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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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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!

Julie Kautzman

Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

Yes they are wonderful dogs they love to snuggle and mine loves chicken so funny how much.

Rhonda Parker

Saturday 12th of October 2019

The teenager's mood improves vastly from some chi-therapy time!

JUNE

Friday 30th of August 2019

I agree, chihuahuas do make good watch dogs! My girls always alert me when anyone is coming to the door, even before anyone knocks or rings the doorbell! Some years ago when my daughter had her first chi (a beautiful chocolate named Sassy Girl), a man broke into her apartment when she was home. Her chi attacked the man. He kicked her away, but she came right back at him and was biting his legs! After that, he ran back out the door. I have no idea what that man had in mind (whether he was going to assault my daughter or rob the place or even something worse), but I credit Sassy Girl with saving the day! Sassy Girl lived to be a little past 15 years old. She was a real sweetheart!