“General Appearance: A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and terrier-like qualities of temperament.
Temperament: Alert, projecting the ‘terrier-like’ attitudes of self importance, confidence, self- reliance. “ – AKC Chihuahua Breed Standard
I want to start with a trait that is commonly misunderstood and not researched – TERRIER-LIKE QUALITIES OF TEMPERAMENT. This highlights that chis are energetic, can be sassy and engaging, smart enough to know what is beneficial for them – they are thinkers. You must be smarter than the Chihuahua, otherwise they will conquer and control. They are determined to have it their way, so you must take charge early in ownership. With this in mind, appropriate training is an ultimate necessity and these dogs need to be respected and treated the way their larger counterparts are. They require owners who have determination to match their lively character and flair.
These little dogs are companions and enjoy being with their people. The chihuahuas will be up to whatever you offer them – be it all day hiking, Netflix ‘n chill or relaxing city walk. You will notice how ADAPTABLE they are to any routine, as their primary goal is to be wherever you are. It doesn’t mean they are extremely velcro, though they can be if you let them, nor prone to developing separation anxiety, they are self-confident enough for that, but if you offer them something to do, they’ll join you no matter what.
While an energetic and agile they are mainly a LOWER MAINTENANCE breed.
They don’t require much space and have MODERATE EXERCISE requirements, that make them great city dwellers. And if your chi uses a litter box, you‘ve got even more control on the walking schedule.
The cost of feeding these little dogs is reasonable and their GROOMING requirements are MINIMAL. Primarily, both varieties need sanitary grooms only. Long coats have smooth fur structure that does not require daily brushing like coat of a Pomeranian, but never(!) let your groomer trim the ear fringes, it is a hallmark of the variety! To add for consideration, the Long coat chihuahuas shed seasonally (about twice a year) larger amount of coat at one time, while Smooth coat chihuahuas shed throughout the year, but smaller amounts.
Many article state that chihuahuas don’t do well with other dogs and children. This is somewhat misleading, while small the breed is sturdy, confident and can stand for themselves. There are irresponsible sources that breed truly fragile and mentally unsound dogs, but this is not what the breed is supposed to be like. However, even with the right chihuahua the new owners need to be cautious and aware of proper introduction and socialization of the chihuahua puppy AND their child or another dog or even a cat, everyone needs to go through a training to learn to interact with one another. The right breeder will share tips and tricks for your situation.
Adaptability is the most valuable trait that the chihuahua breed possess. While a knowledgeable breeder can better advise which line of dogs will suit your family lifestyle better (yes, the temperament and activity level can be quite different between the lines), overall most chis can adapt and are eager to be a part of your life!