helpful chihuahua information and facts chihuahua owners should know!

famous chihuahua editor chihuahua facts 97 Comments

the chihuahua, with its apple-dome skull and large luminous eyes, can wear a remarkably human expression at times

the chihuahua, with its apple-head skull and large luminous eyes, can wear a remarkably human expression at times and will want to be with you most, if not all of the time.

warning: don’t buy a chihuahua if you don’t have the emotional real estate in your heart or the time for the complete love and attention of this furry little pet.  they are like children.

chihuahuas can be smooth coat or long coat.  apple head or dear head, blue coat or merle coat,  there is no chihuahua breed standard distinction made between the two in the united states, since both smooth coat and long coat can occur in a litter.  experienced chihuahua owners say that each dog of this breed has their own unique personality; this is a very individualistic breed.

a few generalizations can be made. chihuahuas are graceful, energetic, and swift-moving canines.  they have often been described as having “terrier-like” qualities; that is, the qualities of being alert, observant, and keen on interacting with their masters.  they are extremely loyal and get attached to one or two persons.

these tiny and sometimes teacup size dogs are certainly unaware of their diminutive stature: they can be bold with other dogs much larger than themselves, and protective of their masters.  they are fiercely loyal to their masters and wary of any strangers or new guests introduced into the household, which the chihuahua considers to be its personal domain.  for these reasons, chihuahuas make good watch dogs (not guard dogs!).

the chihuahua needs a great deal of human contact: touching, petting, and general attention.  if the chihuahua does not get this, she or he will use various attention-getting tricks until you give her/him attention.  like using paws to lightly scratch the hand, a signal that says, “pet me now!” some owners who have had other, more independent breeds may find the chihuahua too needy.  however, they give a lot of love and affection in return for your care.

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keeping more than one chihuahua can greatly ease the dog’s stress when left alone each day if the owner works.  they will compete for your attention when you get home though. because they are by nature gentle, loyal, and sweet-tempered, chihuahuas are ideal for single people, the elderly, the handicapped, and shut-ins.

chihuahuas will keep you company for hours by lying on your lap or beside your torso if in bed, and treat you like royalty.  no one with a chihuahua in their household will ever be truly alone.  they are quite happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and explore.

opinions differ on how to bathe a chihuahua.  some say that bathing too often removes the natural oils from the coat, and thus dandruff will result and the coat will look dull. others say that shampooing on occasion with certain brands of shampoo can actually enhance the sheen of the coat.  chihuahuas should be bathed at least twice a month, otherwise they develop an unpleasant smell.  this is actually due to the skin cells that humans sloth off onto the chihuahua!  so humans are the main contributors to that smell that can develop.

when bathing, take care not to get water into their ears, as an infection can develop.  you will need to trim their nails at least once a month too.  on the smaller dogs, cat claw trimmers can be used.  it’s good to start a nail trimming routine early on so that your dog becomes accustomed to your handling its paws not to mention getting used to the clippers.  owners should also be aware that chihuahuas are prone to knee problems like luxating patellas or “weak knees.”  this can occur as they get older.  if it causes difficulty in walking, take your dog to the vet.

if a chihuahua pup has its american kennel club official certificate papers, a new pup can run up to $600.00.  the papers (which the breeder provides) mean that the parents of your chihuahua pup is registered with the akc and that the puppy is registrable.

additionally, some breeders provide pedigree papers which trace the family history beyond the immediate parents.  these papers are vital if you plan to enter your new dog into exhibitions and competitions.  these certificates and papers ensure that the dog is a purebred; however, just because a dog has papers, doesn’t mean it is any more special than a pup bought from a friend.

toy breeds live the longest of any size dog.  expect a life-span of 11-18 years.

when buying a leash for your chihuahua, remember that its neck is rather small and delicate compared to other dog’s necks.  you cannot (and, indeed, should not) yank your dog around by the leash.  a body-harness for small dogs is recommended for two reasons: safety and comfort.  if fitted right, it will give your pet a secure and comfortable walk, and harnesses also ensure your dog cannot run into traffic or a bigger creature.

chihuahuas also prefer several small meals per day, rather than one big meal.  they are high-strung dogs.  “high-strung” can be defined as: barks easily, does not adapt easily to change in environment, is suspicious of strangers and will growl at them, and flips in circles and jumps around when excited (like when you come home after a five-minute absence, for instance).  your friends will see the worst side of them and never believe you when you tell them that your little buddy is really a gentle, sweet-natured dog.

are chihuahuas good with children?

generally, no. owners must be very sensitive to the fact that short-haired chihuahuas, and even long-haired ones, are vulnerable to the cold. in temperatures of 35-40 degrees fahrenheit, it is recommended that you dress your chihuahua in a warm dog sweater for brief walks.  walking your chihuahua in temperatures below 35 degrees fahrenheit is strongly discouraged, especially when there is a wind-chill factor.

In this, as in other aspects of dog maintenance, keep your dogs’ health top priority, not your own desire.  it is a characteristic of the chihuahua to prefer to sleep under a cloth or blanket.  they will even get under pillows in order to feel snug. If you are raising a pup, be sure to provide them with a soft towel or blanket in their sleeping area so they can burrow underneath it. So don’t be surprised if your chihuahua scrambles under your blankets at night, even though your house or apartment may not be particularly cold.

chihuahuas are quite the sun-worshipers.  they prefer to bask in the sun for hours and have been known to lie in a spot of sun no larger than the size of a half-dollar!  unfortunately, they are not sensible in this regard and will stay in the sun even when panting begins.

watching your chihuahua in hot weather to be sure that they don’t suffer from heat stroke is a genuine chihuahua health concern.  chihuahuas do shiver when they’re cold, but they also shiver when they are wary, excited, unhappy, or frightened.  this is a result of having a high metabolism, and is a normal characteristic of this breed.

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Comments 97

  1. Emma L.

    My chihuahua is very aggressive towards other dogs and I rescued her at 2 months old (she is now 2) she also barks and growls at anyone who walks towards her or towards our house. My family and I are positive that she was abused before we adopted her. I was wondering if anyone knew any tricks to help me make her stop all of this.

  2. Kay Cole

    My chihuahua I love so much. She follows me all over the house, stays in my lap or in my recliner next to me. Always licking my hands and arms. Two nights ago sometime during the night she got in the bed with me and I did not know it until I must have hit her with my arm and she cried out. Since than she will not have anything to do with me at all. Help please.

  3. chyen best

    I just got a male chihuahua and I know nothing. Please advice. He’s nothing I’ve ever seen before. He will hug me with his neck. And aall he wants is me. I think he may be an adult but he behaves way to good. I got him from someone who got tired of him. But I can tell he’s been beaten and neglected. I was beaten and abused. We are never apart…

  4. jade

    I have a 1 yr old chihuahua named Gizmo, recently had a few problems. He has problems with his breathing sometimes but only when hes eaten to quick or drank too quick its like he stands still and seems like hes struggling to breathe i googled it and said it was reverse sneezing hes done this since he was young. But lately hes beem choking and been bringing up frothy liquid. Bit unsure why. He was seen by a vet twice because he got to the point where he wasnt eating or drinking and had to use a syringe to give him water. He was then put on antibiotics but hes still bringing up the frothy stuff up and coughs like he has something stuck? Can anyone help me on this? Its really worrying me

  5. John

    My 6 month pup just started laying her neck and chest over each family members face and neck when we lay on our backs on the floor. Seems like an odd behavior I am in familiar with. Is this common in the breed?

  6. Liesle

    My chuhuehue mix was diagnosed with a collapsed trachea as a puppy and developed a bad case of bronchitis. The Vet rx’ed a nebulizer, daily injections of an antibiotic, daily injections of a steroid, and a few ml of cough syrup. It cleared up nicely, but I needed to use nebulizer (with baby sized mask) for about 15 min. 3-4 times a day for a few weeks. As I lived on an Indian Reservation at the time, the Vet was a 5 hour round trip,. It was a few days before I could get to the Vet, so for the first few days I would sit with him in the bathroom, with a hot shower running. I am surprised your Vet rx’ed an opioid based pain killer, as this will depress breathing. I hope your little guy gets well soon.

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  8. Michele

    I haven’t seen anyone mention a collapsed trachea that these dogs have a problem my poor 8 yr old has a lot of trouble with hers the wheezing too Dr put her on hydocodone for the coughing it’s not working stopped the pill any ideas anyone

  9. Ann

    Hi, my Chi George is just 1 year old, I love him to bits, I always thought Chis were very cuddly but he’s not! He likes to sit with me but doesn’t particularly like a cuddle, my hubby says he will in time, he’s young, he is a bit on the nervous side & doesn’t like walking or visiting unfamiliar places, very wary of traffic too. I take him out most days. He’s also bald on his neck under his chin, I’ve heard of this possibly being cos they were bred originally with a hairless dog. I’ve always had dogs but Chis are new to me is everything I’ve described ok? Would love a bit of reassurance .

  10. Blue

    My Chihuahua is hardly like that description.

    -She is indeed nervous about loud noises, big crowds, walking in her halter, and the vet (she shakes/shivers)
    -She does love to cuddle and live for attention; she gets up on her hind legs and puts her paws on my legs when she wants attention

    Not like description/Not mentioned:

    -She adores ALL people.
    (I go to pet stores with her and she wants to meet everyone. I have to coax her to walk forward on a leash but when she sees someone she bolts up to them, forgetting she’s got a halter on and licks them like crazy.)
    -She is great with all of my family, including kids.
    (But of course I never let the little kids pick her up and I usually hold her while they pet her.)

    -She’s shy with other dogs. Small dogs she likes and wants to play with, but bigger dogs scare her. She’ll sniff both though.

    -She’s not overprotective of me, or food or toys.

