Chihuahuas are often stereotyped as pesky, annoying dogs that live inside the purses of rich women from Beverly Hills. There is even an unfounded internet rumor that they are a species of rat! In this article, I will describe the pros and cons of owning this sometimes misunderstood breed and hopefully assist prospective dog owners in deciding if this type of dog is right for them.
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed. Their tiny size and comically large ears give them a distinctive look and most people recognize them easily. They are ideal for living in small homes, such as apartments. Chihuahuas feel comfortable in spaces that larger dogs would find confining. It’s also easier to keep them in a small crate (when you are driving them somewhere, for example) than it would be for a larger breed.
However, families with small children would be wise to avoid this breed. Chihuahuas can easily be stepped on or mistreated by little kids who aren’t experienced with dogs. Also, some Chihuahuas with aggressive personalities can easily be provoked to attack (although this is true of many breeds). Parents with small children should look elsewhere, perhaps to a Labrador or a Golden Retriever.
Chihuahuas are low maintenance dogs. They usually have a very thin fur coat that rarely requires grooming and they do not shed huge amounts of hair all over the house (although they do shed some). Chihuahuas also need less food than larger dog breeds for obvious reasons. If you are on a budget, this is a good breed for you. It’s also easy to pick them up and carry them, although I don't recommend doing this on a consistent basis. Like any dog, Chihuahuas will want to explore their surroundings on the ground. They need less exercise than most breeds, but should still be walked on a daily basis.
This breed tends to prefer the company of Chihuahuas over other dogs, so families who already own another canine may want to avoid them. That said, unless they are very ill-tempered, a Chihuahua should be able to adjust to another breed’s presence with proper training.
Chihuahuas are very affectionate toward their owners and other people that they know, but are skittish when it comes to strangers. My dog Max often shies away from being petted by people whom he has never seen before. He is not like the Labradors I’ve known who instantly love everybody. However, Chihuahuas do have something in common with labs – they are useless as guard dogs. Although Chihuahuas will aggressively defend their territory against a burglar, their small size will preclude them being particularly effective in this regard (unless the robber is a midget).
Chihuahuas are intelligent and will thrive with the right type of owner and environment. If this breed is a proper fit for your lifestyle, don't hesitate to adopt a chihuahua.
Consider this breed if…
You like having a dog that is small, very cute, intelligent, and affectionate.
You don’t have small children.
You don’t already have another dog (unless it’s a Chihuahua).
You are on a limited budget.
Don’t consider this breed if…
You have little kids.
You want a guard dog.
You want a dog that will require lots of grooming and pampering.
By Nick Anderson
© 2013 Nick R. Anderson
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on September 29, 2012:
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! This is one of my most popular hubs.
Marilyn Alexander from Vancouver, Canada on September 29, 2012:
This is hilarious! I too laughed out loud thinking of a Chihuahua as a guard dog. I learned a lot from your interesting and well-written article. Thanks so much. This is a winner.
Voted up across the board! You have a new fan.
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on August 23, 2012:
Yeah chihuahuas are sensitive to the cold. Of course, if you wanted you could just get one and buy it a doggie sweater or something of that nature. Yeah it might be a challenge if you already have a big dog though.
moonlake from America on August 23, 2012:
I have been trying to talk my husband into a Chihuahua. Big dogs are getting to be to much for us. He says no.....he remembers my little Chihuahua from years ago she didn't like him. Our big dog is always after chipmunks so we think he may think a Chihuahua is a chipmunk. I know they are cold natured and wonder if it would be just to cold for them here. Enjoyed reading your hub. Voted up.
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on August 23, 2012:
Thanks! Always good to hear from another dog owner!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 23, 2012:
As another dog lover, I was drawn to this Hub. One of my favorite dogs was a long haired Chihuahua I had once. He was SO sweeet. He was a barker, though. The miniature schnauzer I have now is a barker, too. I've written several Hubs about her and another dog I have.
I voted this UP, etc.etc.
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on August 15, 2012:
Thanks! Bunnies and turtles are fun pets too I'm sure!
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 15, 2012:
Thank you for the tips! My granddaughter (5 yrs old) has been suggesting for a few months that we trade in our family dog for a Chihuahua because our dog doesn't like kids. Haha! I think it's adorable, but now I know that a chihuahua might not like her either. Luckily her bunny and turtle do. Fab hub!
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on August 14, 2012:
Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on August 14, 2012:
Just so cute ... and your line about a midget burglar made me spit coffee everywhere! So funny ...
Welcome to HubPages, Nick.
nanderson500 (author) from Seattle, WA on August 07, 2012:
Those are good names! My parents used to have a dalmatian named Molly.
AaronHubb89 on August 07, 2012:
I love chihuahuas, I had three growing up: Tito, Molly, and Titus. Tito was 15 last August and had to be put down. Titus, who was half Pomaranian was a little devil so we just gave him away. Molly who is 8 is now the only remaining dog at the Hubbard household. Then when I got married I moved in with my in-laws and they too have a little hairless chihuahua named Chiquita. I have a 2 and a half year old daughter who actually does great with them for the most part.
Patty Kenyon from Ledyard, Connecticut on July 30, 2012:
Useful and Interesting for those looking to purchase a dog!!
Kevin J Timothy from Tampa Bay, FL on July 29, 2012:
It doesn't even matter. Our Chihuahua won't give another the time of day.