Are Chihuahuas Mean?

Smart Chihuahua

Throughout the world, there are over 300 recognized dog breeds. They all are unique in their own way with different. From their physical features to their behavior, certain dog breeds have a reputation.

This is particularly true of chihuahuas. Chihuahuas are the world’s smallest dog breed standing on average at 6-10in (or 15-25cm) tall and weighing around 6lbs (or 2.7kg).

While these adorable pups are most known for their tiny size, they are also known for their attitudes.

Chihuahuas are not mean dogs, they simply get misperceived and get a bad rap as being so due to their strong-willed and vocal personalities. Chihuahuas are known to take on anything that is bigger than them regardless of their size due to these personality traits.

They also often get the unsavory nickname “ankle biters” because they are ankle level to humans. Not all chihuahuas come across with strong personalities, most are happy dogs that like to walk and play with other dogs.

It is true that chihuahuas can be a bit sassy. Dog breeds often get a bad rap over certain behaviors that they may possess.

For example, pit bulls are said to be really aggressive. Yet, not all of them are. This can also be applied to chihuahuas.

It is believed that the perception of chihuahuas appearing to be mean is due to their small size. Their big barks and sassy behaviour is often attributed to their need to assert themselves in the big world around them.

This assertiveness can often be mistaken as being “mean”. Just like other dog breeds, chihuahuas aren’t necessarily inherently mean.

Are Chihuahuas Aggressive
Chihuahuas Can Be Aggressive Like Other Dogs

Are Chihuahuas Aggressive?

Any dog breed can be misunderstood and unfortunately, this can even happen to chihuahuas. Their yapping barks are often taken for them being an aggressive breed.

However, this simply isn’t true. A dog owner has a certain level of responsibility to ensure that their dog is being taken care of. It is critical to make sure that a dog is receiving proper training and socialization.

Through training and socialization, any dog including a chihuahua can learn how it is supposed to act in the world around them. This is especially important for chihuahuas because they are intimidated by the large world around them.

Chihuahuas are not aggressive because everything is so gigantic to this breed, they get defensive really easily. They can get defensive over their food or toys. It is a matter of viewing the world through their eyes to really understand their behavior.

To help curve any aggressiveness that a chihuahua might showcase, training is necessary. Training is a repeated action that is meant to set an example for a dog to follow.

In doing this, chihuahuas can learn that the entire world around them isn’t so scary. While training, it is important to reward with treats to reinforce good behavior.

Reinforcing good behavior helps a chihuahua remember how they are supposed to act within a world that is so large to them.

When an owner fails to provide appropriate training to their chihuahua, they run the risk of their pup becoming aggressive.

Simple training like “stay”, “sit”, “come” really can go a long way in developing a chihuahua’s perception of the world around them.

However, it isn’t all about being linked to improper training. Improper socialization can lead to aggressive behavior as well.

Socialization is a necessary part of a chihuahua’s life because exposes them to other dogs and people. In doing so, they can become accustomed to knowing who they can trust.

A sheltered dog that is kept away from other dogs or people will be very leery of the world around them. Considering that chihuahuas are already skeptical of the large world that they live in, this can become quite dangerous.

At this point, any dog (and especially chihuahuas) will simply choose to be aggressive towards anything they aren’t familiar with. A part of the training also includes using a certain tone of voice.

A firm, assertive voice is preferred although it shouldn’t be to a point of yelling. This helps aid a pup in realizing what is appropriate to do and what is not.

Using this type of tone consistently, when needed, will help a pup when they are around things that aren’t so familiar to them.

Why Are Chihuahuas So Angry?

Why Are Chihuahuas So Angry

Once again, chihuahuas aren’t inherently mean, aggressive, or angry. When they are faced with an unfamiliar thing in their life and they haven’t been properly trained, it can lead to them being angry. Most chihuahuas appear so angry because they are reacting to something within their environment.

For example, if their food is being disturbed, this could anger them. This could also apply to if their toys or dog bed is being messed with.

They feel that these actions are infringing on their personal items.

They become protective of the items and sometimes even their owners. Setting the right example for them to follow so that the risk of angry or aggressive behavior is lessened is really important.

Not only does this help the pup see their world a little different, but it also helps them understand that not every action is a threat against them.

The size of the world around them is absolutely a contributor to angry or aggressive actions from a chihuahua. But what else can contribute to them behaving in such a manner?

Everything around them is being observed by the pup, so they find themselves in a position to take a mental note and react if they feel necessary.

Below are some common contributors to a chihuahua appearing angry or acting aggressively (other than not being trained properly or having some form of socialization).

Common Contributors To Chihuahuas Being Angry Or Acting Aggressively

Don’t Ignore Your Chihuahuas Bad Behavior

Ignoring a dog’s bad behavior is harmful to its development. All behavior is a learned behavior and this even includes the bad.

When a chihuahua is acting out it is important to utilize important training techniques to curb these actions.

A repeated demand is a learned demand and must also be rewarded when the desired behavior is met.

By ignoring an action, a dog will take this response in two ways. Either it will realize it isn’t being heard and try to increase its demands or it will assume that the action is appropriate and never stop.

Either way, this isn’t a good thing to have a pup learn. It is important to take care of these actions and lead a dog in the right direction with its behavior.


Your Chihuahua Should Have Its Basic Needs Met

A dog that isn’t having its basic needs met might become angry or aggressive.

