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A Closer Look at the Chihuahua
by Laurence Fitt-Savage

SKULL

The most individual attribute of any breed tends to be the head; the Chihuahua is no exception.  As a toy/lap/pet dog this individuality is a key function of the breed.

The skull of the Chihuahua is of most unusual shape.  The skull of 'basic dog' is like an elongated cube, with a bony occipital peak and a slight bony ridge along the centre line of the skull, where the plates of the cranium knit together.  The Chihuahua, as a legacy of the dwarfing of the breed, has a large rounded baby-like skull.  Mammalian babies tend to be born with disproportionately large heads (and eyes) which grow on more slowly than the rest of the animal.  In the chi this largeness of head and eye is never completely lost.  The large head of a whelp requires that the many bones which knit together to form the skull must be capable of movement at birth to allow the bitch to pass the head.  In chis these bones do not always grow together as the head develops and changes shape during puppyhood.  A small gap (molera) is left atop the skull where the bones fail to meet.  Provided this gap is not large, and that there are not several gaps, the presence of a molera is of little significance.  In many Chihuahuas the cranial plates do knit together, they should not however form a crest or ridge where they meet.

In shape the skull should resemble an apple (a cooking apple is generally thought most descriptive), it should not be a perfect round (ball) shape.  A round skull would lose breadth between the ears, and less room within the cranium.  The eye sockets should be well protected with a bony surround, it is this protection of the eye sockets which lifts the front lobes of the skull and creates greater width at eye level.  This protection also forms the basis for the required distinct stop.  A round skull lacking this protection will either have small eyes, or 'frog' eyes which stick out.

[ Next ]

Skull :: Jaws and Cheeks :: Muzzle :: Bite :: Eyes :: Ears :: Neck :: Forequarters
Shoulder :: Movement :: Balance :: Forehand :: Foreaction :: Musculature
Hindquarters :: Hindaction :: Croup :: Angulation :: Back :: Body Shape :: Chest :: Tail

Reproduced from the British Chihuahua Club Handbook 1987

 
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