The following information is taken from the American Kennel Club, whose descriptions and qualifications of a Chihuahua are what are used to identify purebred dogs:
DID YOU KNOW: • The Chihuahua comes in two varieties: long and smooth coat. • The Toltecs, who existed in what is now Mexico as early as the 9th century AD, possessed a breed of dog called the Techichi. The breed was small, but not tiny, and heavy-boned. This breed, regarded as indigenous to Central America, is the progenitor of the Chihuahua that exists today. • The breed derives its name from the Mexican State of Chihuahua, where the earliest specimens of the breed were found. • The Chihuahua is clannish, preferring companions of his own breed. • Pictures of dogs resembling the modern Chihuahua appear in ancient paintings in Mexico. • It is assumed that the small size of the modern Chihuahua results from a cross of the Techichi with the small hairless dog brought from Asia to Alaska over the land bridge that is now the Bering Strait.
Chihuahua Breed Standard Toy Group
General Appearance A graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.
Size, Proportion, Substance Weight - A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6 pounds. 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. Disqualification - Any dog over 6 pounds in weight.
Head A well rounded "apple dome" skull, with or without molera. Expression - Saucy. Eyes - Full, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart-luminous dark or luminous ruby. (Light eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible.) 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. 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 nose permissible. Bite - Level or scissors. Overshot or undershot bite, or any distortion of the bite or jaw, should be penalized as a serious fault. Disqualifications - Broken down or cropped ears.
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 - Cropped tail, bobtail.
Forequarters Shoulders - Lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under, giving a free play at the elbows. Shoulders should be well up, giving balance and soundness, sloping into a level back. (Never down or low.) This gives a chestiness, and strength of forequarters, yet not of the "Bulldog" chest. Feet - A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pads cushioned. (Neither the hare nor the cat foot.) Pasterns - Fine.
Muscular, with hocks well apart, neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy. The feet are as in front.
Coat 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 curly, with undercoat preferred. Ears - Fringed. (Heavily fringed ears may be tipped slightly if due to the fringes and not to weak ear leather, never down.) 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. Disqualification - In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.
Color Any color-Solid, marked or splashed.
Gait 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.
Temperament Alert, with terrier-like qualities.
Disqualifications Any dog over 6 pounds in weight. Broken down or cropped ears. Cropped tail, bobtail. In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.
CHIHUAHUA HISTORY 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.