Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive

Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive

If you have ever been a chihuahua owner or spent much time around chihuahua, you know that they tend to be aggressive given their size. It’s not necessarily that they are mean (although sometimes they can be) but more that they act like they are much bigger than they really are.

At first sight, this could certainly make you laugh when you see chihuahuas so aggressive because they are rather small dogs, especially if they think they are tough enough to go up against a large dog or even people.

Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive
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This type of aggression is actually somewhat normal behavior some small breeds. Experts would tell you that their is a trigger in their brain that is tied to anxiety issues because of their stature. The good news is that they will not show aggression to just anyone and there is atypically a reason behind the behavior.

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If you have an idea of the reasons behind why chihuahuas can be so aggressive, it can give pet parents a way to deal with their chihuahua and through some training and time, you might be able to reduce these behaviors and dog owners of chihuahuas can relax knowing their pets are more calm.

Check out these tips and guide in our blog about why are chihuahuas so aggressive.

Understanding Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive

Understanding Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive
Image by Regenwolke0 from Pixabay

Any dog trainer will tell you that when a dog acts out or shows behavior of some kind, these are typically signs of something deeper. It’s not just because you have one bad dog but all dogs will act out at times and they generally do this as some way to communicate their temperament, their fear, their emotions, and other things.

A lot of chihuahuas show aggression for specific reasons and there are some commonalities of these reasons specifically related to the breed. Of course, there are times that a bit of training in your home might be helpful for all of these things but it’s best if you get to the bottom of the reason they are displaying any sort of aggressive temperament.

There are some primary reasons that lead to dogs like chihuahuas being aggressive towards both people and other dogs. Take a look at these and see if any of them might apply to your pet.

Breed Characteristic

One thing that chihuahua owners should be aware of is that this dog can be very defensive. It is simply part of who they are and as the author of this blog, we have to tell you this is the norm for them. It’s not that your pet is naughty, it’s just a characteristic that chihuahuas carry.

Your chihuahua might be aggressive because they are simply defensive. It’s a protective instinct for themselves and you will see it most likely displayed when they are at their food dish, while they are resting, or while they maybe aren’t paying close attention or are on high alert.

In these cases, if anyone were to approach, they might see a response like these.

  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Stiff posture
  • Showing teeth
  • Muzzle punching at your legs (just like humans do with their fists)
  • Tail stops wagging

Any of these could be signs that you need to give your chihuahua a second to acclimate. The breed is naturally defensive towards anything that might look like trouble, even when you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

While all is well in your eyes, there is clearly an issue to your chihuahua so stay calm and approach with caution and reassurance. These displays for an aggressive chihuahua are an example that something seems off or dangerous to your chihuahua.

Past Abuse

Past Abuse in chihuahua
Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

If you didn’t get your chihuahua from a batch of puppies, you might not know everything about their past. For example, there are instances where love might not be the experience the chihuahua had before they came to your home.

Unfortunately, there are others out there who don’t treat their pets kindly and this could lead to an issue with behavior. It’s mostly one of fear so dog owners should try to relate to the feeling when they see that life wasn’t kind before the chihuahua came to your home.

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If they bare their teeth or growl at strangers and someone they are familiar with, it is most likely because they are afraid or feel threatened. Try to get on their level of thinking. We don’t mean you have to literally get on the ground but take a page from the book of compassion and try to relate to how they must be feeling.

It’s awesome if you can learn about the life they had before they came to your home as this might clue into something and give you some answers and expectations. All you can do is be gentle and continue to show love to your chihuahua to reassure them that you are not going to cause them pain like others did before you.

Strangers Dangers

Chihuahuas are creatures of comfort. While they can become friends with children and humans alike, it might take them a bit of time to warm up to those people. Remember that they can be timid and defensive so they might not always warm right up to your friends. They require earning of the trust, from both children and adults.

The aggressive temperament in this scenario is not necessarily because anyone did anything wrong but more because it takes some training and time for them to be comfortable with socialization and people. They will warm up to those children and your friends and before you know it, they will get along great!


Scared-looking chihuahua feeling not secured
Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

All your chihuahua really wants is to feel safe and secure. A trainer would tell you the same notations if they’ve had any experience with this breed. Chihuahuas tend to find that one spot they really like and it becomes their security zone. The dog will also warm to certain people as a way of connection and it will generally be the people that make them feel secure in all ways.

