Chihuahuas are commonly associated with Mexico. This perception is so prevalent that Taco Bell began featuring a talking Chihuahua in their commercials in the late 1990s. While Chihuahuas obviously do not talk, they do have personality and charm which makes them wonderful pets. 

The breed is quite small, compared to most, and these dogs tend to be considered as being personal pets. This is to say that they are most comfortable being owned by a single person or a couple and can be skittish around families and strangers.

Devotion and loyalty are two of their most prevalent traits. Chihuahuas need a lot of attention and will let you know by barking if they are feeling lonely. They prefer to play with their owners all of the time and will be quite active during the day. 

Chihuahuas are very intelligent and can be trained, if done so very patiently. They thrive on attention and affection and will naturally be very affectionate in return.

two cute Chihuahuas playing together outside

Chihuahua Information

  • Average Height: 6 to 9 inches
  • Average Length: 9.5 to 15 inches
  • Average Weight: 3 to 6 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium length
  • Coat Appearance: Smooth-coat that is shiny or long-coat that is soft with slight curls
  • Coat Colors: Black and tan; chocolate and tan; fawn and white; and solid colors like black and gold.
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: Medium Shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: Once every week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: Yes
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: They are loyal and affectionate, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: Safe yes, but not a good overall choice for children
  • Good with Other Dogs: Low
  • Good with Other Pets: Low
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: Yes
  • Training: They are intelligent and easy to train 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium 
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Commonly occurring diseases are patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, heart diseases, collapsed trachea, hydrocephalus, and shivering.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 18 years
a Chihuahua looking at the camera

Physical Appearance of Chihuahua

Chihuahuas have an off-square body shape. Most Chihuahuas have dark brown eyes that have a round and full shape. A full-grown adult Chihuahua has an apple-shaped head with large, erect ears. The ears of the Chihuahuas are floppy when they are puppies and gradually stand up as they get older. They have long tails relative to the size of their body, and tend to have an upward curve.

Chihuahuas come in two types of coat – smooth and long. The smooth coats are shiny, short, and lie closer to the body. The hair near the head and ears is thinner with fury hair on the tail and long hairs near the neck. For the long-haired Chihuahua, the coat is soft and can either sit straight or have slight curls. Their ears have fringe hair with fluffy hair at the tail that gives it a plumed look. The hair on the rest of the body is similar to what the smooth-coat Chihuahua has. 

Their coats can either be solid or tri color shades. The most common colors are black; white; fawn; tricolors – chocolate with tan and white; and black with white and tan. These colors come in different shades and can range from pale to dark. The coat may also feature markings like spots, brindle, or similar markings.

Temperament of Chihuahua

They are known to be fearless and have a lively and expressive personality. The dog is very observant and is generally alert. The dog is always curious about their surroundings which makes them good watchdogs. Chihuahuas are loyal to their owners and love to play with them. Though they look small, they can sometimes act nasty and mean. They also have a tendency to bark a lot.

Chihuahuas have a dynamic personality. The dog will run around the house, slide inside blankets, wave their paws in the air, and do many things that people will generally find amusing. They have high enthusiasm that can also sometimes stem into aggression. Most Chihuahuas are reserved when it comes to meeting strangers. You can give them early socialization training to help them react better with strangers. They also have a jealous personality especially towards children.

Training a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are smart and intelligent. This makes them quick learners and easy to train. But sometimes they can be difficult to teach. You should use positive reinforcement techniques and obedience training with your Chihuahua to see the best results. The training should be full of affection and treats. Do not become charmed by their cute and small personality as they like to see what they can get away with.  They will often test you If you do not correct their behavior when they misbehave.

It is highly recommended that you send them for puppy training early on. This will help them socialize with other dogs at a young age. This will help to take care of their enthusiastic personality. 

When potty training them it is very important to be patient with them.  If they urinate on the floor and you yell at them it can confuse them and make them afraid to urinate in front of you in the future.  This could make it very difficult to know if they’re going potty when you let them outside if you cannot see them do their business.  

Practice kennel training with them. Have them go inside the kennel and let them stay for five minutes. Slowly increase this further.  Many dogs come to find their kennel as their safe place and given enough time will go to it if they become scared or need some time alone. 

Owing to their small size, they do not have high exercise needs. However, you should ideally take them out for walks. Keep it limited to short durations and lift them up when you can see that they start to feel tired. As they are generally timid with strangers, you should try to socialize them with other pets and strangers as much as possible. 

a super cute Chihuahua with a big smile on their face

Their Compatibility with Children

Chihuahuas usually bond well with 1 family member, and this is the person that they will want to spend most of their time with.  Usually this will not be a child as children do not treat them as they want to be treated. As long as the Chihuahua is not near the owner that they have bonded with they should be OK around children from its family.  However the dog is known to be very defensive and can try to bite people if they approach while they are “guarding” the favored family member.  

two cute Chihuahuas playing in the grass together

The Chihuahua can be tolerant of children, but this is only if they have been trained to live with them from the beginning. Otherwise, Chihuahuas can feel jealous of young kids if you do not give them proper attention. In addition to that, as they have a small size, it could be unsafe to leave them alone with kids. Your kid can pick the dog up and accidentally drop him which can injure the Chihuahua.

