Dog Expertise

By Marzia Miodini, Paolo Tartaro, Francesco di Paola Nuzzo
- Source: Magazine All About Chihuahua n° 2

We have come to the second episode of the description,on technical basis,of the correct morphology of the Chihuahua.
In this second issue we continue to deal with the description of the head of the Chihuahua, in order to master the concept of breed and analyzing expression profiles and in detail the regions of the head (cranial and facial)eyes,ears and teeth.In this study we will use the tools that the science gives us,angles and lines(sagittal medial line,horizontal line,corners of the eyes,facial lateral axes and angles)to clearly understand few basic notion.
Espressione EXPRESSION
The expression of Chihuahua is intelligent,caring,sweet,alert,lively and absolutely never mean or frowning.Each breed has an Expression of its own,and so characteristic of great weight in assessing the quality of a subject.
The expression is a character difficult to define and describe, it is not an objective fact or a quantifiable one,such as colour,weight and size. To be able to describe it we will use graphics, but nevertheless in order to grasp it, you need the experience that comes from the accurate and continuous observation of the subject.
The expression is given by the regions and the characteristics of the head and its components: the skull, foreface, the planes of forehead and of the bridge of the nose, facial longitudinal axis, the stop position, shape, size and colour of the eyes, of the set, size and carriage of the ears. Every feature of the head helps to define the expression of our little Mexican boy, we can not, for example,forget the importance of the position of the mandible and maxilla,the good development of the chin the skin supple and thin,the broad nose and its pigmentation and so on.
Furthermore, we must add, as integral factor, the relative and absolute beauty with its strengths and faults and the ethnic characteristics, required by the standard, to be found in the regions of the foreface and skull of which we have already discussed in the previous issue. It 's time now to talk about, eyes, ears and teeth.

This organ helps to determine the relative beauty (typical of the breed) and the absolute beauty,but also contributes to functional beauty (for obvious reasons).
The eye is located in the orbital cavity,belongs to the sub-region of the muzzle,is a spherical body composed of,inter alia,the cornea,sclera and iris in the centre of which is the pupil,is surrounded by the eyelids (upper and lower) in Chihuahua, which must be well bonded to the eyeball.
The two eyelids meet in the eye's corners,the medial,directed towards the axis of the medial head (the imaginary line that divides the head longitudinally into two exactly alike),and the lateral which is the outer corner.
The study about dogs conformation distinguishes the eye position in: Frontal, Sub-frontal semilateral, Side, Ultra-Side.In order to classify the position of the eyes is necessary to measure the angle determined by the eyelid axis(i.e. the straight line that links the medial corner to the lateral corner)with the longitudinal axis of the medial head.The frontal eye is the one where the two lines are forming an angle approaching 90° and this is the case of Chihuahua. Of course,the eye position is determined by the shape of the head and all breeds with well-developed skull width and stop have frontal eyes.
In judgment, beyond the assess of the eye position, there also must be a proper distance between them,very important factor in determining the expression is the shape of the eyelid that has to be rounded according to the frontal position. Chihuahua's eyes are big but not huge,always in harmonious balance with the head,never spherical and prominent,the eyelids should be well pigmented,this helps to visually enlarge the eye, and the sclera should never be visible.
The correct size and correct position of the eyes are the key to the alert, bright and intelligent expression own by Chihuahua.
An imaginary line parallel to the horizon,starting from the low point of insertion of the ear,passing through the eye from the medial to lateral corner, touches the meeting point of the apophysis of the nose bone and the muzzle. The centre of the eye is on the path of a straight imaginary line that links the corner of the eyes with the base of the stop and the lowest point of insertion of the ear.To be favourite are dark colours,taking into account that the eye colours are in close genetic link with the coat colour and pigmentation of the mucous. Form,colour and position of the eyes,concur to take the breed type.

The evaluation of the ear is another important parameter to determine the type and also helps to distinguish the expression.The auricles are placed on the temple limited in front by the zygomatic region.When examining the ear we are looking at the shape,size,position and posture.The shape of the Chihuahua ear is that of an isosceles triangle that has two equal sides, wide at the base,which coincides with the insertion of the auricle on the temporal region, thinning gradually towards the tip.The length is measured from the apex of the ear to the attachment on the temporal region. The front and rear edges correspond to the equal sides of the isosceles triangle and are straight.The tip,the upper end of the triangle,in Chihuahua is slightly rounded.The inner side is concave and the outer side is convex and are the two faces of the auricle,the tissues of the ear cartilage should be soft,thin and flexible,and softer towards the tip.
In the outside it should be covered with short,fine hair in smooth coat Chihuahua.
In long coat Chihuahua the fringes are of moderate length,longer at the base of the ear,and decreasing towards the tip.

The ear is well set when the lowest point of insertion is aligned with the lateral corner of the eye.The Chihuahua's ears lobe is inserted low on the skull, but are high when the dog is alert.
The insertion at the base is moderately large,placed more on the sides of the skull rather than above it,when resting their median axis should have has an angle of approximately 45° degrees compared to the horizontal line, approximately,their position is called +10 to -10 as if we were looking at a clock's dial.When paying attention or in alert,the Chihuahua reduces the angle's opening, bringing the ears closer and in a higher position.When relaxed or in some specific mood the Chihuahua flattens his ears on the skull.The ear standard refers to a 45 degree angle at rest.

The ears are carried in erect position only, are big but not huge,always in close harmony with the head and well spaced apart,because of their size the Chihuahua's ears might take sometime to be fully erected,and until fully grown sometimes the tips are weak and can fold forward or backward.Is instead a serious fault if the cartilage is too thick and heavy because that prevents the ear to be erect.Small ears placed high on the head like those of cats will give the Chihuahua a Pomeranian look and that is a type fault.
In the past in when judging toys breed dentition was often undervalued, were today,rightly,we look for correct and complete,dentition,as required by the standard.Age and the small size of the incisors and their root can cause the loss of teeth in Chihuahua (as in all dwarf breeds )in this regard, we must give credit to the CCC (Italian Toy Breeds Club)to have established the certificate of full dentition. In this way the teeth of the subject is carefully judged verified and certified,and later dentition changes will not be seen as a genetic fault.When judging Chihuahua dentition you have to examine the bite, the number,the size,cleanliness and alignment of teeth.The Chihuahua jaws must be of the same length.The closure may be scissor bite that means the upper incisors inner face touching the lower incisors outer face,the upper incisors have a slight forward lean than the lower,pincer- bite is also accepted,that is when the upper incisors rest on the lower incisors.When the jaws are not equal in length we face two faults: undershot or overshot.
Undershot, when the upper jaw is shorter than the lower jaw, a severe fault in the ring but does not prevent, however,to the subjecta strong and vigorous physique.
Overshot:, when the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw compromising the visibility of the chin. This inequality of the maxilla and mandible is a serious fault in the standard and is considered an absolute,congenital,degenerative disqualification fault.
An open bite prevents the touch of the upper and lower incisors when the mouth is tightly closed, the tongue usually protrudes to a certain extent. Generally this is due to deviations of the jaws and / or the teeth. The tongue should never be visible when the mouth is closed.
The lack of some incisors in both jaws is a fault closely related to the maxillary arch width, and so related to the muzzle that could be too pointed.

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