“ Animal Species: Dogs „
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OK, this is slightly cheating but I have a short haired Chihuahua x short legged Jack Russell (known as a Jackhuahua or Jackchi), as he is pretty much identical to the photo but with a slightly longer nose, I thought I'd review under this breed.
I got Gizmo on xmas eve. I had been to see him twice and to check out his birthplace and parents. His mum was a Jack Russell and adorable, a really great mum. It's really important to check out the mum and to watch her with her pups, be wary if the breeder will not allow this or makes an excuse as to why you can't see them together. He left at 8 weeks old, a good age, you shouldn't really seperate them any earlier than that.
I had already got everything I needed for the new arrival, it was pretty much like bringing home a baby for the first time! I'd set up a bed for him in a crate in my room with a training pad and some fresh water. Short-haired pups can get cold so I'd also put a blanket in for him.
He was as good as gold, I wrapped him up in the blanket and put him to bed like a child! He stayed there and didn't wake up until xmas morning, didn't make a peep all night!
He is a great addition to our family and gets on fantastically with our 4 year old bitch Jack Russell x Border Terrier and our cat (who is slightly bigger than him!).
He has a complete split personality which is great as we get the best of both breeds. He loves food! I didn't think he'd eat much and imagined he'd be fussy but he finishes 75 grams of food off in under 15 seconds! He currently weighs 1.8kg and is the size of a small cat. I don't think he'll grow much more.
At night he loves cuddles and will happily snuggle down with you until you go to bed. As soon as you get up he wants to play and will play until he's eaten his dinner at 6pm! He never loses energy, no matter how much we take him out and can out run our older dog already so if you think you'll get a calm dog with this breed, think again!
He is very intelligent and has been very easy to train, a few hiccups with potty training but that is to be expected with every puppy. We'll get there soon.
Because Chihuahua's are so light and there pads are quite big, they do not wear down their claws so you will need a pair of clippers. It can be scary when you do this for the first time but Gizmo is great. We wait till he's in sleepy mode after his dinner to do his and because he is white, the pink parts are perfectly clear so you can see where to clip.
He does bark a bit but not anywhere near the amount that some people make out and we are currently trying to get him out of that which is helping.
He gets blocked glands occasionaly, we see him go scooting past on his butt no they need emptying again! He also gets runny eyes. Sometimes this can be a problem with the tear-ducts because the way the chihuahua's eyes protrude but if they are really bad, a trip to the vet is a good idea as there are some procedures that can be done to limit this and make your dog more comfortable. Gizmos eyes only run if it is windy outside or when he has just woken up from a long sleep.
I paid £350, £60 for all of his jabs and worming treatments and a further £40 per month on training pads, food, toys and treats (and a few items of clothing-only because he gets cold!) and he has been worth every penny! We wouldn't change him for anything and hope we are giving him as much as he is giving us.
I own two of these Chihuahuas; one is a pure breed short haired Chihuahua and the other has been cross-bread with a Maltese. Now, the reason why I mention my cross-bread dog, is just to note one significant difference I've discovered with their hair; the cross-bread dog's hair never sheds at all, which I find really handy. So I thought that was worth mentioning.
Chihuahua's are classed within the toy breeds as they're so tiny, they're all smaller than the average cat and are usually calm lap dogs that don't need extensive exercise and are happy just sitting calmly close by their owners.
So my short haired Chihuahua is a tan colour and she is tiny, smaller than a cat and is very friendly to me and likes to get and give attention. One thing I've found however, is that she is very protective of me and if she thinks someone is out to upset or hurt me, she will defend me by barking and jumping at them. This is quite a brave thing to do for such a tiny animal, but it's quite comical how they sometimes think and act like they're massive dogs who can defend their owners. I've spoken with other Chihuahua owners and they've confirmed the same so it must be one of their character traits.
My dogs hair is short and easy to care for, I don't need to give her as many baths as other dog breeds. I also find that she doesn't smell or give off that funny smelly dog scent (which is really good as I don't like dog smell at all, this is the main reason why my other dog gets twice to three times the amount of baths my shored haired Chihuahua gets).