    -She hardly ever barks or growls.
    -She guards a little, but mostly is only a watchdog.
    -She barks if a stranger enters the house or looks at us funny (before standing behind me, worried) but as soon as she knows they’re safe she plays with them.
    -It’s a real bark, not the yappy kind
    – She growls then sits in front of those she cares about if she hears an unusual noise until she is sure everything is okay (she’s done this to me and my mom when we visited my parents’).

    -She is nervous of heights and therefore doesn’t like getting picked up much. She likes something under her feet.

    -She doesn’t care to sunbathe. She cuddles with me or in her bed.
    -She sleeps next to her blanket, not under, but does cover her nose with her tail or the blanket.

    -She’s almost too clean.

    Naughty side: She has a thing for tags and anything fluffy. Normally these things aren’t in reach but if she can she will chew on them. Especially tags for whatever reason. Otherwise she’s good about chewing only her toys.


    Big Bonus: She loves fetch! (I didn’t know Chihuahuas could love fetch as much as she does; I think she was a retriever in another life.)

  11. LOU


  12. Shannon

    I rescued a 3 yr old male chihuahua a year ago who had never been around kids before and he handled it well. I had one kid already and was pregnant with my second when we got him. He’s not your average chihuahua he’s not yappy and very well behaved. About 3 weeks ago we got our second chihuahua as a pup. We are having house breaking issues but he’s getting his peeing on the puppy pad (it’s winter and we are indoor training) but can’t seem to manage to get him to poop on the mat. I’ve tried deturrent sprays and attraction sprays he is learning quickly.

    The only thing I’ve never seen happen before with a puppy (and I have had many in my few years between family pets and my own) is we took both dogs to a friend’s house and his dog was in heat, my older dog was definitely looking for her lol but the puppy sat there and screamed like he was going to die. Anyone know why this happens?

  13. Raymond Kromer

    Its funny because I come from a huge family including 7 kids and we often have other children over. That said our little daisy is super good around children and is friendly to visitors. The stereotypical chihuahua she is not. Its amazing really considering we got her from a bad situation where she was the smallest in a house of 22 dogs. Instead of hating people she is super friendly though very shy. But she rewards anyone who gets to know her with the cutest little snuggles ever. She is the cutest little short haired apple head who is white with apricot spots. Also currently I am at college and I miss her dearly.

  14. Fran Hernandez

    I own a 5 yr old male chihuahua and recently inherited a 6 wk old female chihuahua. Chico the male wants to sniff Micca but when Micca goes towards Chico, he growls which alarms me. How to I handle this?

  15. Dr. Deirdre R. Amos-Jackson

    Well I’ve had Love Bug for a month. He is 4 years old. Previous owner couldn’t take care of him anymore. Has fit into the family very well. He sleeps with me, and when new people come around you will know it. He is mischievous so you gotta watch him when he gets to quite.

  16. Tina Gravel

    Hi, My name is Tina . I just got a 5 month old puppy Chi, named Skippy . I was hoping you might be able to tell me what would make him have a odor. I have given him a bath. he is on the same food but i did add a puppy food with rabbit and rice. I have had him for about 2 weeks now and know that you don’t want to give to many bath to him.

  17. Pat

    Ta my my chi Harvey does the kicking he does it every time he wakes up to let me know he is awake it is so funny he does it for ages even when he is under a blanket

  18. Tammy

    Our little long haired male Chi likes to kick us. If my husband is petting him,he will kick me & vise-versa, but, playfully! Does anybody else’s Chi do that?

  19. Mark

    Evelyn – your baby will love Florida, namely for the year-round beautiful weather! But care needs to be taken during the warmer months May-Oct, the heat and humidity can quickly take the pep out of your pup and as mentioned in the article and other articles, they can be stubborn about sitting in the sun even when they get too hot. Shorter walks, bringing along water and/or finding a dog park with lots of shade is a must for mine. Coming from Minnesota 20 years ago, I adjusted quickly to the year-round summer-like conditions, but I had to be mindful with my Chi’s. Just as the cold was dangerous, the heat certainly is as well. It may be because my current pups were bred here in FL, they love sitting outside in the hot sun and I have to remind myself to take them in.

    The only other item I’d point out is that, well, it’s Florida and we have a NASTY flea problem, to the point that most fleas are becoming resistant to many products. Since we don’t have a winter season that allows them to cycle down/become less active, it can be tricky. My Chi’s are both very small ~5 lbs and most flea medications have made them sick. The only downside. So, I moved to a home with hardwood floors, no carpet, and I don’t take these two guys on many walks, but they get plenty of play inside and on my patio.

  20. Evelyn Gould

    I love my little baby ,I live in Jersey but I’m moving to Florida next week,it’s a big temperature change what should I watch out for in my baby when I get she doesn’t get sick.Mae

  21. Joey Pierce

    My little longhaired female used to boss the other dogs around & she’d always throw herself back on you when sitting down & keep looking up at you and signing to get your attention to stroke her, if that failed she’d use her poor’s and if that failed climb behind you and stand on your shoulders and look at you

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