Chihuahuas are clearly recognisable thanks to their very specific physical characteristics, in particular their apple-shaped head. This lively little dog is very small—about twenty centimetres at the most—and is naturally well proportioned. Whether smooth- or long-haired, the Chihuahua's build is homogeneous. It should be noted that, unlike many other breeds, the standard accepts all coat colours.
The Chihuahua's build is characterised by their very small size. Their body is stocky and rather square-shaped in males; females have a slightly thinner body. The most distinctive physical feature of this breed is the head, which is often apple-shaped. This little dog has large, expressive eyes and fairly wide ears that form a 45° angle when at rest.
Contrary to what their small size and popularity as a house dog might suggest, this is an energetic and fairly resilient dog. This temperament is reflected in the Chihuahua's build and appearance: they have a lively, springy gait. As they run, their stride lengthens and their paws converge towards the median plane; in other words, they’re brought back towards the stomach.
The Chihuahua's build ranks it among small dogs: it's actually the smallest dog in the world! The size is the same for males and females: they both measure between 16 and 21cm at the withers. This small stature may give them a fragile appearance but, in actual fact, their size is not much of an obstacle and certainly doesn't curb their fearless temperament; Chihuahuas are definitely not afraid of big dogs!
Like the majority of small dogs, Chihuahuas grow rather rapidly. Their growth peaks at between 8 and 9 months old and they reach adult size at around 12 months. It's important to ensure the quality of your Chihuahua's diet throughout their growth phase to promote the healthy development of their bones and joints.
Chihuahuas can be either smooth-haired or long-haired. Their coat comes in all colours, shades, and blends. However, the FCI standard prohibits them from having merle coats. Their coat is easy to maintain, especially since Chihuahuas are not particularly predisposed to skin diseases.
Smooth Coats may or may not have an undercoat; if they do, the outer coat is slightly longer. Their coat is soft and shiny and may be slightly sparse at the throat and on the stomach. Their hair is not the same length everywhere: it's longer on the tail and neck than on the face and ears. This is the variety that tends to come to mind when you imagine a Chihuahua's build.
For the long-haired variety, the undercoat can be dense, although the standard prefers a relatively lightweight undercoat. Their hair is long and straight or slightly wavy (sometimes both). It's also very fine and soft to the touch.
The Chihuahua's build features a rather round, apple-shaped face with a definite stop and a rounded forehead. They have a short muzzle, a short, slightly upturned nose, and big, round, very expressive eyes. Their eyes are usually dark, although some Chihuahuas do have light eyes. Proportionally, their ears are quite large, wide at the base and tapered at the end.
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