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Baby Chihuahua: Facts and Care

Reading Time: 8 mins

Fact 1: Their Size Doesn't Define Their Personality

They are one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. But they are known for their bold and fearless temperament, a characteristic that sometimes leads people to describe them as a big dog trapped in a small dog's body. They aren't afraid to stand up against bigger dogs. This 'Napoleon complex' can be adorable but remember to protect your little one from potential dangers.


Fact 2: They're Born with a Soft Spot

Just like human babies, Chihuahua puppies are born with a molera, or a soft spot on their skull. In most cases, this spot closes as the puppy grows, but in some Chihuahuas, it might stay open their entire life. It's not necessarily a cause for concern, but extra care should be taken to protect the head.


Fact 3: Their Ears Don't Stand Up Right Away

One of the Chihuahua's most distinctive features is their large, erect ears. However, Chihuahua puppies are born with floppy ears. They begin to stand upright as the pup grows, usually around three months.



Birth and Early Development

Usually 1-3 babies are born at birth. They come into the world with their eyes and ears sealed shut. By the end of their first week, a Chihuahua puppy doubles in size. Around the 10-day mark, they open their eyes for the very first time. At around 2 weeks of age, the ear canals begin to open and the sense of hearing develops.

Between the third and fourth week, things get even more exciting. The baby Chihuahuas start to stand and wobble about, taking their first tentative steps into exploration. And let's not forget the big one: starting solid food. Around the fourth week, Chihuahua puppies typically start the weaning process. They transition from their mother's milk to puppy food – a sure sign they're growing up!


Fact 4: Their Size

The Chihuahua holds the crown for being the smallest breed of dog in the world. This means that a baby Chihuahua, or a "Chi," as they're often affectionately called, is almost too cute for words. A newborn Chi can weigh as little as 2.5 ounces and might not be bigger than a standard cupcake!


Fact 5: History

Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua where they were discovered in the mid-1800s, these little dogs have since trotted their way into hearts worldwide. But here's the spicy twist: Despite their relatively recent discovery, Chihuahuas are believed to be descendants of an ancient breed, the Techichi. These little dogs were considered sacred and were often associated with the Toltec civilization, predating even the Aztecs. 

These dogs were among the first to be recognized by the American Kennel Club in the late 19th century and have since been a constant feature in popular culture, from starring in movies to becoming the mascot of a fast-food chain. 



Nutrition

Around the fourth week, as we've mentioned before, Chihuahua puppies typically start the weaning process. This is when they transition to solid food – a mix of specially formulated, nutrient-rich puppy food. While dry kibble is a common choice, many vets recommend wet food or a combination of wet and dry food for baby Chihuahuas because it's easier to chew and digest.

In general, they should be fed 3 to 4 times a day until they are 3 months old. After that, you can cut back to 3 meals a day until they're fully grown. Finally, keep an eye on your puppy while they're eating. Chihuahuas are known to be quick eaters, and gobbling food too quickly can lead to choking or digestive issues.


Fact 6: Their Long Lifespan

Chihuahuas are one of the longest-living dog breeds. On average, a Chihuahua can live between 14 to 16 years, with many reaching their early twenties! This means that bringing a Chihuahua puppy into your home is a long-term commitment but one that comes with many joyful years together.


Fact 7: Their Vocal Nature

Chihuahuas are known for their vocal nature. While this trait helps them alert their owners to potential dangers, it can also translate into excessive barking if not appropriately managed. It's crucial to train your Chi puppy to control their barking habits from a young age.



Grooming

There are two types of Chihuahua coats – short hair (also known as smooth coat) and long hair. If your baby Chihuahua is a short-haired variant, count yourself lucky! These little guys have low grooming needs. A good brush every week with a soft bristle brush should do the trick. This will help distribute their natural oils, promoting a healthy, shiny coat.

On the other hand, if you're the proud parent of a long-haired baby Chihuahua, your grooming duties will be a bit more demanding. These furballs require brushing several times a week to prevent matting and tangles. A pin brush is usually the go-to tool for long-haired breeds, and don't forget a comb for those tiny knots.

Bath time? It's a common misconception that dogs need to be bathed frequently. In reality, too much bathing can strip the natural oils from your puppy's skin, causing dryness and irritation. A monthly bath is typically sufficient for a Chihuahua, unless they're especially adventurous and get dirty more often.

