Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the breed originated. This breed has only two varieties: the long-coat chihuahua and the smooth-coat or short-haired chihuahua. Both varieties of the breed are small, featuring big ears and eyes. According to the American Kennel Club, these dogs require little exercise and generally are sensitive to low temperatures.
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The long-coat chihuahua has a soft textured fur, slightly wavy or flat, but never harsh to touch or curly. The tail is long, resembling a plume with its long fur. Long-coat chihuahuas have feathering or long fur on their ears, legs, feet and hindquarters. They often show a large ruff on the neck. Any colour can occur in long-coat chihuahuas. The Merle pattern, which combines dark and light colours, is rare in chihuahuas.
Smooth-coat chihuahuas share most characteristics of the long-coat chihuahua, apart from the type of fur. Smooth-coat chihuahuas have a short and glossy coat, sometimes also showing a neck ruff. In both varieties, the tail is furry, set high, and carried up and over the back. Smooth-coat chihuahuas shed less hair than the long-coat variety and need little grooming.
Chihuahuas are compact dogs that should not exceed 2.72kg. They have a short and pointed muzzle, lean cheeks and jaws and a nose that varies form pink to black, according to coat colour. Eyes are not protruding, and come in a variety of light and dark colours. Ears are erect and large, in comparison to the head size.
Chihuahuas are dogs with terrier-like qualities, such as alertness. According to the American Kennel Club, they make good companions for families with gentle and patient children. Chihuahuas are confident and self-reliant dogs, but can be temperamental and overprotective of their owners. This can lead to aggression towards other people and animals that try to approach the owners.
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