Her hair does shed twice a year but luckily their not the type to fly around everywhere like most cat hairs. They're quite heavy hairs so they won't float around but you will find them on your clothes.
She is a very calm dog, ideal as a lap dog as she just likes sitting with me or on my lap, watching tv or even laying out in the sun. She is very affectionate and I haven't had any problems with her, she is easy to take care of and only eats tiny portions of dog food and likes the odd dog treat here and there. She is also child friendly and my babies get on with her immensely. I would recommend this dog for people who want a tiny dog that doesn't require loads of food, space or exercise but likes to give and receive love and care.
An introduction to Chihuahuas.
Chihuahuas originate from Mexico and it is mentioned in various places on the Internet that they were used for ceremonial sacrifice, although their origins as I understand it are from the old hunting days of Mexican peasants. They are indeed a unique breed, and a faithful one as well. They are extremely intelligent and can be taught behaviour patterns easily, although each Chihuahua that I have owned has had its own personality, and I would class their personality as one that imposes itself upon the home in which it lives.
New to Chihuahuas ? Let's explore a little about their history. The chihuahua has a checkered history, and were originally hunting dogs in Mexico. A pretty unique breed, these dogs really are little individuals and each has its' own characteristics. There are two breeds of chihuahua, the long haired and the short haired, and I have owned both. I have tried within this review to explore different areas of ownership and peculiarities of the chihuahua so that information can be found at a glance.
Size : 6-8 high fully grown (which is indeed tiny)
Weight : 2-6lbs (1-3 kilos)
Is a chihuahua the right choice of dog for you ? And if so, why the short haired variety.
Choosing a dog is a serious decision. From my experience of ownership of chihuahuas, these really do make good family dogs, although youngsters and their behaviour towards the new addition to the family has to be borne in mind. These are dogs that like exercise and thrive on activity, although teasing can make them snappy, so if you have small children, the manner in which you introduce them to your household can make the world of difference. Approached responsibly, the dogs can be a joy. They have a reputation for yapping, although here it really is a question of common sense training, and if you feel that you have the patience and understanding to give to a puppy in order to get the best out of the relationship that forms between master and pet.
One of the advantages between the long haired and short haired varieties of chihuahua is that the short haired dogs do not shed as much as their long haired counterparts. Aesthetically they are not as pretty, but they are less work and although all dogs need grooming, the short haired variety is easier to care for from a hygiene point of view. The average lifespan of a chihuahua is 14 years, and that is a lot of commitment. Small dogs do train, but require patience. Deciding upon whether the chihuahua will suit your home means looking seriously into the way that the dogs life can fit in with your family. Toddlers for example can be difficult to control in the presence of such small animals. Their excitement is natural and although the dogs are pretty robust, their needs and safety need to be considered. I also believe that in households where there are aged people who use sticks to walk, care really must be taken because the chihuahua is a small animal and can easily be hurt by accident. One that I owned was a dog from the Rescue Service who feared walking frames because her owner had frequently hurt her by accident.
Another serious consideration with any pet owner is establishing that the injections that are necessary at a young age are done. Keeping a record is essential, and having a card means that you always know when the next booster is needed. Talk to a vet, and register the pet, and here recommendation from other pet owners always worked well for me, as in the majority people care about who treats their animals.
Chihuahuas are pretty sociable animals and do not mind being mixed with other pets such as cats, although being fair to all was important, and whenever I introduced a new animal into the household, I was always conscious that no special treatment should be given so as to establish harmony between the pets.
Bitch or Dog ?
Here the characteristics do mean a difference. Males are territorial and do mark their territory, and in my case, I ended up using a product that repelled them from marking and believe me the marking odour stinks. Females like a stable environment and are not keen on change.
Making a Purchase, and choosing a kennel.
I am particularly fussy about the kind of care the environment in which the dog is born offers, since with small dogs of this nature, cruelty from the beginning of their lives can be difficult to put right. It is not impossible, although makes the job of training harder. A happy mother, a happy environment, nourished from day one with love, the puppy can be totally different from one whose character is moulded to survival of the fittest in its early days. One of the criteria which dictates price to a certain degree with little dogs of this nature is one I detest. Many owners show their dogs, and the prices range from 100 GBP for an imperfect animal to as much as 350 GBP or even more for pedigree perfect specimens. I detest the differentiation, although to people who show dogs, this seems to be an important factor.
