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Are Chihuahuas Good for First-Time Owners?

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Getting a dog is a big decision and it is wise to thoroughly research the responsibilities of having a dog as well as the needs of any breeds that you are considering.

white and red long hair chihuahua

The Chihuahua is a really popular breed of dog, so they are commonly found in many homes.

Is the Chihuahua right for you? Read on to find out!

Are Chihuahuas Good For First-Time Dog Owners?

For some first-time dog owners, Chihuahuas are an excellent choice. The breed has these qualities that are ideal for first-time dog owners:

Low exercise requirements.

Many first-time dog owners are not used to having to fulfill the exercise demands of high-energy breeds. While chi puppies may have extra energy initially, as they get older, the breed settles into couch potato status. Chihuahuas have low exercise requirements overall, but will still motivate you to get a daily walk in.

Low grooming requirements.

As opposed to the high-maintenance coats of other breeds like the Bichon, Poodle, or Maltese, Chihuahuas are low maintenance. Short hair Chis have very minimal grooming needs; bathing and nail trims, and brushing is optional. Long hair Chis simply need more in-depth brushing.

Bathing a dog the size of the Chihuahua is also ideal for people who are not used to having to bathe a dog; there is much less dog to manage and it may be accomplished in a sink, saving your knees and back!

People looking for their ride or die.

Chihuahuas love to be their human’s constant companion, which earned them the nickname “velcro dogs” because they always want to be with their person.

If you want a dog that is easy to take with you everywhere that dogs are permitted to go, this breed is an excellent choice.

People who are looking for a tight one-on-one bond with their dog.

blond woman hugging chihuahua

Chihuahuas usually bond most strongly with one person in the family. While they can be social with other people because they love attention, most chis have a strong preference.

So if you are in search of a family dog who will want to spend time with everyone equally rather than actively seeking out one person, this may not be the breed for you.

People who are ready for a long-term commitment.

Chihuahuas can live 15 to 20 years or even longer. If you are looking for a long-lived companion, this breed is for you.

People who are ready to work on training.

Chihuahua owners should be ready to work on training because a well-behaved dog is a pleasure to live with, and you may have many years to live with your chi.

Just because Chihuahuas are small does not mean that they do not need training; if you wouldn’t tolerate a behavior from a 100-pound dog, you shouldn’t tolerate it from a 5-pound dog either.

smiling blond female veterinarian holding chihuahua puppy

People who are ready for veterinary bills and long-term expenses.

Potential chi owners need to be prepared for the cost of ownership, mainly nutrition and veterinary bills.

Since they are a long-lived breed, good nutrition is very important. Chihuahuas should be fed a high-quality diet, which slightly increases the cost of feeding. The good news is being so small, they don’t eat much compared to larger breeds.

As a breed, they may have eye problems, heart problems, knee problems, and dental problems.

You can read more about the health conditions chis have here: Health problems of chihuahuas.

Due to their small stature, it is not uncommon for Chihuahuas to break a leg if they jump or fall off furniture that is too high or if a wiggly puppy escapes your arms.

Furthermore, as a result of their long life spans, chi owners may spend more on their dogs than owners of other breeds simply because they outlive other breeds.

Who Are Chihuahuas Not Good For?

Chihuahuas are a great breed for some people but not for others. If any of the following qualities describe you or your family, you may want to consider a different breed:

People who do not like affectionate dogs.

Chihuahuas are very affectionate dogs, sometimes described as clingy or velcro dogs. They were occasionally used as a hot compress by ancient people, so they love to snuggle under blankets on your lap.

If you do not want a dog who is clingy and snuggly, you should consider a different breed because your chi’s feelings will be hurt if you don’t want to return that affection.

People who are not ready for a long-term commitment.

Chihuahuas are one of the longest-lived breeds of dogs; they may live 15 to 20 years. In addition to this long life span, as aforementioned, they are very affectionate, so changing families can be more difficult for them than other dogs.

If you and your family are not prepared to care for a dog for this extended period of time, consider a different breed or better yet, a different type of pet.

Close-up of angry Chihuahua growling

Push overs.

