If you’re thinking of adopting a Chihuahua, it’s important to learn their pros and cons. What are some common complaints about Chihuahuas, and are they the right breed for you?
Chihuahuas are very vocal, clingy, and prone to separation anxiety. They often take longer to potty train than other breeds due to their small bladders. They also get cold easily and are prone to a few health problems.
In this article, we’ll discuss ten common complaints about Chihuahuas, which ones can be solved by a dedicated dog guardian, and whether this breed is the right one for you.
Are Chihuahuas Good Dogs?
Like every breed, Chihuahuas have their pros and cons. They’re not bad dogs, but they might be a poor fit for your lifestyle or preferences.
Common complaints about Chihuahuas include that they’re very vocal dogs, take a long time to potty train, and are clingy. If you live alone, spend a lot of time outside of the house, or don’t want to train, exercise, and socialize a dog, then Chihuahuas aren’t for you.
On the other hand, they’re a great fit for families where someone is home most of the day, people who work from home, or retired people. They’re snuggly, charming, and sweet when cared for properly.
For people who are willing to put in the work but don’t want to spend hours exercising or training their dogs each day, Chihuahuas are an excellent fit. They’ll be content to play indoors or lounge around the house most of the day.
#1: Chihuahuas Require Training and Socialization
Please don’t adopt a chihuahua thinking that you won’t need to train or socialize them! Chis have a reputation for being mean, and it’s partially because they often don’t get the training that larger dogs receive.
You should focus on socialization, manners, and basic commands from a young age. If you’d like, you can go further with their training as well–they’re smart little dogs!
A Chihuahua who is cared for properly is affectionate and sweet. Remember to treat your pup with respect and not to pick on them or step over their boundaries just because they’re small!
#2: They Need Exercise and Mental Enrichment
On the same note, chihuahuas also need daily exercise and mental enrichment. Not as much as many larger, sporty breeds–but you’d be surprised how long many chis can walk!
A bored chihuahua whose needs aren’t met might become destructive or bark excessively to give themselves something to do, which are two more common complaints. Dogs who don’t get enough stimulation can also become anxious or depressed.
#3: Chihuahuas are Tiny
These small dogs are easy to step on, trip over, or roll onto when sharing a bed. They’re fragile and can be hurt by poor handling, especially by children–which can trigger them to bite in self-defense. This is one reason for complaints about aggression in Chihuahuas.
Make sure to treat your chihuahua gently and always supervise interactions with children closely.
#4: They Get Cold Easily
The reason you see so many chihuahuas in sweaters is that they tend to shiver in the cold and don’t do well in chilly climates. You may need to limit their time outdoors during winter and instead give them more indoor playtime.
Also, provide plenty of cozy blankets, beds, and snuggles to keep your chihuahua comfy in the cooler months.
#5: They’re Difficult to Potty Train
Smaller dogs are known for being hard to potty train, partially because they have small bladders. Chihuahuas may also pee out of excitement or anxiety.
While it may take more time and effort, potty training methods are the same as for any dog. Bring them outdoors at least once every couple of hours and after waking up in the morning, playing, eating, or drinking. Take them out last thing before bed as well.
Stay outside until your chihuahua goes potty, even if it takes time. Going indoors before this nearly ensures an accident. Keep the excitement level for potty trips low so that your pup doesn’t get distracted.
Indoors, watch your chihuahua carefully. Bring them outside immediately if they show signs of needing to potty, and don’t let them wander out of sight until they’re consistent about peeing outside.
#6: Chihuahuas are Clingy
As a lap dog breed, Chihuahuas are incredibly clingy. Their tendency to get cold easily also makes them more likely to snuggle in order to stay warm.
If you spend a lot of time at home and like having a dog on your lap, they’re a great breed. But for those who work full time outside of the home and don’t have family to care for their pups, Chihuahuas typically aren’t a good fit. They just don’t do well when left alone for long periods.
You also have a higher chance of encountering separation anxiety in a clingy pup like a Chihuahua, versus a more independent breed.
#7: They Often Bark Excessively
If you dislike yappy little dogs, Chihuahuas aren’t for you. A favorite pastime for many Chis is sitting in the window and barking at everything that passes by. This may include the mail carrier, a squirrel, the wind… You get the picture!
The good news is that Chihuahuas don’t have a loud bark like, say, a Labrador. They can also be trained not to bark in excess by teaching a “quiet” cue.
#8: They Shed, and Long-Haired Chis Need Regular Brushing
Short-haired Chihuahuas don’t require much maintenance when it comes to brushing, though they should be bathed regularly. Long-haired Chihuahuas need to be brushed at least once a week to prevent tangles and painful mats from developing in their coats.
#9: They’re a Long Commitment
Many Chihuahua owners and even veterinarians will joke that they live forever! This is a great thing for many pet parents, who love their dogs immensely and never want to be apart.
However, this does mean that Chihuahuas are a longer commitment than many other dogs, especially large breeds.
The average Chihuahua lives 14-16 years, and some live to be over 20 years old! When adopting, it’s important to think about where you’ll be in that timeframe (to the best of your ability).
#10: They’re Prone to Health Problems
While often long-lived, Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of health problems. These include:
A breeder can and should screen for many of these health issues, but a problem with Chihuahua breeders is that they’re breeding short-muzzled dogs who are inherently prone to health issues due to their face shape. It’s best to adopt from a rescue or shelter instead of supporting this kind of breeding.
It’s also a good idea to either have a large savings account for your dog, or pet insurance to cover the inevitable vet bills. Emergency vet visits and ongoing health issues can both be very expensive, and these costs are one of the top complaints from Chihuahua owners.
Another way to save money with a Chihuahua is to brush their teeth daily. This makes them less prone to dental disease, though it can still happen given their tiny mouths.
Overall, Chihuahuas can be great dogs for the right family! They’re also poorly suited to many households, so it depends on your lifestyle, personality, and preferences.
Remember that Chis still need training, enrichment, and exercise just like any dog. They can be boisterous and clingy, and potty training will take time and patience.
If you have lots of time to spend with your new pup, they’ll reward you with plenty of affection, an adorable personality, and tremendous loyalty.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © ElenaYakimova/Shutterstock.com
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