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Chihuahua Information


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Chihuahua Breed Standard

American Kennel Club Toy Group

Registered in 1904

App: August 12, 2008 - Eff: October 1, 2008



Legend and history are rich in tales of the ancestors of the present Chihuahua. He is described as a popular pet, as well as a religious necessity. The Techichi, companion of the ancient Toltecs, is believed to be the progenitor of the Chihuahua. No records of the Techichi are, so far, available prior to the 9th century, but it is probable his ancestors were present prior to the Mayans. Dogs approximating the Chihuahua are found in materials from the Pyramids of Cholula, predating 1530 and in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula.


There is little question the Chihuahua’s principle home was present-day Mexico but the breeds immigration to Europe may be the result of the travels of Christopher Columbus. A historical letter written by Columbus to the King of Spain makes reference to the tiny dog.


The Chihuahua as we know it today is a much more diminutive dog than its predecessor. It is theorized that the Chinese Crested, brought from Asia to Alaska across the Bering Strait, was responsible for the reduction in size. Modern Chihuahuas are also found in a myriad of colors. The Chihuahua is an older breed by American Kennel Club standards, first registered in 1904.


General Appearance

A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.


Size, Proportion, Substance

Weight – A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6 pounds.  Disqualification – Any dog over 6 pounds in weight.

Proportion – The body is off-square; hence, slightly longer when measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, than height at the withers. Somewhat shorter bodies are preferred in males.


Head - A well rounded "apple dome" skull, with or without molera.

Expression – Saucy.

Eyes - Full, round, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart-luminous dark or luminous ruby. Light eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible. Blue eyes or a difference in the color of the iris in the two eyes, or two different colors within one iris should be considered a serious fault.

Ears – Large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when in repose, giving breadth between the ears.  Disqualifications – Broken down or cropped ears.

Stop – Well defined. When viewed in profile, it forms a near 90 degree angle where muzzle joins skull.

Muzzle – Moderately short, slightly pointed. Cheeks and jaws lean.

Nose – Self-colored in blond types, or black. In moles, blues, and chocolates, they are self-colored. In blond types, pink noses permissible.

Bite – Level or scissors. Overshot or undershot, or any distortion of the bite or jaw, should be penalized as a serious fault. A missing tooth or two is permissible.


Neck, Topline, Body

Neck – Slightly arched, gracefully sloping into lean shoulders.

Topline – Level.

Body – Ribs rounded and well sprung (but not too much "barrel-shaped").

Tail – Moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in a loop over the back with tip just touching the back.  (Never tucked between legs.)  Disqualifications – Docked tail, bobtail.



Shoulders – Lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under, giving free movement at the elbows. Shoulders should be well up, giving balance and soundness, sloping into a level back (never down or low). This gives a well developed chest and strength of forequarters.

Feet – A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pads cushioned. (Neither the hare nor the cat foot.) Dewclaws may be removed.

Pasterns – Strong.



Muscular, with hocks well apart, neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy.

Angulation – Should equal that of forequarters. The feet are as in front. Dewclaws may be removed.



In the Smooth Coats, the coat should be of soft texture, close and glossy. (Heavier coats with undercoats permissible.) Coat placed well over body with ruff on neck preferred, and more scanty on head and ears. Hair on tail preferred furry.

In Long Coats, the coat should be of a soft texture, either flat or slightly wavy, with undercoat preferred. Ears – Fringed. Tail – Full and long (as a plume). Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck desired and preferred. (The Chihuahua should be groomed only to create a neat appearance.) Disqualification – In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.



Any color - Solid, marked or splashed.



The Chihuahua should move swiftly with a firm, sturdy action, with good reach in front equal to the drive from the rear. From the rear, the hocks remain parallel to each other, and the foot fall of the rear legs follows directly behind that of the forelegs. The legs, both front and rear, will tend to converge slightly toward a central line of gravity as speed increases. The side view shows good, strong drive in the rear and plenty of reach in the front, with head carried high. The topline should remain firm and the backline level as the dog moves.



Alert, projecting the ‘terrier-like’ attitudes of self importance, confidence, self-reliance.


Disqualifications: Any dog over 6 pounds in weight. Broken down or cropped ears. Docked tail, bobtail. In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.

Chihuahua Breed Standard

United Kennel Club Companion Group

Recognized in 1948

Copyright 1992 - Revised April 15, 2007


History The history of the Chihuahua is lost in antiquity. It is known that both the Toltecs and the Aztecs kept dogs, some of which were used for food, some for religious purposes, and some for companionship. Whether these dogs were Chihuahuas or not is uncertain. The breed came to the attention of the modern world in the mid-19th century when American visitors to Mexico brought the tiny dogs home. Chihuahuas first appeared in American dog shows in 1890. Today the Chihuahua is a popular companion dog.


The Chihuahua was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.


General Appearance - The Chihuahua is a small, active dog, with a rounded skull; a short, pointed muzzle; erect ears that flare out somewhat to the side; and a sickle tail. The breed comes in all colors and color patterns and in both a short- and long-coated variety.


