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News Article

UK study documents common disorders of Chihuahuas

Periodontal disease, obesity, retained deciduous dentition, anal sac impaction and aggression were identified as common health issues within the breed

Research led by the Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) VetCompass™ programme characterized the demography, age at death and common disorders of Chihuahuas under primary veterinary care during 2016 in the UK. The findings are published in BMC Veterinary Research.

The study reveals that Chihuahua ownership in the UK has increased over five-fold in the past decade from 1.0% of all puppies born in 2005 to 5.4% in 2016.

The most common health concerns of Chihuahuas were dental disease (13.5%), obesity (5.9%) and retained deciduous dentition (5.7%). Compared with other dogs, Chihuahuas were more prone to aggression (4.2%), patellar luxation (4.0%) and cryptorchidism (3.9%).

Other key findings include:

  • Males are more likely than females to show aggression, heart murmur, otitis externa, conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract infection. There were no disorders that were more common in females.
  • The average adult Chihuahua bodyweight was 3.4 kg.
  • The average Chihuahua lifespan was 8.2 years. Females (10.2 years) generally outlived males (6.9 years).
  • The most common causes of Chihuahua deaths were heart disease (18.8%), lower respiratory tract disorder 16.3% and traumatic injury (13.8%).


Article: O'Neill, D.G., Packer, R.M.A., Lobb, M., Church, D.B., Brodbelt, D.C., Pegram, C. (2020). Demography and commonly recorded clinical conditions of Chihuahuas under primary veterinary care in the UK in 2016. BMC Veterinary Research 16, 42, doi: 10.1186/s12917-020-2258-1

Article details

  • Date
  • 12 February 2020
  • Source
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals