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. Eye color varies and are often dark, but the merle gene can produce a dog with blue eyes. The erect ears are large. Dewclaws may be removed. The tail is long, sickle-shaped and either curled over the back or to the side. The coat can be short, long and wavy or flat. All colors, both solid, marked or splashed are accepted. Colors include, but are not limited to, black, white, chestnut, fawn, sand, silver, sable, steel blue, black & tan and parti-color.
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, due 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 puppy hood. 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 tendency 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.A disease that seems to be increasing among Chihuahuas is GME, which stands for Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis. It is becoming more frequent among the apple head Chis. It is, at this time, a very poorly understood central nervous system disease that suddenly strikes without much warning. It comes in three types: focal (lesions in the brain or spine); multifocal (lesions in both brain and spine as well as eyes); and optical (causing blindness. There are several current methods of treating it currently and which continue to be updated as more research is done. While there are methods of controlling it in those dogs who survive the first two weeks, unfortunately, there is no true cure. It can go into remission, sometimes for years, but can always resurface. The medications, testing, etc. in the beginning in order to properly diagnose, the cost is in the thousands and many, many more thousands will need to be spent over the remaining years of the dog's life. While GME occurs in many other breeds (generally the toy breeds though there are some others, there is a tremendous number of Chihuahuas with it. Interestingly, deer head Chihuahua's do not tend to be prone to GME, only the apple-head type.
They are good little dogs for apartment life. The Chihuahua likes warm weather and dislikes the cold. They need space just like any other dog. Because they are small does not mean they can be kept in a very small area.
Although it is tempting to carry these dainty creatures about, these are active little dogs that 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 that 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.