October 28, 2022 - 3 min read

Vital stats

  • Breed type: Companion
  • Size: 6 - 10 inches
  • Weight: 1 - 9 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 - 18 years


  • Size

    20% of the way between
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  • Intelligence

    60% of the way between
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  • Trainability

    60% of the way between
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  • Exercise needs

    40% of the way between
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  • Good with kids

    40% of the way between
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  • Levels of shedding

    40% of the way between
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  • Good for new owners

    80% of the way between
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  • Overall health of breed

    80% of the way between
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Chihuahuas are a small dog breed with lots of personality and character. They’re one of the most popular breeds in the world.

Originally from Mexico, their name is taken from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. They have a long history that stretches back to the Toltec and Aztec civilizations of Mexico.

It’s believed that Chihuahuas are the descendants of a small dog called the Techichi, which was kept by the Toltec people as far back as the 9th century. The Techichi was a larger and heavier breed than today’s Chihuahua, whose size is the result of targeted and selective breeding.

The Chihuahua temperament and characteristics

Despite their small size, Chihuahuas are quite active and energetic; they love to run and play.

They may look sweet and cuddly, but they also have a bold and fiery temperament that can be surprising to people not familiar with the breed.

One noticeable feature is their bark. Chihuahuas bark a lot! They’re often described as having “Small Dog Syndrome." In other words, they can be easily agitated, and they aren’t afraid of barking at much bigger dogs.

Despite their size, they make surprisingly good guard dogs, as their loud bark can be legitimately intimidating (and can easily attract their owners’ attention).

Chihuahuas like to form very close bonds with their owners or a particular person within a household, but this does mean they can sometimes be less interested in strangers or even wary of them.

Chihuahuas make great family pets, but they need good early socialization and training; without this, they can behave aggressively toward strangers and other household pets.

When introducing a Chihuahua to the family home, they should be handled by different members of the family so that they quickly become familiar and comfortable with each person. If there are other pets in the home, they should be allowed to interact with them — but they should be closely supervised so the pets become used to each other.

Chihuahuas are highly intelligent, which makes them easier to train than some other breeds. Like all dogs, they need regular exercise, but they don’t need as much as some larger breeds. A minimum of half an hour of exercise every day should be enough for them to remain happy, healthy, and frisky.

Chihuahua coats and colors

Chihuahuas have two coat types: short-haired (sometimes called smooth) and long-haired. Each comes in a variety of colors that include:

  • Black

  • White

  • Fawn

  • Chocolate

  • Grey

  • Silver

It can take up to two years for long-haired Chihuahuas to develop their full coat. Their coats need brushing at least once a week, and they’re likely to shed some hair around the house.

Remember that Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. Whatever hair they do shed will be relatively minimal compared to larger breeds.

Short-haired (smooth) Chihuahuas require less grooming, but their short coats mean that they may get cold in winter, which is something to be aware of.

How much does dog insurance for Chihuahuas cost?

When you get your pet insurance quote from ManyPets, you'll be asked to choose your dog's breed from a list. There are two different types of Chihuahua you can choose from. “Chihuahua” and “Chihuahua-long-haired.” (We also have an option for “Chihuahua Mix.”) 

The most common selection is simply “Chihuahua,” for which our average monthly premium is $34. That's less than the average 2022 premium across all dog breeds and ages, which was $37 per month.

This low cost says a lot about just how healthy Chihuahuas are, since breeds that are more prone to health conditions tend to cost more to insure.

Keep in mind that these are just averages based on data from all customer premiums. Your pet's age and location will heavily affect your monthly price, and your pet's premium may differ from the average. Get more information about insuring your Chihuahua today.

Just remember: It’s a good idea to purchase dog insurance when your Chihuahua is still young. That way, you're far less likely to encounter any pre-existing condition exclusions, and your dog will still be covered if these conditions develop later in their life.

Chihuahua Health Conditions

While Chihuahuas are a healthy breed, there are serious conditions they commonly suffer from. In 2022, the average claim ManyPets received for Chihuahuas was $460, but we received Chihuahua claims that ran as high as about $9,800.

Here are some conditions to watch out for:

  • Luxating patella: Chihuahuas are susceptible to a condition called luxating patella (AKA patellar luxation). This is when the kneecap (the patella) slips in and out of the groove it’s meant to sit in. When the patella dislocates out of this groove, it can stop the knee from extending properly. Luxating patella can be costly to treat, especially if surgery is necessary. Surgery for patellar luxation can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for each knee that's operated on.

  • Hip Dysplasia: Chihuahuas are also prone to hip dysplasia. It’s a common condition that affects a number of different dog breeds. It’s when the ball and socket in the joint don’t fit or develop properly. They rub and grind instead of sliding smoothly, and the joint starts to deteriorate and lose function. The condition can also affect the elbow joint. This is known as elbow dysplasia. Signs of dysplasia include stiffness in the hips and elbows, as well as pain, lameness, and difficulty getting up and lying down. Luxating patellas can lead to pain and lameness as well. The joints affected by these two conditions can eventually develop arthritis if not treated. In 2022, ManyPets received Chihuahua claims involving hip dysplasia that ran as high as about $530. But that’s actually quite low. It's true that hip and elbow dysplasia can sometimes be managed through pain medication alone. But when meds are insufficient, certain surgeries can cost $3,500 or more for eachhip or elbow that’s operated on.

  • Dental Disorders: As a small breed, Chihuahuas can experience problems with the overcrowding of their teeth. Dental conditions can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated, and regular dental care can help prevent issues from developing. Lots of pet insurance providers will only cover dental accidents, which might include things like broken teeth and injuries to the mouth. ManyPets also covers periodontal (gum) disease, and our Wellness Plan can reimburse you for professional dental cleanings and at-home dental products.

Chihuahuas popularity

Frequently asked questions about Chihuahuass

How many puppies does a Chihuahua have?

The average size of a Chihuahua litter is normally between one and three puppies.

Why do Chihuahuas shake?

Chihuahuas have a reputation for sometimes being nervous and shaky. When they shake, it’s normally due to a physical or emotional response.

Cold weather is one of the most common reasons for shaking, and short-haired Chihuahuas are more likely to react to the cold.

Chihuahuas have naturally high metabolisms, which means they burn energy at a high rate. This high metabolism can make them shiver when they get excited or anxious.

Nerves are another reason for shaking. As with all breeds, Chihuahuas need good early training and socialization. Without this, they may be fearful and anxious around people and other animals.

Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?

Chihuahuas are a lively and energetic breed and it’s natural that they will want to sleep after tiring themselves out.

As they grow older they are more likely to need more sleep after exercising and playing.