Characteristics and personality traits
They may be small, but what they lack in volume, they more than make up in personality. A Chihuahua can be one a multitude of personalities, usually because of the genetic family tree but they will almost certainly have a touch of eccentricity and the ability to make you smile at their sometimes comical exploits.
This little dog is a character and then some, but it is often said that no two Chihuahuas have the same personality. The broad spectrum of personality traits ranges from friendly to feisty; confident to edgy; calm to bold and timid to confident. What you do and how you treat him will have some effect, but the dog that enters your home for the first time already has its behaviour pretty much mapped out within its DNA. Your little guy could come from a long line of cantankerous Chihuahuas or from an ancestry of loving eager-to-please little bundles of joy. Spending time with its parents will reveal a heck of a lot of what you’re about to let yourself in for.
It’s a fact that no matter how much you train them, chances are you’ll never change their pre-destined characteristics – that said, it can help and is still important and if he has a balanced temperament, you can still have a major influence on his nature. It’s complicated!
Chihuahuas are, for many people, like Marmite – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em with not much in between! Ask ten different people and you’ll likely get a 50/50 split of those who are smitten and those who believe they are snappy yappers with a penchant to dish out painful nips.
The truth about Chihuahuas probably lies somewhere in-between. Poor breeding – or over-breeding of bad seeds is an issue and therefore – as stated previously – do your homework first, see the parents, maybe do a little background check on the breeders and judge for yourself.
Is it any wonder some Chihuahuas end up like spoiled brats? Treating the little fella like a doll, carrying it everywhere or dressing it up and treating it like a baby will end in indiscipline and pompous behaviour. If that’s what you want, go for it and pay the consequences!
People who spoil their dog rotten and then make excuses when they aggressively yap or nip are their own worst enemies – no matter what the little guy’s DNA is! Walking on all fours is a must whenever feasible and gentle commands reinforced with treats will work wonders for the social development. The bottom line is, Chihuahuas are naturally wary of strangers, but then when you’re living in a world of giants, a note of caution is perfectly understandable.
Handle with care
This is a tiny dog and he can easily be injured with a fall from furniture or an ill-timed leap from your clutches. This a fragile little guy and he may get under your feet or those of others and their bones break easily. It doesn’t need much imagination to think about what could happen if any of the aforementioned mishaps occur so please bear this in mind as if you or your family doesn’t fit the bill, it could save a lot of heartache and sadness. This is not a dog suitable if you have very young children.
OK, so we’ve touched on some of the negativities, but there are plenty of positives other than being unbearably cute (for the 50% of the Marmite theory). The majority of Chihuahuas will mix well with other household pets, though they’re not overly keen on strange dogs and will make an excellent house pet. For social development, two are often better than one as they’ll be great company for one another when you are not around and they’ll entertain themselves, snuggle together and generally keep each other entertained.
Health and safety
Injury is the main issue but this breed is susceptible to knee joint issues that can prove to be very expensive to treat – an excellent insurance policy is a must. Dental issues are also common and eye problems are another. Regular check-ups and a veterinary recommended diet are essential.
Like Bichon Frise and other small dogs, Chihuahuas can be very difficult to house train – in fact, they’re right up there with the very worst. They don’t like adverse weather and will prefer to go indoors so get on with the training from day one and maybe reserve a special area for a litter tray of some kind. If possible, a dog door/cat flap that leads to a covered toilet area might be a worthwhile option, too.
Still undecided? Well, if you want a portable little dog that loves travelling, needs minimal exercise, will live to a ripe old age and will keep you entertained on a daily basis, the Chihuahua is the perfect dog for you. If, however, you can’t commit to the training required or overcoming any negative personality traits, it may make more sense to look elsewhere. It’s worth adding that these guys shed fur and don’t be fooled by their size – the hair will get everywhere the dog is allowed to venture.
Now you’re armed with all you need to know, the choice is yours and, ultimately, despite the drawbacks highlighted and suchlike, this may be the perfect little dog to light up your life and with the right research and care, a Chihuahua could be an ideal fit.