Dog Expertise

By Marzia Miodini, Paolo Tartaro, Francesco di Paola Nuzzo
- Source: Magazine All About Chihuahua n° 1

How many times have we heard statements from breeders or simply dog lovers, who praise their personal taste. In the case of our Chihuahua there are those who love a very short muzzle, a well built body, a dog which has long legs. But this subjective vision has no place in dog expertise and selection is based on Standard, that is the ethnic characteristics of a breed, in other words a prototype established by a recognised competent association in the country of origin, in our case Mexico. On the basis of Standard in Dog Shows, the judges have the job to carry out checks zoology to make sure that the subject has all the characteristics of the breed it belongs to and is able to execute all the functions it should.
Consequently the dog expertise does not leave much space for personal tastes!!!!!

Beauty is not indispensable in zoology but only and addition to functionality and to the requisites of a standard of a breed leaving out personal tastes.

There are various types of beauty that specifically relate to our Mexican breed with an aesthetic print that include: beauty that is Absolute, Relative, Harmonious. Absolute beauty is a togetherness of characteristics which is true for every breed. Relative Beauty is the togetherness of characteristics that belong to a particular breed and none other. In Harmony we have the active participation of other beauty values, that is, profile, form and proportional dimensions.

In this first issue of the magazine solely dedicated to the Chihuahua, we shall stop to analyse the Chihuahua's head knowing that this is a typical indication to the type of breed.

Remembering our Great Teacher Professor Giuseppe Solaro …the main part of this breed's character comes from the "head" because in the head we find in great measure the characteristics of "Type".

Even in virtue the fact that the head is composed of a great number of parts (truffle, nose cane, stop, forehead, occipital, nape, ears, parotid, masseter, front breast, eyelashes, eyes etc) these areas are interdependent and help in influencing one another.

The total of the particular characteristics more than the relative beauty of the cranial and facial regions, determine the type.

It is important to know the particular characteristics of a breed to be able to select the deviations of type: HYPER TYPE or IPO TYPE .

Whoever chooses a dog should have as an objective, the ideal type and not hyper or the lack of type. The excessive defects or typological defects are to be penalised in every breed, and they are much worse than defects in build since they vary from requisites of standard. A dog that is hyper type or atypical non-longer belongs to that particular breed, in other words it becomes a caricature or a pale imitation.


In a companion breed like our Chihuahua, where beauty is not a function in the strict sense of the word, it is easy to abandon the way of moderation and harmony much to the detriment of breed-characteristics. Changes in the sideway diameter and the length of the nose, the length of the face or the folds of the facial areas or skull.
At the same time the excessive reduction of characteristics in a Chihuahua is represented by a nearly flat skull, long muzzle, with cranial and facial axis that tend to diverge, a slightly pronounced stop etc.
Our little Chihuahua is a Mexican dogs with very particular characteristics, with extremes that vaguely remind us of a little oriental dog or small deficiencies that remind us of the small Papillion or Pincher and which should be severely penalised.
In our little Chihuahua, the head is composed of two big regions, the skull and facial, greatly respecting the body, but in harmonious proportion.
The Cephalic Index is that of a non-imposed ( brachycephalic) , with a wolf-like characteristics where the nose is concerned.

It must never be flat, but rounded with a round forehead similar to the shape of an apple, wide mainly between the parietal and less wide between the temporal and the right development should be noted sideways.
Standards talk about a head in the shape of an apple that should not appear to be too wide as to make one think of characteristics connected to hydrocelophaly. Seen from the top it must remind us of a cube with rounded edges and should therefore not be too wide.
(The behaviour of) The upper longitudinal axis of the skull (which is an imaginary line which starts from the centre of the occipital squirm point of the craniometrical defined as "inion" which then joins the seam of the front bone with the nasal bone, "nasion") is parallel to the superior longitudinal bone of the nose (represented by a line which runs along the superior margin of the nose, starting from the front of the truffle dog, to join with the so called eye-line). In the truffle, a slight upward inclination is noted which confirms a typical expression of the breed.
Because of the (behaviour) of the parallel longitudinal facial skull structure, a stressed frontal nose depression is noted, due to the shape of the front facial bone and the lowering of the nasal apophasis and of the upper jaw that determine the stop which in the case of regular axis, is always evident, whilst in the case of abnormality, its conspicuousness is enough.
In the Chihuahua the stop has a notable importance of characteristic, its angle is roughly 90 degrees. This area must be wide, lightly convex above the incision of the stout. The degree of nasal frontal depression is determined by the facial-cranial angle, which after the facial-cranial axis, determine the type of head with regards to the bones.
Between the parietal and frontal bones, an undesirable cartilaginoid space could be present "The Front". This disappears during growth in all breeds but in Chihuahuas it persists, sometime in adults.
The last indications to Standard leads us to try to eliminate or at least to reduce these characteristics, once considered a distinctive mark of breed.
The two eye orbits should face front and there should be a good distance between them.


Examining the facial area, we cannot stop at the evaluation of the length of the nose to state ' a typical muzzle'.
The nasal area has to be analysed thoroughly, taking into consideration its dimension, the facets, the profile, size of the lips, facial folds and its rima oris.
In the Chihuahua, the upper profile of its muzzle, which coincides with the nasal bone, is straight and never diverged nor convergent. Studying it from the side the upper and lower lines of the muzzle, which in a Chihuahua coincide with the jaw, almost seem to be parallel.
The muzzle looks truncated, short but not too much so. It must have the right proportion in harmony with the skull. From 2004 the Standard FCI abandoned the previous definition for the mouth "moderately short" for the more precise definition of "short muzzle". Seeing that in both cases a personal interpretation presents itself, we can say that the muzzle needs to measure about ¼ of the total dimension of the head.

The facial area must not have wrinkles and it should feel elastic and dry. The ends of the muzzle should be wide thinning out towards the oral area. Consequently the sides of the muzzle will be lightly converged and the lip development will be very slight like in all breeds whose lateral sides of the muzzle are converged.
The cheeks or facial muscle region, are not fully developed an very dry. Zoology teaches us that limited development of this area is desirable for these breeds and contained growth is required to avoid an bloated aspect, to underline the refined orbital area, which is of absolute value.
A well chiselled under-eye area is a distinctive factor.


The lips must be tight, dry, never with droopy skin, always very drawn, never too full, with no wrinkles or folds, to favour a good visibility of the lip line. The joining line of the lips must not be visible, the upper lip must never droop and must not totally cover the lower lip.
Putting together all these morphological characteristics of the facial and cranial region, our Chihuahua will have a happy expression, cheeky and impertinent, which has always distinguished it.

In the following issues, we will continue to talk about the ideal Type, the excesses and shortcomings, in other words Hyper or non hyper type, and the values of harmony both absolute and relative. WE WILL EXAMINE MORE CLOSELY, THE 'EXPRESSION OF THIS BREED', CONTINUING WITH ITS HEAD AND ANALISING IN DETAIL EYES, EARS AND TEETH. WE WILL TALK ABOUT GENERAL ASPECT, IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS AND BODY, MOVEMENT, SKIN AND COAT, BEHAVIUOR AND TEMPERAMENT.

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