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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.

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Marjory G Busby

Sunday 21st of June 2020

chi's are the best dog to adjust to disabilities and aid their owner without training. I am hard of hearing, my chi's have all adapted to how to let me know things that I cannot hear. The first one taught ME how to communicate with him, now I always know what each one is trying to tell me.

Shelly Gaspard

Sunday 15th of March 2020

My baby girl (Chihuahua),is as sweet, loving, and caring as can be, and yes she is very protective of her mommy and she will lick my tears when I cry, she has a loving heart of gold and she also thinks she's gigantic and bullet proof, she isn't scared of anything, she is my everything and my world, she has my heart completely.


Sunday 15th of March 2020

Yep, that's what makes them so special. Your baby sounds wonderful Shelly.


Saturday 21st of September 2019

I have one of each temperament. My 7 yo female I bought and was love at first site for both of us. A couple months ago I rescued adopted a 1 1/2 yo male. He loves me but NO ONE else. He’s a work in progress. He had several adoptions that didn’t work out but I’m as stubborn as a Chi. After time maybe he will learn to accept others.


Saturday 21st of September 2019

I love that Maggie! I'm glad you are as stubborn as he is!

rebeccca Sheaves

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

My Pebbles is my sweet Princess! I read your article. She is one chihuahua that has a sweet loving personality. She loves everyone and everyone seems too love her. I agree that chis chooses their humans. Pebbles was my daughters pup. Her boyfriend bought Pebbles as a gift for my daughter. When they moved home from west they stayed with us for a few months until set up in their own place. I fell in love with Pebbles and she me. She was with me everywhere all the time when I was home. She choose me! When my daughter and her boyfriend moved out, Pebbles stayed. They couldn't break our bond. Even though my daughter missed her she knew we belong together. She choose me!


Wednesday 9th of January 2019

That was such an unselfish thing for your daughter to do. You raised her right. Pebbles is a beautiful girl.

Sunday 6th of January 2019

My Butterscotch is so sweet he doesn't think that he's a dog he thinks he is a baby. When I go to the bathroom he has to go, whenever I move he moves. He is so loveable and wants to kiss on everyone. He is so spoiled we love so much.


Sunday 6th of January 2019

He looks lovable. What a sweet face!