The dog can sometimes turn aggressive towards kids, especially when it feels scared, or that it is being teased. You should teach your children how to play with the Chihuahua. Make them hold the Chihuahua with a gentle touch and ask them not to pick them up.  For the best experience for all it is best not to play aggressively around the dog. Until you know how the children and the Chihuahua will interact, make sure that there is always an adult to supervise the interactions. This will keep both your kids and Chihuahua happy and safe.

Best Climate for Chihuahua

Chihuahua are the type of dog that should be kept indoors. All types of Chihuahuas have the same temperature tolerance. Chihuahuas are unequipped to handle the cold climate. You may notice them shaking or shivering if the temperature is 65.  They cannot withstand temperatures below 45 degrees for very long. If you live in a cold climate you should put a coat on them to keep them warm. 

When it comes to hot temperatures, Chihuahuas are more adaptable. They love to bask in the sun and it is fun for them. You can spend time out with your pet in the afternoon to keep them happy. However, the pet is sensitive to hot temperatures, and staying out for long without water or shade can lead to a heat stroke. Make sure that they have enough water to drink and a cool place to rest.

The Attention a Chihuahua Needs

Chihuahuas need a lot of attention. They are affectionate and like to express their love to their owners. However, they also want to be loved in return with the same intensity. Chihuahuas have a jealous personality and can start behaving weirdly if they feel neglected because you are spending time with children or other dogs. It is one of the reasons why most Chihuahuas are not comfortable around children. 

Spend maximum time with your Chihuahua and ensure that they get all the attention they need. Leaving them alone can make them anxious and can also lead to separation anxiety.

Health Issues

There are no major health issues that Chihuahuas seem to develop. But like other dogs this breed is also known to have certain health conditions. Like other small dogs they are prone to suffer from Patellar Luxation, a disease that can cause discomfort in the leg. In severe cases it can turn into arthritis. 

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is also a disease that is seen in Chihuahuas. It can be easily treated in initial stages but if not diagnosed quickly, it can turn fatal and lead to coma or death. Other diseases include Heart Murmurs and Pulmonic Stenosis.

a Chihuahua sitting outside in the dark
a Chihuahua sitting in a grassy field

They can also develop certain respiratory and brain diseases that are mild in nature. Another common condition with Chihuahuas is shivering. They shiver mostly when exposed to cold but it can also happen when they are under stress or excited.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Chihuahuas have minimum grooming needs. They should be given a bath once every two weeks. Use a dog shampoo to ensure their shiny and smooth coat does not turn rough. As they are small and have short coats it is easy to wash them. They shed lightly and brushing them once a week is enough. You can use a brush with short bristles to gently remove the loose hair.

Also clean their ears to remove the wax once every week. Use a cotton ball to softly clean only the visible part of the ear only. Some Chihuahuas can develop tear stains below their eyes. Use a washcloth to gently clean it. Avoid using any cleaning products meant for humans as it can enter their eyes and cause irritation. 

Their nails grow fast and should be trimmed once every two weeks. This will prevent their nails from hurting you or making it uncomfortable for them to walk. Perform weekly checks to look for any bad odors or infections coming from areas like the nose, ears, eyes and paws. If you see anything strange, take them to the vet immediately.

Feeding A Chihuahua

Chihuahuas should be given ¼ to ½ cups of dog food during the day. This should be divided into two meals. Puppies might require a higher meal size as they are growing and usually more active than adults. The specific meal size for your pet will ideally depend upon the kind of activities it does and also the quality of dog food you serve them. To keep them healthy, always serve high-quality food to your dog.

Set fixed schedules to feed them. Do not let them eat freely by keeping the food outside within their reach. Also be careful to not overfeed them, and avoid giving them people food. This will make them gain excessive weight. If you want to serve them human food, consult your vet before feeding them.

Related Questions:

Which is better, male or female Chihuahua?

Though generally female dogs tend to be gentle it is opposite in the case of Chihuahuas. Male Chihuahuas tend to be more affectionate and loyal. This is because female Chihuahuas are known for being bossy and independent.

Are Chihuahuas classified as a toy breed?

a pile of multi colored dog food

Yes, they fall under the category of toy breeds. It is a term used to refer to small dogs. Many toy breeds have been crossbred to reduce their size. However, Chihuahuas are one of the few ‘natural’ toy breeds.

Why you should be careful with their heads?

Much like small babies, Chihuahuas have a soft spot on their heads. Most times, this spot closes when the dog grows but sometimes it may not close fully. Any hard taps or accidental bumps on their head can become fatal. You should be careful when touching their heads.

C&R Family Pets logo
Quick Links