Top Notch Toys - March 2020

HISTORY OF THE CHIHUAHUA T he origin of the Chihuahua is not clearly understood. There have been Chihuahua-like images found throughout the world, in- by Art Johnson

the legs/movement. The mouth/teeth should be scissor or may also be even. The ideal puppy will be inquisitive and not shy away when approached. It should interact well with other pup- pies of similar age. HEALTH The Chihuahua is a relative health breed. The most prominent health issue facing the Chihuahua is lux- ating patellas. This occurs when the kneecap tendons are weak and when the leg moves in a certain way slips, resulting in the dog limping or otherwise favoring the leg when moving it. Another common test is for heart murmur. This testing can be done by your veterinarian. Although small in size, the Chihua- hua is a fierce competitor in the con- firmation (“show”) ring, obedience trials and rally. Chihuahuas have excelled in each of these venues, reaching all-breed Best in Show (confirmation), High in Trial (obe- dience) and Mach ratings (rally). The breed also participates in the AKC-sponsored Canine Good Citi- zenship (CGC) recognition pro- gram. The breed also is involved in Service-related activities, includ- ing Therapy Dog title achievement and recognition. AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB EVENTS

feature—they are otherwise identical. The Chihuahua is a treasured, dimin- utive companion that consistently ranks high in all breeds in popularity and in the show ring. FORM AND FUNCTION The Chihuahua is foremost a com- panion dog. It is a graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with a saucy expression, compact and with terrier- like qualities of temperament. The smooth coat variety is easy to groom with brush and comb, with the long coat requiring brushing occa- sionally as needed. The Chihuahua has relatively few health problems. SELECTING A PUPPY The Chihuahua is the smallest of the AKC-recognized breeds. While the dog world’s smallest member, they are a hardy breed, adapting to well to city and country settings; small apartment to stately mansions. With a life-span of 15 to 20 years, the pur- chase of a puppy is a commitment in time and resources that must be seriously considered. When selecting your puppy, the of- ficial standard for the Chihuahua is a good starting reference point. The puppy should move effortlessly, with- out limping or skipping. Eyes should be large and clear/ bright. Ears upright and alert. Back should be straight and flat to support

cluding the Far and Near East, Cen- tral and South America and in parts of Europe. It is agreed by many historians that the Chihuahua is a native of Mexico. The Toltecs of ancient Mexico kept a small dog called Techichi. Evidence of this is clearly seen in stone carvings in a Toltec monastery in the Mexico City area. When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs in the twelfth century, they brought with them small hairless dogs similar to dogs found in China. One theory is that the present-day Chihuahua originated with the cross- ing of those two early breeds. Upon conquest of the Aztecs by Cor- tez in the early 1500s, the small dog was lost for centuries. Evidence of the modern breed’s first specimens were discovered in the State of Chihuahua in the mid-1800’s. The breed’s history in the United States began about 1850, with the first importationsmainly from the State of Chihuahua—hence their name. In the late 1800’s the first Chihuahua was seen at a dog show in Philidelphia. The first American Kennel Club Chi- huahua conformation champion was a dog named “Beepie” in 1905. There are two varieties of Chihua- huas—long coat and smooth coat. Except for this distinguishing

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