Chi-hua-what?

By TD Yandt

Thinking about adopting or purchasing a Chihuahua as your next pet? There are some things you might want to consider. Here is a comprehensive Chihuahua FAQ to help you decide if a Chi might be the right dog for you and your family.

How do you pronounce Chihuahua and it's abbreviation, Chi?

Though it looks like something you might hear coming out of Al Pacino in his next movie - Hua! It really sounds nothing like it looks. Chihuahua is said something like this: Chee Wa Wa. When thinking about the abbreviation you want to think about how the word Chihuahua is actually pronounced, rather than how it looks like it should be said. I know Chi looks like it should be pronounced as if it rhymed with high, but it is correctly pronounced with a long E, as in cheese. If you are looking to add a certain breed to your family, it's important to know how to pronounce the breed name.

How are Chihuahuas with other dogs?

Chihuahuas are what we refer to as "breed snobs". The typical Chi enjoys the company of other wawa's, but doesn't like to socialize with dogs of other breeds. However, there are always exceptions.

Are Chihuahuas good with children?

This question is better posed as: are children good with Chihuahuas? Most young children are simply too fast, too noisy, and too grabby to be safe with a dog that weighs between 2 and 6 pounds as an adult. I will always stand by the idea that Chihuahuas are not the best choice for a family with children, they are just too small, and too easily hurt.

Can Chihuahuas participate in dog sports like agility?

YES! Chihuahuas are great sportsmen. They can do just about anything their bigger cousins can. I would hesitate to partner with a Chihuahua in a frisbee competition, but Chi's can definitely hold their own in agility, obedience, flyball, tracking, hiking, and others. Though they are small, they are all dog and love doing anything big dogs can.

Are Chihuahuas good family dogs?

Not really. Chihuahuas tend to bond to one person, rather than a family. A Chi is more likely to pick one person as their own, and to heck with everyone else. Chihuahuas are also very territorial, so if you are chosen as a wawa's person be prepared to have your new companion guard you. This breaks down to having a dog who will love you, cuddle with you, and think you are wonderful, but who won't share you, and who may growl or charge after anyone who gets too close to you. This is of course one extreme, and there are always exceptions to every rule but they are happiest sitting alone with their person.

Do Chihuahuas make good pets?

This depends on what your view of a "pet" is. If you are looking for a dog who will fetch your slippers, bring you the paper, and who is content to lay on the floor wagging his tail while you drink your morning coffee - guess again. A dominant Chihuahua is more likely to pee on your slippers, shred your paper, and bump that coffee mug right out of your hand spilling coffee on your lap and shattering your favorite mug. On the positive side,they do keep life interesting.

Can Chihuahuas be litter trained?

You bet. This actually makes them good apartment dogs (as long as your neighbors don't mind the barking). When training your puppy, it doesn't really matter where you'd like them to go: outside, on pee pads, or in a litter box. When you see that he is getting ready to go, just pick him up and put him where you'd like him to go. He'll get the idea soon enough.

Are Chihuahuas easy to train?

Chihuahuas are smart. They are difficult dogs in that they are highly intelligent, and are very good at manipulating their people to get what they want. Smart and easy to train don't usually go together. To train a smart dog you need to convince them that it is in their best interest to do what you ask - not an easy task. I love a dog with a lot of spirit, who can challenge me, and who makes me work... but this type of dog can leave most people very frustrated. They are not for the novice owner. You need to be dog smart to make life with a Chihuahua livable.

Would you recommend a Chihuahua for me and my husband?

Chihuahuas are a lot of dog in a small package. They are also what I refer to as a velcro dog. They are happiest when they are with their person, will follow you around - and will go so far as to demand to sit on your lap even while you're on the toilet. A wawa will pout whenever you go out, and can easily manipulate a non-dog-savvy person. However, if you have handled difficult dogs in the past, and at least one of you is home during the day, then you may well be the right match for a Chihuahua.

How much exercise does a Chihuahua need every day?

This is the good news. While a Chihuahua tends to have very high bursts of energy, these bursts last a very short time. They will run around like a maniac, zipping here there, and everywhere... and a few minutes later decide they've had enough and will curl up on your couch in a pile of blankets. These short bursts of energy happen several times a day, but it's quite easy for a Chihuahua to get all the exercise they need just playing indoors with you. They do, however, enjoy having a nice walk during a sunny afternoon.

Though not for the novice owner, Chihuahuas will enrich the life of a dog-savvy person with their funny antics, and strange logic. When partnered with the right person, a Chihuahua will quickly squirm their way into your heart where they will convince you what seasoned Chihuahua people already know: Why have one, when two is double the fun. ;)

For more Chihuahua information visit www.ChihuahuaLovers.com/


Ms. Yandt's goal is to postively impact the lives of pets and their people by providing an education on individual species, their proper care and the use of operant conditioning to enhance the human-animal bond. You can learn more about TD and her animal family at www.noselicks.com