Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height, only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. As a result, height varies more than within many other breeds. Generally, the height ranges between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) at the withers . However, some dogs grow as tall as 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm). AKC show dogs (American standard) must weigh no more than 6.0 lb (2.7 kg). The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard calls for dogs ideally between 1.5 and 3.0 kg (3.3 to 6.6 lb), although smaller ones are acceptable in the show ring. However, pet quality Chihuahuas (that is, those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) can, and do, range above these weights, to 10 pounds (4.5 kg), or even more if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight. This does not mean, however, that they are not purebred Chihuahuas, it only means that they do not meet the requirements to enter a conformation show. Oversize Chihuahuas are seen in some of the best, and worst, bloodlines.
The AKC (American Kennel Club ) recognizes two varieties of Chihuahua: the long-coat and the smooth-coat, also referred to as short-haired. They are genetically the same breed, and are often present in the same litter, though in many kennel clubs, including the AKC, they are judged in separate categories. The term smooth-coat does not mean that the hair is necessarily smooth, as the hair can range from having a velvet touch to a whiskery feeling. Long-haired Chihuahuas are actually smoother to the touch, having soft, fine guard hairs and a downy undercoat which gives them their fluffy appearance. Unlike many long-haired breeds, long-haired Chihuahuas require no trimming and minimal grooming. Contrary to popular belief, they also typically shed less than their short-haired counterparts. It may take up to two or more years before a full long-haired coat develops
This breed requires expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. Chihuahuas are also prone to some genetic anomalies, often neurological ones, such as epilepsy and seizure disorders.Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, are also prone to the sometimes painful disease Hydrocephalus . It is often diagnosed by the puppy having an abnormally large head during the first several months of life, but other symptoms are more noticeable (since "a large head" is such a broad description). Chihuahua puppies exhibiting Hydrocephalus usually have patchy skull platelets rather than a solid bone, and typically are lethargic and do not grow at the same pace as their siblings. A true case of Hydrocephalus can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, though the prognosis is grim.Chihuahuas are also known for their moleras a soft spot in their skulls. Chihuahuas are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull. The molera does fill in with age, but great care needs to be taken during the first six months until the skull is fully formed. Many veterinarians are not familiar with Chihuahuas as a breed, and mistakenly confuse a molera with hydrocephalus. The Chihuahua Club of America has issued a statement regarding this often deadly misdiagnosis.Chihuahuas can also be at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Left unattended, hypoglycemia can lead to coma. Chihuahuas are also prone to eye infections due to their large, round, protruding eyes and their relatively low ground clearance. Chihuahuas also have a tendency to tremble but this is not a health issue, rather it takes place when the dog is stressed or excited. One reason for this may be because small dogs have a higher metabolism than larger dogs and therefore dissipate heat faster. Although figures often vary, as with any breed, the average lifespan for a Chihuahua is approximately 8 to 18 years of age.Chihuahuas are sometimes picky eaters, and care must be taken to provide them with adequate nutrition. At the same time, care must be exercised not to overfeed this tiny breed. Overweight Chihuahuas are prone to joint injuries, tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and shortened life span.
HYPOGLYCEMIA: New Chihuahua Owners Need To Read!
In some respects, bringing your new Chihuahua puppy home is like bringing home a tiny newborn human baby. Most important! Chihuahuas, like many other toy breeds, may be susceptible to a form of low blood sugar called hypoglycemia.
You probably won't experience low blood sugar (with your particular puppy) but, in the event that you do, it is an emergency. Small dogs, especially Chihuahuas, have a very small fat reserve around the liver. When they get stressed for some reason (like going to a new home), or if they play too hard (using a lot of energy), or miss a meal, the fat reserve is used up and the body will begin to draw upon the blood sugar for energy. If this condition is left unchecked the dog will grow progressively weaker until it falls into a coma and eventually dies. The good news is that this condition is easily arrested and puppies that do experience hypoglycemia will usually outgrow it by 16 weeks of age. Your goal, as a new owner, should be to keep the puppy s stress level as low as possible during the critical period.
Often the most dangerous period is between six and ten weeks of age. During that time the puppy is weaned away from the dam, wormed, vaccinated, bathed, his toenails are trimmed, and sometimes he is sold into a new environment. Also, the immunity that a puppy gets from the mother's first milk will drop off somewhere around the ninth week, and that will increase his vulnerability to virus and bacteria. All together, these factors contribute to a very stressful time for the little dog. Some puppies breeze right through it and others have problems.
Signs of hypoglycemia vary; usually the dog will get a sad forlorn look on its face, then it will become inactive, eventually staggering, falling down, or just laying down, followed by what looks like sleep. This sleeplike condition will turn into a form of tooth-clenching seizures and spasms, followed by a comatose condition, and, eventually, death. Not all symptoms may be seen at any one time so watch for any lethargic behavior or lack of coordination. If your puppy seems too sleepy, wake him up, stand him up and make sure he stands and can walk normally. If he lies back down, falls, or staggers, then get some sugar into him. If you are unsure of how to proceed then call your breeder and/or your veterinarian.
Hypoglycemia is seen most often in smaller specimens of Chihuahua puppy, but I caution all new owners to watch your puppy carefully until he is at least 16 weeks of age. If the puppy is a 'tiny', I won't even sell a puppy until it is 12 weeks of age. This can cause bonding and socialization problems because the first 120 days of the puppy's life are like "the formative years" in the life of a human child. What it comes down to is a judgment call by the breeder as to when the puppy is strong enough to leave. Once that call is made the new owner has to take over and become the puppy's 'Guardian'. It is hard to hold the breeders responsible for hypoglycemia when they aren't there. While hypoglycemia could be a potential problem to any puppy, given the proper circumstances, it can be easily treated.
Sugar in the drinking water, pancake syrup, nutri-cal vitamin paste, nutristat, (generic nutri-cal and less expensive), kids sugarcoated breakfast foods will help restore lost blood sugar. In severe cases a veterinarian may have to inject a glucose solution into the dog's bloodstream. This occurs usually in cases where the dog is unconscious and unable to swallow. The injection is usually made into a major blood vein such as the jugular vein in the throat.
One good idea is to make sure your dog eats just prior to his being out of your sight for any extended period of time. You can also boost him with sugar in some form (except candy) before you leave him. You must make sure to leave some food available so the dog can eat while you're away. Some Chihuahuas are nibblers who eat very slowly and some are down right finicky so take that into account and leave him with nutrition that is tempting enough that he will eat something while you are away from him.
Stress can be a real problem to some Chihuahuas. Common sources for high stress are, being sold and taken to a new environment, a temporarily depressed immune system caused by vaccinations, a radical and sudden change of diet, being terribly frightened by something. Some things humans might consider being of little consequence, such as trimming his toenails or giving him a bath, can be terrifying to your little dog. Like people, some dogs will handle stress better than others. The point being that you should minimize stress in your puppy's life whenever possible and keep him eating to offset any possible bouts of stress-induced hypoglycemia. Thank you Haleema!