Chihuahua Facts, Myths and Figures

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Chihuahuas are known for being tiny dogs with huge personalities.

Sometimes a bit too courageous for their size, chihuahuas are also loyal, very smart, energetic and ready to play at any time.

In this article, I’ll share some interesting facts, myths and figures about chihuahua dogs for your knowledge and also entertainment. Enjoy the read!

By Mila Bander.

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Chihuahua Quick Characteristics and Stats

Temperament: Gentle, alert, suspicious, playful

Type: Companion dog (but not good for small children)

Appearance: Smooth and long coat of brown, chocolate, black, merle, white, big eyes and big ears

Weight: 3-6 pounds/1.5-3kg

Height or Size: 6-9 inches/15-22cm

Exercise: At least 30 minutes per day

Amount of Shedding: Little/infrequent

Usual life span: 10-18 years

Is it True Chihuahuas Are Not Obedient?

This is a myth. Chihuahuas are way more comprehensive to commands and obedient than they might seem to outsiders.

Don’t be fooled by their little punk behavior.

In an obedience study made by Stanley Coren, a renowned canine psychologist author of ‘How To Speak Dog’, chihuahuas learned new commands in only 40 to 80 repetitions and would obey the command on the first try with a success rate of 40%.

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Chihuahuas Do Not Like Strangers 

Truth be told, chihuahuas in general don’t like anyone they don’t know – whoever they consider strangers in general.

One study found that chihuahuas are one of the most aggressive breeds towards other dog breeds and humans.

The time I Was Terrorized by a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas can warm up to others once properly introduced, but in their own time and terms.

Me and my husband visited our friends once while they were fostering a female chihuahua, and wow, that dog did not enjoy our stay!

She barked the entire time our friends weren’t holding or touching her.

Whenever we got too close to her or them, she started barking violently.

I was personally scared, as she also seemed to be.

After around three visits, she calmed down around 5%: we could get roughly around 5 cm closer without her threating to kill us.

It takes a long time to gain an adult chihuahuas trust.

Chihuahuas are unlikely to be very fond of your friends and family, or newly adopted pets.

They will tolerate new people, but they are a “one person” type of dog: very loyal to their owner and closest friends.

Treat-training your chihuahua to be a bit more social and comfortable around new faces is an option. Please consider it. I was terrified of that chihuahua.

Chihuahuas Might Be Perfect For Introverts

Would you like someone to actually chase people away from you?

Then you might love having a chihuahua as a companion.

This can become a problem for individuals who are social and enjoy going to events and dog parks and haven’t trained their chihuahuas.

But if you’re more of an introvert, having a chihuahua might be just perfect.

You won’t have to say no – just say your chihuahua won’t let you go.

Are Chihuahuas Aggressive?

Not exactly.

Have you ever wondered why chihuahuas seem so aggressive?

Chihuahuas seem or act aggressive because they are naturally protective of their territory and their owners.

When chihuahuas are scared and feel the need to protect themselves, they will become confrontational by exposing their teeth, snarling, barking, and even biting.

Is it True you Can’t Train Chihuahuas to Be Well-Behaved?

Myth. It’s possible to treat-train a chihuahua to be comfortable around strangers, well-behaved and even quiet.

Chihuahua owners around the globe also can confirm their chis are actually very kind and love to be held by their owners.

They just feel threatened more easily than other dogs.

Chihuahuas Are Strong In Personality, But Delicate In How They’re Built

This is a fact. There’s a reason why chihuahuas are so popular among women. In movies, you can usually see a chihuahua looking from inside a designer bag, looking all comfy and safe.

Chihuahuas are small and delicate.

Their bones aren’t that thick, and the fragility of the chihuahua breed is often overlooked.

But don’t be fooled by their boldness and fearlessness.

It’s important to have in mind that the chihuahuas bone structure is delicate, and they are not fast dogs either, despite their anxiety and alertness.

If you’re adopting a chihuahua, you should get used to the idea that they might be just behind your feet at any time.

And that as they are delicate dogs, you’ll have to be extra careful and delicate as well to provide a safe environment for the chihuahua.

