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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.

Willem

Sunday 14th of January 2024

My little chihuahua is 3 years old and doesn't like any harness or collars. I've read the article, and followed the advice but I'm still struggling to get him use to them and walk in them. Any further advice, thanks

Cathy Bendzunas

Sunday 14th of January 2024

Skip the collar, just concentrate on the harness. The best ways to get him used to the harness is to make it a pleasant experience and put it on and keep it on to where he is used to it. So, first find a treat that he really loves. We call them high value treats, I buy tiny dried liver treats off of Amazon. Keep a handful in a baggie in your pocket and give him one when you pull out his harness. Give him a few more as you put on the harness. Praise him too and tell him what a good boy he is as you are doing all this. Don't take him for a walk yet. Just leave the harness on for an hour or two. You can take him for a walk during this time if needed, but leave the harness on so he will get used to wearing it. If he fights you when trying to put on the harness. watch this video to show you how to do it: https://youtu.be/fECybhd8C6A?si=lCfZXUSSIV5xnpFf

Felecia

Saturday 16th of September 2023

My little Chi loves everyone and everyone loves her. This is my second chihuahua and my first one was just as lovable. I think socializing them early helps. I have two granddaughters so there really is not a choice on how well she behaves as I think she knows (might sounds silly) how much a love my granddaughters as well and is a perfect companion with them. I wouldn’t have any other breed. ❤️

Cathy Bendzunas

Saturday 16th of September 2023

That's great Felecia and I agree that socializing them early really makes a big difference.

Mickie

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

I think our chihuahua’s are also funny. They both do things that make us laugh when trying to get out attention. They definitely look at us and respond to things we say as if they understand every word. They are natural dancers. 😉

Cathy Bendzunas

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Yes they can be quite entertaining. I laugh at my fur babies multiple times a day.

Twinkle's Mom

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Cathy,

You hit the nail on the proverbial head in describing a Chihuahua. I'm on my first at 70 years old, I have loved all my dogs over the years. However, this little 8 lb velcro sweetie has my heart from the time I am up in the morning to greeting me with major kissies when I return home. They are just pure love on 4 paws!

Cathy Bendzunas

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

That's a good description of them "pure love on 4 paws".

Keely Clark

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Very good article. My Chihuahua (Lewy)is very well mannered and I call him my little gentleman. He is polite was never hard to train. Very sensitive too. My other one is a Chihuahua Cavalier( Augustus)and talk about Stubborn! First 3 months he did not sleep, hard to potty train and was a very aggressive puppy. But with time and training he is becoming a champion. Love them with all my being. ❤️❤️❤️

Cathy Bendzunas

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

I'm glad you didn't give up on Augusus!