With so many new breeds and hybrid dogs appearing on the scene, there are still the firm favourites when it comes to more established and older breeds. This includes the charming Chihuahua and the delightful Chinese Crested, two small dogs that over the years have found fan bases among dog lovers the world over and for good reason, both are not only cute, but they boast big personalities too.
The Chihuahua is thought to hail from Mexico although there is a bit of a debate about whether the breed's origins are actually in Europe or elsewhere. With this said, remains were found in archaeological sites of very similar dogs and many Mexican legends and folk tales exist about these charming little dogs more especially around the time of an ancient civilisation called the Toltec who kept little dogs known as Techichis. Remains of dogs have also been found in burial sites that date right the way back to 300 BC.
Other people think that these little dogs were taken on sailing vessels from Europe to the New World and paintings as well as frescoes with similar looking dogs in them have been found both in Malta and Spain that date back to before the voyages of Christopher Columbus. With this said, written records of the breed started during the 1800s and many tourists to Mexico took Chihuahuas back with them after visiting the country.
How the Chinese Crested actually came about is also a mystery with some people believing that the breed originated in Africa with some evidence of this having been found in records that date back to the 19th Century. Other people think that the breed is related to another breed called the Mexican Hairless Dog which is also known as the Xōlōitzcuintli. One thing worth noting is that the Chinese Crested does not originate in China as their name suggests. In fact, Chinese traders took these charming little dogs back home with them when they returned from their travels to foreign lands. Today, they are still considered as a rare breed not only in the UK, but in other parts of the world too.
The Chihuahua is a very small, cute dog that only stands at anything from 15 to 25 cm at the withers and they only way around 1.8 to 2.7 kg when fully grown. They are compact yet dainty with their large eyes and cute little noses. They are fine boned and delicate which adds to their very endearing looks, but they are often full of their own self-importance.
The Chinese Crested is also a small breed, but they are slightly larger and heavier than their Chihuahua counterparts with dogs standing at anything from 28 to 33 cm at the withers and weighing around 5.4 kg when fully mature. They are quite unique in appearance although it is worth noting there are two very different types with one being fine boned and the other Crested being quite a lot heavier with a cobbier look about them.
Small in stature, Chihuahuas have big personalities. They are feisty, alert and quick witted being very capable of standing up to anyone and anything when the needed. In short, most Chihuahuas think they are much bigger than they really are. Spirited and highly spirited, a Chihuahua forms a strong tie with their owners and never like to be left on their own for too long.
They tend to be wary of strangers, but once they get to know someone, they are usually fine with them. It's in their nature to size someone up before going near them which is a Chihuahua's way of making sure they are okay. Their training and socialisation should start early and it has to be consistent so that these little dogs understand their place in the home and it prevents them from showing a more dominant side to their natures.
Happy, outgoing and affectionate, the Chinese Crested thrives in a family environment loving nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on in their environment. They make wonderful first time canine companions because they are so amenable to learning new things. However, they do need special care thanks to the fact they don't have any hair on their bodies which means they need to be protected from the elements when needed.
Like Chihuahuas, the Chinese Crested thinks they are much larger in stature than they are and as such they are tough albeit delicate looking little dogs. Playful, friendly and energetic, they love taking part in all sorts of canine activities which includes things like agility. Because they are so cute"", many owners are tempted to spoil their dogs which could end up with them developing a condition known as ""small dog syndrome"" which makes dogs harder to manage and handle.
Because they form such strong bonds with their owners, the Chinese Crested does not like to be left on their own for any length of time. As such they are better suited to households where one person stays at home so they usually always have company. Their education and socialisation must begin early and it must be consistent so that these little dogs understand what is expected of them and who is the boss of a household.
Chihuahuas shed a minimal amount of hair throughout the year, only like other breeds they do tend to shed a little more during the spring and then again in the autumn.
The Chinese Crested sheds even less hair than their Chihuahua counterparts simply because they don't have any or much hair on their bodies. With this said, they do still shed dander.
The Chihuahua is an intelligent dog and they learn new things quickly. The downside to this is that these little dogs are just as quick to pick up a lot of bad habits and behaviours too. The key to successfully training a Chihuahua is to lay down the rules right from the word go and not to be tempted to spoil them just because they are so small and cute.
The Chinese Crested is renowned for being a people-dog and thrive on human company. As such, they are highly trainable and love the one-to-one contact they are given during their training sessions. With this said, Cresteds are known to be quite sensitive by nature which means they need to be handled gently yet firmly so they understand what is expected of them. They respond very well to positive reinforcement, but never to any sort harsh treatment or correction. It can take a bit of time and patience when training a Chinese Crested.
Chihuahuas do not need lots of daily exercise, but they still need a minimum of 30 minutes a day. They do however, need to be given a tremendous amount of mental stimulation to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs.
Chinese Cresteds are energetic, lively dogs which means they need to be given enough exercise and stimulation every day to be truly happy dogs. They are known to be very good ""diggers"" which means gardens need to be very secure to keep a Crested safely in. It's also worth noting that they feel the cold and the heat because they don't have coats which means care should always be taken as to when they are exercised or allowed to run free around a garden.
The Chihuahua is not the best choice for families because they can be a little ""snappy"" around noisier and more boisterous toddlers and younger children. They really do think they are larger than they really are which means care should be taken when they are around bigger dogs. With this said, providing they have grown up with other dogs, they generally get on well together and form strong bonds with each other. The same can be said if they have grown up with a family cat although care should be taken when a Chihuahau is around smaller animals and pets.
Chinese Cresteds are known to be good around children although they are better suited to households where the kids are slightly older and therefore know how to behave around smaller dogs. Rarely would a Crested show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards other dogs and they usually get on with family cats too. However, care should be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
Chihuahuas can either have a smooth or long coat and their hair is soft to the touch having a nice natural sheen. They can have undercoats and ruffs which adds to their endearing appearance.
Chihuahuas come in lots of colours with the exception ""merle"". The acceptable colours under the breed standard includes the following:
The Chinese Crested doesn't have any hair on their body and their skin is finely grained being warm and smooth to the touch. With this said, Powder Puffs have an undercoat with a soft veil of long, flowing hair covering their bodies. However, a hairless Crested only has hair on their lower legs and feet as well as on their heads and their tails.
The Chinese Crested can be any colour or combination of colours which is acceptable under their breed standard.
Chihuahuas are known to suffer from certain hereditary and congenital health concerns which includes the following:
It is also worth noting that when puppies are born their skulls are not fully closed.
The Chinese Crested is known to suffer from fewer health issues with the most commonly ones being as follows:
The average life span of a Chihuahua is between 10 and 18 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The average life span of a Chinese Crested is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.