Equipment and Doggy's needs.
Here, of course it is wise to prepare your home for the new arrival. A dog basket is essential. Other considerations are feeding bowls and here it is wise to remember that the dogs are small. I bought a double cats bowl instead of a dog one because of the size. A brush is a relatively small outlay for grooming and also a few little toys that are dog friendly are a good idea. What mine liked were the toys specifically made for dogs that are shaped like shoes or bones. They certainly love to chew, and it is preferable that they have specific things of their own to chew, rather than your slippers.
Hygiene and Nail clipping.
These little doggies have nails that need to be taken care of. Clippers that are made for dogs are usually readily available at pet shops but what is so important here is that the dew claw can grow in a circle and can actually get caught in things and hurt the dog. Most of my chihuahuas were tolerant of having their nails clipped and this really is an easy task, although care should be taken that you never clip below the quick of the nail, which usually shows clearly as a white line.
Illnesses to be aware of.
Now here, one of the illnesses that chihuahuas are prone to is ingrowing eyelids. Sounds nasty doesn't it, and for them it is. Regular inspection of their eyes is essential, and I found that the short haired variety were more prone to this illness than the long haired ones. Another irritating illness is caused by a gland and if you find your chihuahua appearing to wipe its' bum on the ground, this is usually caused by a gland which needs emptying. I personally didn't deal with this but let the vet do it as soon as possible not wanting the dog to be uncomfortable. It's worth looking into a Pet plan as well, because vets bills can be expensive and the peace of mind that an insurance gives makes it well worth the cost. My chihuahuas never suffered from another illness of the breed, where leg joints pop out and the dog has problems walking, although if any animal shows discomfort, a visit to the vet is wise.
I actually found that the short haired chihuahua was easier to train than the long haired ones. I am not sure why. It can be fun to start off with, placing newspaper down on the floor and rewarding the pet for choosing the right place. Little by little moving the paper nearer to the door, the animal quickly picks up the message that outdoors is the place to pee. Consistency of behaviour towards the animal is essential as well. If you feed scraps from the table to a dog, they cannot differentiate between being able to beg when you have no visitors and not being able to when you do. Teach them right and wrong, and be consistent. The worst punishment that my dogs ever had was a tap on the nose, but far more valuable to the training exercise was recognising when they did good and rewarding them.
Food suitable for a Chihuahua.
I used small dog foods, chicken, meat and white fish and they were not picky eaters. They have good appetites but it is not a good idea to overfeed your animals. One of the things that they need is exercise for their teeth to keep them in good shape, and the biscuits and mixers help with this. Avoid treating the animal like a toy and spoiling it with things that are really not good for its' health or digestive system. Chocolate is particularly nasty, and if you feed a chihuahua with chocolate, then expect the experience of clearing up the mess, and don't blame the poor dog for the consequences.
MY OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE SHORT HAIRED CHIHUAHUA.
I have had both long haired and short haired. I loved both equally, though I have to admit that the short haired variety was easier because even though they hate baths, the short haired dogs are easier to bathe and groom, and take less time. Whilst perhaps they miss out on looks, what I liked about my short haired chihuahua was its obedience, its character, and its' loyalty to me as an owner. Of course, the other dogs were loyal as well, but the short haired one was particularly affectionate and certainly easier to train, once she got over the fact that the newspaper was not a new sport. It takes patience, and believe me she tried my patience by running around with the newspaper as if it were her latest toy, although through persistence did catch on to its use, and would let me know when she wanted to go outside.
I walked the dogs regularly as exercise is an essential part of dog care. I actually disagree with the way in which people see these dogs as snappy little rats. They are snappy if they are not taught to be otherwise. Mine were adorable. Were I to chose now, as an older person, between a long haired dog and the short haired variety, I would choose the short haired variety for ease, though be mindful that both the long haired and short haired require the same amount of devotion and love. Super little dogs deserve super homes.
Think long term, make a wise decision. Your dog has to live with it.