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Are Chihuahuas Aggressive? [Breed Temperament Guide]

If you’re thinking about getting a Chihuahua as your next family pet, you will surely want to know if they’re aggressive dogs. Are Chihuahuas good around other people, including children? Do Chihuahuas get along well with other animals? Let’s find out!

So, are Chihuahuas aggressive? Chihuahuas do have a reputation of being quite an aggressive breed of dog, although this is mostly due to them being highly territorial. They tend to be more defensive than friendly. That being said, when properly trained and socialized, they can be loving, friendly, and happy dogs.

In reality, it takes time for Chihuahuas.

They need to build trust with new people, which generally takes time as it does tend to build quite slowly.

This does make them somewhat stand-off-ish with strangers.

Nevertheless, this tiny breed of dog is devoted, as we shall continue to explore in the sections below.

And keep reading, as we will be discussing when these dogs are most likely to show aggression and what you can do to limit or prevent these behaviors entirely – should you decide to proceed and get one!

What Is The Typical Chihuahua Temperament?

There are several aspects to the typical temperament of a Chihuahua. Generally, they have a keen desire to please, are bold and confident, and crave attention.

Let us explore each of the tendencies further.


Chihuahuas are great people-pleasers: they don’t have a strong prey drive, and they aren’t working-class dogs either.

They are highly adaptable to their human families, and they often are one-person dogs. They are loving and affectionate with their people.

Their highly expressive faces and adorable ‘trot-walk’ often endear them to their owners.

Bold Companions

Chihuahuas are known to be bold animals, despite their size: they are one of the most fearless dog breeds.

However, because Chihuahuas are so confident, they can be challenging to train.

These dogs are intelligent animals who learn quickly and are highly alert to their surroundings.

They are great watchdogs, although they can bark too much if not trained.

Their fearlessness and high intelligence can get them into trouble when they’re younger and explore everything around them.

Craving Love

These dogs crave love with a ferocity that can quickly become jealousy if a new arrival (such as a baby) enters the household.

While they’re small, they aren’t the best breeds to have in a house full of children, as Chihuahuas can be quite possessive of their owners.

A jealous Chihuahua can turn inwards or, in some cases, become more aggressive towards anyone they feel is competing with them for attention.

Even if you raise your Chihuahua alongside your children, this little dog can quickly become domineering if he feels he isn’t getting as much attention as the children.

The same goes for other dogs: Chihuahuas want all the attention for themselves.

They will be aloof towards strangers and will tangle with any other dog – no matter the size – whom they feel is competing for attention.

No matter how well you train your Chihuahua, these dogs are highly territorial and will fight for what they perceive to be theirs.

Is It Common For Chihuahuas To Bite?

It’s more common for Chihuahuas to bite when compared with other dog breeds. Because of their small size, Chihuahuas will often feel threatened and want to act bigger than they actually are.

They have even been known to lash out at dogs 4 times their size just to show these animals that they are fierce!

If these dogs do bite, it isn’t from aggression: it tends to be a defense mechanism.

Chihuahuas are fully aware of how small they are, and they will lash out and nip or bite to defend their boundaries.

When Chihuahuas are properly trained and socialized, they will show their enthusiasm for life without showing aggression towards other family members.

These dogs can be loving, excitable, and friendly towards their people, as they are generally happy dogs.

Learn more: How To Train A Chihuahua Puppy Not To Bite

What Can Make Chihuahuas Aggressive?

Chihuahuas can be aggressive for several reasons.

Defending Their Territory

When your Chihuahua is eating their favorite food, this is a time to leave them alone.

These dogs are highly territorial, more so than other breeds, and they can display signs of aggression if they think you’re going to come after their food or interrupt their eating.

The same goes for their favorite resting spot or preferred toys. They are best left alone when enjoying a good rest or using their well-loved chew toy.

Their territory includes you, too. If a friend or a relative approaches and they are near you, they might display signs of aggression if they don’t trust the new person.


Dogs can experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) just like people since they can remember dangerous or highly stressful events.

For instance, if you decide to adopt your Chihuahua, it’s worthwhile to check with the rescue (or their previous owners) if you can.

Ask their previous vet about their history so that you can avoid triggers if there are any.

Make your home as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

If, for example, you learn that your dog’s tail was stuck in a dog door in his previous home, don’t get one.

