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Chihuahua Facts and Myths

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The Chihuahua breed is one of the smallest breeds currently known. These tiny pooches can be short-haired or have a longer, more lush coat.

Check out our main post that showcases all our chihuahua facts articles!

If you adopt a chihuahua, you will be blessed with love and loyalty for years to come.
 
You may notice that, when your tiny pooch encounters a larger dog, he may not be aware that there is a huge size disparity.
 
Given his reactions to that larger animal, you may think he is defending you, your family and your home. He is, with all that bravery tucked into that tiny body.
 

Facts About this Breed

In size, this breed is one of the tiniest known to man—he only weighs between two and 8 pounds. His average height is also just as tiny—between six and 9 inches, total. 

An idea of the breed’s traits:

 

  • Apple-shaped head (although there are deer head chihuahuas too!)
  • Short, stocky body that is just slightly longer than his tail
  • Large, round eyes
  • This breed’s muzzle is short and just slightly pointed 
  • Cocky—they don’t realize their tiny size in relation to larger breeds
  • Energetic and lively, ready to play all day long
  • Not “yappy,” but will give you their opinions
  • Quick and nimble on their feet
  • Easily portable

While they aren’t “yappy,” they are outspoken and will let you know how they feel about their food and that visitor that just knocked at the front door. 

This little breed is best suited for single people, those who are housebound and elderly people.

They don’t need to spend lots of time outside, exercising. If you are elderly or housebound, chis are ideal for you. 

older lady woman holding chihuahua

In addition, Chihuahuas love to snuggle up to us, sleep by us or follow us from one room to the next.

If you are away, they will protect your home with every ounce of determination they have—they will bark at anyone who knocks at your door.

Because this particular breed is so small, they feel the cold more. Invest in a few small doggie sweaters, especially if you plan to walk outside.

Myths About the Chihuahua Breed

This special breed comes with a lot of myths. Let’s explore them.

Chihuahuas can be kept outdoors.

No! They cannot. They feel the cold easily and they much prefer closeness to their humans.

They love (crave) attention from us, so living inside is the best thing for them.

I don’t know if I like Chihuahuas. They yap so much and seem so high-strung.

Also false. Depending on how they have been trained, this breed can actually be very well-behaved and quiet.

If he is left alone to his own devices, then he will become loud and react strongly to stimuli in his environment.

They are wary of strangers and will bark at them. As long as we give them a good amount of attention and love, they will reward us with good behavior and lots of nose kisses.

Chihuahuas don’t need to be socialized.

Wrong! This goes to what we talked about above. They need to be given lots of attention from their humans—us.

They also need to be introduced to new situations. If we start socializing our pups at birth up to about 12 weeks of age, they will easily adjust. (We should allow him to be with his mom and dad for at least eight weeks after birth.)

chihuahua with pink sweater

Chihuahuas are sensitive to cold.

Yes, they are! Both the short and long-haired breeds feel the cold more. We shouldn’t take them walking outside when it’s between 35 and 40 degrees F.

If we have to, then walks should be short enough for them to do their business and they should wear a sweater.

little girl kissing chihuahua puppy

Chihuahuas are not good with children.

Wrong. As long as you socialize your Chi to young children and ensure that the children treat your chihuahua right, they will be very loving with young ones.

Be careful! We shouldn’t let small children accidentally hurt our Chis and never leave a young child alone with your small dog.

Chihuahuas aren’t safe around bigger animals.

False. We can train our Chihuahuas to be safe around bigger dogs. We need to train them to be watchful for big dogs running or approaching quickly. 

Chihuahuas tend to shiver.

Yes. They aren’t always cold. It’s their high metabolism that makes them shiver. Also, if they are too excited, cold, scared or unsure they will shiver.

Chihuahuas are good watch dogs.

Definitely! Their high level of alertness and natural wariness around strangers makes them ideal watch pets.

Chihuahuas are so expensive.

Well, that depends. Buying from a conscientious breeder means you may pay $700-$1,200; adopting a shelter Chihuahua means you may spend $250, tops after all medical procedures are completed.

Chihuahuas don’t shed.

Wrong. We will find their hair all over our homes, especially at the beginning of spring and in the autumn. 

sleepy chihuahua under blanket

Chihuahuas love to burrow.

Yes! Pile a few blankets in his favorite spot so he can slide under, warm up and nap.

Chihuahuas have lots of health problems.

False. They don’t have any more health problems than other breeds. Chihuahuas do tend to have some health issues though.

Many of the issues they do have comes from poor breeding practices and the ever increasing quest to breed a smaller chihuahua

Chihuahuas don’t live very long.

False. Chihuahuas live longer than any other breed. Their average lifespan is now reported to be 12 to 20 years! But I have known some that lived even longer.

I don’t have to worry about my Chihuahua getting pregnant until she is a year old.

Wrong. Smaller dogs mature faster than larger dogs. A chihuahua can get pregnant as early as 6 months.

So have you heard any of these myths? If you know of any others that aren’t on here, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to this post.

