Are Chihuahua’s Dumb? (Solved & Explained!)

Chihuahuas are not dumb: they are the 67th smartest dog breed according to Stanley Coren, a canine psychology professor at the University of British Columbia. 

Chihuahuas belong to a small dog breed that often exhibits signs of inferior intelligence compared to other types of dogs. This article covers the main points of chihuahua intelligence and why this particular small dog breed is smarter than it looks. 

Why are Chihuahuas considered dumb?

Due to their small size, chihuahuas are often thought to have a small brain, and therefore – an inferior intelligence. However, according to pet behaviourist Sarah Hodgson, chihuahuas are not dumb – there are just better at different aspects of dog behaviour when compared to other breeds of dogs.

Where do Chihuahuas come in the “smart dog list”?  

Chihuahuas are 67th in ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ list, published by Stanley Coren, which means that they have a “fair working and obedience intelligence”. In other words, chihuahuas could learn a new trick or command by 40 to 80 repetitions, which is almost twice as much as the average dog.

Do Chihuahuas have an IQ?  

Chihuahuas don’t exactly have an IQ as such – it all depends on which quality of their nature you’re trying to examine to qualify them as ‘smart’ or “dumb”. For example, if we consider the number of repetitions Chihuahuas need to remember a command, then the jury rules that they are “dumb”. However, if we look at their adaptability levels – e.g., how easy they deal with changes in their environment, Chihuahuas will then be on top of the IQ list for dogs. 

How is my Chihuahuas intelligence measured?

The three main indicators to measure a breed’s intelligence, according to Stanley Coren, are the dogs’ adaptive intelligence, instinctive intelligence and working and obedience intelligence. His method of dog breed evaluation was used in his book “The Intelligence of Dogs” and is the most common and academically acknowledged model of IQ measurement of chihuahuas.  

Are Chihuahuas easy to train?

On the training side, Chihuahuas are relatively easy to train: whereas it takes them a few hours to learn a new word or command, they are very responsive towards the ones they already know! This small dog breed shows a 30% higher response on the first attempt at familiar training!

Are Chihuahuas obedient dogs?

It is well-known that Chihuahuas are a rather stubborn and temperamental breed, so the tone and the relationship between the owner and the chihuahua plays a major role in the training of the puppy! They are great as family dogs and loyal companions, and very often treating them fairly and with respect earns you theirs as well.

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Why does my silly little Chihuahua keep barking at all these giant dogs?

Small, but fierce, Chihuahuas have a very sharp protective instincts when it comes to keeping their own ground! It may seem like something a “dumb” dog will do, but studies show that Chi dogs are simply trying to defend their human from all the dangers of the outside world and announce to everyone that they are your guardian! Despite their miniature size, chihuahuas are incredibly brave and loyal: they would not snarl or bark if they are familiar with you and will try to keep you safe, no matter the size of the threat. 

 What does my Chihuahua excel in?

Chihuahuas are not the smartest dogs out there; however, they come with a whole list of positives to counter the lack of “big brains”: they are friendly, loyal, and low maintenance dogs. In a list of “The 10 Easiest to maintain dog breeds”, chihuahuas class at Number 7: they get all the exercise they need from running around the house, don’t require multiple walks a day and grooming them is not an issue as they are short-coated.

What is the adaptive intelligence of Chihuahuas?

A dog’s adaptive intelligence is defined by its ability to learn from past mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future, as well as the dog breed’s skill to problem-solve on its own. Many owners tell stories of their chihuahuas pattern-induced behaviours – for example, these little dogs would follow their owner through their morning routine and wait for them in the room they were supposed to go to get more attention and cuddles.  

What about their instinctive intelligence?

Chihuahuas are great with humans and understand human emotions well, as this is their primary purpose. A dog’s instinctive intelligence is defined by its common sense: the skills dogs have innately and not thought by humans; it is what a dog would have been if it wasn’t tamed as a pet. In Chihuahuas’ case, they are naturally good at being our friends and at understanding us so well – this is what they were bred for and what they are great at!  That is how we can claim with utmost certainty that they are incredibly instinctively intelligent – they are innately amazing at being our “pocket dogs” and trusted allies when it counts.

Can your Chihuahuas empathise with you?

We know that chihuahuas are incredibly dedicated to their owners and have been specifically bred for companionship: but can they feel what we feel? There is still no clear answer with professional opinions differing. Some disagree that they can, as people tend to project their feelings on canines and imagine them as experiencing emotions that they are not really capable of feeling. There are also those who are sure that chihuahuas are empathetic, as the little dogs are made to be with humans and have evolved emotionally to close to our levels.

How smart are Chihuahuas when it comes to playing with your children?

Chihuahuas can be quite silly and easily scared when it comes to kids – this is often because they feel intimidated by them. The small dogs can be aggressive and scare children easily if they are not used to being around them – the best way to go around this issue is to make sure they are exposed to your kids from a young age. Puppies are more flexible and easier to adjust to children, whereas the grown-up Chi dogs often feel endangered by the aggressive behaviour expressed by kids (poking eyes, pulling tails, etc).