This could include being fed on time, having access to fresh water, being given playtime or exercise, or being taken out for potty breaks.

While it is sad to think about, unfortunately, these issues do become a factor for some animals. When these basic needs aren’t being met, there is a chance for an alter in their actions.

Taking on a pet is a big responsibility. People should only do so if they are certain that they can provide the basic needs for the pet.

If they aren’t sure that they are ready to take on proper ownership, then waiting is necessary. It simply isn’t fair to the pup, the owners, or other surrounding animals or people.

Bad Behaviour Is Being Reinforced

Reinforcement is a way to show an animal that the action that they are performing is a good thing.

When this reinforcement is applied to bad actions it can absolutely have a negative effect on the dog’s development and personality.

It might seem strange that someone might encourage bad behavior, however, it can happen.

A way that negative behavior is encouraged could be by laughing it off as being “cute”.

Dogs can sense emotion in people and even if they are acting in a certain way, the response that they are getting from the action is still felt by them.

Due to this, they can continue acting badly, angrily, or aggressively if it is being commented on rather than addressed in a different way.

Only positive behavior that is beneficial to the dog and its surroundings should be reinforced.

Don’t Carry Your Chihuahua Everywhere

Chihuahuas have another stereotype under their belt that is directed at them being “purse dogs”. Oftentimes, chihuahuas owners might be carrying their pups around in their purses or arms no matter where they go.

While this can be super adorable, it can have a negative effect. Pampering a dog is a great way to make them feel loved, however, continued pampering begins to spoil the animal to the point of no return.

When taking a chihuahua out in public, it is a good idea to utilize a leash and harness system.

Harnesses are a great way to distribute the pull of a leash on the little body of a chihuahua. Leashes simply attached to a collar can be too much on a chihuahua’s neck when they pull away from their owners.

Moreover, if they don’t have to be brought out into public, don’t. Yes, they should get exposed to other animals and humans and socialize.

However, if the weather isn’t agreeable it is a better idea not to have them tag along on a little trip to a local store.

Chihuahua In Bag
Chihuahua In A Bag

Your Chihuahua Should Not Feel The Need To Be Competitive

Chihuahuas are known for being possessive of things and this does include their owner.

A huge contributing factor to their aggressiveness or angry actions could be their attempt to being protective of something, including their owner.

They generally aren’t recommended for large families as there could be too much competition for their affection.

This isn’t to say though that they can’t be in larger families. If a chihuahua pup is brought into a larger family as a baby, it is possible to have them as a family-orientated dog.

They will be used to the number of people around them. Additionally, this provides an opportunity to help train them about the world around them.

Chihuahua going to run
Chihuahua going on a run

Chihuahuas Like To Run Of Their Energy

Every dog needs exercise and playtime. It is the best way to ensure that the pup stays active and healthy.

Chihuahuas are so small that they don’t need that much playtime or exercise. Even still, it is recommended to shoot for around 30 minutes a day.

These adorable pups tend to have a lot of energy and running that excess energy off can be a great way to keep them happy.

However, some of them simply don’t want to be bothered. This is particularly true for older chihuahuas. Splitting up the 30 minutes to 15-minute increments could be a better option for older chihuahuas.

Younger chihuahuas like to relax as well even though they do have energetic bursts.

These reasons are the most common reasons behind angry or aggressive behavior in a chihuahua. All of these reasons, along with giving them the time and energy for training and socialization can be addressed.

Just because chihuahuas have a stereotype about being mean doesn’t mean that they have to live their lives being that way!

Do All Chihuahuas Bite?

Unfortunately, chihuahuas can bite. Theoretically, any dog can bite. But not all chihuahuas bite. Chihuahuas that don’t bite have had an early start in life with their behavioral training.

Additionally, chihuahuas who don’t bite generally have been taught how to be around more than one person. So what causes a chihuahua to snap or bite someone?

This behavior is generally where their “ankle biter” nickname comes from. Below are some common reasons why chihuahuas might decide to bite.

Do All Chihuahuas Bite
Some Chihuahuas Do Bite!

Common Reasons Why A Chihuahua Bites

They Are Overly Protective Of Their Loved Ones

Chihuahuas are known for choosing one particular person that they trust the most. When they feel that person is being attacked or bothered, they could strike out and bite.

They Have Been Abused

Another common reason behind a bite from a chihuahua could be because they were abused. While this isn’t pleasant to think about, it is important to remember that it could be the cause of their lashing out.

Working with any type of animal that has been abused always takes time and patience for an owner.

They Feel Competitive

If a chihuahua feels the need to be competitive against other pets or people, they could bite. This is why training and having them around other people and animals as soon as possible is so critical.

They Are Trying To Protect Their Offspring

A chihuahua mother is super protective of her offspring. It is possible for a new mother to bite someone who is trying to pick up or interact with her newborn pups.

It is important to give her space with her new pups.

Chihuahuas are the world’s smallest and most adorable little dogs. While they do have a bad reputation for being mean, they don’t all have to live with that stereotype above their heads.

With steady and consistent training and lots of love and affection, chihuahuas can be a wonderful pet to own!


Hello, my name is Mackenzie and I have created this website out of my love for all the world's beautiful creatures - great and small. I hope you find this website useful as I take you through various topics about a variety of some of our most loved animals and ways in which you can gain some knowledge on how to care for them properly.

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