 


 

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Brenda Cluney

Thursday 4th of March 2021

We have 2 chihuahua's. I love them so much. We adopted 3 from a shelter in 2015 and they were all related. We had 3 generations. We had Grammy Grace who was exactly very graceful in the way she walked and was so gentle. We lost Grammy in July 2020 to Mammary Cancer. Her age was e estimated at 7 yrs when we got her. She was a big chihuahua at 21 pounds when we got her. She passed nearly 5 years later a few months before she would have been 12 years old. Mamma Miracle is still with us and is now age 11. She was 14 pounds when we adopted her and still is the same weight. Our youngest Baby Angel is 8 years old. She was 5 pounds when we got her. But her rib cage looked so bad. The vet and shelter said her weight was fine. We found out by watching all 3 that other dogs were not letting her eat. She is now 10 pounds and looks good. She is the true loving one of the bunch. When we adopted these dogs, we had no idea how many problems we would go through. We got them with 2 types of worms, one that can affect other organs. We realized this when Grammy had bleeding her first night with us. We tested the others to find two still had puppy worms at this age along with other issues. The shelter had agreed to lay for medical so that did help. Then Grammy developed Mammary Tumors which were removed. However they returned in a different location a few years later. We opted not to put her through surgery again. Mamma had an eye that waa so dry that we had to finally have it removed after a year. But you would never know she only has one eye!! We now are noticing what is either scar tissue from when she was spayed or she too has the same tumors. Baby came to us with an eye bleeding but it stopped on it's own. She has a scar right in the center of one eye. On top of that they all have severe digestion problems. The shelter did not keep their end of bargain and cancelled all their local vets. The vet they chose was 4 hours away and we were not happy with the distance. So my dogs have problems but I do not think they ever had good care. This has however made us reconsider ever again getting a chihuahua from. Shelter. In addition they all had severe digestive issues and as much as we have tried cannot seem to get anywhere with any potty training. They so go outside when weather permits, but overall we get nowhere. This was not a good first experience with a shelter. We love our chi's Nd would never give them up but not thinking we would ever go through a shelter again. I consider that sad since chi's are the number 1 of 2 dogs put down. I am saddened by this. We have them on pepcid twice as vet told us but it does not seem to work. Any suggestions for what these poor chi's are going through?? Thank you!

tamara lynn stewart

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Love ,love,love these articles....Thank you !

Cathy

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

I'm glad you liked them!

Cynsky

Friday 10th of July 2020

I agree with everything except the health issues. I got a rescue and she has more maintenance than larger dogs. Her teeth, nails and anal gland have been expensive. She is worth it, but the constant expenses were a surprise. I only have had large dogs before this.

Cathy

Saturday 11th of July 2020

I'm sorry your chi is having so many health issues. They don't all have those issues. My 2 are pretty healthy (knock on wood).

Caryl Johnston

Saturday 7th of December 2019

I realize it’s hard to believe but they also make awesome service dogs for PTSD and yes just like any breed there are some that just don’t pass the test my Sasha who is a short haired Chihuahua passed a two year course in only eight months

Ethel

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Myth Dogs hate mailman My MIA greets him and because of her he will take time to deliver mail right to me. I am disabled. His reward is a big hello from Mia.

Cathy

Saturday 7th of December 2019

That's awesome Caryl! I can believe it. Chis are so in-tune to us.

Rhonda Parker

Saturday 12th of October 2019

Maybe it's because we have a big family and lots of visitirs, but out little girl is delighted by strangers who will hold and cuddle her, and every family member is her favorite! While she knows when to run to Nanny (me, the live-in Grandmother) when things get too crazy with the six year old, she adores him and especially loves story time at night when we gather in Nanny's bed for snuggle time. She never forgets a friendly face and gets insanely excited when relatives and friends drop by. In fact, to my surprise, our little chi (found freezing and covered with fleas last year as a tiny little thing when the family went to the pumpkin patch) could have been trained as a therapy dog she is so attuned to the needs of each family member. I am disabled and some days bedridden and she may wander around to play with the other dogs or people but will come back frequently to check on "Nanny" and give my a few kisses and cuddles. If the teenager come in pouting and moody because she's had a bad day, it doesn't take long for Me. Gizzy's antics and enthusiasm to brighten her up. She rough houses with the six year old and the two big labs but seems to know exactly when to retire if things get too crazy. My son in law says she is the "best thing that happened to us in 2018" and is delighted that she cares so much after he comes in from a hard day. We have a big chaise lounge near out front door and she's figured out she is taller than the big dogs if she climbs up on the arm to greet visitors and family members coming in. I will say she is great with kids in part due to so much early socialization - from attending little league games to 20 teen girls coming over for frequent slumber parties. While we've been protective due to her small size, we've always let children and visitors hold and play with her - as long as she is comfortable - and with supervision. Its a rough and tumble household with two other great big dogs do we've found just letting her "be a dog" and not allowing people to overly fawn or tote her around all the time has been a factor because we've found - she really is a "real" dog and basically wants the same thinga that make our lab boys happy. Having grown up in a multiple dog home and with a houseful of "big dog" rescues myself, all my life, I will say our "Gizmo". Who has morphed into the name "Ms Gizzy" , is one of the best dogs I've ever owned. She is also one of most perceptive and intelligent. She really has been a great big blessing and we now couldn't imagine life without our spirited little chi!