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Chihuahua Pros and Cons: 12 Things To Consider Before Buying

Last Updated: December 17, 2023

Don’t let their small stature fool you because Chihuahuas have larger-than-life personalities able to charm just about anyone. However, is the breed’s popularity enough of a reason for you to get one of these dogs for yourself? So, what are the pros and cons of a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas’ biggest pros are their exceptional intelligence, lively personalities, long lifespan, and suitability for small homes. However, there are some drawbacks to adopting a Chihuahua, including aggression, noisiness, and susceptibility to several health issues.

Getting a Chihuahua is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly because, after all, taking care of one of these little creatures can be as exhausting as it is rewarding. Read on as I explore the breed’s most notable advantages and drawbacks to decide whether you can realistically look after these dogs.

Chihuahua Pros and Cons

Chihuahua Pros & Cons

When you think of tiny, cuddly dog breeds, Chihuahuas can top the list. In fact, most people believe that these Mexican dogs are easy to maintain. However, there are intricate details about the breed that every pet owner (aspiring) should know.

Like all dogs, one should weigh up a Chihuahua’s advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a tabled view of the pros and cons of Chihuahuas.

Chihuahua ProsChihuahua Cons
They’re exceptionally intelligent.They aren’t the best family dogs.
Chihuahuas make great apartment dogs.Chihuahuas can be very noisy.
Chihuahuas have a long lifespan.Chihuahuas are prone to some health issues.
They have a low-maintenance coat.They aren’t ideal for colder climates.
Chihuahuas make great watchdogs.Chihuahuas can be spoiled.
They’re portable while traveling.
Chihuahuas thrive in warm climates.
Chihuahua pros and cons

Every attribute of Chihuahuas is unique, and it isn’t recommended to think of them like any other breed. Additionally, as in all dog breeds, you’ll also find personality and individuality.

Recently, I had the awesome experience of looking after my neighbor’s three adorable Chihuahuas for a few days – and I can tell you, each one had its own individual personality. Below is one of my favorite photos of them chilling on their beanbag- Poppy, Lily, and Molly!

Three Chihuahuas on Beanbag
My neighbor’s three Chihuahuas

Nonetheless, to understand them better, check out the detailed list below, where I give you all the facts you need to know about the Chihuahua’s pros and cons.

Chihuahua Pros

Chihuahuas are some of the most popular apartment dogs, known for their impressive intelligence level and diva-like personalities. If you’re considering getting one of these dogs, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s much to look forward to as a Chi owner.

Chihuahuas are among the most intelligent breeds, which, as you’ll learn throughout this article, can be both an advantage and a drawback. Let’s focus for a moment on the positives, though, and explore some of the most notable pros of getting a Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas Are Exceptionally Intelligent

Due to these dogs’ innate curiosity and ability to learn quickly, they’re pretty easy to train. Though Chihuahuas can learn new tricks and commands throughout their lives, it’s best to start their training when they’re as young as possible, especially regarding bathroom habits and socialization.

Since the breed is known to get aggressive occasionally, I want to emphasize the importance of socializing them with people and other animals from a young age. That way, they’re less likely to react negatively to an unfamiliar presence later in life.

Chihuahuas Make Great Apartment Dogs

If insufficient space has been the issue that has kept you back from becoming a dog owner, getting a Chihuahua might be the answer to all your struggles. Chihuahuas might be the quintessential apartment breed, as they’re famous for their small size and humble space requirements.

Though they’re still energetic, only so much movement can come out of their little bodies, so you won’t have to worry about providing your pup with a large backyard to feel mentally and physically stimulated.

In this way, Chihuahuas are like cats because they don’t need much space.

Two Chihuahuas In Dog Bed

They Have a Long Lifespan

A pro of Chihuahuas is their long lifespan. Pet MD lists Chihuahuas among the longest-living dogs in the world, with the average life expectancy hovering around 14-16 years, several years more than the species average. 

So, if you tend to get very emotionally attached to your pet, opting for a longer-living breed like this might be your best bet. Keep in mind, though, that in life, there are no guarantees when it comes to health. 

Some Chihuahuas might still develop issues that limit their longevity, so it’s important to prioritize regular vet screenings.