Chihuahua parents take lots of time and effort to love their pet and this helps dogs like the chihuahua feel more at ease and safe. They are creatures of habit and change can really wreak havoc on this poor dog.

Things like new people, new smells, new spots, new voices, new dogs or animals, and more have a way of taking away that security and making a chihuahua dog uneasy. They will adjust but their owner needs to be mindful of this.

You can work with a dog trainer and go through training but you will need to be aware that they will most likely always have these characteristics and require security and adjustment.

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Something that is common across the board for all chihuahuas is that they tend to be dominant. It’s almost like a small dog complex. They know they are small so they take the initiative to just be the boss, even when they are facing a large dog or another dominant creature. Chihuahuas typically don’t back down easily.

Unfortunately, they often get labeled as bullies because they will exhibit dominance and command over any dog that will be submissive to them. A trainer can work with a chihuahua to help curb this attitude so that your other dogs and the chihuahua can learn a way to simply get along with each other.


Anxious-looking chihuahua
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

One major factor that chihuahua parents should be aware of is that chihuahuas tend to be anxious. There are a variety of factors that can cause your dog to have anxiety and you see it with many different dogs.

Chihuahuas need someone who will be patient with them and ultimately understand where they are coming from when they act out in such a way. You can watch videos and see other chihuahua owners talk about these tactics. We want to hit on the same topic with this blog to help you understand your pet.

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These are the primary anxiety purposes your chihuahua might be experiencing.

  • A trip to the veterinarian
  • Noise from children or activities
  • Food or being attacked while they are at their food
  • Loud noises like wind, thunder, etc.
  • Separation from those they love

Health Issues

Finally, you should understand when your dog might be acting in a certain way for health reasons. These dogs can have issues with their legs and other factors that lead to pain and that could be the cause of their actions.

Be prepared to spend sums of money on veterinarian care from the beginning as you will want to be proactive with their health. It does take money to provide care but it will lead to a long and enjoyable life for them if money is not an issue to hold you back.

Be willing to buy quality food for their care and handle any health issues that might exhibit that your dog is experiencing something abnormal in their health.

These dogs can be prone to the following health issues.

  • Obesity
  • Swelling
  • Bone and joint discomforts

Tips for Handing Aggressive Dog Behavior

Tips for Handing Aggressive Dog Behavior
Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

Thankfully, while your dog may show aggressive actions at times, there are often steps you can do to help your dog. Your pet most likely just needs extra love and comfort and maybe a little bit of training to work around that instinct.

Keep in mind that this is a characteristic that is common to these dogs and it is not always a sign that they can’t adapt or be trained to not act in such a way. It takes time and it takes patience and work. We have a few suggestions for steps you can do!

Train Away

You will need to spend time working with your dog on just basic commands and actions. You can hire someone who trains dogs as well but remember that your chihuahua will need time to acclimate to a new person.

You can work with them on basic commands like come, speak, sit, and stay. Just working to train these basic actions will actually do quite a bit for attitude and aggression but also confidence for the dog. If you train them to “come” they will always return to you, even when they are scared, frustrated, or angry as well.

This command is an essential place to start!

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Outdoor Play

Getting your chihuahua outdoors more often can be a major help. Going outside stimulates them to the things around them and there is so much more to adjust to. You need to get them outside, you need to get them socialized, and you need to make sure they are playing and acclimating to the real world.

This is especially important in their first year of life. Being outside lets them hear noises like other animals, people, cars, and so much more. They will learn to adjust to the stimulation.

At the same time, you should be aware of those signals that could mean something is going on and also make a point to train your dog proper etiquette for being out and about.

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Be Mindful

A brown looking chihuahua being mindful of another dog
Image by Didgeman from Pixabay

Make a point to be mindful of the signals that your chihuahua gives off and know their vibes. Give them space for their needs, give them health care, give them training, give them socialization.

Learn to respect that they are unique and need certain care and needs but also that they do have certain instincts and characteristics that are just part of who they are.


If you’ve ever questioned why your chihuahua tends to act aggressively in some ways, just know that there are most likely reasons behind their actions. You can easily learn to work with their needs and find ways to help them acclimate and adjust to curb some of the attitude.

Keep in mind that this is simply part of their nature so while you can learn the signals and also learn how to pick up on their actions, they may always exhibit some of these same flaws throughout their life and you can do your part to work with them and make them feel at ease.

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