Anxiety Problems

Your Chihuahua could be anxious for a variety of reasons.


Past accidents or traumas can mean your dog is frightened or angry.

Loud Noises

Some Chihuahuas can be frightened of loud noises like thunder or severe storms.

Separation Anxiety

If left alone for too long, your dog could develop separation anxiety, leading to destructive behavior like chewing furniture, scratching, etc.

New Faces

Chihuahuas are naturally suspicious of new people, and they will try to keep these people away by being aggressive.

Chihuahuas take time to get used to strangers, but it can be done.

Have your dog play with new people and visit new places every week so that they see they can do so safely.

New Surroundings

Chihuahuas love security and will, therefore, resist change.

If you are someone who will have to move frequently, a Chihuahua might not be the dog for you.

These dogs need time to get used to new people, smells, places, voices, and other animals. Introducing new things too quickly makes them easily overwhelmed and frightened.

Crate training is essential for Chihuahuas as you can offer a special place for your pet to feel safe and secure.

Having a crate will help keep your Chihuahua calm if you have to travel, so train your Chihuahua from puppyhood to accept his crate as his special place to recharge.

A Bold Attitude

Chihuahuas are bold animals who think they’re the boss.

They are brave and love to be in charge, so they will prey on any animals or people whom they see as submissive. They’ll bully others if they can.

Ideally, if you have other dogs, these dogs will be less aggressive breeds.

Say ‘no’ firmly to your Chihuahua with your demeanor and your commands: they need to know that you are in charge, even if they don’t like it.

These dogs need a firm hand, no matter how cute they are!

How To Prevent Aggression In Chihuahuas

Here are some ways to prevent aggression in Chihuahuas.

Check Their Health

Dogs have been bred not to show weakness, so it could be that your Chihuahua’s aggression comes from being in pain.

Sadly, dogs can’t tell us when they are in pain, and some diseases can be difficult to detect until your dog is in severe pain or distress.

If, for example, your pet becomes aggressive when you pet them, it could be a health problem that’s creating distress.

A quick trip to the vet can allow you to rule out any underlying health issues.

Spend Time Together Outdoors

Spend time with your Chihuahua outdoors, especially in the 1st year of his life, when socialization skills are essential.

Take your dog to the park, walking there if you can so that your dog gets used to the sounds of cars and people passing.

If you’re in a dog park, talk to other dog owners (or bring a friendly one with you).

Introduce the dogs and let them play – but be on the lookout for any changes which might necessitate an intervention on your part.

Watch for:

  • Too much barking
  • Violence
  • Rough play
  • Your dog being overpowered in a tug-of-war

If you see any of the above signs, get between the dogs to break things up before your dog gets hurt.

Take Your Dog to Doggie Daycare

Doggie daycare centers are excellent places for letting your dog socialize, surrounded by expert staff.

The more time your Chihuahua spends with other dogs, the less aggressive he is likely to be.

The socialized play that your dog will get can make it easier for your dog to get along with other dogs at home, too.

Daycare centers have the added benefit of obedience training by personalized sitters who will then be able to share with you how your dog has behaved as well as any tips for home time.

Note: While great places for getting your dog used to other dogs, daycares are not meant to replace the home environment. Chihuahuas can find too much daycare stressful, so restrict this to no more than 2 to 3 days per week.

Train Them Well

Your Chihuahua can be a happy and well-adjusted dog with the right training. Train them to obey these commands:

  1. “Come.” If your dog gets angry, you can distract him by asking him to come. Use treats so that eventually, you can raise your hand with a treat in it to call your dog, even from a distance.
  2. “Speak/Quiet.” This command involves you rewarding your dog when he “speaks.” Then give him the “quiet” command and reward him when he’s quiet.
  3. “Sit and Stay.” This is useful when you have visitors: get your dog to sit and give him a treat. Tell him to stay and, if he doesn’t move for 2 seconds, give him another treat. Alternate between both commands until your dog knows the difference.


Unfortunately, Chihuahuas can be aggressive.

What they may be lacking in size, they generally do not lack in confidence.

And while this may be a little concerning to read and discover, particularly if you intend to get one of these dogs, rest assured with the right care, proper socialization, and training, these dogs can make wonderfully well-behaved companions.

Even if it takes them time to warm to new people.