Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Chihuahuas

A group of Chihuahuas play together

Chihuahuas are an extremely popular breed, but they come with a lot of history and trivia. How many of these ten things did you know about them?

Chihuahua Size

Not only is the Chihuahua the smallest breed of dog, averaging from about 2.25 to 6.75 lbs (1 to 3 kgs), it is also the longest-lived dog, averaging 14 to 15 years but with some making it to 20 years or more, but there’s a caveat: You have to let your Chihuahua eat like a dog in order to maximize her lifespan.

Dog Name Origin

Ironically, the smallest dog breed gets its name from the largest of Mexico’s 32 states in area, Chihuahua, which borders the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. The modern Chihuahua itself was believed to have been discovered in the settlement of Casas Grandes in the 1850s.

Connection to the Maya

Although not “discovered” until the 19th century, the breed is believed to be descended from the Techichi, which was domesticated by either the Toltec or Maya. The Maya believe that dogs were guardians of the underworld and one breed associated with them, the Xoloitzcuintli, is named for the Maya words for “god” and “dog.” Many people are probably not aware that when they shorten the name to “xolo,” they are calling the dog god.

Two Types of Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas come in two types: “Deer head” and “apple head,” which are distinguished by, oddly enough, the shapes of their heads.

Most Expensive Breed

Despite their tiny size, Chihuahuas have been determined by a study sponsored by esurance to be the most expensive breed, costing owners over $117,000 (£90,000) over the dog’s lifetime.

Common Types of Death

According to a University of Georgia study, when that Chihuahua’s lifetime is over, the most likely cause of death will be cardiovascular disease. But take heart — Chihuahuas are also less likely to die of cancer, despite their longer lifespans.

Miniature Chihuahuas?

You may have heard of miniature or teacup Chihuahuas, but they don’t really exist. Chihuahuas are really already teacup sized dogs, and the two terms exist more as marketing come-ons than anything else.

Energy Level

Chihuahuas are usually very high energy level dogs, so they especially need the exercise portion of Cesar’s fulfillment formula. Besides having a naturally high energy level, Chihuahuas can become hyper due to boredom or frustration — just like any other dog.

Guinness World Record

Chihuahuas hold a number of Guinness World Records, including smallest service dog, and smallest police dog. Another Chihuahua, Coco, may enter the record books for the largest litter ever from the breed — an astonishing ten pups at once. The typical litter size for a Chihuahua is one to three puppies.

Cesar’s Chihuahuas

Two of Cesar’s personal pack are Chihuahuas: Coco and Taco. Taco was rescued from the streets of Mexico while Cesar was on tour. Coco is the oldest dog in the pack, pre-dating even Junior.

Do you have Chihuahuas? If so, how many of these facts did you know? If you don’t — what breed would you like to see in a future “Ten things?” Let us know in the comments!

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