Weighing in at less than six pounds and measuring less than nine inches at the shoulder the Chihuahua may be pint sized physically but they have the personality of a giant. Classed as a toy dog by the American Kennel Club these dogs are athletic, agile and very intelligent, willing to be affectionate with their owners but also be good watchdogs to let you know when strangers are around.
Unfortunately for the Chihuahua many owners baby these small dogs and create difficult behaviors for others to tolerate. A well socialized and obedience trained Chihuahua is friendly, well behaved and fun to be around. A Chihuahua that is spoiled can be aggressive, snarly and fearful of new people, animals and surroundings. Just keep in mind this is not typical of the breed and is due to the owner’s bad choices and not the temperament of the dog.
The Chihuahua can have a long, flat or wavy coat or the coat can be short over the entire body. Virtually any possible dog color or patterning is possible including all solid colors, tricolors or parti-colors, sables, brindles, fawns and merles. White markings, masks and other combinations of coat colors and markings are recognized in the show ring.
Very much like a terrier the Chihuahua will self-exercise, needs little in the way of daily structured exercise and loves to be around their family. They are not a good dog for someone that wants an outdoor dog as these little pooches really have little tolerance for cold or wet weather. They love to snuggle and cuddle and, with your permission, they would prefer to sleep with you if they have a choice. They can be prone to barking if they are isolated or neglected or if they are stressed or anxious.
Training the Chihuahua is sometimes a bit challenging because they are so small. Housetraining can be difficult but crate training and feeding on a schedule makes it much less stressful for both you and the puppy. Make sure to treat these tiny puppies like dogs and allow them to run, play and interact with other people, dogs and pets to avoid the problems with socialization mentioned above.
Generally Chihuahuas are very healthy dogs and can live to be 15 plus years of age. Some Chihuahuas are prone to food sensitivities. It is important to talk to your vet and feed a healthy, balanced toy dog diet that is nutritionally balanced. Avoid feeding this dog human foods and table scraps as these can be the root of digestive issues and problems.
Although they are very confident little dogs they are not a good breed in a home where they will be left alone for long periods of time. With a companion dog they can adapt but they really do need to be with their people to be happy, content and calm dogs.