 to 23cm and weighs around 4 to 6 lbs. Short coat chihuahuas come in a variety of colors, ranging from tan to black.

Smooth coat chihuahuas don't exactly have smooth hair.

Contrary to popular belief, the word “smooth coat” doesn’t exactly mean that its hair is significantly smooth. Instead, its hair can vary from having a velvet touch to a whiskery feel.

The long-haired chihuahua features a flat or little wavy coat.

Arguably the cutest breed of chihuahuas, the toy-sized long-haired chihuahua features a flat or little wavy coat. It appears in a variety of colors from black to light tan. In terms of size and weight, they measure the same as the smooth coat chihuahua.

The longhaired chihuahuas are easy to groom.

Unlike the other longhaired dog breeds that are hard to maintain, longhaired chihuahuas don’t need trimming. With this in mind, it is relatively easy to maintain and groom the longhaired chihuahua.

Longhaired chihuahuas are much smoother to the touch.

In contrast to the smooth chihuahuas, the longhaired chihuahuas are much smoother to touch because it has soft and fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat.

chihuahua facts
Photo from Pixabay

According to old folklore, chihuahuas could treat respiratory ailments.

According to old folklore, chihuahuas can treat respiratory ailments, such as allergies and asthma by putting them beside the person. It is believed that chihuahuas will take away their asthma or even other sicknesses since pets protect their masters.

Chihuahuas can't handle cold temperatures very well.

When they get cold, chihuahuas tend to warm in themselves in different places such as hiding under pillows, clothing baskets, and blankets. Chihuahuas burying into these hiding spots view these dark areas as their den.

Chihuahuas exhibit catlike behavior.

They may be opposites, but chihuahuas share a few things in common with their feline friends. Chihuahuas tend to climb up to the highest point on a couch or even curl up into a ball.

Despite their small size, chihuahuas never see themselves as underdogs.

Chihuahuas may be easily frightened, but they are good at masking this emotion. They do not view their size as a disadvantage, even provoking bigger dogs if they’re intimidated by them.

Teacup chihuahuas are one of the smallest kinds of chihuahuas.

Teacup chihuahuas are a much smaller variety of the same breed. In general, the Teacup Chihuahua doesn’t weigh more than four pounds, making it one of the smallest kinds of chihuahuas.

chihuahua facts
Photo from Pixabay

A teacup chihuahua can fit inside a teacup upon birth.

As the name suggests, teacup chihuahuas are so tiny, they can literally fit in a cup. Much like the long coat chihuahua and the smooth coat chihuahua, it has the same lifespan of 12 to 20 years.

Chihuahuas have saved lives before.

Although chihuahuas are not the best guard dogs out there, their loyalty prevails for its master and protected many lives in the past. For instance, a female chihuahua once attacked a rattlesnake that threatened its owner’s 1-year-old grandson in Masonville, Colorado. As a result, the snake bit the chihuahua instead of the 1-year old kid. Fortunately, after the medical treatment, the female chihuahua survived.

Chihuahuas have the biggest brain in the canine kingdom.

Relative to their their body size, chihuahuas have the biggest brain among other dog breeds. Compared to an Alsatian or a Great Dane, which is much bigger, their brains measure the same size.

Chihuahuas only became popular in the 60s.

During the 1900s, people preferred dogs that could serve practical purposes, such as being guard dogs and hunting dogs. As such, people only recognized the chihuahua as a pet in the 1960s when companion dogs were finally appreciated.

Chihuahua pups are born with their ears down.

Despite the pointy-eared appearance they are known for, chihuahua pups are born with floppy ears. Their ears will only start to stand and erect once they are 6 months old. If a chihuahua’s ears are still floppy within these months, it’s very likely that they will stay that way.

The chihuahua has the most extensive color combinations of any breed.

There are over 30 different colors of chihuahuas. The most common variants of the chihuahua are black, fawn, cream, and gold. They can come in just about any random color combination, especially for crossbreeds.

Chihuahuas have a much faster heartbeat than a human.

For most healthy humans, the average resting heart rate for adults is around 60 to 100 beats per minute. On the other hand, the chihuahua’s resting heart rate ranges from 100-140 beats a minute.

Chihuahuas undergo C-sections more than any other breed.

Because of chihuahuas’ bigger heads and its females’ narrow hip width, chihuahuas usually undergo C-sections to avoid complications.

Chihuahuas are defenseless when left alone outdoors.

When chihuahuas are left alone outdoors, it is vulnerable to predators such as eagles, coyotes, wolves, as well as bigger dog breeds. As a responsible pet owner, it wise to secure your area and never allow the chihuahuas to go out alone.

Chihuahuas are unpredictable.

Due to different crossbreeds of chihuahuas and other factors like genes, it is not uncommon for a chihuahua to have an unpredictable attitude. Recessive genes can make chihuahuas develop undesirable traits such as over-aggressiveness, stubbornness, and even attacking its owners or co-owners.

Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog in the world.

As a result of their unpredictable temperament, chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog in the world next to pit bulls. Usually, owners give their chihuahuas up out of frustration. Definitely one of the more unfortunate chihuahua facts.

Proper training is the key to a smooth relationship with chihuahuas.

Nevertheless, pet lovers who plan to own a chihuahua should not be discouraged by the chihuahua’s potential unpredictability. Chihuahuas are loyal pets by nature. Proper training, responsible ownership, and discipline is the key to a smooth relationship with chihuahuas.

The AKC helped maintain the original size of chihuahuas.

Aside from the fact that chihuahuas’ ancestors were really small, they were also originally bred to be smaller. The American Kennel Club supported selective breeding to produce smaller chihuahuas during its early years. The American Kennel Club set the official standard weight for a chihuahua at two to six pounds.

They are one of the oldest breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club.

This breed is one of American Kennel Club’s oldest official dog breeds since its induction in the year 1903. From there, the American Kennel Club has continued to add more breeds such as the German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, Belgian Sheepdog, Alaskan Malamute, Affenpinscher, Cavalier King, Bearded Collie, Brussels Griffon, Great Pyrenees, Lhasa Apso, and Charles Spaniel.

chihuahua facts
Photo from Pixabay

Chihuahuas were given as a traditional Mexican wedding gift in the 1800s.

Although it’s uncommon today it was a normal practice in Mexico for a bride to receive bouquets with a chihuahua inside in from the 1800s to 1900s.

The wild chihuahuas and its ancestors used to climb trees.

Although modern chihuahuas today are generally homebodies, chihuahuas used to be skilled tree-climbers. Evidence suggests that early chihuahuas had to often scale trees to protect themselves from predators in the wild.

Deer headed chihuahuas have narrower and longer heads.

Furthermore, deer-headed chihuahuas have longer a snout and described as “a big dog in a small body.” Deer headed chihuahuas are typically lively and brave, but their tendency for aggression makes them  unsuitable for kids.

Dog breeders made the chihuahua-husky mix possible.

The chihuahua-husky mix is one of the most unique breeds of dogs. The hybrid combination of chihuahua and the Siberian husky may seem impossible due to its difference in size, but breeders made it possible.

The chihuahua-German shepherd mix is the "smaller version" of German shepherds.

Although this mixed breed can vary in appearance, the general outcome is smaller than a German shepherd and bigger than a chihuahua. Furthermore, German Shepherd-Chihuahua hybrids are more likely to have a black and brown coat  reminiscent of the German Shepherd.

Chihuahua-bulldog hybrids are rising in popularity.

The Chihuahua Bulldog mix combines two of the most popular Toy breeds. This breed is relatively new, but it is starting to become more and more common over the last twenty years.

A chihuahua-terrier's temperament will depend on the nature of their parents.

The chihuahua terrier hybrid  combines a chihuahua and a terrier. The chihuahua terrier’s temperament will depend on the nature of their parents, but they can adjust if socially exposed at an early age.

Chihuahuas are meat-eaters.

Every pet owner can have different variations for their pet’s diet. Nonetheless, the chihuahua’s personal preference for food is mostly protein such as chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and fish. Chihuahuas need at least 40% of meat on their daily food.

Blue chihuahuas exist.

The blue chihuahua results from a recessive gene. If both the mother and the father possess this blue gene, they will rear this rare variation of chihuahua as offspring. Chihuahua breeders frequently use the term ‘blue’ to emphasize its rare color. However, its real color is grayish-blue.

The pure white chihuahua is another rare type of chihuahua.

Many argue that the pure white chihuahua is the rarest color of all. It has no black pigment on its skin, its eyes, nose, and nails have a light color while its inner ears are color pink.

white chihuahua
Photo from Pixabay

All the small dogs were thought to be chihuahuas in the late 1800s.

During the late 1800s up to the early 1900s, the Southern United States and Northern Mexico classified all the small dogs as “chihuahuas.” However, the the American Kennel Club classified the actual chihuahua as its own breed in 1903.

Two smooth coat chihuahuas can produce a long coat puppy.

They may be completely different breeds, but two smooth coats can produce long coat offspring in the right circumstances. The long coat chihuahua’s gene is recessive, which makes for a possibility of rearing different offspring. Under the same principle, two long coat chihuahuas are very unlikely to produce a smooth coat puppy.

Chihuahua's strong sense of hearing makes them good watchdogs.

Although chihuahuas are not known as a guard dog, and more seen as a companion dog, chihuahuas can be very good watchdogs. Chihuahuas can work as an “alarm system” and  barking out loud if they detect a stranger or animal lurking around.

ears, chihuahua
Photo from Pixabay

The earliest images of chihuahuas go as far as 300 BC.

