Chi Strengths and Challenges
Chihuahuas present a number of unique and wonderful attributes that make them the perfect pets for many people. However, they can also have qualities and characteristics that make them a challenge to properly train and care for. When you are deciding on a Chihuahua to add to your family, make sure you are both fully aware of the breed's strengths and potential problems and ready to deal with these issues.
Chihuahuas didn't become popular just because of their looks. The breed is a favorite among dog owners for many excellent reasons, including these:
Variety in coat lengths
Solid, brindle, and spotted colors
Light weight and easy to carry
Can travel in-cabin
Long lifespan (fourteen to eighteen years)
Ease of exercise
As with any dog breed, the Chihuahua has its own unique challenges. Many of these challenges are related to poor breeding and can be avoided by finding a quality breeder (these are indicated in the following list by an asterisk). Others have the potential to be inherent to all members of the breed:
Extremely poor health*
Aggressive or nervous behavior*
Hard to housetrain
Independent/difficult to train
Not good with small children
Requires coat care (longhaired variety)
Delicate/susceptible to injury
Tiny amounts of poisonous plants, foods, or chemicals can be fatal
Seen as prey by many animals
Is This the Dog for You?
The Chihuahua can be an excellent pet in the right home with the right owner. In fact, because of its small size, the Chi can adapt to many different lifestyles quite easily. This breed can be equally as comfortable living with a retired couple in a high-rise apartment as growing up with a large family in a sprawling home in the suburbs.
The key to success in owning a Chihuahua lies with the owner. Owners must realize that despite its toy-like size and appearance, the Chihuahua is all dog. The second key is to understand that as a dog, the Chihuahua has specific needs, including socialization, training, exercise, proper nutrition, preventive veterinary care, and companionship. If you are willing and able to meet the Chihuahua's simple but important needs, the Chihuahua can make a fine, long-lived companion.