Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog in the world, as recognised by most kennel clubs, but they are known for having big personalities despite their minute size. It is possible that Chihuahuas can be aggressive and snappy dogs, but this is not a universal trait and is usually learned due to unsuitable training and behaviour management.
There are several factors that influence the likely temperaments of Chihuahuas as a breed, which any owner should be aware of in order to help their dog to be less aggressive. More often than not, owners do not realise the ways in which their own actions are influencing the behaviour patterns of their dogs.
This article will go into detail about Chihuahuas as a breed, what sort of personalities they are likely to have, where aggression in Chihuahuas can come from, and what you as an owner should (or should not) be doing if you want your little friend to be as calm and sociable as possible.
Table of Contents
- Where Do Chihuahuas Come From?
- Are Chihuahuas Hunting Dogs?
- Do All Chihuahuas Have Aggressive Tendencies?
- Will Chihuahuas Become Aggressive Because of Their Size?
- Does Vulnerability Play a Role in a Chihuahua’s Aggression?
- Can I Make My Chihuahua Feel Less Vulnerable Around Other Dogs?
- How Do I Socialise My Chihuahua?
- Should I Carry My Chihuahua Around and Keep Them Out of Danger?
- Are Chihuahuas Difficult to Train?
- Do Chihuahuas Get Away with Bad Behaviour?
- What Should I Prevent My Chihuahua from Doing?
- Are Chihuahuas Loving Pets?
- Do Chihuahuas Make Good Guard Dogs?
- Are Chihuahuas Anxious Dogs?
Where Do Chihuahuas Come From?
Often, the temperament of individual breeds stems from their inherited behavioural traits, but Chihuahuas were not bred to have strong aggressive instincts. The Chihuahua is believed to descend from a terrier-like Aztec dog called the Techichi, but since the 1800s they have mainly been bred as a companion, favoured for their small size and loyal, loving personalities.
Are Chihuahuas Hunting Dogs?
Many small dogs, like most terriers, were originally bred for hunting small animals like rats and, while this is not the case for Chihuahuas, the instinct to stalk and hunt is still present. This is behaviour that is inherent in all dogs and is very unlikely to result in aggression towards humans, or even other pets.
Do All Chihuahuas Have Aggressive Tendencies?
The personality and temperament of any dog will be a result of both nature and nurture, and any individual will be completely unique. There are some traits that seem more likely to develop with certain breeds, and aggression in Chihuahuas is one of them – though it is highly unlikely to happen without bad influences along the way.
Will Chihuahuas Become Aggressive Because of Their Size?
Smaller dog breeds are often perceived to be more aggressive in general than larger breeds, but this is generally due to the experiences of these dogs rather than just because of their size. Small dogs can learn bad behaviours because they are not properly trained and raised – considering their size and how they interact with their environment.
Does Vulnerability Play a Role in a Chihuahua’s Aggression?
In many cases, the aggression that a Chihuahua is exhibiting is a result of their feelings of vulnerability due to their small size. As small dogs, they can feel threatened in many situations that seem perfectly safe, particularly when they are around larger dogs or when they are being picked up and moved around unexpectedly.
Can I Make My Chihuahua Feel Less Vulnerable Around Other Dogs?
Socialisation is a side of raising dogs that is often neglected, and it is perhaps even more important for small breeds like Chihuahuas. Your dog needs to understand how to interact with other dogs and begin to feel safe around them because defensive aggression can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and result in your dog getting into dangerous fights.
How Do I Socialise My Chihuahua?
Training classes are a good place to start, but you also want to gradually introduce your Chihuahua to doggy friends while they are still young. Meeting other dogs at the park, having other dogs visit, or going to homes with other dogs can be tiring while they are still learning how to behave, but it is an important process.
Should I Carry My Chihuahua Around and Keep Them Out of Danger?
Everybody loves to cuddle a Chihuahua, but if they are always being carried instead of walking it can lead to more aggressive behaviour. If they do not interact with the world on their own level, they can have a heightened sense of their own importance and can feel even more vulnerable and at risk when they’re on the ground.
Are Chihuahuas Difficult to Train?
Chihuahuas can have stubborn personalities, but they are very intelligent dogs and issues with their training often stem from their owners rather than the dogs themselves. Consistency, patience, and proper treatment are always key when it comes to training, and you need to make sure that you have a clear idea of what outcomes you are working towards.
Do Chihuahuas Get Away with Bad Behaviour?
Chihuahuas are undeniably adorable animals, and they almost seem like they can do no wrong, but they are still dogs that need to learn how to behave. Because they are so small and cute, many owners don’t recognise negative behaviours or set boundaries for them, so Chihuahuas learn bad habits from a young age that are hard to break.
What Should I Prevent My Chihuahua from Doing?
You should be making sure that your Chihuahua knows their position in the household so that they don’t become demanding and aggressive. This means that they shouldn’t be jumping up without being asked, begging at the table, or whining for your attention, no matter how cute it might be!
Are Chihuahuas Loving Pets?
Counterintuitively, one of the reasons that Chihuahuas can be quite aggressive is because they are such loving pets. Chihuahuas develop strong relationships with their owners, but if they are coddled and given too much attention, they can become clingy and jealous, which often manifests as aggression towards others.
Do Chihuahuas Make Good Guard Dogs?
Your little dog may not look it, but they make for very good guard dogs because they are instinctively territorial and protective of their families. This can lead to them being aggressive towards any strangers or guests, so socialising often at a young age is a good way for them to start recognising the difference between friends and intruders.
Are Chihuahuas Anxious Dogs?
Like many small dogs, Chihuahuas can develop separation anxiety and can have anxieties that stem from past trauma. You need to make sure that your pet has a sense of independence and feels safe and comfortable in their own home, and that you recognise any triggers that may lead to them feeling stressed.