The Chihuahua is small, sassy and #12 on our list of most popular dog breeds! Chihuahuas are the tiniest dogs in the world, but they have big personalities and aren’t shy when they have something to say. These adorable pups are a family favorite for their loyalty and love of cuddles, but there’s a lot more to Chihuahuas than their reputations as lap dogs. Read on for 10 facts you need to know about the Chihuahua!
1. They vary in coat length and color.
Chihuahuas come in two varieties: smooth coat and long coat. They also come in a number of different colors and markings. One can look tan and short-haired, while another is red and furry.
2. They’re named after their place of origin.
Chihuahuas come from Mexico, specifically—the state of Chihuahua. Ancient paintings of Mexico display dogs that resemble the Chihuahua as we know it today.
3. They’re one of the oldest dog breeds.
Chihuahuas became registered with the AKC in 1904. They are descended from the Techichi, a breed indigenous to Mexico that existed as early as the 9th Century AD.
4. They live very long lives.
Chihuahuas have one of the longest lifespans of dogs, living 10-18 years on average. Some even go into their 20’s!
5. They like the limelight.
You’ve probably seen this feisty breed on television and in movies. Before her passing in 2009, a Chihuahua named Gidget graced our TV screens with her role as the “Taco Bell Chihuahua.” This same dog also made appearances in Legally Blonde 2 and a GEICO commercial. All those roles from just one Chihuahua!
6. They were once considered sacred.
In the Toltec and Aztec cultures of modern-day Mexico, Chihuahuas were regarded as holy and even mummified with their owners with the belief that they would help their owners reach the afterlife safely (Totally Chihuahuas).
7. Their anatomy is similar to a human baby’s.
Both humans and Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on the skull called a molera. Unlike humans, however, many Chihuahuas maintain their moleras throughout their lives. Don’t poke a Chihuahua’s head!
8. They have two different head shapes.
Speaking of skulls, Chihuahuas can have one of two different head shapes: deerhead and applehead. Applehead is the breed standard accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
9. They’re big brained.
Relative to their body size, Chihuahuas have the largest brains of any dog breed. Their big brains result in their high intelligence and easy trainability. They can even be trained to be service dogs.
10. They make great watchdogs.
Intensely loyal to their owners, Chihuahuas will act contrary to their small sized bodies by going to great lengths to protect their family members. This includes barking to alert their owners when a stranger comes to the door.
Are you a Chihuahua fan? Tell us why in the comments below!