|Barked: Fri Jan 21, '11 10:02pm PST |
|Chihuahuas are awesome little dogs, and mostly healthy too. They have a vast gene pool compared to some breeds, and they can come in any color except Merle in some countries is very discouraged. They also come 2 different coat lengths, but even that is dependant on the lines you choose. Ther eare a lot of long coat/smooth coat crosses out there, you just need to get a god look at the parents.
Don't fall for the "teacup chihuahua" gimmick. ALL chihuahuas are tiny. most of them are 2-6 pound (1-3kg) dogs. "teacup chihuahuas" are a sign of bad breeding. Also, there is a growing number of people who are preferring the "deer head" variety over the "apple head." when a breeder uses it, be wary. The correct, breed standard right now is for apple head only. There has always been both varieties of skull though, so I don't know why deer heads are not accepted. In my mind it's just political. I happen to love the deer head look much better than the apple head (just look at my 2) even though it dooms them to pet quality. That's ok.
I love them, I love their antics and their sparkling personality. They can go from snoozing on your lap to racing around like mad hens in a matter of seconds. They're very cat-like, very clean. they have a terrier-like stubbornness. Every one of them is unique.
Foxxy, for example, is a rough and tumble girl who likes hunting vermin. She can hear ground squirrels and shrews with her radar dish ears. I have watched her as she pounces, fox-like through the grass to stun, catch, and kill rodents, I have seen her go to ground after rabbits, and I have had to pick up the remains from her kills, proudly shown to me before she tries to eat them head first. She is aloof, often having to be called more than once before she decides to come, but she knows all f her tricks.
Tag, on the other hand, is submissive, manipulative, and dependant. He never pulls on the leash, he wants to be touched and handled all the time, and he is very sensitive to tone of voice. I can't yell in my house because it really undoes him. A simple AH-ah is enough to startle him out of whatever he is doing wrong.
Both break the chihuahua standard in that they are very friendly with other dogs and very friendly and tolerant with children. I wouldn't leave a toddler or a baby alone with them, because the toddler might hurt them, but who would leave a dog alone with a baby anyway? They are loyal, affectionate, an sensitive of my moods and health. All chis are really very different.
Unless you plan to show it, though, I would recommend getting the bigger side of chis--that is about 6 lbs, although it is not unheard of for some lines to get as big as 12. They tend to have less problems with hypoglycemia and tooth issues, and they tend to shake less. I have noticed that the deer heads also have less tooth problems, as their muzzles are big enough to actually support all 42 without crowding. Make sure the pup's bite is level or scissor. Bad dentition from the outset will mean issues with digestion throughout life.
Be aware that chis mostly like to dig and burrow. They are also carpet cleaning specialists, and cat pan miners. they also shouldn't be getting wet very much. The fine, absorbant, silky hair of the long coat takes hours to dry, though it doesn't mat too much so a powder cleaner once a month and a brushing once a week should be better for them, the smooth coat should require no more than a wiping down. Long hairs shed less, even only seasonally for some. Smooth coats are moderate shedders.
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