Chihuahua (Long and Short Coat)

Lifestyle Needs


The Chihuahua is the smallest of the dog breeds.  He is a dog you can take anywhere because of his size and an ideal lap dog.  Despite his small size the Chihuahua thinks he is a big dog and will give a loud warning if strangers approach the house. He will adapt to most types of home.  Like all dogs he needs daily exercise and should be treated as a dog and not as a toy.  The long coated version will need regular grooming more than once a week.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.8% (smooth coat) 4.0% (long coat) - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS

81.05 (smooth coat) and 175.96 (long coat)

EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Skeletal fragility due to extreme miniaturisation
  • Poor dentition
  • Hydrocephalus
  • The merle coat colour is associated with deafness.  The Kennel Club bans registration of Chihuahua puppies with a Merle parent.

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Chiari malformation/Syringomyelia (CMSM) MRI scheme

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Asymptomatic Macrothrombocytopenia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-prcd)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (crd4)
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 7 (NCL-7)
  • Thrombocytopaenia
  • Spirocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test. Good breeders will have followed the recommendations of the appropriate breed clubs, Kennel Club and/or other qualified experts.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Hydrocephalus
  • Heart disease:  Mitral valve disease; Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Patellar luxation
  • Gallbladder mucocoele
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Cataract
  • Urolithiasis
  • Dystocia
  • Tracheal collapse

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

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