The Chihuahua is the smallest of all of the recognised dog breeds, and also one of the most popular among people that love toy dogs and lap dogs! Dogs of the breed stand between 6-10” tall at the withers, and can weigh between 4-6lb, making them smaller than some of the larger breeds of cat, but still, all dog! They can be either long haired or short haired and come in a reasonably wide range of colours, and are instantly distinctive thanks to their shape and build, as well as their diminutive size!
While it might seem at first as if owning a tiny dog should be much easier and less challenging than owning a large dog, this is certainly not the case, and anyone who is considering buying a Chihuahua is advised to spend plenty of time researching the core traits and temperament of the breed prior to making a purchase. As well as the temperament and care needs of the Chihuahua, it is also important to find out as much as possible about the health of the breed as a whole, what their lifespan is likely to be, and if the breed is known to suffer from any hereditary health problems. In this article, we will look at the hereditary health and genetic diversity of the Chihuahua in more detail. Read on to learn more.
The average lifespan of the Chihuahua is very variable, with statistics gathered from owner surveys finding the average to be between 12-20 years. 12 years is bang in the middle of the average for dogs of a similar size, but of course 20 years indicates a significantly long life, and is a figure that very few dogs can hope to achieve. Starting off with a healthy puppy that does not come from a breed line known to suffer from significant health problems is the best way to ensure a long life, but equally important is feeding a correct diet, keeping the dog fit and active, and ensuring that regular preventative veterinary appointments are not overlooked.
The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the longhaired Chihuahua is 4%, while for the shorthaired variant it is 5.8%. This is relatively low for purebred dogs, with under 6.25% being considered as ideal. The significant number of Chihuahua’s worldwide as well as within the UK means that there is a lot of genetic diversity across the breed, and that inbreeding is not a significant problem within the breed.
The small, delicate build of the Chihuahua causes some potential problems and vulnerabilities across the breed that all owners should be aware of. These include:
Various health tests can be performed on the Chihuahua to identify the presence of or predisposition to certain hereditary health problems. These include:
The Chihuahua breed as a whole has been identified to have an elevated predisposition to a relatively wide range of other potential problems too, but for which no pre-breeding test is currently available. These include:
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