Those liquid brown eyes. Those pretty little paws. And those big ears! Is there anything cuter than a Chihuahua? Most Chi lovers would agree: Not a chance. This member of the toy group is clever, confident, and has sass to spare. Here are five important things to keep in mind if you’re considering bringing this lovable little lap dog into your life.
1. Invest in a wardrobe.
Chihuahuas originally hail from Mexico and are the smallest dog in the world (they max out at six pounds). A beloved breed of the Aztecs, Chihuahuas got accustomed to hanging out in a warm climate. That affinity for warmer temperatures means you’ll need to stock up on sweaters and jackets to keep your Chihuahua nice and toasty when the temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the colder months — or when you're blasting the air conditioning. The bonus? You'll have the added benefit of your buddy looking absolutely adorable!
2. Train, train, train.
You’ve probably heard it before: Chihuahuas are little dogs with big personalities (and a terrier-like temperament).Take the time to teach your dog basic commands and obedience. Chihuahuas are an intelligent but independent breed, so it’s important to let them know early on that you’re in charge. Be firm, but gentle — these wee pups are very responsive and alert. Training is also a great way to strengthen the bond with your pal.
3. Exercise those little legs.
A short, daily walk (30 minutes max) is important to burn energy and keep your Chihuahua healthy. Playtime is another great way to get in good exercise and activity — Chihuahuas love to run and play. Make sure to keep the play gentle, though, and keep a close eye on small children when they interact with your pup. No roughhousing for this tiny guy!
4. Socialize out that “guard dog” mentality.
Chihuahuas love hanging with their Pet Parents, being carried, and snuggling. Make sure you teach your kids to treat your Chihuahua respectfully and not tease him, and monitor any interactions between your Chihuahua and small children. This breed can have a built-in “guard dog” mentality, so he will try to protect his favorite people by barking at strangers. Training and socializing will help curb this habit. If you need any help, ask your veterinarian to recommend a trainer who can help you to best guide your new pup. Always introduce him to different people, friendly dogs, and other environments as often as you can.
5. Keep an eye on his health (and visit the vet).
It can be super tempting to shower this little guy with treats — especially when he's as cute as a Chihuahua! Some Chihuahuas are prone to gaining weight, so stick to low-calorie treats and reserve them for special occasions like training time. Other health issues to watch out for are heart problems, eye disease, collapsing trachea, and loose kneecaps. Regular vet visits are the best way to monitor a Chihuahua's health and happiness.