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Chihuahua Standards (AKC)

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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


Any color-Solid, marked or splashed.


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.


Alert, with terrier-like qualities.


  • Any dog over 6 pounds in weight.
  • Broken down or cropped ears.
  • Cropped tail, bobtail.
  • In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.

Approved September 11, 1990
Effective October 30, 1990

This information is courtesy of the American Kennel Club:Click for American Kennel Club Web site

Choosing a Chihuahua Puppy

Club Policy

The Chihuahua Club of Hawaii will provide some information on things to consider when getting a pup. This handout is only provided for your information and it is up to the buyer to make every effort to see that the puppy you purchase is healthy. It is truly BUYER BEWARE. A puppy is a living creature, so any mistake can be very costly in vet bills and heartbreak. Please be careful.

Questions to Think About

After reading our handout, “So You Want to Get a Chihuahua?” ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have time for a new pup? Although Chihuahuas are relatively low maintenance, they are companion dogs and love to be with their human family.
  • Can I afford a dog? Chihuahuas eat very little. However, can you keep up payments for vet visits, vaccinations, preventative heartworm medications, etc. for 15 + years?
  • Do I know how to care for a dog? If you’ve never owned a dog before, check out the bookstores, pet shops and libraries for books about Chihuahua and dog care. Members of the Club will gladly share their knowledge and experience with you.
  • Do I want a pet or do I intend to breed and/or show? Consider finding out about the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for the Chihuahua. This is a set of guidelines for the Chihuahua’s current look. You may not be interested in showing a Chihuahua, but you can get an idea of the Chihuahua’s personality, size and shape. If you are looking for a Chihuahua to breed or show be especially careful what you buy. You may not want to purchase a pup younger than 5 months old.
  • Am I willing to keep the pup in the house? Chihuahuas are house dogs and meant to live indoors. They can get cold very easily.
  • Am I willing to consider neutering or spaying my pet if necessary?

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian and the Breeder

After careful consideration, you’ve decided the Chihuahua is the right dog for you. You may want to get names of breeders through referrals or the classified ads in the newspapers. Please ask the breeders a lot of questions about the health of their dogs, including genetic diseases and the dogs’ general overall health. Ask the breeder about the pup’s parent’s and/or grandparent’s history of disease or health problems.  Ask them questions about the pups that they have sold over the past years. Are those pups still healthy and happy? You may want to ask the breeder for referrals from past puppy buyers. Be sure to listen carefully to what the breeders are saying.

Like every other dog breed, the Chihuahua is not free of genetic diseases and you should ask your veterinarian for more information than we can tell you about here. These are a few things you may want to ask about:

  • Luxation of the knees (Patella Luxation) and elbows.
  • Epilepsy or seizures from other causes which can be hereditary and have dangerous consequences.
  • Collapsed trachea, where the dog has serious trouble breathing. The Chihuahua does sometimes make honking noises, which is normal for them and only lasts a few seconds. A collapsed trachea is a more serious condition than just honking.
  • Although not necessarily a genetic condition, one thing you should know is that the Chihuahua pups are very tiny and cannot always eat enough at one time to keep their blood sugar levels normal. So if your pup seems lethargic take it to the vet at once.
  • Heart Disease.

Visit the Breeder

When you go to look at the pups, check them out closely to see if they look healthy and clean. All puppies are cute!! Look for clear eyes, clean ears, and clean rear end. Their coat should be soft and healthy looking. They should walk well on the ground. They should not be coughing or have a runny nose. They should be weaned and thriving on puppy food, not mother’s milk. They should be friendly, and not really scared. Also, check the pups and adults for the presence of fleas and ticks.  This can be a serious health concern.  Fleas and ticks can make the pups ill, and there could be other parasite problems. Ask the breeder about a health guarantee or guidelines.  The breeder should be able to show you at least one of the parents. Make sure that the parents are healthy, have a good temperament, and look like Chihuahuas should. It is more than likely the puppy will grow to look like and maybe act like one or the other of its parents.

