Small but feisty. Tiny but has a spunky attitude to life. These are just some of the most common adjectives that describe the smallest canine breed in the world – Chihuahuas.
Regardless of how tiny Chihuahuas are, they managed to take the world by storm. Celebrities and ordinary people alike scramble to take home a Chihuahua due to their cuteness.
But, while we know how small they are, do we truly understand how big this adorable miniature dog breed gets?
Well, if this question got you dumbfounded, then better stay tuned and learn more through this article.
How big will my Chihuahua get?
Even if this dog breed’s bound to be tiny for the rest of its life, Chihuahuas shouldn’t fall short or exceed their recommended height and weight. If they do, it’ll put their health in jeopardy. According to the American Kennel Club, a healthy Chihuahua should weigh not more than 6 pounds. Though some can weigh up to 12 pounds (depending on the Chihuahua variety), any more than that, and they’re already morbidly obese. On their height (measured from their wither/shoulder downwards), a typical Chihuahua stands between 5 to 8 inches. For their length (taken from the shoulders to their rump), they can be as little as 7 inches and as long as 12 inches. However, according to the breed standard, a Chihuahua’s length and height can’t be the same. Technically speaking, a Chihuahua’s body should always be slightly longer than its height measurement. But, as there are many different Chihuahua types, there’s no definite measurement for their height, just a fair approximate at best.
Factors that affect a Chihuahua’s growth potential
Like other canine breeds, several factors come into play when you’re talking about a Chihuahua’s growth potential.
Though experts have set specific standards for this breed, various elements can come into play and affect their overall growth.
So, are you now ready to take note of these factors? Let’s start.
A living creature’s attributes heavily depend on the set of genes passed down to them from their parents.
Whatever genes an adult male and female pass down their offspring, they’ll eventually manifest in their attributes.
With this, genetics play a significant role in how big our Chihuahua friends can get.
Since there are a few Chihuahua varieties, a slight difference in their measurements will make a huge difference in their look.
But, if you have a chance, take a look at the pup’s parents. Since the puppy you now have is a mix of its parents, you can have a good estimate on how big your beloved Chihuahua will get when they reach maturity.
Also, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that Chihuahuas are designed to be small.
Hence, you can expect that this trait of theirs will reappear in future generations unless some alterations are made.
Overall health and amount of physical activity
Despite their petite sizes, Chihuahuas are pretty much energetic for their breed. Though they’re small, they need lots and lots of exercise to keep them happy throughout the day.
But, of course, you shouldn’t overexert a Chihuahua. The moment you see them panting, you should immediately scoop them up and carry them home.
With that said, you can consider a Chihuahua a healthy breed as they’re not predisposed to any major health issues.
But, you shouldn’t be complacent at all, as they can still get sick if they’re not properly taken care of.
Since they love to roam even when they’re living in cramped quarters, Chihuahuas can quickly burn the calories they ingest. Think of it like their metabolism’s in hyperdrive mode all the time.
Thus, it’s rare to see a Chihuahua teetering onto the overweight and obese side. But, if you do see one, it’s usually an outlier from the group.
Diet and nutrition
If you’re a health buff, you’ll know how a Chihuahua’s diet and state of nutrition can affect how big it’ll get.
Since these canines’ spunky personalities are housed in tiny bodies, it’s easy to make them overweight if you don’t closely watch what they eat.
With that said, fur parents should refrain from overindulging their Chis with food. It’s better to resist temptation now than pay the price later.
Instead of giving Chihuahuas three heavy-loaded meals a day, give them small, frequent feedings. Think of it like you’re feeding a baby with a tiny tummy.
Even if you’ll need to feed your Chi more frequently, the timing, as well as the portions, largely depend on their age.
For starters, Chihuahua puppies until the age of 3 months (or once they reach the 2-pound mark) need to eat using the free-feeding method.
This free-feeding technique means that you’ll leave a certain amount of food easily accessible to the pup at all times.
Just make sure to change the food from time to time to ensure the freshness of their meal.
After all, you wouldn’t want to poison your Chihuahua pup right from the get-go.
Now, after the 3-month mark onwards (or at least a weight of 2 pounds), you can feed your Chihuahua three meals a day with two scheduled snacks.
In that way, you can provide your Chihuahua the calories they need to keep up with their active lifestyle.
Speaking of which, how many calories do these tiny energy fur balls need to get through their day.
According to dog experts, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for this. Though they belong to the same breed, you need to take in the pup’s individuality estimate how much you’ll need to feed them.
Besides that, you’ll have to note the weather conditions, the pup’s activity level, age, and health status into consideration for this matter.
But, if you’re raring to know about a general rule, here it goes.
A typical Chihuahua calorie requirement depends on their maturity.
For puppies, 50 calories per pound of bodyweight will do. For adults, 35-40 calories per pound of body weight’s deemed as enough.
However, if you’re not the calorie-counting type of fur parent, then measure food portions instead. If you want to use this strategy, then you’ll need to take note of their weight.
For those Chihuahuas weighing between 4 to 10 pounds, you can give them ½ to ⅓ cups of food per day. Of course, you’ll need to divide this portion by the number of meals they have in a day.
Better stick to the experts’ guidelines in how much and how frequently you’ll feed your Chihuahua friends. Any more than that, and you’ll surely end up making your pup into an obese one.
Body shape changes
Unknown to many fur parents, a Chihuahua’s body changes as well.
Though they typically have round body shapes, this usually changes until they reach maturity (around 18 months old).
As experts describe, Chihuahua’s should have a lean and slim appearance. But they shouldn’t be thin enough to the point that you’ll see their ribs. That’s already underweight.
A key indicator if your Chihuahua has a healthy weight is if you can feel the ribs under its skin.
Even if being overweight is a rare occurrence in this breed, you still need to observe keenly and be aware of any sudden changes.
However, if you notice that your young Chihuahua suddenly acts sluggish, you better seek a vet consultation.
Can you predict a Chihuahua’s potential adult weight?
To answer the question, there’s no accurate way to determine a Chihuahua’s adult weight.
But, you can use certain puppy weight predictor calculators online to have a fair estimate of their weight when they’re full-grown.
But, the best way of estimating the potential adult weight of your Chihuahua is by visiting the vet. More often than not, they have a standardized Chihuahua weight chart in their clinic.
To use that chart, vets need to weigh the Chihuahua first on a weighing scale.
Once they get the value, they’ll compare it against the chart by first locating the pup’s age in weeks on the left side of the chart.
Once the vet finds it, he’ll compare the Chihuahua’s current weight with its previous weigh-in. A healthy pup’s current weight should be in the same range as his last weight.
If the pup’s weight deviates from what’s expected of it at a certain age, then you should ask your vet how to address this.
Perhaps, he’ll prescribe dietary changes, but it still depends on how far the Chihuahua’s weight moved from its expected growth curve.
So, if ever someone will ask you how big Chihuahuas can get, can you now give a confident answer to it?
Well, if you’re still hesitant, ask for your veterinarian’s professional take on this matter, and you’ll never go wrong.