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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.

Hermetta Pillion

Thursday 29th of September 2022

We just lost our little chihuahua Taco. We were devastated. Because they are brave. (She’d bark at thunder, was never afraid of it). And loyal. And funny. She loved everyone in the family, but chose my husband as her #1. He wasn’t happy when I first brought her home, but he soon fell under her little chi spell. I too said that they had a bad reputation. She was very very sweet. I said the little light in our house had gone out…


Thursday 29th of September 2022

I'm so sorry Hermetta. They definitely leave a hole in our hearts when they leave us.

Doreen Cherf

Sunday 1st of May 2022

Hi Cathy , Chanel and Champ want to be on your page . How can I do that ?


Monday 2nd of May 2022

Hi Doreen, do you mean you want to be in one of the posts on this website? Or in the newsletter? Or as chi of the day on the Facebook page?

Bernadette Carter

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

My little Bertie is very loving he likes to be stroke by people when we are at the park but he can be stubborn too. I find him more socially loving to people then I thought he would be and people have commented how friendly he is xx


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

That's great Bernadette! Many chis only like their owner and no one else.

Friday 17th of September 2021

Having a hard time potty training my boy is he gets up on my bed and pees. Have tried discipline conjoining and pushing them outside but to no avail. I'm open to suggestions


Friday 17th of September 2021

I had one dog who did that. By peeing on your bed, he is claiming ownership of the bed/and or you. I finally just had to keep the door closed and not allow him in there. Sorry I don't have a better answer for you. I did have a female dog who peed one time on my bed right in front of me while staring me in the the eye. I felt like she was trying to send me a message. She was completely potty trained and had never done this anywhere in the house before. I did kind of yell a loud NO because I was so shocked. I washed everything in hot water and added white vinegar to the wash and made sure I cleaned the mattress where it got onto with a pet enzyme cleaner. She never did do it again.


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

My little chi is 14 weeks old and very loving. My patience is wearing thin because I can’t get him potty trained. I have tried pee pads and the bells. I’ve seen very little progress. Any suggestions?


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Join the club Cari. Potty training is the hardest thing chi parents have to deal with and sometimes they never get trained. We have a few posts with some tips: