Chihuahua Breeds & Varieties
The classical chihuahua breeds have evolved over the last century to please the human eye and his desire to own a unique pet.
As the understanding of genetics became commonly spread among dog breeding professionals, chihuahua breeders were able to single out specific characteristics and refine the look of their litters to show diverse traits, namely size, shape, coat length and color.
Color has been a preponderant trait in the development of many dog breeds. Not only for aesthetics, color selection has a functional purpose. For instance, hunting dogs may have a better chance at approaching their prey with a brown coat for camouflage.
As for chihuahuas, the breed does not necessarily benefit from a specific coat color, other than for the human likes. Actually, the AKC recognizes 29 different colors and combinations for chihuahuas (and 11 different markings). Of them, one of the rarest and most sought after is blue. The chihuahua blue color is a soft, grey or silverish dilution of the black color,
as defined by a recessive gene "dd". Most blue chihuahuas are perfectly healthy, but this color should never be bred to one another because the gene carries more risks of health and skin problems. The white chihuahua is very uncommon as well, and breeding two pure whites will always make white puppies without any substantial health risk. See more pictures of white chihuahua.
The AKC recognizes only one chihuahua breed, but most people categorize them into two distinct varieties. The applehead chihuahua is the "iconic" chihuahua, with its apple-shaped head and bulbous eyes, and corresponds to the ACK chihuahua breed standard. The deer chihuahua has a swifter look, and resembles a little fox.
Some people argue that the apple and deer head chis have very different temperaments, and you can have your say in the debate Is my Deer better than your Apple?
In terms of size, the teacup chihuahua (see white in pink dress above) is most likely the smallest variety of dog on earth, but "teacup" is not a distinct chihuahua breed in itself. It's nothing more than a marketing term to identify dogs that are bred to abnormally small sizes, usually under 3 pounds. Read more on the making of a tiny teacup chihuahua.
Mix, Purebred and DNA
What about the chihuahua mixed breeds? As "designer dogs" are becoming mainstream in the pet industry, chihuahua mixes can become faithful companions with added benefits. For instance, a chihuahua x beagle can have a much more robust frame for a household with kids, whereas a chihuahua x poodle can be a perfect solution for an adult with allergies.
Have you ever thought about testing your chi to find out what other breeds he carries in his DNA?
There is a really cool dog-DNA test kit available on the market, and for a fee, you can send in your chi's DNA, get it tested and receive an official certificate with your dog's "genetic content". Knowing what other breeds are running in your chi's blood might help you understand his behaviors and train him better. Click on the link below to view their video.
For those who own a pure bred chihuahua, why not volunteer a little cheek swab to the
Canine Genome Project.
Scientists from all over the world are using blood samples from registered purebreds in research to help reduce the incidence of breed-specific inherited diseases, and to understand disease patterns across breeds.
Now, that's a nice way to get your chi to work!
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