A long-haired Chihuahua looks out the window.

Let’s Celebrate International Chihuahua Appreciation Day

Get excited this May to celebrate all of the joy Chihuahuas bring into our lives. The 14th is International Chihuahua Appreciation Day, and there’s no better time to read about this beloved breed’s history and personality traits.

Chihuahuas are the smallest breed on Earth, but they are big when it comes to personality. Weighing only three to six pounds and standing about five inches high, the Chihuahua is a lot of dog in a very little package. In fact, many Chihuahua owners like to carry their tiny dogs along with them in their purses. (Think Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, or Paris Hilton.)

There are two different types of Chihuahuas. Most of us are familiar with the short-haired Chihuahua, but there is also a long-haired version.

This toy dog has a lifespan of 14 to 16 years. They come in a variety of coat types and colors, and they require very little grooming.

History of the Chihuahua

Chihuahuas were named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where this short-haired pup was discovered sometime in the mid-1800s. American visitors to Mexico loved these little dogs so much that they decided to bring them back to the states. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1904, and since the 1960s, the Chihuahua has been one of the most popular breeds registered in North America.

The history of the dog is uncertain and there are two different theories about the breed’s origins. The first theory is these tiny, hairless cuties originated in China and were brought to the New World by Spanish traders. These dogs were then crossbred with small native dogs.

The other theory is that these dogs were descendents of the ancient Techichi, a small breed native to Central and South America. When the Aztecs conquered the region in the 12th century, they believed the Techichi had mystical powers. The Aztecs refined the Techichi into a smaller dog, and after Spain conquered the Aztecs in the 1500s, the breed lived on in remote villages. In the 1850s, the Americans discovered the little dog in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Personality of the Chihuahua

The truth is, the world’s smallest dog may have the world’s biggest personality. Chihuahuas are feisty and energetic by nature. These little lap dogs love to be close to their people, so they follow them from room to room and owners often carry them along in tote bags when running errands.

Chihuahuas are not particularly fond of strange people and dogs. These tiny pups often bond closely with a single person, and are very loyal, affectionate companion animals. However, be careful, because Chihuahuas have a reputation for snapping at new people and dogs, and they are not recommended as pets for homes with youngsters.

Like many small dogs, the Chihuahua is more likely to bark, and if you overindulge them, they can become very demanding. These tiny dogs tend to forget about their diminutive size and will stand up to a larger, aggressive dog, so Chihuahuas need to be well supervised when they’re on a walk or in a new environment.

This is an intelligent dog that learns quickly, but this breed can be quite stubborn. The Chihuahua can compete in agility and obedience trials just like larger dogs, and is most easily trained using food rewards and praise.

How to Spend Chihuahua Appreciation Day

Now that you’ve learned a little more about this affectionate breed of dog, you may decide that the Chihuahua is the perfect dog for you.

If you don’t have a Chihuahua, this is a great opportunity to get one. Visit your local shelter and ask to see their Chihuahuas. You just may find the perfect little life companion for yourself.

If you already own a Chihuahua, International Chihuahua Appreciation Day is a great opportunity to spend lots of quality bonding time together. You may set aside some extra lap time or go on an adventure. Whatever you do, it will be time well spent with your special little friend.

Interested in learning more about Chihuahuas? Click here.