Chihuahuas: Lapdogs with Big Personalities

 Wednesday Jun 05,2024
By  Lancaster Puppies

Tiny but mighty, the Chihuahua is a popular breed with a long history and bold personality. This breed is a perfect fit for apartment and city living due to its moderate energy level and small stature. An affectionate and loyal lapdog, the Chihuahua is a confident breed that loves giving and receiving attention.

Breed History

Chihuahua breed traits infographic: loyal and loving, apartment-friendly, playful, low-maintenance, and perfect lap dog.The Chihuahua’s exact origins are debated, but a popular theory is that the Chihuahua we know today is a descendant of an ancient breed called the Techichi. The Techichi was native to Central and South America, dating back to the 9th Century, and was a companion to the Toltecs. This ancient breed was slightly larger than the Chihuahua we know today, but was just as popular and loved. In the 12th Century, the Aztecs overtook the Toltecs, and the Techichi was integrated into Aztec culture. When the Spanish invaded and colonized Aztec land, the Techichi would’ve been lost if it hadn’t been for some living in remote locations.

Over the years, this breed multiplied and found a home in Mexico’s city of Chihuahua. This breed caught the attention of Americans in the mid-1800s and, in 1908, the first Chihuahua was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Today, the Chihuahua is a popular, iconic breed that has starred in both movies and TV shows, as well as capturing the hearts of families throughout the United States.

Chihuahua Characteristics

Appearance & Coat

Part of the Toy Group, the Chihuahua is a tiny dog that generally weighs up to 6 pounds and stands around 9 to 10 inches tall. These dogs have round heads with big, wide-set eyes and pointed ears. Their tails are usually upright with a curve but can also hang downward.

Chihuahuas can have long or short coats that come in a variety of colors and markings. However, regardless of its coat length, this breed is not hypoallergenic and not a good fit for people with allergies. Chihuahuas shed moderately throughout the year, shedding more when seasons shift in the spring and fall.


The Chihuahua is notorious for having a vibrant personality that is feisty, confident, alert, and independent. This breed is loving and devoted to its family, attaching itself wholeheartedly to its favorite family member. These dogs can become possessive of their chosen family members, acting as personal guardians. Due to the combination of the Chihuahua’s size and affectionate temperament, this breed is the perfect lapdog.

Tan and white long-haired Chihuahua standing on a beach.

Chihuahuas mesh well with other dogs in the same household, especially if any other dogs are of the same breed. These dogs can be loud and energetic, but they usually do well living with cats and other small pets. As with all breeds, early socialization is important to ensure your Chihuahua gets along with other dogs and household pets.


Chihuahuas are healthy dogs with expected lifespans of 15 to 20 years. While Chihuahuas are generally healthy and live a long time, they can be vulnerable to genetic conditions passed down through their lineage. These genetic issues can include heart conditions, eye problems, and luxating patellas. Additionally, because of its small size, the Chihuahua can be susceptible to obesity and joint problems from overfeeding. To ensure your Chihuahua comes from a healthy background, you should only buy from a reputable breeder who performs genetic health screenings and tests.

Caring for a Chihuahua

The Chihuahua’s Ideal Home

This breed needs a home where it will receive plenty of affection, attention, and lap lounging time. These dogs don’t handle cold weather well, so potential owners should be aware of the special care their Chihuahuas need in the wintertime. Because of its size and moderate energy level, the Chihuahua is a perfect match for apartment living. However, this breed has a reputation for being vigilant and vocal, so early training is important.

Additionally, Chihuahuas are not great fits for families with small children. This breed doesn’t appreciate rough play and can become snappy when its limits are reached. Chihuahuas are best suited for families with adults or older children who will respect this breed’s boundaries.

Training Best Practices

Did you know when Chihuahuas are born, their ears are floppy? As they age, their ears perk up until they are fully erect at around 6 months.

Chihuahuas respond best to positive reinforcement like treats, toys, and praise. You should never scold or discipline your dog during training, instead rewarding good behavior to encourage its continued use. When training your Chihuahua, stay gentle but firm in your instructions so your dog knows you are in charge.

Chihuahuas are intelligent and independent, so they will occasionally give pushback during training. When your Chihuahua is being stubborn, focus on redirecting its attention and sticking to the boundaries you have set. Training your Chihuahua can take time so stay patient and consistent with regular training sessions. If you are having trouble training your Chihuahua at home, don’t hesitate to seek help from local training programs.

Exercise Needs

The Chihuahua has a moderate energy level but only needs around 30 minutes of exercise a day. These exercise requirements can be met by playing with your Chihuahua indoors or going for 1-2 quick walks a day. When taking your Chihuahua for walks, go slow and keep the walks short. You may need to occasionally carry your Chihuahua on walks, especially if you have other dogs with higher energy levels. Dog backpack carriers can comfortably house your Chihuahua on longer walks or other extended outdoor activities while keeping your hands free.

Grooming & Hygiene

Short-haired Chihuahuas require less maintenance and grooming than long-haired Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas with short coats only need to be brushed about once a week while long-haired Chihuahuas may need to be brushed around 3 times a week. If your Chihuahua spends most of its time inside, it will generally only need a bath once a month. Chihuahuas that have long hair or spend lots of time outside will benefit from 2 baths a month.

Does the Chihuahua sound like the perfect dog for you? Check out adorable Chihuahua puppies for sale near you to find your new best friend! Follow Lancaster Puppies’ blog for more dog owner tips and breed spotlight guides.