Andrews Chihuahuas

AKC and CKC Chihuahua Puppies

Chihuahua Care and Information

The Chihuahua is a very old breed and, although the details of its' history are vague, it is known to have originated in Mexico, with some of its' more ancient ancestors being thought to have existed alongside the Aztecs. Some of the first dogs were seen in the USA in the mid 19th Century, and the Chihuahua was recognized by the AKC in 1904.

Due to this little breeds' huge popularity, there are many, many chihuahuas around today, resulting in a huge variation in size, color, coat and temperament.

However, in terms of the AKC breed standard, there are only two classifications - long coated or short coated. And inspite of the fact that you might see chihuahua puppies advertised in 'Standard, Miniature, Teacup, Pocket-size' varieties, there are no individual classifications for size. The AKC standard reads simply 'A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6 pounds'.

Of course, many chihuahuas are larger, or smaller, than 6lbs, but being especially tiny (such as the puppies advertised as 'teacup' pups) is not something rare or desirable, and shouldn't be more expensive to buy than your 'average' chihuahua.

In fact a mature dog that weighs less than 3lbs could be more at risk for health problems, and chihuahua puppy care for the very tiniest specimens of this breed can be very tricky and requires a lot of patience and supervision. The larger dogs (sometimes weighing up to 10lbs or even more), are not 'inferior', and may even be healthier and more robust, which could well save you some money at the veterinarians' office!

Of course, bear in mind that these are generalizations, and every puppy/dog is an individual. Buying from a reputable breeder will increase your chances of getting a happy, healthy pup, regardless of his size.

The well bred, and well taken care of, Chihuahua can be expected to live for 15 - 17 years or more (some chihuahuas have lived to be 20!), in fact this breed is known for its' longevity. So, if you are considering adding a chihuahua puppy to your life, be certain that you are prepared for it to be a long-term committment.

Chihuahua Puppy Health

As I mentioned earlier, tiny dog breeds have their own set of health concerns, and if you are planning on having (or already have) a chihuahua puppy in your home, you need to be aware of these.

Some of these include a collapsed trachea, luxating patellas, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), heart problems such as Pulmonic Stenosis, and hydrocephalus. Of course, all breeds have their own set of congenital weaknesses, but the chihuahua and other tiny breeds are also at greater risk of accidental injury that their larger 'cousins'.

 

Please take the time to read this page, if you do not have a lot of experience with tiny breeds.  They are not the same as any other breed, and require extra care on your part.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can be life threatening to a chihuahua, and many other tiny breeds.  A chihuahua has a tiny liver, so they can not store very much sugar, the tinier the chihuahua, the smaller the liver, so normally the extra tiny babies will take extra care & attention.  If the blood sugar starts getting low, you may notice your dog/puppy not showing interest in food, being less active, stumbling around, and in later stages may go into seizures and/or coma, and die.  It is important that you know what to do if your chihuahua goes into sugar shock.  First of all, don't panic, and rush your dog to the vet, unless you feel absolutely necessary.  The best way to treat sugar shock is to get some corn syrup, or nutri-cal and feed a small amount to the puppy/dog.  In the later stages of sugar shock, I highly recommend corn syrup, as it's more likely to run down their throat & act quicker to get their blood sugars back up.  It is also important to get them on a heating pad, because they can lose a lot of heat and this can make things worse.

To help prevent this from ever happening, you can give your you can give your chihuahua Nutri-Cal every day, about 1/3 of a  teaspoon a day per pound. (FYI...most chi-babies will be less than a pound for the first few months). You can put some on your finger and they will lick it off!  It is also important to minimize the amount of stress you put on your new baby.  This can be done by not taking them to pet stores, friends, and getting them in loud, scary situations.

 

 

 

Chihuahuas need a lot of rest as babies, and shouldn't be made to play if they are tired.  It is also important to make sure they are getting plenty of food and water.  Chihuahuas can be notorious for being picky, so if they don't seem to be eating well, please try mixing their food with canned food, or boiled chicken breast.  If your puppy gets a loose stool for more then 24 hours, it should be taken to the vet to be sure everything is well.    

       Chihuahuas can sometimes make a quacking type noise.  I have not found this to adversely affect their health in any way, but it can be somewhat annoying at times.  They usually do it the most when they are excited, and sometimes if you rub their throat, it can help.  It seems like the shorter muzzled chihuahuas are more likely to do this, from my experience.

Open Fontanel- Many chihuahuas, especially the larger apple-head types will have an open fontenal (AKA Molera), which is on the top of their scull.  Most will close to a very small size by adulthood, and some will close completely.  However, while your dog is young it is very important to know that any sudden hit to their head can cause sudden death.  This is why it's important not to leave your puppy unattended around children, larger dogs, or on top of furniture that is more then a few inches off the ground.  Your chi can also break it's legs very easily if left on high objects.  They don't realize how far down it is, and will try to jump if you don't keep your hands on them.  The molera should not be considered a flaw, as stated in the AKC standard.  It is more common than not, in show type chihuahuas.

