Chihuahuas have been described as aggressive ankle biters that don’t get along with other dogs. They have been called annoying little pooches because of their incessant yappy bark.
How did these tiny dogs get a bad reputation? The negative stereotypes about the breed stem from misconception and misinformation that spread like wildfire. Whilst it’s true that Chihuahuas can be aggressive, it’s not because they are predisposed to such bad behaviour. Just like any other breed, how Chihuahuas turn out depends on genetic temperament, socialisation, and training.
Don’t let myths and misconceptions discourage you from getting a Chihuahua as a furry companion. Knowing the truth about Chihuahuas can help break stereotypes.
Here are 7 things you need to know before getting a Chihuahua.
1. Only You
Chihuahuas are known to be one-person dogs. They tend to bond strongly with their owners only. However, being a pack animal, they can also warm up to other family members. Chihuahuas are not usually too keen on meeting strangers. When they are around strangers, they tend to be suspicious and standoffish. Proper socialisation plays a big role in helping a Chihuahua puppy become a sociable adult dog.
2. For Better or For Worse
The lifespan of a dog is approximately 10 to 13 years. Large-sized dog breeds tend to live 9 to 13 years whilst small-sized ones tend to live longer. Small dogs can live for more than 15 years. Some Chihuahuas are known to live up to 20 years.
3. Housebreaking Woes
Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs, but they are notoriously difficult to housebreak. With their small stomach and fast metabolism, they eliminate frequently. Housebreaking is a lot more difficult in cold or wet weather. Time, patience, consistency, and understanding are required to properly housetrain a Chihuahua puppy.
4. Excellent Guards
Chihuahuas may be small but they are not easily intimidated. They are tough and alert pooches that are ready to defend their owners when they see something or someone as a threat. Their awareness of what’s going on in their surroundings make them excellent guard dogs.
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5. Handle with Care
Chihuahuas are generally a healthy breed and their long lifespan can attest to that. Because of their small size, they are more prone to injuries than to illnesses. Their safety depends largely on how careful their owners are in handling them.
Chihuahuas can get seriously injured when they get stepped on or sat on because they’re too small to be noticed. They can also choke on tiny objects lying on the floor. They can easily get hurt when roughhousing. Thus, it is important to keep a close eye on them when taking them out for a walk or even just spending time at home.
Chihuahuas shed less compared to larger dogs. The amount of shedding depends on whether the Chihuahua has a single or a double coat and not on the length of the coat. A Chihuahua’s coat usually sheds more during fall and spring.
7. Great Variety
Chihuahuas not only come in different sizes but also different coats, head types and body types.
Chihuahuas with large round skulls are called apple head. Those with a flatter top instead of domed are called deer head.
Chihuahuas with a cobby build are chunky and short-legged. They have an apple head and a short snout. On the other hand, Chihuahuas with a deer build are slim and long-legged, resembling a tiny greyhound. They have a longer muzzle, larger ears, and a sloping forehead.
Chihuahuas come in two coat types: smooth coat (shorthaired) and long coat (longhaired). Both these types can be double-coated or single coated, which determines the amount of Chihuahua shedding you have to clean up come springtime.
A Chihuahua is great to have as a family pet, but it may not always be a perfect fit. Getting to know the breed at a much deeper level can help you gauge your readiness and capacity to take care of a delicate breed.