And, let's not forget those tiny teeth. Dental care is crucial in Chihuahuas as they're prone to dental issues. Start your puppy's dental care routine early by brushing their teeth at least a couple of times a week. Don't skip the ears and nails either. Regularly check your puppy's ears for any signs of redness, bad smell or discomfort, as these can be signs of infection. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, usually once a month.


Fact 8: Their Loyalty

Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal to their humans. This breed tends to form a close bond with one person in the household and becomes extremely protective of them. This loyalty often translates into a fantastic companionship!


Fact 9: Teeth Tales

Unlike other breeds, Chihuahuas are born without teeth. Their baby teeth, or 'milk teeth', start to appear around four weeks of age.


Fact 10: They're Quick Learners

Chihuahuas are intelligent and fast learners. They can start learning basic commands and potty training as early as eight weeks old!



Training 

Now, let's address the big question: when should you start training your baby Chihuahua? Well, the answer might surprise you. The best time to start training is as soon as you bring your puppy home. Yes, even at eight weeks old, your baby Chihuahua is capable of learning basic commands and house rules.

Starting with simple commands such as "sit," "stay," and "come" is a good idea. Always use positive reinforcement, like treats, praises, or petting, to reward your pup for doing the right thing. Potty training is another crucial aspect that you should start working on from day one. Chihuahuas are notorious for being challenging to housebreak due to their stubborn nature. Consistency is key here.


Fact 11: Their Head Shape

Chihuahuas are known for their distinctive apple-shaped heads. This, combined with their large, round eyes, makes for an almost cartoon-like appearance that can melt hearts in seconds.


Fact 12: Their Energy Level

Despite their small stature, Chihuahuas are high-energy dogs. They love to play and explore their surroundings, making them an entertaining addition to any household. If you're considering adopting a Chihuahua, be ready for lots of playtimes!



Health Issues

Despite their feisty personality and overflowing energy, Chihuahua puppies are not immune to health issues. One of the most common health concerns in Chihuahuas is dental issues. Given their small size, their teeth can often become overcrowded, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Next up is obesity. Chihuahuas love their food! But due to their small size, overeating can quickly lead to excessive weight gain. Another major concern is a condition called patellar luxation. It's a fancy term for a kneecap that frequently slips out of place. This condition can cause pain and lameness and can be either congenital or occur later in life.

Chihuahuas are also known for their prominent eyes, which sadly makes them prone to eye injuries and infections. Finally, we have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which is especially common in Chihuahua puppies. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, and in severe cases, seizures. Regular feeding can help keep this condition under control.


Vaccinations

Your Chihuahua's vaccination schedule usually kicks off when they're about 6 to 8 weeks old. The primary vaccinations your pup needs are for Parvovirus, Distemper, and Canine Hepatitis, often bundled in a combo vaccine called DHPP. The Rabies vaccine is also crucial, and in many places, it's required by law. Another important vaccine to consider is for Leptospirosis, a zoonotic disease that can be transferred to humans. 

Don't forget about the vaccines for Bordetella and Parainfluenza, especially if you plan on boarding your puppy or taking them to places where they'll interact with lots of other dogs. Lyme disease vaccine can be discussed with your vet, especially if you live in a tick-prone area.


Socialization

Start as early as possible. Between 3 to 12 weeks is a prime time for puppies to learn about the world around them. Take them on a sensory journey: introduce them to different sights, smells, and sounds. This can be as simple as exposing them to household items, like the vacuum cleaner or television, or taking them on a car ride. Variety is key here!



Sources:

Coile, D. Caroline. "Chihuahuas: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training." Barron's Educational Series, 2010.
Larkin, Peter. "The Essential Chihuahua." Howell Book House, 1999.
O'Neill, Amanda. "Chihuahua: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet." Howell Book House, 1999.
Walker, Joan Hustace. "The Chihuahua Handbook (Barron's Pet Handbooks)." Barron's Educational Series, 2010.
Montague, John. "The Chihuahua: A Dog's Delight." Ebury Press, 2001.
Harper, Deborah. "The Chihuahua: Your Essential Guide From Puppy To Senior Dog (Best of Breed)." The Pet Book Publishing Company Ltd, 2014.
Threlfall, Tracy. "Chihuahuas For Dummies." For Dummies, 2007.