Chihuahua Breed Standard

Origin and purpose:

The world’s smallest dog, the Chihuahua is the breed of dog considered truly indigenous to the Western hemisphere.  The breed’s name indicates its ancestors came from the State of Chihuahua in Mexico.  However, the breed’s origins more properly belong to the whole of the country.  It’s thought the Chihuahua is derived from an earlier breed known as Techichi, popular during the Tolte period, around the 7th century A.D.

It is said that the Long Coat variety was developed entirely in the United States by crossing a short Coat to the Papillon and the Pomeranian.  The Chihuahua has evolved primarily as a human companion. 

General Appearance

A graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression.  Compact, and with terrier-like qualities.


Saucy, superior intelligence, generally reserved towards strangers.


A well-balanced little dog is not to exceed 6 lbs. (2.7 kg.), 2-4 lbs. (1-2 kg.) preferable.  There are exceptions to the rule and some breeders have produced pups up to 10 pounds that are purebred Chihuahuas.  When someone refers to a “Tea Cup” Chihuahua they are talking about a dog that is under 3 pounds.  Note the name does not indicate a sub-breed but rather a nickname for the runt of the litter and these dogs often have many health issues.  It is not recommended to purposefully breed any Chihuahua that will be full grown at under 3 lbs.  When someone tells you they have a “Deer” Chihuahua they are describing a Chihuahua that is very tiny boned, slender and tall.  Again this is a nickname only and not a sub-breed of Chihuahua.   There is only one breed standard, and the other charateristics are just variations like long or short haired.

Coat and Colour

In the Smooth, the coat should be soft in texture, close and glossy.  (Heavier coats with undercoats are permissible)  Coat is placed well over the body with a ruff on neck, and is more scanty on head and ears.  Any colour- solid, marked or splashed.  Colours range from Brindles, silvers, white, cream, blues, chocolates, reds, fawns, blacks, and many more.  The colour can change as a pup grows from dark brown to a lighter brown.  Black colour & white will not change.  Darker colour pigment can take over an area with a lighter colour.  A pup’s colour at birth will most likely change in some form and look different when it is full grown.  Please understand that NO COLOUR is considered RARE.  If someone tells you this, they are misinforming you.


Skull: Look for a well-rounded apple-dome skull, with or without molera.  There should not be more than one opening and all adults should have no larger than 1 cm large opening in the skull.  More than one opening in the skull is a deformity and should not be bred. Cheeks and jaws should look lean.  The muzzle is moderately short and slightly pointed. The nose is self-coloured in blond types, or black.  In moles, blues and chocolate, they are self-coloured.  In blond types, pink noses are permissible.  Mouth: Teeth should have a level or scissors bite.  Eyes are full, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart -dark, ruby or luminous.  (Light eyes in blond types are permissible.)  Ears are large, held erect when alert, but flaring at the sides at about an angle of 45 degrees when in repose.  This gives breadth between the ears.  There should be a V from the tip of one ear, through the iris of the eye, to the tip of the nose and back through the tip of the other ear making a V shape.  Ears are not cropped, they should stand up by themselves.


Look for a slightly arched, gracefully sloping neck into lean shoulders.  It may be smooth in the very short types, or a ruff about neck if preferred.


Shoulders are lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support,  well up, giving balance and soundness.  Upper arms are set on to give chasteness and strength of fore quarters, yet not like the bulldog chest.  Lower arm – forelegs are straight, set well under, giving free play at the elbow.  Pasterns are fine.  Feet –Look for a dainty small foot with toes well split up, but not spread, pads cushioned, with nails moderately long.  (They should resemble neither the hare nor the cat – foot.


Look for a Top line that look level  (never down or low), slightly longer than  the dog’s height.  Chest should have plenty of brisket.  Ribs are rounded (but not too barrel-shaped).  Loin is well muscled.  The croup is in balance with rear assembly.  Abdomen is slightly tucked up.


The hipboneis well covered.  Upper thigh is muscular, in balance with front assembly.  Lower thigh is muscular, in balance with front assembly.  Hocks are well apart, turning neither in nor out, The dog will let down with a  firm sturdy action.  Stifle bend is well bent and strong.


The tail is moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in a loop over the back with tip just touching the back and never tucked under.  Hair on the tail is in harmony with the coat of the body, and if preferred furry. 


Look for a graceful, swift and flowing straight forward movement with good reach and strong drive.