Characteristics - Despite its small size, the Chihuahua is an alert, active dog with plenty of self-confidence. The Chihuahua’s small size and devotion to its owner have made this breed a popular companion dog. Chihuahuas are courageous little watchdogs who are more than willing to defend their territory against strange people and dogs.


Head - The Chihuahua has a distinctive headpiece that is essential to correct breed type.

SKULL - The skull is large and well rounded, sometimes called an “apple dome” or an “apple head.” Viewed from the side, the line of the skull should curve in a semi-circle from the occiput around to the muzzle. The stop is vertical with the line of the skull, forming a 90-degree angle where it joins the muzzle. A molera may be present. Cheeks are clean.  Serious Faults: Flat skull; stop with an angle greater than 90 degrees.


MUZZLE - The muzzle is moderately short and somewhat pointed, although it should be broad and deep enough to support healthy dentition. Viewed from the side, the bridge of the muzzle forms a right angle to the line of the forehead. Lips are tight and clean.

TEETH - The Chihuahua has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors or level bite.  Serious Faults: Overshot or undershot bite; wry mouth; crowded teeth; missing teeth; mouth unable to close.

NOSE - Nose color varies with coat color. Accepted nose colors include black, brown, beige, pinkish-beige, or reddish-beige.

EYES - Eyes are large and full but not protruding, and set well apart. Expression is bright and the eyes are luminous. Eye color varies with coat color, but dark eyes are preferred. Light eyes in dogs with pale coat colors are permissible but not desirable.

EARS - Ears are large and erect, broad at the base and tapering towards their slightly rounded points. They are set so that the bottom edge of the ear is attached at the same level as the outer corner of the eye. The ears are normally carried so that the tips point slightly outward. This ear carriage is sometimes referred to as “at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock,” referring to the position of these numbers on a clock face. A line drawn from the outer corner of the eye to the inner corner and a line drawn from the inner corner of the eye to the tip of the ear form a 45-degree angle. When the dog is alert, the ears may be raised slightly. Longhaired Chihuahuas whose ears droop slightly as a result of the weight of heavy fringing on the ears are not to be penalized.  Disqualifications: Drop ears after six months of age; cropped ears.


Neck - The neck is of medium length and slightly arched, blending smoothly into well laid back shoulders. It is free from dewlap, and is thicker in males than in females.


Forequarters - Shoulders are clean and moderately muscled. There is good angulation between the shoulder blade and upper arm.  FORELEGS - The legs are straight and of good length, with the elbows held close to the body. The pasterns are strong yet flexible. Dewclaws are generally removed.


Body - A properly proportioned Chihuahua is slightly longer (measured from prosternum to point of buttocks) than tall (measured from the withers to the ground), and length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) should approximately equal one-half of the dog’s height. Whether the dog is standing or moving, the line of the back is strong and level. The loin is moderately short and deep, with very little tuck-up. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung, but not barrel shaped, forming a body that would be heart-shaped if viewed in cross-section. The brisket extends to the elbow. Viewed from the side, the forechest extends in a slight, gentle curve in front of the forelegs.


Hindquarters - The hindquarters are muscular and the angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters.  HIND LEGS - The legs are parallel to one another with good angulation at the stifle and the hock. Rear pasterns are short, well apart and vertical. Dewclaws should be removed.


Feet - Feet are small and oval-shaped with the toes well split up, but not spread out. Pads are well cushioned. Toenails may be any color.


Tail - The tail is moderately long, set on high, and never docked. It is thick at the base tapering gradually to a point.

      Acceptable tail carriages include sickle or a single curl with the tip just touching the back. Tail carriage is an important characteristic of the breed. It should never be carried between the hind legs or curled below the backline.  Disqualifications: Cropped tail; bobtail.


Coat - The Chihuahua comes in two coat varieties, and it may be single or double coated. If undercoat is present, it is soft, dense, and close fitting.

Smooth Coat - The outer coat is soft, glossy, and close fitting. The hair is longer on the neck and tail. Sparse coat on the throat and abdomen is permitted, but hairless dogs are not acceptable. Serious Fault: Bald patch.

Long Coat - The outer coat is soft and fine, straight or slightly wavy. If undercoat is present, it should not be too thick. The coat forms feathering on ears, neck, back of legs, feet and tail.  Serious Fault: Long, billowing coat.


Color - Chihuahuas may be any color and may be solid colors, sable, brindle, or splashed with spots of color on a solid background.  Disqualification: Albinism.


Height and Weight - The ideal weight is between 3 and 6 ? pounds, though smaller dogs are acceptable. Disqualification: Over 6? pounds.


Gait - When trotting, the gait is effortless, energetic, active and springy, with good reach and drive. The hind legs should move nearly parallel to each other so that the rear feet appear to land in the footprints of the front feet. At greater speed, there is a tendency to converge toward a center line of travel. The head is carried high and the backline remains firm and level.


Disqualifications; Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Drop ears after six months of age. Cropped ears. Cropped tail. Bobtail. Albinism. Over 6? pounds in weight.




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