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Chihuahua

Chihuahua

A Small But Sassy Entertainer

Eccentric, tough, loyal

Chihuahuas are spunky, animated, and vocal, small dogs. These confident dogs are known for their bark, and most are wary of strangers and other dogs if not properly socialized and trained. Some are timid and temperamental, and might not be good with young children. They do best indoors with plenty of attention, and struggle to stay warm in cold climates. This breed is small and adapts well, which makes them great travelers. Sometimes known as Chis, they make great companions for senior citizens, singles, and apartment dwellers. As such lively dogs, they need plenty of time every day to run around inside or explore their fenced yard.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:6-9 in. Weight:2-6 lb Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
1

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
2

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
2

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Chihuahuas are well suited for apartment living; they will need a daily walk and regular inside play. Due to their assertive nature and small size, they are not recommended for homes with small children. 

Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Chihuahuas generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! They are very sensitive to cold, so a warm winter wardrobe is necessary.  

The Chihuahua is a loyal and alert member of the family that demands attention at all times. Their small size makes them an excellent traveling companion.

Positive Traits: 

  • Alert, curious, and busy 

  • Adaptable to a wide variety of living conditions 

  • Confident and self-reliant 

  • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark 

  • Doesn’t need much exercise 

  • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat   

Negative Traits: 

  • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly 

  • Needs early socialization to accept other pets and strangers 

  • Fragile and easily injured because of their small size 

  • Needs frequent attention from their family 

  • Bold and fearless, may attack much larger dogs 

  • May have a tendency to bark excessively 

Whether you are considering adding a new Chihuahua to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chihuahua will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chihuahua you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

Some health issues a Chihuahua could encounter:

The Chihuahua is the smallest of all dogs breeds and has 2 coat varieties: smooth and longhaired. Originating in Mexico, they were bred for companionship and are known for their big, erect ears and prominent large eyes. The Chihuahua’s personality could be compared to a terrier’s, as they are fearless and devoted. The Chihuahua is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They are known to suffer from some common conditions like luxating patella and cataracts. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups. 

Consult with a veterinarian if your Chihuahua shows signs of the following:

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 

  • Redness, squinting or greenish eye discharge 

  • Cloudiness to eye lens 

  • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest 

  • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath 

  • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old 

  • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound 

  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating 

  • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine 

  • Unplanned pregnancy can be dangerous 

  • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth 

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

  • Unwilling to jump, cries when moving head 

  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

  • Seizures, dull demeanor, spastic gait 

  • Care

    Routine Care: Chihuahuas are well suited for apartment living; they will need a daily walk and regular inside play. Due to their assertive nature and small size, they are not recommended for homes with small children. 

    Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Chihuahuas generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! They are very sensitive to cold, so a warm winter wardrobe is necessary.  

  • Characteristics

    The Chihuahua is a loyal and alert member of the family that demands attention at all times. Their small size makes them an excellent traveling companion.

    Positive Traits: 

    • Alert, curious, and busy 

    • Adaptable to a wide variety of living conditions 

    • Confident and self-reliant 

    • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark 

    • Doesn’t need much exercise 

    • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat   

    Negative Traits: 

    • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly 

    • Needs early socialization to accept other pets and strangers 

    • Fragile and easily injured because of their small size 

    • Needs frequent attention from their family 

    • Bold and fearless, may attack much larger dogs 

    • May have a tendency to bark excessively 

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Chihuahua to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chihuahua will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chihuahua you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

    Some health issues a Chihuahua could encounter:

  • History

    The Chihuahua is the smallest of all dogs breeds and has 2 coat varieties: smooth and longhaired. Originating in Mexico, they were bred for companionship and are known for their big, erect ears and prominent large eyes. The Chihuahua’s personality could be compared to a terrier’s, as they are fearless and devoted. The Chihuahua is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They are known to suffer from some common conditions like luxating patella and cataracts. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups. 

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Chihuahua shows signs of the following:

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 

    • Redness, squinting or greenish eye discharge 

    • Cloudiness to eye lens 

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest 

    • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath 

    • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old 

    • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound 

    • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating 

    • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine 

    • Unplanned pregnancy can be dangerous 

    • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth 

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

    • Unwilling to jump, cries when moving head 

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

    • Seizures, dull demeanor, spastic gait 

Chihuahua Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Chihuahua breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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