If you want your household to be a combination of a miniature dog and a large breed, then two obvious picks are a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd. These are popular dogs on their own, so it makes sense to want to have them both in your family. But is this really the best combination? Do these two dog breeds get along?
Do German Shepherds and Chihuahuas get along? German Shepherds and Chihuahuas can get along, although they have strong, dominant personalities, bringing them together can be difficult. Ideally, you want them to get both as puppies. If you cannot, then introduce them gradually and stay alert so you can correct behaviors before they become a habit.
If you’re thinking about having a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd in your home, the first thing you need to find out is whether these two breeds can get along.
Let’s shed some light on the temperaments of both breeds to see if they can get along. I’ll also share some valuable tips and tricks for creating a peaceful coexistence between the two of them.
Let’s get started!
The German Shepherd and Chihuahua Temperaments
Even though German Shepherds and Chihuahuas vary significantly in size, their temperaments are similar. This is because the Chihuahua thinks he is a large breed and isn’t afraid to back down from anything or anyone- including larger breeds such as a German Shepherd!
Check out this cute video clip of a German Shepherd playing with his Chihuahua buddy and being ever so gentle:
The German Shepherd, for the most part, has a somewhat laid-back personality and can make a good first dog. However, this does not mean that he is not a dominant dog that wants to be in charge of the home.
Combined with their extreme loyalty to their owners, this aloof dog makes an excellent watchdog. The loyalty means he will not be too keen on another dog joining the family.
The Chihuahua, on the other hand, is a stubborn dog that is lively, confident, and fun. He has a courageous attitude, which is evident from his behavior. While the Chihuahua is a snuggly, affectionate dog to his owner, they aren’t so likely to be sweet to other dogs in the home.
Describing the Chihuahua’s temperament, The Happy Puppy Site refers to them as a little dog with a big personality. They say:
“Chihuahua puppies have big, confident personalities and are mostly indoor dogs. Some owners describe Chihuahuas as having an almost terrier-like temperament.”The Happy Puppy Site
Both the Chihuahua and the German Shepherd breed have an issue with other dogs in the home – that is clear. But does that mean it’s impossible to have these two breeds in the home? We know how affectionate, fun-loving, and loyal both breeds are, and understand why you want to have both by your side. But getting these two to get along needs to be done the right way.
How to Have a Happy Home with a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd
If you tossed these two breeds into a room and crossed your fingers, you would be setting your furry friends up for a disaster. These two breeds are not likely to get along with each other right off the bat. This is due to their dominant personalities. With both liking to be “in charge” of their home, how can you make it so that they get along and live cohesively?
Well, you will be glad to know that there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to owning a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd in the same home:
Socialize at a Young Age
Perhaps the best thing you can do for either breed is to thoroughly socialize them when they are younger. Socialization (as well as training) will help to get your dog used to being around other dogs, which will help to cease a bit of that dominant trait and allow a friendlier, more submissive side to form.
Let Them Grow Up Together
One easy way to know if your Chihuahua and German Shepherd will be able to live happily together is to get them both as puppies and let them grow up together. Of course, this is not always ideal or even possible. But if you can, you should.
If the two breeds grow up together, they will get used to one another and think it as “normal.” Sure, they might have their fights here and there – but what brother and sister don’t? Speaking of brother and sister, let’s look at the next tip.
Don’t Have the Same Gender
Almost any dog – especially a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua – are going to have an issue with a dog of the same gender, even if they are different breeds. This is because males are far more dominant and controlling in nature. They will not want to share their area with another male in fear that the other male could dominate the space.
Therefore, never have the same gender. If you have a male German Shepherd, opt for a female Chihuahua. If you have a female German Shepherd, then you should consider getting a male Chihuahua. This will make the entire process easier.
Check out my article, Will Two Female German Shepherds Get Along? to give you more of an insight into this.
Introducing the Two Together
If you are not able to start the dogs off together at birth, do not think you are entirely out of luck. While it will take a lot more effort and time on your part, you can bring the German Shepherd and Chihuahua into one home successfully. Here are a few ways to make sure you have a happy ending:
- Go slow. You should not expect instant happiness from either dog. That’s why it is essential to bring them together gradually. Start with small visits here and there.
- Always keep an eye on them. This is something you will need to do in the long haul, but especially in the first few visits. You do not want any fights breaking out or any dog getting hurt, so always keep an eye on the two.
- Reward good behavior. If you see the two (soon to be) pals getting along, then you should absolutely reward their good behavior. This will show the dogs that they are doing something good and should continue this behavior.
- Use commands. If something starts to go a bit haywire, then you can use commands with your dog to get them to listen. For instance – if your German Shepherd is beginning to get rough, you can use the “Sit” or “Stay” command to get him to stop. At this point, you will want to separate them, so they know it’s not a good thing to do.
- Give them their own space. Since these dogs are dominant, they enjoy having their own space. Make sure that there is plenty of room for each dog to claim as his own, and he will be more willing to live with the other.
- Consider harnessing at first. While this is not always necessary, some dogs are more aggressive than others. While socializing and training at a young age helps, some dogs simply have a bold temperament. If this is the case, then harnessing for the first few visits can be safe. I’ve always found the no-pull harness from Walk Your Dog With Love to be the best for my German Shepherd as it completely stops her from pulling because it’s not rear-attached and gives great control.
- Introduce them in a neutral area. It’s best to start the meeting in a neutral area that is “unclaimed.” This way, no dog feels like the other is entering their territory, which will ultimately be more successful. From there you can give them their own spaces.
German Shepherds and Chihuahuas are both dominant and loyal breeds that don’t like to share their space – especially with another dog. But that does not mean it’s impossible to own one of each in your home. With patience and practice, everyone can live cohesively.
The best thing to do is to make sure both dogs are socialized and, if you can, get both breeds as puppies.
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