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Helping Your Chihuahua Get Along with Larger Dogs

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A well-socialized chihuahua results in a confident, calmer, and happier dog.

The time may come when you need to introduce yours to a larger mutt. Chihuahuas can weigh as little as 3 lbs, while the largest dog breeds weigh around 170 lbs. or more.

This massive discrepancy in size can put your chihuahua at an unfair disadvantage and he may naturally feel intimidated around larger breeds.

long hair chihuahua laying on back playfully Great Dane

But, by following the correct safety guidelines, you can successfully introduce your chihuahua to larger dogs, so they can get along and even play together.

Deciding on a meeting place

When deciding where to introduce your chihuahua to a larger dog, choose neutral ground — somewhere unfamiliar neither dog is territorial over.

For example, hold the meeting at a park or beach they’ve never been to before. A dog park should also be okay since it’s somewhere both dogs expect to interact with fellow canines.

collie playing with chi on grass 700

If you’re concerned about the possibility of the two dogs not getting along well, you can always call a professional dog behavior consultant for help. They can provide advice and come along with you for the meeting.

If you’ve adopted a chihuahua from a shelter, the staff will also be happy to help you introduce him to a larger dog.

Introducing the dogs

Before the dogs meet properly, let them walk near each other on the leash. Let them see each other but maintain a good distance apart.

Keep them on a relaxed leash, so they know there’s nothing to worry about. A taut leash can indicate you’re feeling anxious which can in turn affect your chihuahua’s behavior.

fawn great dane with chi

Next, turn around and switch lanes (while keeping the dogs separate still) and let them smell each other’s tracks.

Once they’re familiar with each other’s scent, you can then let them get close and sniff each other. Let your chihuahua set the pace as he’ll probably be feeling less confident around a larger dog.

If they seem okay, let go of the leashes. Take a step back and let the dogs do their thing. There’s no need to be too overbearing —  this can actually make the dogs tense and ruin the meeting.

Pay attention to body language

Focus on body language as the dogs meet. It should be relaxed.

In some cases, larger dogs may view smaller dogs as prey.

Watch for behavior like staring, stiffness, stalking, and lunging. If there’s cause for concern, stand in between the dogs to create distance and use treats to distract the large one.

Don’t pick up your chihuahua because the large dog may just think he’s a toy and go for him.

dalmation with black and white chi blue background

If they start playing together, make sure it’s fun, relaxed, and bouncy. Positive signs the larger dog is accommodating your chihuahua include him slowing down or even lying down to meet your chihuahua’s level.

Remember to praise your chihuahua for good behavior right from the beginning. You’ll encourage him to keep it up and boost his confidence in the situation.

Ultimately, if you’d feel more comfortable with a professional dog behavior consultant, it’s a good idea to hire one so the meeting can be as smooth and successful as possible.

Irene Duncan

Saturday 17th of December 2022

We own a 6 months old female Labrador and in one month we are going to introduce her to a male chihuahua puppy. Given the young age of the first dog, is there any specific advice or should I just use the generic one? Thanks a lot.


Saturday 17th of December 2022

I would not allow the pups to be alone together. The lab, being larger and still a puppy may accidentally injure the chi puppy.

Mary Lynn

Monday 7th of March 2022

I have been dating a man who has a sweet 5 year old female German Shepherd. I have a sweet 6 year old Chihuahua. I know I have to relax but I think I'm nervous because I hope they like each other. I don't want my nervousness to get in the way. Any thoughts? My Chi normally loves any dog at the dog park regardless of size. She hates baseball hats on people. That's the only thing that I've ever seen her upset by...


Monday 7th of March 2022

The best advice I can give is have them meet on neutral ground. There's a great video on how to do this too here:

Annette Donaldson

Monday 23rd of November 2020

My daughter of 44yrs has no children but has two male whippets who are 6yrs (brother.). We as a family have had 3 Yorkshire terrier over the years who lived till 14 and a previous rescue whippet died age 17y. She has had a few occasions where she has come in contact with chihuahuas and she has fallen in love with them . Would this work she would like to rescue one but does not know where to go and if this would work has anyone had any experience of this . Regards Annette


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Yes it can work Annette. We have an article on introducing a new dog to your chihuahua. I know yours would be the opposite of this but it's the same principle: We also have an article on how to find a rescue here:

Saturday 4th of May 2019

A 'taught' leash??? I think you mean a 'taut' leash.


Saturday 4th of May 2019

Yep you are right. I'll fix it.