American Kennel Club (AKC) registration documents (papers) Information

AKC registration (papers) can only be obtained for your new puppy if the breeder has applied to the AKC to have the litter registered.  The breeder is defined as the owner of the mother of the litter.  The AKC will then issue individual registration forms for each puppy in the litter.  It is this individual registration form that the breeder will give to the buyer of the puppy.  The buyer will then be able to ‘register’ their puppy with the AKC by filling out this individual registration form, and mailing it to the AKC with the required fees.  Sometimes a breeder will sell a puppy on “Limited” registration.  This means that the puppy will have an individual registration form, and thus can be registered with the AKC, however, the puppy may not be shown in AKC events, and also if this puppy is bred, those pups cannot be registered with the AKC.

So, if the breeder promises you the AKC registration (papers) with the purchase of your new puppy, then the breeder should be able to give you the individual AKC registration at the same time that you buy the pup. However, if the breeder plans to mail it to you after you take the puppy home then we recommend that you ask the breeder for a receipt containing the following information:  a. breeder’s name, address, etc.; b. AKC registered names and registration numbers of both parents; c. puppy’s date of birth; d.  amount you paid; e. date of purchase. If you do not receive the AKC registration from the breeder, then you can call, email or write to the AKC.  The AKC’s website address is:  www.akc.org.

So You Want to Get a Chihuahua?

CHIHUAHUAS are great little dogs. If you are looking for a Chihuahua because some celebrities have these little dogs, please read this to make sure it’s the right animal for you. #1 Rule of Chihuahuas: They are not a good gift for a small child. Chihuahuas are wriggly, tiny, fragile little guys that can slip easily from small hands. They are fragile and can get seriously hurt or killed if dropped. A Chihuahua is one of the toy breeds, but is not a toy. Chihuahuas can be a good family pet, if the children are very, very careful, and are supervised by an adult.

  • Small dogs live long lives. A Chihuahua is a 15-year or more commitment. As the fad of these dogs passes, are you sure you won’t lose interest in the dog?
  • The Chihuahua does not come in teacup or deer headed types. There is no such thing. In fact, the Taco Bell dog is a “bad” example of the breed with his flat head. The head should be an apple-shaped dome.
  • Chihuahuas can have an open molera or soft spot on their head. This is natural to the breed, but makes them delicate. If hit or dropped on the head the dog can be seriously injured.
  • Chihuahuas make excellent companions and apartment dogs. They are indoor dogs and demand attention. If you want an outdoor guard dog, this is not the dog for you. However, they have great hearing, and will bark at strange noises.
  • Both male and female Chihuahuas make equally affectionate and loving pets.
  • Chihuahuas make perfect lap dogs and are mostly content to sit and get petted all day long, after that frisky puppy stage.
  • Chihuahuas can live with some noise in the house, as long as they can get away to a safe bed, knowing that no one will step on them.
  • Chihuahuas love to sleep under the covers with you. It’s like having a little hot water bottle! They are cold sometimes, and do need to keep warm in cool temperatures.
  • Don’t be confused by their size. Chihuahuas are as much dog as a Great Dane. They need to be house trained, fed, given water, and exercise.
  • Chihuahuas are the only dog native to North America and are the only toy breed not bred down from a bigger dog. They are naturally small.
  • There are 2 varieties of Chihuahua, a feathery long coat and short smooth coat. But, whichever coat you prefer they have the same needs and personalities.
  • Chihuahuas are really a lot more colorful than just the Taco Bell fawn (tan). Any color is acceptable in the breed, from black to white, particolored, chocolate, blue, and many others.
  • Because of their size, Chihuahuas are hard to breed. The litters are small and the mother may need to deliver by caesarian section.
  • For longer and healthier lives for your pet Chihuahua, please spay or neuter them, and give them vaccinations, as per your vet’s recommendation.

Go to a responsible breeder. “Bad” breeders are pumping out these dogs to make money. They are often overbred and over priced. If bred by a puppy mill or gotten at a pet store, you may be looking at a big disappointment that will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills.