Search Menu
  • Temperament: Charming, Graceful, Sassy
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 30 of 194
  • Height: 5-8 inches
  • Weight: not exceeding 6 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
  • Group: Toy Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Chihuahua lying in three-quarter view
Chihuahua head facing left
Chihuahua standing in three-quarter view facing forward
Chihuahua coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.

HEAD

A well rounded “apple dome” skull, with or without molera. Expression – Saucy. Eyes – Full, round, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart-luminous dark or luminous ruby. Light eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible. Blue eyes or a difference in the color of the iris in the two eyes, or two different colors within one iris should be considered a serious fault. Ears – Large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when in repose, giving breadth between the ears. Stop – Well defined. When viewed in profile, it forms a near 90 degree angle where muzzle joins skull.

BODY

Neck, Topline, Body: Neck – Slightly arched, gracefully sloping into lean shoulders. Topline– Level. Body -Ribs rounded and well sprung (but not too much “barrel-shaped”). Tail – Moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in a loop over the back with tip just touching the back. (Never tucked between legs.) Disqualifications – Docked tail, bobtail.

FOREQUARTERS

Forequarters: Shoulders – Lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under, giving free movement at the elbows. Shoulders should be well up, giving balance and soundness, sloping into a level back (never down or low). This gives a well developed chest and strength of forequarters. Feet – A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pads cushioned. (Neither the hare nor the cat foot.) Dewclaws may be removed. Pasterns – Strong.

COAT

In the Smooth Coats, the coat should be of soft texture, close and glossy. (Heavier coats with undercoats permissible.) Coat placed well over body with ruff on neck preferred, and more scanty on head and ears. Hair on tail preferred furry. In Long Coats, the coat should be of a soft texture, either flat or slightly wavy, with undercoat preferred. Ears – Fringed. Tail – Full and long (as a plume). Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck desired and preferred. (The Chihuahua should be groomed only to create a neat appearance.) Disqualification – In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.

HINDQUARTERS

Muscular, with hocks well apart, neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy. Angulation – Should equal that of forequarters. The feet are as in front. Dewclaws may be removed.

1
2
3
4
5
6
Chihuahua

About the Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is a balanced, graceful dog of terrier-like demeanor, weighing no more than 6 pounds. The rounded “apple” head is a breed hallmark. The erect ears and full, luminous eyes are acutely expressive. Coats come in many colors and patterns, and can be long or short. The varieties are identical except for coat.

Chihuahuas possess loyalty, charm, and big-dog attitude. Even tiny dogs require training, and without it this clever scamp will rule your household like a little Napoleon. Compact and confident, Chihuahuas are ideal city pets. They are too small for roughhousing with kids, and special care must be taken in cold weather, but Chihuahuas are adaptable—as long as they get lots of quality time in their preferred lap.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Chihuahua

Find a Puppy: Chihuahua

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Chihuahua Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

A high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) will have all the nutrients the breed needs. Some Chihuahuas are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The two coat varieties of the Chihuahua have slightly different grooming needs. The smooth-coat Chihuahua will need only occasional brushing and regular baths to look dapper, while the longhaired variety should have his coat brushed at least once a week to avoid any tangles or mats. Both varieties should have their nails trimmed regularly. Good dental care is necessary and should include brushing your dog’s teeth, and the vet might also recommend treats designed as part of a tooth-care program. Check the Chihuahua’s ears regularly, and remove any excess wax or debris to avoid ear infections.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

The Chihuahua loves to run and play and can usually get enough exercise in a very small space. Simply trotting around following their people is usually enough exercise for this happy breed. Short, slow walks will keep your dog in good weight and condition. Avoid overexerting the Chihuahua. If your dog is panting and working hard to keep up, it’s time to pick him up and carry him home.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Chihuahua is a very alert little dog of high intelligence. He is eager to please his humans and responds well to positive training practices. Chihuahuas seem well aware of how cute they are and learn how to get their way. From the very beginning you must enforce the fact that you are in charge. Never allow your Chihuahua puppy to do anything that will be unacceptable in an adult. They can have a bit of a “terrier” temperament, so a firm but gentle hand is necessary when training. They can excel in obedience training and other canine sports.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

The majority of Chihuahuas are healthy little dogs, but there are some genetic issues that can affect the breed. You should choose your dog from a breeder who routinely does genetic health screenings on all breeding stock to ensure that the puppies they produce are as genetically sound as possible. Some of the issues that can possibly affect the Chihuahua include potential heart problems (patent ductus arteriosus, mitral valve disease), eye disease, and patellar luxation (loose kneecaps). Idiopathic epilepsy is also known to occur in the breed.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Chihuahua
Chihuahua
Chihuahua
Chihuahua
Chihuahua
Chihuahua

History

Likenesses of Chihuahua-like dogs decorate the artifacts of lost civilizations around the world. Trading among ancient cultures was more widespread than commonly assumed, so it is no surprise that similar dog types took root in far-flung places. How the Chihuahua type first came to the peoples of Mexico, however, is a secret of prehistory. We do know that when the Toltecs held sway in Mexico about a thousand years ago, their breed of choice was the Techichi, a larger, heavier ancestor of today’s Chi.