Chihuahuas Have a Low-Maintenance Coat

Since most Chihuahuas are short-haired, their coat doesn’t require much grooming to be kept in good shape.

Though the occasional nail trimming or grooming appointment will still be necessary, compared to most other breeds, it’s safe to say that Chihuahuas are among the easiest dogs to care for when it comes to coat maintenance.

This also means they don’t shed as much as other breeds, certainly nowhere near as much as my German Shepherd! If you don’t want to always clean up dog hair, a Chi might be a good fit for you.

Chihuahuas Make Great Watchdogs

Remember how I mentioned that Chihuahuas must be trained out of their tendency to get aggressive whenever they spot an unfamiliar presence? 

Well, there are times when this characteristic might come in handy.

Chihuahuas are some of the most loyal dogs you’ll come across, and they’ll do just about anything to keep their owner healthy and happy. So, as soon as they sense a threat approaching them or the people they love, these dogs won’t be afraid to speak up, or attack said threat.

Chihuahua Paws Up

They’re Portable While Traveling

If you like to travel a lot, Chihuahuas might be the best dogs. Due to their remarkably small size, these are some of the most portable pups you’ll ever find. So, whether you prefer holding your dog in your arms or getting a store-bought carrier, you won’t get tired of traveling with your Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas Thrive In Warm Climates

Since Chihuahuas originate from Mexico, it’s no surprise they’re partial to higher temperatures, within reason. So, a Chihuahua would feel right at home if you live in an especially warm climate or your home doesn’t have the best AC system.

Chihuahua Cons

While there’s no doubt that Chihuahuas make for loyal, intelligent companions, there are still a few drawbacks to consider before welcoming one of these dogs into your home. They can be noisy, aggressive, and spoiled. 

If you don’t want a diva dog in your home, you may want to look for other breeds to adopt.

They’re Not the Best Family Dogs

If you have small children living with you, getting a Chihuahua might not be the wisest choice. These dogs can be quite hot-headed and not above getting aggressive when provoked.

Unfortunately, younger children don’t know how to interact gently with pets yet, so having them live together with a Chihuahua might be a recipe for disaster. If your kids are a bit more grown up, it might be possible for them to cohabitate with this breed. 

However, teach them the importance of treating the animal with care and respect.

Never allow younger kids to interact with a Chihuahua unsupervised. Though these dogs are small, you’d be surprised at just how much damage they can do when agitated, especially when their “opponent” isn’t properly able to protect themselves.

Chihuahuas Can Be Very Noisy

The amount of noise that can come out from such a small body is nothing short of remarkable. You know how I mentioned that each dog has its own personality?

“Well, my neighbor’s Chihuahua, Poppy, does not have an “off-switch!” whereas I never heard a peep from Lily. And Molly, well, she just wanted constant cuddles!”

Chihuahuas have larger-than-life personalities and like to express themselves at any given chance, so if you’re particularly sensitive to loud noises, this isn’t the breed for you. But I loved it!

That said, there are a few steps you can take to make their barking more manageable. 

For example, teaching your Chihuahua the command “quiet” can take a long way. However, the only surefire way to keep your pup quiet is to make sure it’s mentally and physically stimulated. No dog is louder than a bored Chihuahua, so keep that in mind when scheduling your pup interaction time.

Check out this video demonstrating the sound effects of 3 angry Chihuahuas…

Chihuahuas Are Prone to Some Health Issues

Though all dogs are bound to experience some health-related issues throughout their lives, toy breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, are even more prone to certain conditions than the rest

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is one of the dogs’ most common orthopedic conditions, especially in toy breeds like Chihuahuas. It occurs when the kneecap slips out of its standard position and into the thigh bone, and it can progress over several years, ultimately leading to bone degradation.

Here are some tell-tale symptoms of patellar luxation:

  • Lameness
  • Skipping
  • Odd movement of the limbs
  • Unusual walking pattern

Spinal Injuries

Chihuahuas’ fiery nature contradicts their fragile bodies, so these dogs are far more prone to injuries than most other breeds. That’s why spinal injuries, in particular, are prevalent among this breed.

These issues can range in severity, with some of the most severe cases leading to paralysis. Since it’s difficult to assess just how bad the situation is when the accident occurs, it’s always best to be safe and carefully treat every injury, especially spinal ones.

As soon as you see your Chihuahua getting hurt, you’ll want to immediately call your vet and take the dog in for a visit.

Some of the most common signs of this type of injury include:

  • Unwillingness to move or jump
  • Crying for no reason
  • Visibly flinching in pain upon being touched

Tracheal Collapse

This is another condition widely common in toy breeds, Chihuahuas included. It occurs when the cartilage rings that comprise the trachea collapses, leading to breathing difficulties.

These smaller dogs are far more susceptible to this problem because their cartilage rings are smaller and weaker than their larger counterparts, and a single wrong move or accident can lead to a collapse.

Luckily, a tracheal collapse is manageable, especially if you spot it immediately. Here are some of the most common signs of a collapsed trachea:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing (harsh and dry)
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting

Hypoglycemia

Chances are you’re already familiar with what this condition entails, as it regularly affects humans, too. Hypoglycemia is one of the most common health-related issues in Chihuahuas, and it refers to a dangerous decrease in blood sugar levels. 

In the most severe cases, it can lead to a coma.

Hypoglycemic attacks are, unfortunately, hard to predict. However, once you notice one occurring, which usually manifests with seizures, you must immediately take your dog in for an emergency visit.

Though rarely, some signs might still appear before the attack. These include:

  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Altered behavior
  • Collapse
  • Impaired vision
  • Ataxia

Dental-Related Issues

Unfortunately, most Chihuahuas will experience at least some dental-related issues in their lifetime. Since their heads are so small, their teeth can easily become overcrowded, making it easy for food to get trapped and cavities to form.

Depending on the damage’s severity, these issues can progress to premature tooth loss, bad breath, and gum disease, to name only a few. Just like in humans, dental hygiene can significantly impact a Chihuahua’s overall health.

That’s why, if you ever decide to get one of these dogs, you’ll have to take it on regular dental screenings to ensure everything’s in order.

Chihuahuas Aren’t the Best Pet for Colder Climates

Chihuahua in the snow

Remember how I mentioned that Chihuahuas like warm weather? That’s not just a preference, as they’re wired to thrive in higher temperatures, so you’ll quickly find they despise the cold.

If you’re trying to adopt a Chihuahua and live in a perpetually cold place, you have some serious challenges ahead. You’ll likely have to leave the heating on 24/7 while investing in dog sweaters or blankets to ensure your pup is toasty, but these expenses can quickly add up.

So, if you’re trying to figure out whether getting a Chihuahua is the right choice for you, considering the climate you live in is a great first filter on which you can base your final decision.

Chihuahuas Can Be Spoiled

Chihuahuas can easily turn from loving and sweet to stubborn and spoiled if you’re not careful enough. However, striking that fine balance between making sure all of your pup’s needs are met and not doting on it so much that it becomes spoiled can be challenging, to say the least.

“So, while it’s important to make your pet feel loved and cared for when it comes to Chihuahuas, you also want to make an effort to encourage them to be a little bit more independent and well-behaved.”

While on the topic, I also want to note that many Chihuahuas can showcase an aggressive temperament, especially if grown from irresponsible breeders. In this case, getting them to behave or even housebreaking them might be challenging, regardless of their intelligence.

This shows how important getting your pup from the right source can be. It’s often worth paying more if you’re taking in a well-behaved pup that’ll improve your life, not harder. Adopting a Chihuahua might not be your best choice unless you’re willing to work. 

While it can certainly be rewarding to see your pup’s temperament improve over time, don’t go into the adoption or purchasing process thinking you’re getting a low-maintenance breed just because these dogs are small, as that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Final Thoughts

When considering the Chihuahua pros and cons, they can make excellent pets, especially if you live in an apartment or small home and don’t have the time or energy to take your pup out for several walks a day. However, before you get one of these dogs, it’s essential to consider their potential drawbacks.

Though they’re easy to care for in terms of physical activity, they’re still high-maintenance dogs that require lots of patience and commitment from their owner to thrive.

If you’re thinking of owning a Chi, I hope learning about the Chihuahua’s advantages and disadvantages has helped you make an informed decision.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.
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