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Is the Chihuahua right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Chi; Chihuahueño

The basics:
The world's smallest dog, the Chihuahua, can be a big-eyed sweetheart happy to peep out of a celebrity's designer handbag-- or it can be a high-pitched yipper ready to bite an ankle of the first person who steps out of line. This cutie may fall in the toy category, but you can't expect it to sit on a shelf and be ignored when you get busy. They may not need as much space or exercise as many breeds, but they do have firm opinions and they benefit from loving guidance.

As America's oldest dog breed, believed to have been brought from the Old World by the Spanish conquistadors, different Chihuahuas from different lines and upbringing may have different personalities. If you neglect your pet's training, you are likely to end up with a brat who loves to raise the roof when another dog or even a strange human enters its territory. On the plus side, this desire to call attention to strangers means that the Chihuahua can be a good choice if you need a watchdog for a small space like an apartment..

Appearance / health:
Ideally, the Chihuahua should be a tiny dog with a well rounded, or “apple domed,” skull. They have large, fully eyes that should not protrude, the ears are large and of an erect type, the muzzle is rather short and somewhat pointed, and the nose should be self-colored in the black, blond, chocolate, blue and mole colorations, although a pink nose is allowable in the blonds. The Chihuahua is known for its pert expression.

Chihuahua puppies have a soft spot, known as a “molera,” on the top of the skull which typically closes with bone growth by the time they are adults. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, which is known as being “cobby,” their tails are sickle-shaped and arch up over their backs, their legs are square and straight, and they have a dainty little foot with an obvious split between the toes. The Chihuahua always looks like a tiny dog on a big mission.

The long-coated Chihuahua should be combed daily to keep the undercoat under control and to ensure no knotting of the hair. The smooth-coated Chihuahua should be occasionally gently brushed or wiped with a damp cloth. Both types should be bathed about once a month and care should be taken not to get water into their ears.

It might seem like the reverse should be true, but the long-coated Chihuahua is known to be less of a shedder than the smooth-coated Chihuahua. Many people who are unable to have a companion dog due to allergies or asthma find themselves quite capable of tolerating a Chihuahua. Check their ears regularly and keep their nails trimmed.

In spite of their difficulty in being able to keep up with rigorous games or, for example, an activity such as running alongside while their owner bicycles, Chihuahuas are busy little dogs. Playing will take care of most of their exercise needs, but a Chihuahua, though tiny, is still a dog and has a dog’s instinct to walk. If you don’t have a backyard for your Chihuahua, a daily walk and off-leash running and romping in a safe area, will fulfill this need.

The Chihuahua is born with a “molera;” a soft spot in the skull. This spot typically hardens during the first half-year of life, but it is essential to protect the puppy’s brain from injury until the skull fully closes. Hydrocephalus (swelling in the brain caused by the inability of cerebrospinal fluid to drain) is common in the Chihuahua. The hydrocephalic Chihuahua will have multiple soft spots in his skull because of the skull plates being unable to fuse due to the build-up of the excess cerebrospinal fluid. It may be difficult to distinguish, as all Chihuahua puppies tend to have large eyes, but the pressure from this fluid build-up does put pressure behind the eyes causing the eyes to bulge. The hydrocephalic puppy has a larger head than others in her litter, grows more slowly and does not develop or move as quickly as her littermates. Many breeders advertise “applehead” Chihuahuas. This should not be confused with the “apple dome” their head is supposed to have. Most appleheaded Chihuahuas are hydrocephalic to some degree or another.

Other health issues affecting the Chihuahua can be tracheal collapse, luxating patella, heart problems, eye problems (such as secondary glaucoma and corneal dryness), and, due to their tiny size, hypoglycemia. Their bones are fragile and easily broken. Stress related issues and colds are not uncommon. Care should be taken to monitor your Chihuahua’s molera to ensure that it closes properly as some never close, thus creating the necessity of always protecting the head from injury that will harm or damage the brain.

Behavior / temperament:
Chihuahuas are devoted to their people and are a very loyal, graceful and amusing little dog. They are known to be reserved, and even skittish, around unfamiliar people. Despite their tiny size, Chihuahuas are excellent watch dogs, and will alert their owners to anything that is taking place.

The Chihuahua makes an excellent companion dog. They are very lively, inventive, proud and courageous. He’s very bold for such a small dog and quite strong-willed. Chihuahua’s tend to be one-person dogs and can be so attached and loyal to their person that they develop jealousy issues. They are suspicious of strangers and most will follow every their owner makes in such a situation. The key to all aspects of a rewarding friendship with your Chihuahua is in the early training and extensive early socialization. Though some may find the Chihuahua somewhat difficult to train, they have a high learning rate and will respond well to positive reinforcement training.

Chihuahuas are very intelligent and are rated high in learning rate. However, being highly intelligent often equals "hard to train" for a novice. They are NOT an easy dog, and are very good at manipulation.

Chihuahuas are very alert and virtually nothing gets past them. As a result, some do love to bark. This behavior should be corrected during puppyhood with gentle redirection and positive reinforcement.


cutest smallest dog, Good watchdog, favorite dog, smaller living arrangements, little adorable ball


barking, Ankle biter, bites, small children, yappy dogs, unreputable breeders, Yippy little dogs, snappy dog


big dog mentality, little gangster dog, deer type chihuahua, big personlities, longhaired chihuahuas

Helpful Chihuahua Review


From S Dean - Trainer and Former Vet Tech Jan 15 2019 9:06PM


From shelters/rescues




Houston, TX


Ernie aka Bebe



Houston, TX





Houston, TX


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