If you’ve been thinking about adding a dog to your family maybe you’re thinking about getting a Chihuahua. But it’s possible you’ve heard they can be aggressive and that they can bite very hard so you may be having second thoughts.
Chihuahuas have a bite force of about 150 – 180 PSI which can be a bit forceful for their size. But with proper training and by watching out for certain behaviors like teething, pain, or fear you can teach them not to bite.
Chihuahuas are lovable, loyal dogs who require little maintenance and make great pets. Knowing about their potential aggressors and other quirks in advance allows you to prepare and train them properly so they’ll blend right in with your family.
How Strong Is The Bite Force Of A Chihuahua?
The force of a dog bite is generally determined by the size of its body and skull as well as the shape of its jaw and it’s hard to measure the exact bite force because each dog — even if it’s the same breed — has different strengths and aggressions. But although a Chihuahua is a smaller dog breed it’s estimated that their bite force is between 150 – 180 PSI (pounds per square inch)!
Chihuahuas certainly don’t make the top 20 list of dogs with strong bites, but their bites can still hurt! Because of their small teeth and jaw their bites will likely puncture the skin and cause bleeding — but it likely won’t be bad enough to tear flesh or cause major, lasting damage.
Are Chihuahuas Known For Biting?
Chihuahuas are not a dog breed that’s known for their tendency to bite when unprovoked. However, there are some circumstances which can cause them to become aggressive on occasion.
Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive?
Chihuahuas are loyal dogs who love their families and don’t generally tend to become aggressive unless there is a valid reason. Some of these reasons include:
Hormones. Female chihuahuas can display something called “maternal aggression” which occurs in the first few weeks to month after they give birth. A lot of hormones are running through her body during this time which can cause different — occasionally aggressive — behavior.
Do not scold or correct your Chihuahua’s behavior if they show maternal aggression. Simply give her space and take her to a veterinarian if this aggressive behavior doesn’t stop after a month or so.
Teething. Puppies will teethe between the ages of a few weeks up to four months of age. This can cause some discomfort for your Chihuahua and they may try to bite or chew to relieve their pain.
If your Chihuahua is biting people during their teething process re-direct them to a teething toy.
Pain. If your Chihuahua is in pain they may lash out and become aggressive — especially if you touch them in an area where they are feeling pain.
If your Chihuahua looks uncomfortable, has changed their eating patterns, becomes aggressive, or is retreating more than usual have them checked out by a qualified veterinarian.
Too Much Playful Behavior. Of course, you want to play with your Chihuahua but if you let them nip you during play and continue to encourage this behavior they won’t ever learn that’s not alright. And if someone is playing with them too roughly, they may bite harder than expected.
By all means play with your Chihuahua! But teach them early on that nipping and biting is not alright. Redirect them away from that behavior and reward them when they don’t bite.
Fear. Chihuahuas can be territorial and protective of their owners so if someone they don’t know is in their space or trying to pet them it’s not uncommon for them to lash out and become aggressive.
Although it can be good to have a “guard dog” who will protect you, it’s important they don’t lunge at the mail carrier or another innocent person. Keep your Chihuahua inside unless they’re supervised and separate them from anyone who enters your home that they’re not used to.
How Many Teeth Does A Chihuahua Have?
Chihuahua puppies have 28 teeth which then fall out to make room for their 42 adult teeth. All of their adult teeth will be in by the time they’re about eight months old.
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are known for having dental issues that can quickly affect their gums and the roots of their teeth. Have your veterinarian check for tartar build-up and ask them if you should brush their teeth to prevent dental issues which could lead to them losing some or all of their teeth — and in some cases kidney disease or death.
Do Chihuahuas Have A Good Temperament?
Chihuahuas are lovable, playful, friendly dogs. They’re quite active but love to curl up and cuddle with their loved ones. As mentioned, they don’t generally become aggressive unless they’re faced with what they feel to be a threat.
Are Chihuahuas Easy To Train?
Chihuahuas are known to be stubborn and love to do what they want to do when they want to do it, so they have earned a reputation for being hard to train. However, there are certainly ways you can train them — and the earlier you start the better. If you can start training them when they’re a puppy that’s best so they don’t learn behaviors that will be hard to break in the future.
You must be patient and kind while you’re training your Chihuahua. Offer treats as incentives for good behavior and go slowly — teaching one new behavior at a time.
Can Chihuahuas Be Left Alone?
Chihuahuas are small dogs who are able to be left alone for some periods of time. You can even train them to use a litter box if you start them with one early so you don’t have to worry about messes.
It’s important that your Chihuahua gets enough exercise each and every day. They require about 30 minutes a day to play, walk, and jump around to stay healthy and happy.
Do Chihuahuas Like To Be Picked Up?
Chihuahuas generally are not dog breeds who like to be picked up or held — especially if they don’t initiate the cuddle time.
You can train your Chihuahua to be picked up and held from an early age so they get used it. Start slowly and reward them when they successfully let them do it. But even if they get used to you picking them up never allow a stranger to pick them up!
Do Chihuahuas Bark A Lot?
Chihuahuas are territorial and protective so they will bark if someone they don’t know comes near them or into their yard. They may also bark during play and if they see other animals. You can typically train them from a young age to bark less often in certain situations.
Are Chihuahuas Good For First Time Dog Owners?
Chihuahuas are quite energetic but they are certainly lovable, protective dogs so they make great pets! They make good first-time dogs for people who have the time and energy for a Chihuahua.
If you have a family with children try to get a Chihuahua who is already used to living with children or get a puppy who you can train to be gentle around children.
Do Chihuahuas Bond To One Person?
Chihuahuas do like to bond with their owners but will typically bond to anyone they are around the most. If one person walks them and plays with them more than others they will likely feel more of a bond with that person.
Do Chihuahuas Need Another Dog To Play With?
Chihuahuas do very well in pairs! Although having a single Chihuahua is fine if you give it enough attention they do always enjoy playing with a friend or sibling.
If you are not able to be home often you should consider getting two Chihuahuas so they can keep each other company. Try to get both dogs at the same time or shortly after so they grow up together and get used to each other right away.
Are Chihuahuas High Maintenance?
As far as dogs go, Chihuahuas are pretty low-maintenance. They only require a few things other than good quality dog food to stay happy and healthy:
Exercise. Chihuahuas require about 30 minutes of exercise a day. This could be one long walk or two or three shorter ones each day.
Brushing. Some Chihuahuas have longer hair and require brushing and de-tangling a bit more often (a few times a week) than their shorter hair counterparts who you should brush at least once a week.
Bathing. Chihuahuas are generally pretty clean dogs so they only require bathing once every month or two. Check their fur and skin for any mites, redness, or any other issues. You can take them to a professional groomer or ask your veterinarian how you can bathe them yourself at home.
Dental needs. If your Chihuahua is older or is showing signs of dental issues your veterinarian may recommend brushing their teeth regularly or bringing them in for dental treatment.