Luxating Patellas- Patellar luxation (loose or dislocated knees) can sometimes be detected at a young age.  Due to the chihuahuas diminuative size, this is another issue that is somewhat hard to totally stay away from, especially in the teenie tiny babies, because their bones are so little & fragile.  However, slight luxation may never cause your dog any problems, but severe luxation can sometimes require surgery.  You can ask your vet what preventatives to take, if he/she diagnoses your puppy with luxating patellas.  A dog should never be allowed to become obese, as this can certainly up the risk for surgery, and other issues later in life.  If your puppy has luxating patellas, they will probably give you a rating scale for each patella that will be 1-4 (1 being the slightest, and 4 being the most severe).  You can read more information on patella luxation at http://www.offa.org/
 

 What determines the price of a puppy?

This can vary from breeder, to breeder, but in my puppies, price is determined by several different factors.  The overall quality of the puppy will play an important role in the pricing, as a puppy that has show potential is more rare, and will be priced higher.  The size, color, personality, sex, bloodlines, and hair coat will also play a role in the price.  When I price a puppy, I try to take everything into consideration.  A higher priced puppy does not mean he/she will make a better pet.  Don't assume that one puppy is automatically better because of it's price, it might just be my personal preference.

When is my chihuahua puppy full grown?  How big will my chihuahua puppy get?

 A lot of this can depend on the bloodline, as each puppy may grow at a different rate, just like people.  However, I would say most chihuahuas have reached most of their size by 8 months old, but they may gain more weight from filling out.  Please understand that it is truly impossible to fully predict the adult weight of a puppy.  This would be like trying to guess the exact height of a human baby as an adult, when they are only 1-2 yrs. old, it's just not possible.  However, a lot of breeders can give really close estimates, and those who know their bloodlines can guess even more accurately, because they know how their puppies develop. 

 

An important part of chihuahua puppy care is protecting your precious puppy from being sat on, stood on, dropped, tripped over, shut in a door, or any one of a dozen other scenarios! You may also be surprised at how easy it is to 'mislay or lose' a 1lb pup, and if that tiny baby happens to get outside without you knowing about it, or slips through that tiny gap in your fence, a tragedy could quite easily unfold.

For these reasons, if you already have a medium or large breed pup or dog, or small children, a chihuahua may not be the best choice for you.

Many people think that a tiny dog is ideal for a young family, but that's generally not true. Although your 3 year old (or 5/6/7 year old!) may try very hard to be careful with the new puppy, an over-excited squeeze could really hurt his new pet. Even worse, a startled or nervous reaction could make him drop the puppy, or the normal running/jumping and rough-housing of kids at play could end in disaster.  

Chihuahua Puppy Care Basics

The basic requirements for taking care of a puppy, whether you're the proud new parent of a Labrador Retriever or a Yorkie, are pretty standard, but there are some variations that you need to know about to make sure your chihuahua puppy care is the best you can give.

Puppies need a good nutritious food, good health care, a warm place to play and sleep, exercise, toys and playtime, basic training and lots of love (not necessarily in that order!).

Although small breed dogs tend to reach maturity faster than the large/giant breeds, tiny breed puppies can be slow to grow and develop at first.

For medium to large breed pups, it is generally best to wait until a puppy is at least 8 weeks old before letting him go to his new home, but with very small breeds, 10 or 12 weeks is recommended.

 

Feeding your Chihuahua puppy 
 
Correct feeding is a very important aspect of chihuahua puppy care.

Tiny chihuahua puppies have tiny little tummies - but a very fast metabolism! This basically means that their little bodies 'use up' their food very quickly. To help make sure that their blood sugar levels remain constant in spite of this, it's important to make sure that your puppy eats 'little and often'.

A chihuahua puppy should be fed at least 4 times a day, for the first 6 months or so. After that, 3 times a day should be okay until your puppy is mature (at around 1 year of age), when you can go down to 2 feedings per day. Although medium and large breed adults are usually perfectly happy with one meal a day, little dogs like chihuahuas will always need to be fed at least twice daily. I feed my puppys and dogs EUKANUBA - For Toy Breeds

It is best to continue with Eukanuba puppy food with your new puppy when you first bring them home.  If you want to change food brands, you must mix the two types of food together and slowly change over to the other brand over the course of 10 days.  This practice will help your puppy avoid eating/digestion problems and diarreah.  The first few weeks should include dry and wet canned food. 

Water should be freely available, but make sure the bowl is tip-proof and not big/deep enough for your puppy to fall into! Tiny puppies may try to climb into a bowl that seems too big, and it is perfectly possible for them to drown in this way.

