The Toy-sized long-haired Chihuahua has a flat or slightly wavy coat that comes in a variety of colours from fawn to black. The ears should be dripping with fringe, a substantial ruff encircles the neck, and the legs should be well feathered. A dainty, compact dog, adults measure 15-23cm and weigh between 1.8-2.7-kg.
Some believe that the Chihuahua is the product of breeding between the Techichi and a small, hairless dog from Asia. Chihuahua is a state in Mexico and it is from this state that the modern Chihuahua was first exported to America. Theory has it that the modern breed developed from the ancient strains of the Techichi, mixed with small dogs of Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
The long-haired Chihuahua tends to bond closely with one or two people, with whom he will be curious, lively and intelligent, as well as deeply and constantly affectionate. However, without adequate early socialisation, the breed will not take kindly to strangers and can appear nervous, yappy and even snappy. Chihuahuas must be socialised as early as possible or they will become anxious in new environments and will not get along with strangers, children and other household pets. They are a clannish breed and enjoy being with other Chihuahuas.
As with many small breeds, the Chihuahua can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas) and a windpipe problem. The shape of their head can make them prone to water on the brain (hydrocephalus), and some eye problems.
The long-haired Chihuahua can adapt to however much exercise you would like to give it, within reason. Chihuahuas tend to have bursts of energy where they play excitedly, but do not need a lot of walking – half an hour daily should suffice. It is recommended that Chihuahuas wear a harness instead of a collar due to their fragile tracheas (windpipes.)
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
It is not a demanding chore with the Chihuahua. The long-coated Chi needs a good brushing and combing once a week. The bib or ruff of the long coats may need a wash, as it can attract food leftovers. Chihuahuas do shed, but, being small, there isn't much hair to lose. It is a good idea to brush a Chihuahua's teeth daily as, with all small breeds, they are prone to a heavy tartar build-up.