The Aztecs conquered the Toltecs in the 12th century. Historians credit the Aztecs with refining the Techichi into a smaller, lighter dog. By the time Spanish conquistadors toppled Aztec civilization in the 1500s, the Techichi was so integral to Aztec culture it was considered one of Montezuma’s fabled treasures, once presumed lost forever after the conquest of Cortez.

But the hardy little dogs lived on in remote villages and, in the mid-1800s, when Americans began to take an interest in the breed, they found many specimens in the State of Chihuahua. So it was that this survivor of two lost civilizations gained worldwide fame as the Chihuahua. The first AKC-registered Chihuahua, a little guy named Beppie, was recorded in 1908.

The famous bandleader Xavier Cugat did much to popularize Chihuahuas in the 1940s and 50s. More recently, these natural performers stole the show in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Sex and the City.” The minor-league baseball team of El Paso, Texas, is named the Chihuahuas.

Did You Know?

The Chihuahua comes in two varieties: long and smooth coat.
The breed derives its name from the Mexican State of Chihuahua, where the earliest specimens of the breed were found.
Pictures of dogs resembling the modern Chihuahua appear in ancient paintings in Mexico.
The Toltecs, who existed in what is now Mexico as early as the 9th century AD, possessed a breed of dog called the Techichi. This breed, regarded as indigenous to Central America, is the progenitor of the Chihuahua that exists today.
The Chihuahua is clannish, preferring companions of his own breed.
It is assumed that the small size of the modern Chihuahua results from a cross of the Techichi with the small hairless dog brought from Asia to Alaska over the land bridge that is now the Bering Strait.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.

HEAD

A well rounded “apple dome” skull, with or without molera. Expression – Saucy. Eyes – Full, round, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart-luminous dark or luminous ruby. Light eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible. Blue eyes or a difference in the color of the iris in the two eyes, or two different colors within one iris should be considered a serious fault. Ears – Large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when in repose, giving breadth between the ears. Stop – Well defined. When viewed in profile, it forms a near 90 degree angle where muzzle joins skull.

BODY

Neck, Topline, Body: Neck – Slightly arched, gracefully sloping into lean shoulders. Topline– Level. Body -Ribs rounded and well sprung (but not too much “barrel-shaped”). Tail – Moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in a loop over the back with tip just touching the back. (Never tucked between legs.) Disqualifications – Docked tail, bobtail.

FOREQUARTERS

Forequarters: Shoulders – Lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under, giving free movement at the elbows. Shoulders should be well up, giving balance and soundness, sloping into a level back (never down or low). This gives a well developed chest and strength of forequarters. Feet – A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pads cushioned. (Neither the hare nor the cat foot.) Dewclaws may be removed. Pasterns – Strong.

COAT

In the Smooth Coats, the coat should be of soft texture, close and glossy. (Heavier coats with undercoats permissible.) Coat placed well over body with ruff on neck preferred, and more scanty on head and ears. Hair on tail preferred furry. In Long Coats, the coat should be of a soft texture, either flat or slightly wavy, with undercoat preferred. Ears – Fringed. Tail – Full and long (as a plume). Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck desired and preferred. (The Chihuahua should be groomed only to create a neat appearance.) Disqualification – In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.

HINDQUARTERS

Muscular, with hocks well apart, neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy. Angulation – Should equal that of forequarters. The feet are as in front. Dewclaws may be removed.

1
2
3
4
5
6
Chihuahua

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLACK & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 018
BLUE & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 044
CHOCOLATE Check Mark For Standard Color 071
CHOCOLATE & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 072
CREAM Check Mark For Standard Color 076
FAWN Check Mark For Standard Color 082
FAWN & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 086
RED Check Mark For Standard Color 140
BLACK & RED 014
BLACK & SILVER 016
BLACK & WHITE 019
BLACK SABLED FAWN 354
BLACK SABLED SILVER 353
BLUE 037
BLUE & WHITE 045
BLUE BRINDLED FAWN 356
BLUE FAWN 036
CHOCOLATE & WHITE 271
CHOCOLATE BLUE 359
CHOCOLATE BRINDLED FAWN 355
CHOCOLATE SABLED FAWN 358
CREAM & WHITE 077
FAWN BRINDLED BLACK 357
GOLD 091
GOLD & WHITE 092
RED & WHITE 146
SILVER 176
SILVER & WHITE 182
WHITE 199

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BLACK BRINDLING Check Mark For Standard Mark 073
BLACK MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
BLACK SABLING Check Mark For Standard Mark 072
MERLE MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 035
SPOTTED ON WHITE Check Mark For Standard Mark 071
WHITE MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
BLACK MASK, WHITE MARKINGS 005
BLUE MASK 006
CREAM MARKINGS 044
CREAM MARKINGS 008
RED MARKINGS 023

Other Breeds to Explore