It's also important to be prepared for hypoglycemia, just to be on the safe side. Before you bring your puppy home, familiarize yourself with the symptoms of low blood sugar (can include weakness, confusion, low body temperature, poor co-ordination, drowsiness or even loss of consciousness), so that you know when to take action. Hypoglycemia can be a very serious condition, so have a tube of Nutri Cal on hand before you bring your puppy home. Nutri-Cal should be given to your puppy 3-4 times a day for the first month or two!  Put a small amount on your finger and they will happily lick it off!  Nutri Cal is a vitamin and calorie rich paste, which is used as a dietary supplement, or to give hunting/working dogs an extra 'boost' of energy. If your chihuahua puppy is having problems with his blood sugar, a little of this paste could save his life

Poisonous Foods.

Make sure you are aware of what foods are poisonous to dogs, as a minute amount of a toxic/dangerous food can cause serious problems in tiny puppies. DO NOT give a Chihuahua Avacado, Onions, Onion Pwder, Apple seeds(really and seeds or pits from fruit) Chocolate, any candy with the sweetener Xylitol, Coffee, Grapes, Macadamia Nuts, Mushrooms, Moldy foods, Potato leaves and stems, Hops, Peach Pits, Mustard Seeds,  Raisins, Rhubarb, Salt, Tea, Tomato leaves and stems, Walnuts, Yeast Dough. 

If you suspect your animal has been Poisoned, Call the ASPC Poison Control Line at 1-888-426-4435 This is a 24-hour  Hotline

 

 House Training

A big part of chihuahua puppy care is teaching your puppy to eliminate appropriately! Chihuahuas (and many other small/toy breeds) can be a challenge to housebreak, and I would strongly recommend that new puppy owners buy a crate and use it to housebreak their puppy. You can find all the tips and advice you need for this on my Crate Training page. It really is the simplest and quickest method.

Be prepared to be patient though! Tiny pups have tiny bladders, which means FREQUENT trips to eliminate, and the fact that these puppies mature slowly at first doesn't help matters. However, chihuahuas are smart little dogs, and if you are consistent and patient in your training, your puppy will eventually understand what you expect from him. 

Temperature Control

Chihuahua puppies are usually very, very small and have thin coats, this makes them very susceptible to extremes of temperature, especially the cold. Make sure your puppy has a few blankets in their crate for naptime and nightime.  ***I put my puppys blankets in the dryer and warm them up before they go to bed!!

Another important part of chihuahua puppy care is keeping your little puppy warm when outdoors. You can have fun with this by choosing a couple of adorable 'outfits' for your pup to wear when outside. There are even boots to keep his paws warm!

Most chihuahuas hate cold, wet weather (and who can blame them when they're that close to the ground!), and this can complicate housebreaking in the winter time. But a nice warm sweater or jacket, can help to make your little guy more comfortable when he has to take a 'potty break. 

Grooming A Chihuahua

An important part of chihuahua puppy care is grooming him or her, and it's basically the same as grooming most other breeds. Long coated chihuahuas obviously need more grooming than the short-haired variety, but be sure to choose a soft brush and be gentle.

Sometimes new owners tend to over-bathe small breed pups. These puppies are not like babies, they don't need a bath every other day, or even every week. A bath once every 8 weeks or so should be more than enough, unless of course your little 'chi' falls in a mud puddle, or rolls in something 'icky'!

Puppies have very sensitive skins, and too much bathing can result in itching and irritation, over-dry skin/coat, or even thinning hair. Never use a medicated (flea/tick etc) shampoo on a young puppy, it is dangerous.  

Chihuahua Puppy Behavior

Chihuahuas are little dogs, but they can be big on attitude! Obviously, every puppy has his/her own personality and you may have a laid-back little guy, or a super-charged little girl... or something inbetween.

However, don't make the mistake of thinking that your puppys' size makes him helpless, defenseless or meek. Chihuahuas have a lot of the terrier nature, and can be stubborn, fiery and manipulative - yes, those tiny brains are pretty quick! The chihuahua is one toy breed that can actually think and act like a guard dog! They can be protective and territorial, and often make enough noise to at least sound fierce.

The AKC standard describes the chihuahua temperament as 'an attitude of self importance, confidence, self-reliance', and that sums it up pretty nicely I think. A well-bred chihuahua should exhibit an alert yet calm confidence, and he may take a little while to 'warm up' to other dogs and people he isn't familiar with.

BUT, a chihuahua should never be overly suspicious or 'neurotic' in his behavior. Excessive barking, nipping, growling or biting are definitely not allowed, and you shouldn't see this in a puppy at all. Due to the popularity of these little dogs, many people breed them irresponsibly and end up with unstable, yappy, fearful or aggressive dogs. This poor breeding also results in a higher incidence of health problems, so be very careful and do your research before buying your puppy.

Ensure that your chihuahua puppy care routine includes regular training in basic manners and acceptable puppy behavior, and although you should NEVER shout or smack your puppy, gentle and loving discipline is necessary.

That cute little puppy can very easily become a spoiled brat if left to his own devices.

Little dogs, like Chihuahuas, have their own special needs in all sorts of areas, and training is no exception.

Tiny dogs can be wriggly, defiant and sometimes seem to have the attention span of a gnat! They're also fragile, sensitive little creatures for whom the average training methods (that fit medium to large breeds so well) can be difficult and ineffective.