Chihuahua's

The Chihuahua

The Chihuahua

MERLES AND GENETICS

 

MERLES – For those who are not familiar with the merle gene, one fact is indisputable:  In order for a dog to BE a merle, it MUST HAVE one merle parent, either sire or dam.  This gene cannot remain ‘hidden’ for generations, like chocolate or blue, which are recessive colors, thus proving that it has only recently been introduced into our breed.
A merle dog (Mm genetically) contributes one of these genes when bred, either M (merle) or m (non-merle).  If a puppy receives the M (merle) gene, it will be merle. If it receives the m gene, it will not be merle. The M (merle) gene acts on whatever coat color the puppy has. 
MERLE PUPPY 1The problem with allowing the (new) merle color in Chihuahuas, is that we have so many light-colored dogs.  Breeding these light dogs to merle will result in fawn, cream, red, sable, white, etc. merles, which are often NOT recognizable as merles as adults(though when bred to black tris, they will produce blue merles, thus identifying one parent as a hidden merle). When these hidden merles are bred to other merles (accidentally or unknowingly), thus doubling up on the merle (M) gene, the result (if the puppy inherits one M–merle–gene from each parent) will be a puppy with two M genes–a homozygous merle. These puppies will be deaf and/or blind, and some will have other internal health problems as well as possibly being infertile. The fact that they are deaf and/or blind will not be recognized until they are older (around weaning time), hence a decision will have to be made about what to do with them….
At this time, there are already normal (single M) merle Chihuahuas which have been diagnosed by two independent veterinarians with deafness and eye problems that will lead to blindness. Is this really for the betterment of the breed? 
What the Merle Breeders do NOT tell You
Another much more serious and important issue is the higher occurrence of health problems in Merle Chihuahuas. You may wonder how this is so, when merle is only a color pattern? Well, unfortunately, unlike other colors, the merle gene acts on a color and lightens and whitens certain parts of it (creating patches)…the whitening is what causes defects. Often, when a dog’s coat is whitened, the pigment inside of their ear and on their eye, also whitens…making the dog DEAF and BLIND as the nerves endings atrophy and die.
Health Problems Associated with the Merle Allele – Both heterozygous merle (Mm) and homozygous double merle (MM) dogs may exhibit auditory and ophthalmic abnormalities including mild to severe deafness, increased intra ocular pressure, ametropia, microphthalmia and colobomas. The double merle genotype may also be associated with abnormalities of skeletal, cardiac and reproductive systems.”
Definition of Heterozygous-one parent is a merle, the other is a non-merle. Also known as single merles, or Mm.
Definition of Homozygous-both parents are merle. Also known as double merles, or MM.
Based on information about the merle gene in Dachshunds, all merles that are brought into the MERLE PUPPY 2 world have a 36.8% chance of developing some sort of hearing loss, resulting from either slight hardness of hearing to total deafness (Willis). This percent is for puppies that result from one parent that is a merle, and the other that is a non-merle. Other problems such as eye problems were also apparent. While many breeder’s admit that there are problems when breeding two merles together, they do not admit there is also a problem when breeding a merle to a non-merle which is the breeding most breeders do. This is what the Merle Chihuahua breeders DO NOT tell you. You can still get deaf and blind puppies from this type of “safe” breeding.
So please keep in mind, if you are interested in getting a Merle Chihuahua, you may not actually get a healthy puppy. A pup may appear to be healthy, but might actually have impaired hearing or vision. For the reason of health problems and questionable parentage, the presence of the merle pattern in Chihuahuas is being banned in many countries world-wide.

What every judge must know about Chihuahuas in order to understand and judge them correctly.  Why must a Chihuahua move quickly? and constantly!  Why is he programmed to fear overhead movement and why does he “pancake”? 

1.   WHAT IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT YOUR BREED?

That Chihuahuas are delicate and need to be pampered.

2.  WHAT IS THE CHIHUAHUA’S MOST DEFINING PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC?

The head. Any other dogs with that apple shaped head are genetically linked to the Chihuahua (as so many breeds are) but without exception, the ChiChi head, including molera and open topskull, is absolutely unique in all of dogdom. Other breeds have large, round eyes but none have that short little button nose and softly luminous eyes that gives the Chihuahua that one-of-a-kind baby doll expression.

