The Chihuahua derives its name from the Mexican state where the breed originated. His large ears and eyes are similar to the characteristics of the Fennec Fox, the probable ancestor of the Chihuahua. This smallest breed of dog is often referred to as the “pocketbook dog” and is profiled as perky with a bit of sass.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $501 to $1000
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Chihuahuas often need rescue because they have been confiscated by authorizes due to abuse or are saved from high kill shelters. Many people also realize, only after they’ve adopted a Chihuahua, that the breed generally isn’t good with children.

Medical issues, such as heartworm or mange, also result in Chihuahuas losing their homes. Many times, however, those problems could have been avoided by the owner providing their Chihuahua with the proper medical care and preventative medications.


Chihuahuas are perhaps the epitome of the old saying “good things come in small packages.” A tiny dog with a huge personality, Chihuahuas form strong and lasting bonds with their families. Because of their small frames, they make an ideal pet for those who live in apartments or have a smaller living space. Despite their tiny statures, Chihuahuas protect their territory and actually make effective guard dogs.


That large personality most Chihuahuas possess often packs quite a punch. Chihuahuas typically don’t balk when they come face-to-face with larger dogs, which could potentially put them in danger. You must properly train your Chihuahua to ensure he remains safe when dealing with other animals and be prepared to deal with a dog that may be temperamental.

Chihuahuas can live as long as 20 years, so that’s a major consideration for potential adopters: Will the Chihuahua fit into your life 10, 15, and 20 years from now? The longer lifespan means you must also financially care for your Chihuahua longer. Can you realistically afford to care for your Chihuahua for a decade or even two decades?

Diet Exercise

For such a tiny dog, Chihuahuas are extremely active, which means they have a high metabolism, so divide your dog’s total food for the day into two meals. To keep your Chihuahua lean and energized, feed a high protein diet that does not contain corn or corn gluten, something that often causes allergies in all breeds of dogs. Because of their dental issues, Chihuahuas do well with a high quality kibble.

Opt for healthy treats such as an organic dog biscuit, a piece of apple, a small carrot, an animal cracker, or a small piece of cheese. Because Chihuahua’s easily gain weight, only give treats in moderation.


Unlike many breeds that require plenty of exercise daily, Chihuahuas get the exercise they need simply by running around the house or by playing with you or other dogs or pets you may have. They don’t need regularly scheduled playtime, which makes them an ideal pet for those who cannot physically exercise.

Possible Health Problems 

The Chihuahua needs regular checkups at least once a year because he is prone to dental problems, heart murmurs, and luxating patellas. Most will need to have their anal glands expressed monthly, which typically costs around $10.


How much grooming your Chihuahua requires depends on whether his hair is short or long. Short-haired Chihuahuas simply need a weekly bath. No brushing is required. If you suffer from allergies, you may find that you don’t have the same problem with a Chihuahua, because of their small size, that you might with a larger dog breed, like a Lab.

Longer-haired Chihuahuas need more work. In addition to weekly baths, you’ll have to brush your long-haired dog daily. Some people prefer to take their long-haired Chihuahuas to a groomer while others prefer to do it themselves, using their kitchen sink for a bathtub.


How easily your Chihuahua becomes trained really depends on you and how much effort you put into the process. To ensure success, use only positive reinforcement and gently build your Chihuahua’s confidence with encouragement and reward him with praise and treats when he does as you ask of him.

Keeping Your Chihuahua Entertained

Chihuahuas love to run and to play. You don’t need a fenced-in space for your Chihuahua but if you have one, he will certainly take advantage and run simply because he enjoys it. Some Chihuahuas enjoy going for daily walks, but you may have to keep them short, especially if your dog has knee problems. A good game of keep away is also appreciated by most Chihuahuas.

We want to thank Ay Chihuahua Rescue, Wisconsin Chihuahua Rescue, Inc., and Limbo Chihuahua – Chihuahua Rescue for help with this profile.

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