Chihuahuas have become popular in recent months with the release of Beverly Hills Chihuahua and other movies showcasing the breed. While it is true that Chihuahuas make great family pets, it is important that you understand Chihuahua tendencies before deciding that a Chihuahua is the right dog for you.
- Size: It is their meager size that makes Chihuahuas endearing to most people. Chihuahuas are currently recognized as the world's smallest breed of dog, with a good quality dog weighing in at 6 lbs or less. This is not to say that a dog who weighs seven pounds or more is not a perfectly healthy example of a Chihuahua, it is just outside the normal breed standard. If your plans are to breed your dog, you should research desired breed standards and look for puppies that will live up to those expectations.
- Temperament: Chihuahuas prefer the company of a nuclear family and tend to be less than hospitable to strangers. While it is true that Chihuahuas tend to prefer the company of one family member over the others, being overly aggressive is not a desirable trait. When looking at a litter, evaluate the temperament of the mother and the father. This will be a good indication of how the puppies will react later in life. Also, watch the puppies themselves. Each dog is an individual, and some will be more shy while others will clamor for attention. These traits will be magnified as the dog gets older.
- Trainability: Though Chihuahuas are said to have the largest brains, for their comparative size, in the canine world, they are not the easiest dogs to train. With that being said, it is not impossible, just more challenging. Chihuahuas must be trained in order to be acceptable members of a household, from housebreaking to basic obedience. Watch the behaviors of the parent dogs to get a good idea of whether or not they have had any obedience training. Watch how they respond to the breeder. This will give you a pretty good idea of how your puppy will respond to your training attempts.
- Character Flaws: Chihuahuas have a number of irritating qualities that may be a turn off to some potential owners. Chihuahuas love to hear themselves, and will find reasons to bark. Their bark is shrill and unyielding and can drive an owner completely insane. Chihuahuas also have a tendency to be difficult to housebreak, some never quite grasping the concept completely. Chihuahuas also like to burrow, so if you don't want to watch your step everywhere you walk, or have problems finding your dog asleep in your undershirt, then a Chihuahua is not for you.
Chihuahuas are intelligent, charming and witty pets that are a welcome addition to any family. Look for a good quality breeder to avid certain genetic pitfalls like hydrocephalus (water on the brain), luxating patellas (dislocating knees), and epilepsy. Look for breeders who will give you a health guarantee in writing as well as documentation of shot records and wormings. This will let you know whether or not the puppies show any signs of having defects or the potential to harbor any unwanted diseases, like parvo and distemper.