Are Chihuahuas More Aggressive Than Pitbulls? (Explained!)

Pit Bulls, also called Pit Bull Terriers, are less aggressive than Chihuahuas. Despite their intimidating physical traits, Pit Bulls prove to be vastly tolerant of humans. In contrast, Chihuahuas, the smallest recognized dog breed, prove to be more frequently aggressive and reactive.

The rest of this article will continue to compare Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas with an exploration of the causes of aggression in dogs, breeding practices, common traits of each breed, and the importance of judging a dog by its individual character traits.

How could Chihuahuas be considered more aggressive than Pit Bulls?

In a recent study, the American Temperament Test Society, responsible for breed statistics, found that 87% of Pit Bulls screened passed their temperament measures while only 69% of Chihuahuas screened passed. Despite their supposed fighting nature, the vast majority of Pit Bulls prove well tempered unlike their feisty counterparts.

Are Chihuahuas or pit bulls naturally aggressive?

Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls – along with many other dog breeds – are not inherently aggressive; this behavior is scarcely the direct cause of genetics but rather a more intricate interplay of environment and genetics. Only when specifically bred for fighting do Pit Bull Terriers reflect a genetic predisposition for aggression (more on selective breeding later).

How influential is breeding on behavior?

Dog behaviors are influenced by nature (breeding)  and nurture (environment); genetics are not solely responsible for a dog’s behavior but they are a contributing factor. It is the responsibility of a breeder to use this knowledge for the betterment of the breed when selecting specific character traits for breeding.

Why were Pit Bull Terriers originally bred?

Pit Bulls, bred in the early 18th century by hunters in the United Kingdom, were selectively bred with a unique balance of aggression and submission. Genetically inherited strong jaws and an aggressive ability to pin feral livestock allowed Pit Bulls to become loyal hunting companions who were fierce with prey but well-tempered with human handlers.

Why were Chihuahuas originally bred?

Chihuahuas are one of the oldest breeds of the Meso-Americas believed to be descendants of techichi who served as small sacrifices and food for the Toltec people. In current times, Chihuahuas’ small size proves more beneficial for companionship in a limited living space rather than for food.

So, why do dogs become aggressive?

Aggression is most often a direct cause of environmental factors unique to an individual dog rather than an entire breed. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) classifies numerous forms of aggression caused by different environmental influences:

  • Fear Aggression- a dog shows aggression when they feel cornered or trapped.
  • Protective Aggression– a dog shows aggressive guarding when they consider their kin or owner in danger.
  • Possessive Aggression- a dog shows aggressive guarding of possessions when threatened by another animal or human
  • Sex-Related Aggression- an intact male dog vies for female attention when she is in heat
  • Territorial Aggression- a dog views a friend or stranger as an intruder and becomes aggressive
  • Social Aggression- a dog perceives themselves as high in status and may show aggression towards “lower” members of the family
  • Redirected Aggression- a dog is excited or engaged with another when someone interferes and becomes the target of the dog’s aggressive energy

What are the signs of an aggressive Chihuahua or Pit Bull?

Aggression can cover an array of behaviors that usually begin with warnings prior to a full attack or bite. Chihuahuas acting aggressively are most likely to growl, bark, snap, then lunge at perceived threats or strange people. Aggressive Pit Bulls show bared teeth, curl lips, stare intently, growl with a low tone, puff their chest, and then eventually bite.

What are the personality traits of most Pit Bulls?

The United Kennel Club describes Pit Bulls as a breed eager to please, brimming over with enthusiasm, strength, and care. Despite the portrait frequently painted of Pit Bulls as fighting dogs, an injustice in the breed’s distant past, they’d be more accurately portrayed as affectionate friends.

What are the personality traits of most Chihuahuas?

Overflowing with personality, Chihuahuas are known for fierce loyalty and their love of attention. Individual Chihuahuas may differ in some character traits with some being shy and withdrawn while others are outgoing and energetic.

Why are Chihuahuas more aggressive with people than Pit Bulls?

Chihuahuas’ intense loyalty to their owners can lend them to overly protective and aggressive behavior around other humans or animals. Furthermore, Chihuahuas’ small stature

also leads to an overly aggressive response known as small dog syndrome; a condition in which Chihuahuas respond negatively to owners who unintentionally do not enforce healthy boundaries or give their dog outlets to express natural canine behavior.

Why are Pit Bulls more aggressive with other dogs than humans?

Pit Bulls historic breeding practices lend them to greater aggression towards animals while simultaneously greatly reducing aggression toward humans. The ASPCA argues that dogs used for fighting need to be routinely handled by people and are thus less aggressive towards humans.

Are Pit bulls or Chihuahuas best with kids?

Chihuahuas find their ideal home in an environment free of children or unpredictable circumstances. Children are reliably unpredictable and require attentive care, creating an environment in which Chihuahuas and children compete for attention. The fierce loyalty of Chihuahuas can trigger aggressive guarding behaviors. In contrast, Pit Bulls are often called the “Nanny Dog” because of their gentle temperament and protective nature towards young children and even infants. In either case, children and dogs should always have close supervision.

Can an aggressive Pit Bull or Chihuahua be cured?

VCA Veterinarians teach owners that aggression can not be cured but rather managed and reduced through proper training and treatment. You can assist an aggressive Pit Bull or Chihuahua by working with a professional veterinarian or trainer who will classify the cause of aggression, target the environmental factors, and safely provide effective redirection.

Why should you judge a dog by individual character rather than its breed?

While dog breeds have shared characteristics across offspring, breed generalities do not speak for an individual dog’s personal traits and history. Both Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls have the potential to make wonderful and loving pets.