Animaltalk's top 10 list of most popular breeds in South Africa lists the tiny Chihuahua in number 10.
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog and is named for the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Chihuahuas come in a wide variety of sizes, head shapes, colours, and coat lengths.
Hypoallergenic (Prone to allergies) : No
Scientific name: Canis familiaris
Life span: 10 to 18 years
Temperament: Lively, Alert, Courageous, Devoted, Quick
Colours: Gold, White, Chocolate, Cream, Black, Fawn
This energetic little dog is ideal for elderly people or people who live at home. Its not an ideal pet to have when you have toddlers. They like to protect their masters and dont take well to 'intruders' . The chihuahua is a great watch dog, but not good for guarding. They love to be cuddled and cared for like children. Its best to get two dogs if you are going to leave them alone at home during the day, to keep each other company. They will fight for your attention upon arriving home. When bathing these dogs (and other pets in general), keep in mind to not get water in their ears.
Their tiny size and BIG personalities make them not the easiest patients to care for.
A few common conditions they may present with at the vet clinic:
- Eye disease due to their prominent eyes – dry eye, glaucoma, corneal ulcers and traumatic injury to eye (prolapse).
- Poor oral hygiene often need repeated dentals through their lifespan.
- Susceptible to fractures (broken bones) and other trauma (bite wounds) due to their small size and “cheeky personalities”.
- Patella luxation (loose kneecap) usually a congenital/developmental problem
- Females often battle to give birth and may need a caesarean section – due to the large round head that does not dilate the birth canal and cause puppy to get stuck.
- High risk under anaesthetic due to small body size
- Hydrocephalus (excess fluid accumulation in the brain)- congenital (birth defect) been reported in Chihuahua but rarely seen due to affected puppies usually dying before adulthood.
Seven good reasons to get pet medical aid for these dainty creatures!
Thank you to our online vet Dr Adel for sharing with us ailments which she is exposed to as a vet on a daily basis.
Other Top Dog Breeds in South Africa: