Chihuahuas are a member of the ‘Toy’ breed group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs, commonly referred to as ‘lap dogs’. Most toy breeds love attention and can be very friendly and affectionate. They don’t require a large amount of exercise.
Chihuahuas can be very affectionate, loving dogs that tend to bond strongly with one or two people. They can be nervous and sometimes snappy with those they aren’t used to, so aren’t suitable around children. They should be socialised with dogs and other household pets from a young age. For more information on socialising your Chihuahua, take a look at our dog behaviour page.
Breed-related health problems:
Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Chihuahuas are prone to include:
- Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
- Hydrocephalus – increased accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain.
- Eye problems
- Heart disease
- Tracheal collapse – loss of rigidity of the windpipe, causing weakness and collapse.
- Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
- Legg-Perthes disease (Legg-Calvé-Perthes) – blood supply to the femoral head is depleted, causing destruction of the femoral head.
- Urolithiasis – stone formation in urine.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
Chihuahuas have a playful nature, but will just as quickly jump at the chance of a cuddle and fuss as they will play. They need around 30 minutes exercise per day.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a Chihuahua are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your Chihuahua with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Chihuahua that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your Chihuahua with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.