a Chihuahua puppy that looks like its smiling while its sitting outside

Chihuahuas are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world, and for good reason. They make great family pets, and they’re small enough to fit into almost any home.

Chihuahuas are a toy breed that originated in Mexico. Chihuahuas are a small dog breed named after the Mexican state Chihuahua where they are thought to come from. They have a long history as companion animals, and they were even used as offerings to gods by the Aztecs.

Today they’re a small companion animal. Their breed is quite small compared to most, and these dogs tend to be considered a personal pet. They are most comfortable being owned by a single person or a couple and can be skittish around families and strangers.

Chihuahuas come in two varieties: long-haired and short-haired. Both types have the same personality traits, but the long-haired Chihuahuas need more grooming.

Chihuahuas need a lot of exercise and attention. They love to play with toys, and will happily entertain you for hours on end. They are also very loyal and loving companions. They are smart enough to learn tricks, and enjoy learning new ones. 

Devotion and loyalty are two of their biggest 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 family all of the time and are quite active during the day. They also like to sleep a lot, and will often curl up next to you when you’re watching TV. 

Chihuahuas are very intelligent and can be trained. To train them you’ll need a lot of patience. They thrive on attention and affection and will naturally be very affectionate in return. They’re an extremely loyal and loving dog. 

Because of their size, they don’t require much room to live comfortably. They are happy to stay indoors, but will appreciate an outdoor area where they can run around and explore.

Chihuahuas are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to certain health issues. These include eye problems, heart disease, and joint issues. It’s important to take your Chihuahua for regular check-ups with your vet to make sure that they stay healthy.

Chihuahuas are a great choice for anyone looking for a small, loyal companion. They’re full of personality and love to be around their owners. With the right care and attention, Chihuahuas can make wonderful family pets.

Overall, Chihuahuas are a great choice for anyone looking for a small, loyal companion. They’re full of personality and love to be around their owners. With the right care and attention, Chihuahuas can make wonderful family pets.

The AKC has the Chihuahua ranked as the 34th most popular dog in 2022!

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
  • 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
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Training: They are intelligent and easy to train 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium 
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, heart diseases, collapsed trachea, hydrocephalus, and shivering.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 14 to 16 years

Physical Appearance of a Chihuahua

a cute Chihuahua puppy that looks sad while its sitting in a field with tall grass

Chihuahuas have an off-square body shape. Most Chihuahuas have dark brown eyes that look bigger than they should be in their tiny head. An adult Chihuahua has an apple-shaped head with large, erect ears. Puppy Chihuahua ears are floppy and gradually stand up as they get older. They have long tails relative to the size of their body. Their tails almost always curve upward with the tip pointing towards their head.

Chihuahuas can have one of two types of coats – smooth or long. The smooth coats are shiny, short, and lie closer to their body. The hair near their head and ears is thinner with fury hair on the tail and long hairs near their neck.

For long-haired Chihuahuas, their coat is soft and can either sit straight or have slight curls. Their ears have fringe hair, and they have fluffy hair at their tail that plooms out like water from a fountain. The hair on the rest of the body is similar to what the smooth-coat Chihuahua has.

Their coats are either 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 can be different shades and can range from pale to dark. The coat may also feature markings like spots, brindle, or similar markings.

Temperament of a Chihuahua

They are known to be fearless and have a lively and expressive personality. The breed is very observant and is always on alert. They are always curious about their surroundings which makes them good watchdogs. Chihuahuas are loyal to their family 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 or even hostile when it comes to meeting strangers. Early socialization training to help them a lot with how they react with strangers. They also have a jealous personality especially towards children or pets that receive a lot of attention.

Training a Chihuahua

a Chihuahua that could use a brush while sitting in front of a blue back drop

Chihuahuas are smart and intelligent. This makes them quick learners and easy to train. But sometimes they can be difficult to teach. Positive reinforcement techniques and obedience training with your Chihuahua will help you see the best results. The training should be full of affection and treats. Do not become charmed by their cute and small personality because 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.

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.

Early Socialization Training

Early socialization is absolutely necessary for Chihuahuas. They need exposure to different sounds, places, people, other dogs, and pets right when they are a puppy. By being exposed to so many things it will help interact more confidently with others and not be so skittish with strangers or other dogs.

Clicker Training

Chihuahuas are known to misbehave fairly often, especially as puppies. They need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.

If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to help your dog understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.

Obedience Training Classes

2 cute Chihuahua puppies leaning against each other

Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy.

The amount of time you spend trying to stop your Chihuahua’s excessive barking can be a lot less if you know the best way to teach them. Because Chihuahuas love barking, with or without obedience training you will likely spend a good deal of time teaching them to be quiet.

Kennel Training

Kennel training works very well with Chihuahuas. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.

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 because 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.

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.

Another issue is that children love to pick up and carry pets. With their small size a child can try to pick the dog up and accidentally drop them, possibly injuring your Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas can sometimes become aggressive with kids, especially when it feels scared, or that it is being teased. Teach your children how to play with the Chihuahua. Have them hold your Chihuahua and show them how to be gentle and let them know not to pick them up. For the best experience for everyone it would be best not to play aggressively around the dog.

Teach your kids the best ways to interact with Chihuahuas. Children should not disturb them when they are eating because they might get bit because your dog thinks their food is being taken away. Until you know how your children and new puppy will react its best to have an adult supervise their interactions. Supervision is the best way to prevent accidents from occurring.

