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Chihuahua Dog Temperament: Mean or Sweet?

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Those of us who are lucky enough to be owned by a chihuahua, know the reputation these little dogs have. We have heard it all about how chihuahua temperaments are horrible.

I can’t tell you how many snide remarks I have heard people say about chihuahuas that simply aren’t true. Many people seem to think chis are mean, aggressive and hard to train. That may be true in some cases as it is for any dog.

Chihuahuas, like other dogs (and people too for that matter) are individuals with their own personalities and behaviors so it isn’t fair to stick them all in the same bucket and proclaim they are all a certain way.

But, in general, many of them do have some or all of the following characteristics:

loving chihuahua

Chihuahuas are Devoted

Chihuahuas are the most devoted breed I have ever come across and I have owned many different breeds of dogs in my life.

Chihuahuas seem to choose their human. Even though they can love many people, they will form a particularly strong bond with one person in the home.

Chihuahuas are Stubborn

Chihuahuas tend to want things their way and are sometimes hard to train because of it.

Chihuahuas are Smart

Chihuahuas have the largest brain to body size ratio of any breed of dog. If they want to learn something, they can pick it up very quick. If your dog is food motivated, this can be a great incentive to training him or her.

chihuahua being chastised for pooping

Chihuahuas can be hard to house train

House training issues can come from several reasons:

  • Like we talked about earlier, they are stubborn.
  • They don’t like being outside much, specially if it’s cold or wet outside.
  • They have tiny little bladders and may need to go potty more often than other dogs.


Chihuahuas are protective

It’s been said that chihuahuas have a Napoleon complex. These little guys are brave and will fight to the death to protect the ones they love.


Chihuahuas are fearless

Chihuahuas have no idea how small they are. This can get them in trouble with larger animals who can really hurt them.

aggressive chihuahua

Chihuahuas can be snippy and act crazy

Unfortunately they got this reputation for a reason. This is often due to over breeding by breeders who were out to make a quick buck and didn’t care about the quality of the breed.

Of course there are many very sweet chihuahuas out there. I own two of them that are even tempered and sweet. But as a former groomer and working in a few kennels and pet hotels, I came across some crazy ones too.

Chihuahuas are intuitive

I can attest to this personally. My 2 chis always seem to know when I’m upset and do their best to comfort me.

Dogs in general are very good at reading body and facial language and picking up on our moods. Chihuahuas are no exception to this.

I know these temperament traits won’t apply to every chihuahua but can you think of anything I missed? If so, leave a comment and let us know.


Monday 20th of February 2023

I think their reputation for being “hard to potty train” is due to the fact that their potties are really tiny & therefore less trouble for their humans to clean up so we have less incentive. I’ve had several chihuahuas & chihuahua mixed babies. I use a timer to remind myself to take her out. Every hour, then every two etc. I give lavish praise when she goes potty. The last one, a rescue, was trained in a few days.


Monday 20th of February 2023

Good points Liz.


Monday 20th of February 2023

I have a Chihuahua Terrier. She is so Sweet. I have keep an eye on her, sometimes she has to chew something she not suppose to, thankfully she doesn't chew on my furniture. She is a good girl. I love her soo much❤️

Helga Hildebrandt

Sunday 19th of February 2023

I love my Rocky and Bell,I can not leave the room without them watching me, they sleep with me under the covers ❤️❤️❤️


Sunday 19th of February 2023

They do make great little bed buddies.

sharon millett

Sunday 19th of February 2023

yes my chi is very stuborn and agresive at first till he gets to know the person and that happens when they enter the house often l have different care workers that come once in a while so he doesn't take lightly to them but my home care worker comes every day and he adores her.he doesn't stop barking when someone is in the house.l don't believe in bark colars but l was thinking of a muzzle teperarly til he gets the message that he shouldn't bark at people when they are in the house.sorry for the long comment but l certenly agree with your story.


Sunday 19th of February 2023

Yes a muzzle may help with that. I also found startling them with a loud noise helps. I put some coins in a soda can and taped the top shut and when the dogs start barking, I shake it. It usually quiets them.

holly chase

Thursday 16th of February 2023

Having been owned by many chihuahuas over the past 30 years. I have noticed that they are wonderful in the morning. And when tired at night. They can be very cranky! Also. Never waken a sleeping chi!!


Thursday 16th of February 2023

Mine aren't cranky at night but when they are ready to go to bed, they bug me about it until I get up and go to bed. LOL