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3.  WHICH BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTIC MOST TYPIFIES THE CHIHUAHUA?

Their ridiculously fearless attitude with other dogs large or small, the “terrier-like qualities.”  Okay, terriers are like that but they are not in a tiny little Chihuahua body.

4.  WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON JUDGING MISTAKE IN CHIHUAHUAS?

Beginning the exam with the hand held higher than the dog’s head. No dog likes that approach but in one that can be snatched up by a hawk, it stimulates the inherent instinct to duck down from anything “flying” overhead. Approach the table with hand held low, palm up, and rest your hand next to the dog for an instant so that he can see what it is.

The handler often has the dog strung up or bait shoved in the mouth so he doesn’t recognize the thing hovering over him as a friendly hand.

5.  WOULD YOU PREFER THE BREED BE JUDGED STANDING OR MOVING?

Moving. Again, too many handlers have not read the standard and don’t realize the critical importance of a survival skill like  “alert, swift-moving” so they want the dog to stand perfectly still and bait like a statue. You can’t evaluate the static Chihuahua any more than the breed could have survived without being programmed for constant motion.  And the soundness to evade an eagle’s claws or landing in the cooking pot!

6.  WHAT COSMETIC ALTERATIONS SHOULD JUDGES KNOW ABOUT?

I don’t know of any that really pertain to this breed. Tail carriage has a lot of latitude, dentition isn’t the end of the world in any toy breed, and any colour is correct in the Chihuahua so there is no incentive to alter anything.

7.  WHAT IS OF GREATEST CONCERN TO BREEDERS TODAY?

Extreme heads. Eye-catching exaggerated heads. Having said that, what should be of the most concern is to STOP IT before we destroy the breed. The tiny button (called a nose) stuck on a paper plate profile that contains dangerously large eyes mounted on a misshapen topskull should be of great concern to judges as well as breeders.

8.  WHAT IS THE MOST ENDEARING QUALITY OF YOUR BREED?

Although they are the most “pack oriented” breed I know, the Chihuahua will forsake the company of any dog, any time, under any circumstance in order to be in a human lap.

9.  WHAT ARE THE THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE THE CHIHUAHUA?

Most Ancient Lapdog

 

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The Chihuahua –

 No, it’s not a rat, nor a toy – it’s a dog, a real dog, with teeth and attitude. Tiny in size but large in spirit, the Chihuahua is one of those highly evolved breeds that has managed to convince most humans that it should be carried around everywhere. Of course for a Chihuahua simply walking down a sidewalk or hanging out in the kitchen can be a risky business. At less than six pounds, a little buddy subjected to a careless misstep by a human can be badly injured. However most Chihuahuas are very affectionate anyhow and prefer cuddling close to their humans.smoothcoat4

The Chihuahua is an old breed with an obscure history. Most believe that it originated in Mexico with the Mayans, Toltecs and Aztecs, but other less favoured theories suggest Egypt, Malta, or even China. Certainly the indigenous people of Central America kept small dogs that the rich seemed to revere enough to want buried alongside themselves after death. The dogs were apparently ritually sacrificed after their masters died, under the belief that the sins of the master were then transferred to the dog, ensuring safe passage of the (human) soul to its final resting spot.

If Chihuahuas have a negative reputation, it is often that they seem “snappy,” “yappy” or “sharp.” In part this is probably due to their strong attachment to their humans (they are not particularly drawn to strangers) and the fact that everything else in the world is so big. It can also be a result of poor breeding. However a large factor in the behaviour of any dog derives from the attitudes of its human caregivers. With a dog that can be carried around like a baby and whose bite is a joke (though from personal experience, a Chihuahua bite is not always funny), owners are often overindulgent and can lack a sense of the need for training. A Rottweiler must be trained. A badly behaved or poorly socialized Chihuahua, on the other hand, is unlikely to get an owner into much trouble.

The Chihuahua is a great city dog and a fine little buddy. Contrary to the beliefs of many, it is a true dog if treated as such, and will reward a loving human family with great charm, loyalty and affection. Tiny breeds have special needs (for example, they cannot be left outdoors) but are easier to keep in countless ways. If your lifestyle suits a Chihuahua, a Chihuahua may suit you. But be prepared to buy new colour coordinated clothing as he will probably want to be in your arms a lot.

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