Chihuahuas are often jokingly referred to as little napoleons because they can be bossy with their humans; they want their way or the highway.

If you are a pushover, or their small stature will make you overly protective of them, this is a recipe for a poorly behaved dog.

If a chi is allowed to “rule the roost with an iron paw”, they may begin to exhibit resource guarding, which may result in bites.

Young children.

Their small size combined with their bossy tendency tends to make the Chihuahua better suited for older, dog-savvy children.

little girl with chihuahua

Easily jealous or very sensitive spouses.

Chihuahuas are usually best suited for single people or couples who are on the same page about the dog’s place in the family.

Chihuahuas tend to bond most strongly to one person and may become protective of that person.

If you have a very sensitive and easily jealous spouse, this may be a source of conflict as they may feel you cater to the dog over their needs.

People who do not like barking.

Chihuahuas can be an expressive breed; you must be prepared for barking. If you do not have a tolerance for barking, or if you live somewhere that has lots of noise to inspire barking, you may not enjoy living with a chi.

man and woman with chihuahua on couch watching tv

What To Expect Living With A Chihuahua

If you think a Chihuahua might be the right choice for you and your family, let me give you an idea of what to expect living with one:

  • You will have a constant companion.
  • You will be required to receive world-class snuggles daily.
  • You will never sleep, watch TV, go to the bathroom or read a book alone again.
  • You will receive “unconditional conditional love”; chis love hard on their terms.
  • Whenever you sit at the table to eat, two little paws will tap on your leg as your chi jumps on your leg to beg.
  • Your chi will help you make human friends wherever you go because there is usually someone who will want to pet him or her.


Chihuahuas are ideal for people who love velcro dogs and want a long-lived companion. However, people who cannot be firm and consistent with training may end up with a poorly behaved dog.

Overall, the breed is low maintenance and ideal for the first-time dog owners.


What to know before getting a chihuahua

Why chihuahuas are the best dogs

Things only a chihuahua owner understands

The Real Costs of Owning a Chihuahua: A Friendly Guide


Elle Sanborn

Tuesday 12th of July 2022

The article is great! I will add, due to over breeding there are a lot of chihuahuas (and all full bred dogs for the matter) that have behavior issues. my OSU behavioral veterinarian informed me that dogs don’t gain their real personalities until about one year old. My little guy is on three medications just to keep him calm enough to exist with me and my husband. He was great in every way as a puppy and now I can’t pick him up - for us, he’s a Lifetime commitment regardless of his behavior. Just be sure of your commitment beforehand.


Tuesday 12th of July 2022

I'm so glad you are sticking by your fur baby and not giving up on him. I guess I have been lucky as all 4 of my dogs are relatively calm.

Joan Jost

Saturday 9th of July 2022

When I was 19 I adopted my first chi. Now I am 79 and have 3! They make my life complete and always have!


Saturday 9th of July 2022

I wish I had gotten mine that young. Then I'd have a much longer time loving them. I actually didn't like them when I was young. I was a dog groomer then and chis were always so aggressive, they turned me off. It wasn't until I rescued a neighbor's chihuahua they abandoned that I realized what awesome little dogs they really are.


Friday 8th of July 2022

In my opinion, chihuahuas are great for first time owners! To be completely honest, the chihuahua I have now, is the first dog I've ever owned. My family only knew the general/basic care for dogs, because we never planned on getting a dog of our own. When we saw a little Chi getting abused though, we quickly stepped in. It was a long journey; we went from knowing practically nothing about dog care, to now owning a healthy (almost senior) chihuahua. We got very lucky to end up with such an intelligent dog, he caught on to things quickly, and knew all the rules of the house. If you're thinking about getting a dog for the first time, but not sure what breed, I strongly encourage you to get a chihuahua. =)


Friday 8th of July 2022

Thanks for your comment Danielle and I'm so glad you rescued your little guy! I'm sure he's happy he's ina a loving safe place too.

Marygrace Miles

Friday 8th of July 2022

Love the article about first time owners!


Friday 8th of July 2022

Thanks Marygrace! Glad you enjoyed it.