Are Chihuahuas Dumb?

Some believe chihuahuas are not smart or intelligent dogs. There are even studies showing that chihuahuas rank 125th out of 138 qualified dog breeds in intelligence tests.

Still, owners say their chihuahuas are smart. What is the truth?

Chihuahuas are not working dogs; they are companion dogs.

So they don’t rank as well as other dogs in terms of obedience, but they are smart in other areas, strong-willed, understand feelings and respond well to treat-training and positive reinforcement.

Chihuahuas are Great Companion Dogs, But…

Because chihuahuas are very alert dogs and also suspicious of strangers, they sometimes behave as watchdogs due to their boldness and terrier-like behavior.

Chihuahuas are very loyal to their owner – they usually get attached to specific people.

They are even described as “clingy” by some.

Despite their size, chihuahuas won’t usually run from a fight or confrontation, ignoring their opponent’s size.

This can be a problem, because the chihuahua might get hurt.

As with any breed, it’s important to socialize your Chihuahua puppy so he or she grows up to feel safe and comfortable around new people, animals, and circumstances – and less yappy.

In the video below, you can see a small 18-year-old chihuahua chasing a coyote away and protecting his home.

Chihuahuas Are Named After A State

There is some speculation, but many agree and believe that the chihuahuas we know today were discovered by Americans visiting Mexico in the mid-1800s in the State of Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas Need Exercise – But Not That Much

Bigger dogs usually need quite a lot of daily exercise – walking, running, climbing.

Chihuahuas, on the other hand, require way less exercise, since they are companion dogs.

That being said, chihuahuas still need daily exercise – just less.

They will do well with 30 minutes of daily walking and sniffing around.

Remember to let your dog sniff things!

It’s how they interact with the world and learn more about their environment.

Chihuahuas Hate Cold Weather

Most dogs don’t enjoy extreme weather (same!), but because chihuahuas and other toy breeds are so small and delicate, they can get sick if they go out in the cold weather without something to warm them up.

This means you’re totally allowed to dress your chihuahuas with a proper dog sweater or coat when you take them for a walk!

How conveniently cute is that?

It’s also important to consider that chihuahuas and other dogs might find the floor too cold for their paws.

So it would be better to either carry them in a bag (hey, take some advantage of their transportability!) or in a dog stroller.

You can also carry them in your arms or give them little dog booties.

Just How Cold Is Too Cold For A Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas kind of warn their owners the ground is too cold by lifting their paws from the ground.

But if you want to avoid waiting for your chihuahua to feel uncomfortable, you can follow this temperature guideline for chihuahuas:

50-60 Fº / 15 Cº or more – Safe enough for your chihuahua

45-50 Fº / 10 Cº to 7 Cº – acceptable, but stay alert to your chihuahua.

30-40 Fº / 4 Cº to -1 Cº– potentially unsafe for a chihuahua.

25-30 Fº / -3 Cº – dangerous for a chihuahua. 

Anything below 25 Fº / -3 Cº can threaten the life of a chihuahua.

Chihuahuas Are NOT Great With Kids

I bet you thought that because chihuahuas are small, they would be a good match for small children.

Makes sense, right?


It’s the opposite: because chihuahuas are small, young children (especially under 8) can easily hurt them.

And while chihuahuas can get along well with older children, they are not a good dog for families with very small children since they are too frail and delicate for toddler playtime or rough play.

If a chihuahua is not held properly, they can jump from a child’s hands and get hurt.

It’s important to remember chihuahuas can also bite and hurt small children.

If you already have a chihuahua + kids, it’s important to make sure to supervise your children around chihuahuas and teach them how to interact with small and delicate animals in general.

This can prevent accidents and make everybody happy on the long run.

Chihuahuas Are Great For First Time Dog Owners

This is true. Chihuahuas are a great breed for first time dog owners: they are lower maintenance than other dog breeds, need less exercise than bigger dogs, are easy to train, are highly portable due to their small size.

Chihuahuas are also companions who can live to be 18 or more – a long lifespan among dogs.

Photo by Mélanie.