#9: Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is considered the smallest dog breed, with a weight of only 2-6lbs. This breed is believed to have originated in Central and South America from the Aztec culture. This dog, it seems, had some religious significance to Aztecs as Chihuahua skeletons are often found in graves in Mexico and the USA. This friendly little lap dog has a flattened face with an apple shaped skull. The head often displays an open fontanel, a normal feature of this breed?s tiny skull. The Chihuahua has large expressive eyes and upright, pointed ears. Their eyes are often very wet. Tears will fly from them, when they shake their heads. Their legs are not too long, not too short, and will be aligned straight with their chest and rear. The Chihuahua has a small muzzle, often with a pink nose, which occurs more on the blonde-haired types. Although a 'toy' breed, they are naturally small and not from the result of selectively breeding them down. Their coats can be smooth or long. In the United States, the two types are recognized as being of the same breed and are inter-bred. Their coats can contain various colors including; brindle, blonde, black, fawn, blue, and splashed. Chihuahuas have been described as the ?big dog in a little package.? They display an amazing terrier-like personality. The Chihuahua is a very loving dog when it comes to people and loves to seek warmth from their owners. They tend to attach themselves to one member of the family and are not recommended for small children; this breed of dog has a tendency of snapping at teasing children. The tiny dogs must resort to their sharp teeth for self defense. However, they are well suited as pets for older children. The Chihuahua tends to be a fairly aggressive dog. They usually recognize their own breed but most often disapprove of other breeds. They are known to be very suspicious of strangers. Chihuahuas can be trained to do anything a larger dog can do, but of course on a smaller scale. House breaking seems to take a little extra time and effort. Though Chihuahuas are habitually stubborn and even sometimes pig-headed, they are very intelligent dogs. Breeders have found that the Chihuahua tends to wheeze due to the shortness of its nose. Their eyes are susceptible to corneal dryness and secondary glaucoma and they are very prone to gum disease, colds, stress and rheumatism.

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