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Chihuahuas: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Ready to explore your ultimate guide to Chihuahuas? Discover this tiny breed's origin, lively temperament, health concerns, and other unique characteristics.

woman kissing chihuahua on couch


Chihuahuas were first bred in Mexico, and it is believed that their ancestors were companion dogs of the ancient Toltecs. Chihuahuas get their name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the breed was first discovered.

Originally bred as companion animals, Chihuahuas became incredibly popular due to their size and frequent appearance in popular media. Everyone had to have a spritely little Chi like the Taco Bell dog or Paris Hilton’s famous pup.

Chihuahuas are frequently mixed with other small breeds, like Daschund (Chiweenie), Jack Russel Terriers (Jack Chi), and Pomeranians (Pomchi).

Chihuahua Breed Guide

Similar breeds

Check out Papilions, Chinese Cresteds, Miniature Pinschers, and Toy fox terriers for similar breeds to the Chihuahua.

Are Chihuahuas hypoallergenic?

While Chihuahuas are not hypoallergenic, some people with mild allergies may still be able to tolerate them. You may want to consider a different breed if you have severe allergies.

Looking for an allergy-friendly dog? We've got you covered with our guide to hypoallergenic breeds.

Chihuahua Temperament

The Chihuahua personality is known as being lively and energetic in nature. They are intelligent and affectionate dogs that make for loyal companions. However, they can be extremely stubborn, so it's important to be patient and consistent with their training.

Chihuahuas usually have a bit of attitude, which can be frustrating for their owners, especially if the dog lacks adequate training. It is important to be patient and consistent with a Chihuahua. These high-energy dogs require plenty of stimulation and conditions that allow their personalities to shine brighter than their high-strung traits.

Illness/health concerns

Like all dogs, Chihuahuas are prone to certain health problems. Some common health concerns in Chihuahuas include allergies, dental problems, and patellar luxation.

Due to their small size, Chihuahuas may have dental problems or difficulty regulating their body temperature. They can also be sensitive to extreme temperatures, high or low.

Make sure to keep up with regular veterinary visits to catch any potential health problems early.

How big do Chihuahuas get?

Chihuahuas can reach up to 9 inches in height and weigh between 2 and 6 pounds.

Adult dog size can be influenced by age, sex, and activity level, and it can be more challenging to predict for mixed breeds.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Chihuahua is relatively long, ranging from 12 to 20 years.

Regular veterinary visits and preventative care can help manage these health concerns and ensure that your Chihuahuas live long and healthy life, especially when you watch out for known issues as they age.

Similar breeds

If you're considering a Chihuahua, you may also want to check out other small dogs like Papillons or Pomeranians.

These breeds share similar sizes, health characteristics, and energy levels. They’re great indoor dogs, too, making for affectionate companion animals for their pack (while being a bit reserved around strangers).

Italian Greyhounds have similar looks and temperaments but might be more graceful and gentle.

Expected lifetime cost

The lifetime cost of a Chihuahua can vary, but you can expect to spend around $10,000 throughout your dog's lifetime. On average, that’s about $500 to $1,000 per year.

This cost can vary depending on food, routine vet visits, preventative medications, grooming, and other essential pet care items.

Estimated cost to insure

Pet insurance can help you manage unexpected medical expenses. The cost of insuring a Chihuahua can vary based on age, health, and location. On average, you can expect to pay around $20-$30 per month for coverage.

The good, the bad, the ugly

Are you considering getting a Chihuahua? These little dogs are known for their big, sassy personalities, but they can be a tiny handful, so to speak. Here are some traits and health factors to keep in mind:

  1. Fragility: Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds, which makes them susceptible to injuries, including accidental falls, being stepped on, or mishandled, especially by young children. They also require extra protection in cold weather and climates, like a sweater or winter jacket.

  2. Temperament: Chihuahuas are known for their strong personalities. While some are friendly and sociable, others can be aloof, nervous, or aggressive — especially without proper training and socialization. Investing in a young Chihuahua is critical to help them develop good behavior, preventing aggression and anxiety.

  3. Excessive barking: Chihuahuas tend to be rather vocal and bark frequently. They may bark at strangers, other animals, and even everyday noises. This can be frustrating in apartments or with roommates and may require training to address their behavior.

  4. Health issues: Chihuahuas are prone to certain health conditions, including dental problems, patellar luxation (knee joint dislocation), heart disease, obesity, and hydrocephalus (a condition characterized by fluid buildup in the brain). Consistent veterinary care, a balanced diet, and exercise can help mitigate some of these issues, but they should be considered before getting a Chihuahua.

  5. Dental health: Chihuahuas often have dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and early tooth loss. Their small mouths can be crowded, leading to misaligned teeth and an increased risk of dental issues. Regular dental care, including teeth brushing and check-ups, is essential.

Chihuahuas make great companions, but like all breeds, they have their quirks to look out for, and individual Chis have their own personalities. With the right training and care, you can minimize these concerns and focus on all the wonderful attributes that make Chihuahuas such fun pets.

So you want a Chihuahua...

They may be little, but Chihuahua personalities are big, making great pets for those who can keep up with their energy and attitudes. If you're looking for a fun, loyal pup, a Chihuahua might be the perfect breed for you.

Consider their unique traits and challenges before deciding to bring one of these sweet pups home. With proper care, a Chihuahua can be your playful, lively companion for many years to come.

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