9 Things To Know Before Getting A Chihuahua Puppy
Chihuahua is one of the most unique dog breeds in the world. Both cute and cuddly, as well as feisty and vocal, these little bundles of Mexican joy can make a lot of people happy but are also not for everyone.
What makes Chihuahua pups so different, however? Named after the Chihuahua state in Mexico, these little pups have a bit of a reputation requiring a lot of care. There are also quite a lot of myths surrounding them so let’s see which are true and which – not so much.
What are the key characteristics that make Chihuahuas special?
Probably the first thing people think of when they hear about a Chihuahua pup is how fragile these dogs are. And that’s understandable – they are quite tiny and slim.
Chihuahuas can be quite the athletes too, however. In fact, Chihuahuas frequently compete in both agility and obedience dog sports. That, combined with their high intelligence and playful nature makes them fantastic pets for a lot of people.
Especially good for people with kids and those living in apartments, Chihuahuas have a lot of pros. There are also a few considerations you should keep in mind, however.
The 9 things you should know before getting a Chihuahua
1. If you want a cuddly pup that will love you and follow you everywhere – get a Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are exceptionally affectionate. They love sleeping with their humans, cuddling with them at all times, playing with them, and being carried around in the meantime.
Essentially, Chihuahuas are the dog equivalent of a superglues sticker – once they “attach” themselves to you, there’s no letting go!
What if I need to go to work?
This can be an issue, yes. Chihuahua pups don’t fare well when they’re left alone – they need constant human presence around them. If there’s always going to be a family member at home or if you can take your Chihuahua with you outside – this is a suitable breed for you.
But if you need to leave them alone throughout the day, consider another dog breed or a different pet altogether.
2. Chihuahuas are always cold
One of the biggest myths about Chihuahuas is that they are always shivering. And this one is indeed correct.
Chihuahua dogs have virtually zero tolerance for cold temperatures. Anything at or below 4 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for a Chihuahua and can cause your pup severe dehydration, hypothermia, or worse.
This is especially true for older, younger or sickly pups – with them, you’d do well to avoid temperatures lower than 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why is that the case?
Quite simply, because they have exceptionally thin fur coats and very little body mass. And the reason for that is that they’re bred as an outdoorsy warm-climate breed.
They are Mexicans, after all.
Does this mean that you should only get a Chihuahua if you live in a warm climate?
Well, no – you can get this breed in more moderate climates as well, just be prepared with a few doggy sweaters and socks in the winter.
3. This is not the easiest dog breed to housebreak
This is especially ironic giving that you really want to housebreak your Chihuahua pup so you don’t have to walk them out in the winter.
Chihuahuas are not more difficult to housebreak than many other breeds, however, so don’t think that there’s anything wrong with them – they are just overly energetic and chaotic, like many other small dog breeds.
So, what can you do?
Just follow the standard steps for housebreaking a young puppy – create a routine, use positive reinforcement, and supervise your pup closely until the routine is well-established.
And do NOT use standard kitty litter for your Chihuahua’s indoor toilet as your pup may decide to eat it.
4. Chihuahuas are a fragile breed
Another well-known myth that’s unfortunately true is that Chihuahuas are very fragile. A big part of that is relatively obvious – they are tiny and slim, so even the slightest knock by someone’s foot can hurt them.
There’s more to it, however.
Because of how tiny and fragile they are, Chihuahuas can even hurt themselves by jumping off a high place such as a table or your arms. If you’re used to holding a different dog breed or a cat and then just dropping them on the floor – do NOT do this with a Chihuahua.
5. There are a few health issues to watch out for
Speaking of injuries, Chihuahuas are also not the healthiest dog breed out there. They are not as sickly as some breeds either but there are a few things to watch out for:
- Patellar Luxation
- Pulmonic Stenosis
- Collapsed Trachea
- Heart Murmurs
- Open Fontanel
None of these are extremely common but all are possible and should be watched out for. To minimize all of these risks, it’s advisable to get your Chihuahua puppy from reputable breeders only that always offer detailed health certificates. Or, even if you’re adopting a puppy from a shelter, you should still ask for a health certificate.
6. Chihuahuas shed. Much more than you’d expect
One myth about Chihuahuas that’s definitely not true is that they don’t shed or that they are hypoallergenic.
Chihuahuas shed and they shed a lot!
Or, at least most of them do – occasionally, some lucky few get a Chihuahua that doesn’t shed too much. There seems to be a lot of luck involved in whether your Chihuahua will shed or not so just get a dog your like and hope for the best.
On the bright side, even those pups that shed a lot don’t make too much of a mess because Chihuahuas have relatively short fur. So, as long as you vacuum regularly, you should be fine.
7. Big dogs in small bodies
Probably the most endearing quality of Chihuahuas is that they are really brave and courageous dogs. Some people mistake them for mean and aggressive but that’s only if you’re looking from the outside and you don’t understand dogs. Or, if the owner of the Chihuahua has done a bad job raising them.
But overall, Chihuahuas are the type of dog that’s always ready to protect their human even if they don’t have too many ways to actually do that.
In fact, Chihuahuas are excellent guard dogs. At least as far as intention is concerned – a Chihuahua will always look out for potential dangers and alert you if they think you should notice something.
8. Chihuahuas are very talkative
If you want a dog you can “talk” with, Chihuahuas are a great choice!
This breed loves to bark, yap, whine and communicate with their humans in every possible way.
Does this mean that Chihuahuas bark too much?
For better or for worse – yes. If you live in an apartment you may want to teach your Chihuahua not to bark at every noise. Other than that, however, you’ll probably enjoy how talkative and communicative Chihuahuas are at all times!
9. Your little big pup will benefit from some socialization
As a consequence of the previous two points, socializing your Chihuahua pup is very important. The earlier you do it, the better too!
What does this mean?
It means that you’d do well to meet your Chihuahua pet with as many people, dogs, and other pets as early as possible. Make sure that these interactions are overwhelmingly positive too!
This will teach your Chihuahua that other people, kids, dogs, cats, and pets don’t represent any danger and are actually to be welcomed instead of feared. Proper socialization is vital for any guard-type dog breed and Chihuahuas are no exception despite their small size.
Who are Chihuahuas “right” for?
Given everything we talked about above, this breed is ideal for some people and very unsuitable for others. You should consider getting a Chihuahua if you:
- Can always be with your pup or can ensure that someone will always be with him/her.
- Are used to walking around the house carefully. If you’re in the habit of bumping into stuff then a Chihuahua might be a bit too fragile for you.
- Love playing with and training small dogs. Chihuahuas need a fair bit of socialization, housebreaking, and training so this better be enjoyable for you.
- Are mindful of the physical wellbeing of your pets – Chihuahuas need to be watched over, taken routine vet visits, and you should always have a doggy sweater at the ready in your bag!
- You’re a more indoorsy type of person. One of the benefits of Chihuahuas is that they don’t need hours of outdoor time every day. If you love staying at home, Chihuahua might be your ideal pet.
How to prepare for getting a Chihuahua?
Chihuahuas are a great breed for novice dog owners precisely because they don’t need too much prep time! As long as you know how to housebreak your Chihuahua and teach them not to bark, you’re ready! The rest is just a matter of having the right lifestyle and habits for a Chihuahua pup.