Although the breed standard is fundamental is maintaining the integrity of each unique breed, it is wise to remember that a standard describes an ideal dog. Rarely is there even a champion that possesses all the specific qualities of his breed’s standard. If you don’t plan on showing your Chihuahua, such criteria may still be useful for selecting a well-rounded puppy. By searching for the perfect dog, aesthetically speaking, you may miss the Chihuahua that is perfect for you!
Chihuahuas bond extremely closely with their owners and tend to seek out one person in particular whom they prefer to all others. Their loyalty is unsurpassed, with a strong tendency for possessiveness. They need to be trained gently, but never halfheartedly.
The Chihuahua is a clever, independent breed that responds well to consistent training when initiated early by the owner. A Chihuahua must learn the word “no”, or anarchy may result. If you assume that such a petite lovable puppy doesn’t need training, you might soon find that your perceptive little dog has instead trained you.
Although many Chihuahuas seem fearless, some dogs may shiver violently when scared, excited, or cold. If there is no obvious cause for fear or excitement, the shaking may be related to a high metabolism, but it is a good idea to have your vet check your puppy to confirm this is the case.
Long or short coat?
Although some owners and breeders claim that under their fur long and smooth coat Chihuahuas are identical, many insist there is a notable personality difference between the two varieties. The smooth coats have a reputation for being a bit bolder in temperament, whereas long coats are often said to be a bit more reserved.
Once you decide this breed is right for you, your next decision will be which variety you prefer. Whether or not you notice a difference in personality, there are a few contrasts between the long and smooth coats on which most agree.
Both types are very content lap dogs, but smooth coats are more liable to sit in your lap, whereas long coats are more apt to sit beside you. Sitting directly in your lap for long periods of time can raise a long-coat Chihuahua’s body temperature to the point of panting.
All Chihuahuas are sensitive to cold temperatures, but owners need to use extra care with smooth coats, especially those lacking undercoats. Long coats can withstand low temperatures longer than their shorter-haired counterparts, but it is a wise idea to dress either in a sweater for outdoor time during cold weather.
You may notice that longhaired Chihuahuas shed less than shorthaired dogs. Neither sheds a considerable volume, but long coats tend to shed seasonally, while smooth coats seem to be trapped in a continuous shedding cycle. You will need to spend a bit more time grooming a long coat, however, so there are pros and cons to both varieties.
Show-quality or pet-quality?
If you wish to purchase a show dog, expect to pay more for him than for a pet-quality dog. You should also be prepared for a longer wait. Oftentimes breeders like to keep show-quality dogs for future breedings. These dogs possess all the best characteristics relating to both health and temperament that help produce strong and friendly puppies.
If you think in terms of paying by the pound, Chihuahuas may seem expensive. While you may pay more for a quality purebred Chihuahua than some other breeds, a moderately higher price is often understandable. Because a Chihuahua puppy’s head is so large in proportion to his body, natural deliveries can be extremely difficult and dangerous for both mother and pups.
Do your homework, and beware of dogs bearing unusually low upfront price tags, as an unhealthy dog will ultimately cost you dearly, both monetarily and emotionally. If money is a major issue, please consider adoption or rescue.
Whichever route you decide on, the most important thing is that you are sure of the dog you choose. Chihuahuas have one of the longest life spans of all dog breeds. With our increasing knowledge in such areas as dog nutrition and medical care, many Chihuahuas are living well into their teens. Every dog deserves an equally long-lived home in which he will be responsibly cared for and loved.