Some of the earliest images of chihuahua were seen on pots and sculptures dating back to 300 BC. These little dogs later emerged in paintings such as The Trials and Calling of Moses by Sandro Botticelli in 1482, and Two Venetian Ladies by Vittore Carpaccio in 1490.

Chico means 'boy' in Spanish, making it one of the most used names for chihuahuas.

According to records, more than 3 million dogs have been named “Chico,” making it the most used name for chihuahuas. Furthermore, other names such as Coco, Lilly, Bella, Daisy, Charlie, and Cookie are also popular for this breed.

The Japanese Police Force has a chihuahua in their dog force.

A chihuahua from Western Japan passed the Japanese training and exam and got in the polica force. Momo, the 6.6 lbs chihuahua, helps the police in search-and-rescue missions as part of the disaster response team.

The word 'Chihuahua' is one of the most misspelled words in Google searches.

To this end, the Google Trends map confirms that the word ‘chihuahua’ is one of the hardest words to spell. Other words such as pneumonia, maintenance, neighbor, February, Mississippi, and misspell are also a few words that are often misspelled.

It is common for chihuahuas to shiver.

Due to the chihuahua’s natural anxiety for being around strangers or too much excitement, it is common to see chihuahuas shaking and shivering. It almos makes them look like a vibrating stuffed toy in action.

Chihuahuas often join the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, more than 200 chihuahuas wore costumes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in 2015. The celebration of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza in 1862.

Some of the world's most famous celebrities own a chihuahua.

Some of the world’s famous celebrities are known to enjoy the company of chihuahuas. To enumerate a few, those are Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Madonna, Mickey Rourke, Reese Witherspoon, and Sharon Osborne.

Chihuahuas are having a hard time to win a Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Since 1907 to up the year 2020, chihuahuas have not won the Westminster Kennel Club Show. From 2015 to 2020, the last five winners were a Beagle, Pointer (German Shorthaired), German Shepherd, Bichon Frise, Fox Terrier, and Poodle.

A chihuahua has never won Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The title of “Best in Show” is awarded to the winning dog of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. To be fair to chihuahuas, many popular breeds have not yet won Westminster Kennel Club Show as well. Instead, terriers have been dominating the show with the most wins since its opening in 1907.

Some people hate chihuahuas.

Some people may argue that the physical appearance of a chihuahua is “not very appealing,” probably due to its unusual facial aesthetics, personality issues, etc. Furthermore, the loud, weird attitudes towards other people, attachment to one person, and hyperactivity put them off.

Like humans, the leading cause of death for chihuahuas is cardiovascular disease.

According to a study, the leading cause of death for chihuahuas is cardiovascular disease. A proper diet, exercise, and frequent visits to the vet are optimal ways to assure long and healthy life of chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas have a fast metabolism and a small stomach.

Chihuahuas burns calories very fast, that is why their ideal food intake should be rationed in small, frequent portions. Food plays a vital role in the chihuahua’s life span. Proper feeding lets them digest protein more easily, improving its overall nutrition.

Most people suggest dry kibble food for chihuahuas.

Kibble consists of ground up ingredients shaped into pellets, usually made of meat, grains, and vegetables. Kibble is one of the most popular types of food for chihuahuas, since it is easy to prepare. However, it is recommended to consult the vet first, because a dog’s ideal food type depends on its current health condition and age.

Never give chihuahuas garlic or onions.

When feeding a chihuahua, owners should avoid foods such as garlic, chocolate, onion, and high amounts of salt. Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks all come from the Allium family which is generally poisonous to dogs and even cats.

Chihuahuas get dehydrated fast.

Aside from the fact that chihuahuas have a quick digestion, they also tend to dehydrate faster. Fresh and clean water must be available all the time in the most accessible area for chihuahuas.

water bowl, chihuahua facts
Photo from Pixabay

Over bathing can make chihuahuas' skin dry and irritated.

Chihuahuas need to take a bath once in a while, but over bathing is not good for them. Once every two months is enough or whenever they are dirty. Moreover, lukewarm water and a high-quality dog shampoo with the right pH should be used to enhance the chihuahua’s coat.

Vaccinations and immunizations are important to chihuahuas.

Because chihuahuas can be aggressive, a rabies vaccination is essential when owning this breed. Immunizations against some diseases and parasites will do the trick for easier maintenance.

Trained chihuahuas can help people with disabilities.

Chihuahuas also do very well as a service or guide dogs. Also known as seeing-eye dogs, some chihuahuas are particularly trained to lead the blind and visually impaired people, assisting them to navigate obstacles that they normally would not be able to do alone.

A chihuahua holds the title for the smallest dog in the world.

According to the Guinness World Records, Milly, a female chihuahua, is the world’s smallest dog ever, only measuring 9.65cm. Vanesa Semler from Dorado, Puerto Rico owns Milly. The Guinness World Records confirmed it on February 21, 2013.

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