Chihuahua adult in black and white


The Chihuahua is widely regarded as the smallest pedigree dog breed in the world.

About the Chihuahua

There are two distinct varieties of the breed – the short-haired Chihuahua and the long-haired Chihuahua – each with their own distinct temperament. Chihuahuas can become very devoted to one person.

Due to their size and fragile build, it is important to make sure children are taught how to handle these dogs properly. Their temperaments can vary quite drastically, with some being particularly challenging to train.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

FCI Group 9, AKC Toy Group
Size category
Very small
Avg life expectancy
14–18 years

Alert / Lively / Confident / Even-tempered / Friendly

Key facts

  • Needs little exercise
  • Suitable for small homes
  • Great companion

A Chihuahua's life story

Find out more about the lively Chihuahua in each stage of their life.

Up to 8 months

Chihuahua puppy

Despite their incredibly small stature, Chihuahua puppies display the whole range of characteristics that adults are known for. Enthusiastic, alert, intelligent and loyal, these puppies should be socialised at a young age to ensure they grow into even-tempered companions.

Chihuahua puppy standing

Puppy care

Chihuahua puppies are incredibly small, with some weighing as little as 450g, so extra care must be taken in the home to make sure these little dogs remain safe.

Creating a penned-off area for your Chihuahua when they first arrive will ensure they are not overwhelmed and keep them out of harm’s way.

8 months - 8 years

Chihuahua adult

Thanks to their natural curiosity, adult Chihuahuas have the intuition to anticipate the movements of those close to them. Chihuahuas like having plenty of company and both males and females enjoy affection from their owners.

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Chihuahua adult standing
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Living requirements

As an extra small dog, the adult Chihuahua doesn’t require a lot of exercise. The Kennel Club recommends up to 30 minutes per day of exercise. 

Chihuahuas are well suited to city life and can live comfortably in flats or homes with small gardens, however, it is important that they are given multiple opportunities to go outside within each 24-hour period.

Chihuahua health and ageing

Chihuahuas are considered senior dogs when they reach 12 years old. With age, your Chihuahua may experience some hearing loss and and vision impairment.

This is common in older dogs but will impact their lifestyle and how much they are able to do. You may also notice reduced motivation to exercise, often due to stiffer joints, so it is important to make sure your ageing dog is kept comfortable to ease any joint pains.

Chihuahua senior lying down

Perfect food for your Chihuahua

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Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Mature Adult Loaf Canned Dog Food

Health condition

Chihuahuas belong to the brachycephalic family that have as physical features a flat face and short nose due to their flat and wide skull shape. These anatomical attributes can cause some health issues like skin, eye and breathing problems as well as a poor ability to tolerate heat. For all brachycephalic breeds, we advise you to choose a dog with physical features that are not over-exaggerated, to buy from a responsible breeder and to seek counsels from your veterinarian. 

Health checklist illustration
Dachshund puppy in black and white eating from a red bowl

A healthy start to life

Puppyhood is a time of massive physical and behavioural change, and a steep learning curve for new owners. Find out how you can provide your puppy with the best start in life so they develop into strong, healthy dogs.

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Lifetime of health

Get advice and information on how to provide the best care for your dog at every stage of life.

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