The Chihuahua Breed Standard

Type and Soundness

The two terms are defined as follows:
Type is the combination of distinguishing features that give each breed its indivduality. Soundness is the state of mental and physical health when all organs and faculties are complete and functioning normally, each in its rightful relation to the other.

Chihuahua breed type is defined by the standard. One must go beyond the standard to understand the physical and mechanical factors underlying the surface appearance and study how body parts fit and work together. Type and Soundness go together and the standard not only refers to the head. The standard stresses equal weight to head, body, legs and gait. It does not suggest that the head should be emphasized any more than any other part of the dog yet a great many see a pretty face and classify that dog as "typey" , regardless of what the rest of the dog looks like.

General Appearance

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

Drawing by Nancy C. Shonbeck

Size, Proportion, Substance

Weight - A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6 pounds.
Disqualification - Any dog over 6 pounds in weight.

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.

Head 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. Disqualifications - Broken down or cropped 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.

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.

Hindquarters - 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.

Color 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.

Disqualifications 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

The Chihuahua Breed Standard from the American Kennel Club


Chihuahua Colors and Markings