The Chihuahua holds the distinction of being the world’s smallest dog breed, with few dogs of the breed growing to an adult size larger than a cat and many being significantly smaller!
They are also one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK, taking second place in the list of all of the 239 different dog breeds and types advertised annually on Pets4Homes. Up until 2016, the Chihuahua actually held the number one position, beating out popular favourites including the Labrador retriever and German shepherd.
However, it is the French bulldog that pipped the Chihuahua to the post a couple of years ago to take the top spot – although the Chihuahua isn’t far behind!
In this article, we will examine the reasons behind the Chihuahua’s popularity in the UK, and why so many dog owners and prospective puppy buyers choose this smallest of breeds as their canine companion of choice. Read on to learn more.
One of the main contributing factors to the popularity of the Chihuahua is their small size, and if that is what you are looking for, you’ve picked the right dog!
Dog lovers with small homes and particularly apartments are often rather limited in terms of their choices when it comes to choosing a dog breed that will fit into their home and lifestyle, and a Chihuahua can live quite happily within even a tiny studio apartment as long as all of their needs are met.
Small size also means that the dog is easier to physically handle – if they pull on the lead, this won’t leave you feeling as if your arms are being wrenched from their sockets – and they can be picked up if needed, and even carried in specially designed dog carrier handbags.
This has particular advantages for dog owners living in busy urban environments, as the dog can be carried onto busses, and down escalators to subways and tube stations.
No other dog breed on earth really looks like the Chihuahua, and virtually all dog owners know a Chihuahua when they see one. Their tiny size and fine, delicate build makes them undeniably cute which is definitely part of their appeal, and they come in a huge range of colours and both a shorthaired and a longhaired variant which gives plenty of choice in terms of their appearance in general.
Chihuahuas need a lot of human company and attention, but even taking this into account they are comparatively easy to care for. Their short legs mean that it is easy to provide them with enough exercise, and even if you only have a small garden or yard, this is likely to be enough space to provide them with an area to play and run around in in between walks.
Additionally, the short haired Chihuahua only requires the occasional bath and not lots of daily brushing and grooming, and even the coat of the longhaired variant isn’t particularly onerous to keep in good condition with a few minutes of brushing and grooming each day.
They are also very loving and affectionate, and generally make for excellent housemates as long as they are properly trained, treated like a dog and not a toy, and have all of their needs met.
Whilst a good quality pedigree Chihuahua might be quite expensive to buy in the first place, the cost of caring for the dog after purchase is another benefit of owning a Chihuahua. Smaller dogs are less expensive to keep than their larger cousins – they need less food, and can have smaller beds and equipment.
Most dog accessories including beds and clothing rise in price for every increase in size – and the extra small versions are the cheapest! Even the cost of spaying and neutering surgeries for dogs tend to be staggered, with bigger dogs being more expensive, as is the case with flea and worming treatments and many other things too – and so the day-to-day costs of caring for a Chihuahua are lower than for most other breeds.
A great many celebrities own Chihuahuas and there are innumerable Instagram accounts and other social media pages and groups dedicated to images and stories about the breed, which helps to spread the word about them and enable them to appeal to the tech-savvy younger generations.
Additionally, coats, clothing, and other accessories for Chihuahuas are a whole industry of their own, with numerous websites and specialist retailers dedicated to providing fun and funky beds, outfits and accessories for dogs of the breed, meaning that Chihuahua ownership can be considered to be something of a lifestyle in its own right for owners that choose to make it so.
Finally, the Chihuahua is objectively quite delicate in terms of their small, fine builds and so care must be taken in this respect – but as a very long-established breed with ancient origins and a large population of dogs of the breed worldwide, they also tend to be healthy and not prone to suffering from a huge range of hereditary health problems.
Providing that you buy a Chihuahua that was bred from a planned mating match undertaken by a responsible breeder, your Chihuahua should be fit and healthy, and lead a reasonably long life.