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What You Should Know Before Getting a Chihuahua

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Thinking of getting a chihuahua? Here’s everything you need to know about chi personalities, the health of chihuahuas in general, even how to train a chihuahua, and more!

I sometimes get emails from people who have never had a chihuahua and wonder if they should get one.

They ask about what they should know before getting a chihuahua. I give them my two cents worth but decided it might be easier to just send them to a post. And to get the point of view of other chihuahua pet parents.

So I asked on our Facebook page and got over 900 responses!

A lot of the responses were similar. Below is a list of the most common responses given. 

Of course there are exceptions to  every rule so if you read these and think “my chihuahua isn’t like this”, then yours may be the exception. My chis didn’t fit some of these  things either.

I have linked to the things in this list that we have articles on.

Health

Chihuahua being held by veterinarian

Personality

While your chihuahua will be unique, there is a general personality shared by most chihuahua dogs. Getting to know your pup will be an adventure, but here are a few personality traits that you can probably look forward to!

  • They are very protective and are mighty little warriors.
  • Chis like to lick.
  • Chis love to snuggle
  • They can be a bully to other pets in your home, no matter how big those pets are.
  • Chihuahuas are very smart, but stubborn little dogs.
  • They can be sneaky.
  • Chis tend to be needy and crave a lot of attention.
  • They don’t like to be alone and often have separation anxiety.
  • They can be quirky and often have strong personalities.
  • Chihuahuas love to bark a lot.
  • They tend to bond with one person and don’t do well with young children.
  • Chis love to be held.
  • Watch how much you feed them as they can put on weight fast.

Training

long hair chihuahua by pee accident

Other

  • Be very careful when walking, especially when they are pups, as you can accidentally kick them or step on them. A collar with a bell really helps.
  • Chihuahuas do better with a playmate their size. So get another chihuahua.
  • Watch them closely when outside. Birds of prey and other wild animals (coyotes, wolves, etc.) can snatch them in a second.
  • Chihuahuas are indoor dogs and should never sleep outside at night.
  • If getting your chi from a rescue, check out the rescue and find out as much as you can about the dog’s background.
  • If getting a puppy from a breeder, ask lots of questions about the parents, ask to see the parents… do they look like Chihuahuas? Are they friendly?  Does the breeder health test and do they know about the breed? And if something goes wrong that they will refund your money?

How Your Life Will Change

chihuahua on wooden steps

  • You won’t need a doorbell.
  • You will never be alone again. They will be your constant shadow. You will forever have a bathroom buddy.
  • It’s hard to stop at just one chihuahua.  It’s VERY important to know that if you are to get a Chihuahua you will become addicted to having more. There’s no cure.
  • If you give them a chance, they will rule you and your household.
  • They will take over your bed, couch and especially your blankets so you need to check before sitting or laying down to be sure there isn’t a chi hiding within them.
  • Chis will show you the greatest love you’ll ever know.
  • A lot of them like to steal dirty clothes such as socks and underwear.
  • Chihuahuas are so entertaining, especially if you have more than one chi. Just watching them chase each other around and play is loads of fun.
  • Because of their size and being somewhat fragile, you will need to change things in your house such as having steps or ramps for your bed and couch, extra blankets, dog beds in rooms they hang out in, etc.
 

What would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let us know if you agree with these things and what you would tell someone before getting a chihuahua.

 

 

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cute chihuahua in brown sweater

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Elizabeth

Monday 15th of February 2021

Hi, we have 2 puppies brothers & 1 is definitely the Chi & 1 is jack Russell, but both want to be dominant, & both crave my attention. I’m wondering if getting them snipped will help calm them down. Regards, Elizabeth..

Cathy

Monday 15th of February 2021

It might Elizabeth. Neutering often does help although they will probably always crave your attention. Also they may calm down as they get older too.

Dede

Monday 18th of January 2021

I have a three legged Chi. We had to amputate because it was deformed, born that way. His name is Odie, he reminds me of Garfields dog! I lost my husband about 5 years ago and Odie has been my constant companion and my emotional support since then. I love my Chi, he can be a bit barky towards people but as soon as he knows that he knows them he is fine with them. He a bit finicky with his food and I’m having a hard time finding something he likes. Any suggestions?

Cathy

Monday 18th of January 2021

He sounds like a wonderful little guy Dede. If you are looking for a kibble, a lot of dogs like Royal Canin. My dogs love Ollie but it's subscription human grade food.

Thomas Corral

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Yes, I just lost my Chihuahua this New Years morning. She was my everything. Always had border collies, grew up with them, my mother loved them, but they didn’t like us. I bought her for my wife. On the third day home she got sick. Took her to vet, had start of parvo. I fought tooth and nail to save her. Nurses instruction give small amounts of water every half hour. Did that religiously as told. By the third day she was up walking about, drinking water on her own and tiny amounts of food. Fourth day wife call me at work saying she’s zooming around everywhere. That moment on she attached to me, and I to her. She went everywhere with us. Smart, loving, great personality, and we had and amazing bond. I miss her dearly, I loved her, and always will. Now I’m looking for another one. If anyone knows, I’d appreciate the info. Rest In Peace my Precious ‘Mona’💔

Cathy

Saturday 16th of January 2021

I'm so sorry you lost your little Mona Thomas!

Cindy

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

My Chi mix crossed the rainbow bridge last year. My grandson insisted her name is Chika but her real name was Sunshine. Not really cuddly but insisted to follow me everywhere and slept with us. Loved being outdoors rain, snow or shine. Definitely bad teeth and preferred home made food. She suffered from seizures but since I got her at the shelter I have no idea on her history or even how old she was. Cancer took her (and her buddy Freda, a rat terrier) after 12 years. Sure miss them both.

Cathy

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

It sounds like she had a happy life with you Cindy.

Kacey

Sunday 6th of December 2020

I found this article interesting as I didn't know my dog was a Chi when I adopted her. She was rescued from a home living with a person who was a dog hoarder. She went from being scared of being outside (was told she had probably never been outside before being rescued) to loving going on walks and adventures with me. She has extreme separation anxiety that I have not been able to cure and think she will just deal with this all her life. Despite this she is a true rescue success story and her adoption has enriched my life so much. She has such a feisty, quirky personality and I have truly fallen in love with the breed.

Cathy

Monday 7th of December 2020

I'm so glad she found a wonderful safe home with you Kacey!