Best Climate for a Chihuahua

2 long hair Chihuahuas standing next to each other outside

Chihuahuas are indoor dogs and the only time they should go outside is for walks, to play, or go potty. All types of Chihuahuas have the same temperature tolerance. Chihuahuas are unequipped to handle cold weather. You may notice them shaking or shivering if the temperature gets below 65. They cannot withstand temperatures below 45 degrees for very long. If you live in a cold climate they will need a coat to keep them warm when let outside.

When it comes to warm weather, Chihuahuas are better suited. 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. It is important to remember that they are sensitive to hot weather. Staying out for too 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 while outside in the summer.

The Attention a Chihuahua Needs

Chihuahuas need a lot of attention. They are affectionate and like to express their love to their family. 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 pets. Their jealousy is one of the reasons why most Chihuahuas are not comfortable around children.

Spend as much time with your Chihuahua and ensure that they get all the attention they need. Leaving them alone for too long can make them anxious and can even 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.


Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is also a disease that is seen in a number of small dog breeds. Hypoglycemia can be easily treated in initial stages but if it’s not diagnosed quickly, it can become fatal and lead to coma or death. 

Hypoglycemia is more likely to happen when your dog is stressed. Their blood sugar levels drop and they can have weakness, confusion, or even seizures. Take your dog to the vet if you see any of these symptoms.


Shivering can be caused by a variety of factors, including fear, anxiety, pain, cold temperatures, and even excitement. Fear and anxiety can cause them to shiver due to the release of adrenaline and other hormones that are associated with these emotions. 

Pain can cause shivering as a result of the body’s natural response to discomfort or injury. Cold temperatures can also cause shivering as the body attempts to generate heat and keep itself warm. Finally, excitement can also cause a dog to shiver due to the release of hormones associated with positive emotions.

Symptoms of Canine Shivering

The most obvious symptom of shivering is, of course, the shaking, or body trembling. Other symptoms can include:

  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness

If your dog has any of these symptoms in addition to shivering and it lasts for longer than you consider reasonable, you should take them to a veterinarian for an examination.


Canine Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition where cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain, causing an increase in intracranial pressure. This increased pressure can lead to a variety of symptoms, including seizures, blindness, and difficulty walking.
Hydrocephalus is a common condition, and can occur in any breed or at any age. It’s most often seen in small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Poodles, and Shih Tzus.
It’s important to note that hydrocephalus is a lifelong condition and can’t be cured. With proper management and treatment, many dogs can lead relatively normal lives. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to develop an individualized treatment plan for your dog. This treatment plan should include regular check-ups, medication, and lifestyle modifications such as avoiding stairs or slippery surfaces.
Your dog will need a safe and comfortable environment. This can include a soft bed, avoiding stairs or slippery surfaces, and plenty of mental stimulation.
By understanding the signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus, you can help ensure that your pet receives the best possible care. With proper management and treatment, your dog can lead a relatively normal life.

Periodontal Disease

Domesticated cats and dogs can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.

Another major problem if the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque build-up in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria enter the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.

One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth. More than likely they won’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is another joint problem that dogs can develop. Patellar luxation happens when the knee joint slides in and out of place. This can be painful for some, and can cause lameness or abnormal walking. Dogs with this problem will usually hop or skip a few steps while walking. Patellar luxation can be painful for some but most will be able to live normally even after having this condition. The disease can lead to arthritis. 

Depending upon the severity of their disease, surgery could be needed to treat patellar luxation. This problem seems to affect smaller dogs more than larger dogs.

Collapsed Trachea

Collapsed trachea is a condition that causes a dog’s windpipe, or trachea to collapse. This condition is usually caused by the cartilage rings weakening that normally help keep the trachea open. This weakening can be due to genetics, obesity or other medical conditions such as heart disease or respiratory infections. Signs of collapsed trachea include a dry, “honking” cough, breathing difficulty, and exercise intolerance. If you think that your dog has a collapsed trachea, please contact your veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.

Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea

The most common symptom of collapsed trachea is a dry, honking cough. This type of cough is typically worse after exercise or excitement and can be heard from a distance. Other signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing especially during exercise
  • Intolerance to physical activity

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

a cute Chihuahua puppy that looks like it needs some grooming

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. Because they are small and have short coats it is easy to wash them. They shed lightly and brushing them once a week should be enough. You can use a brush with short bristles to gently remove the loose hair.

Their ears need to be cleaned to remove the wax once a week. Use a moist cotton pad to softly clean only the visible part of the ear only. Some Chihuahuas can develop tear stains below their eyes. Use a moist washcloth or cotton pad to gently remove it. Avoid using any cleaning products meant for humans because it can enter their eyes and cause irritation.

Their nails grow fast and should be trimmed once every two weeks. Keeping their nails short will prevent their nails from hurting you while playing or making it uncomfortable for them to walk.

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your dog while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding A Chihuahua

a close up of a pile of dog food

Chihuahuas should be given ¼ to ½ cups of dog food during the day split into two feedings. Puppies might require a little more food because they are growing and usually more active than adults. The specific amount of food for your pet will depend upon how active they are and the quality of dog food you feed them. You should not leave the food out in the open so your dog can eat it whenever they want. If they don’t eat it all after it is put out, put the food away until the next scheduled feeding time.

Avoid feeding table scraps to your Chihuahua. If you want to feed them people food, consult your vet before giving them any. They are a small breed and their food needs are minimal. Eating more than what they are supposed to can cause them to put on weight or lead to negative health conditions.

Related Questions:

Which is Better, Male or Female Chihuahuas?

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

Are Chihuahuas Classified as a Toy Breed?

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 Should You 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. Any time you pet their head you should be careful.

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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.