Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world and one of the oldest breeds in North America. A state in Mexico serves as the breed's namesake.
Chihuahuas are a toy breed, ranging from 2 to 6 pounds when fully grown. The breed has numerous variations and no universally accepted appearance. For instance, some Chihuahuas have furry hair, whereas others have silky hair that lays flat against the body.
The American Kennel Club ranks the Chihuahua as the 13th most popular breed in America. However, the AKC only recognizes two main breed-types, specifically those with smooth or long coats. The AKC officially recognized the first Chihuahua in 1904, making it one of the earliest registered breeds. Smooth- and long-coat Chihuahuas have a close common ancestor, but experts disagree over where it originated.
Some enthusiasts claim that Chihuahuas are descended from an ancient Mesoamerican dog breed called the Techichi, which were revered as spirit guides in the underworld. Other enthusiasts believe that ancient Egyptians developed the breed. Chihuahuas are a very social breed and enjoy spending time with human companions. American tourists introduced the breed to North America after bringing friendly, portable Chihuahuas home as souvenirs in the mid-1800s.
Healthy Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years.