The great William Shakespeare once wrote: though she be but little she is fierce. And while he may have been referring to the young lover Hermia, he might as well have been talking about the mighty Chihuahua.
Whatever their size-related shortcomings, Chihuahuas certainly make up for them with their spunky spirits. With their fascinating backstory, cultural significance, (and hilariously tiny bladders), they are everything but boring. In fact, we can prove it.
We’ve collected our ten favorite Chihuahua facts to show you how this little dog went from a humble half-pint to total Alpha. BARK Post readers, proceed with caution: With so much personality in one tiny paw, Chihuahuas can really pack a punch.
#1 Chihuahuas Make Wonderful Watchdogs
Chihuahuas may not take up a lot of space, but they make up for it with their bold presence. Much like German shepherds, Chihuahuas as a dog breed boast a sharp intellect and natural alertness that makes them keen to identify strangers. So, if you’re looking for a pocket-sized small dog to serve as the family warden, a Chihuahua may be the answer to your prayers.
#2 Chihuahuas Originated in Chihuahua, Mexico
Here are some other Chihuahua facts you might’ve not known: Unlike many dog breeds in North America, this breed originated from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. These Mexican pups are likely descendants of the Techichi dog, a fellow “compact” dog thought to have been cared for by the Toltec people as early as the 9th century.
While these claims resonate among dog lovers and experts, a few skeptics have conflicting theories about the Chihuahua’s origin.1 Some theorists believe the breed’s journey began in:
- Malta – Some experts speculate that the Chihuahua breed existed in Malta before Spanish conquistadors took them abroad to Europe and the Americas.
- China – Others argue that Chihuahuas originated in China. They believe Chihuahuas landed in the Americas long before Columbus arrived.
- Chipmunks – Due to the breed’s small size and cartoonish stature, some theories even claim that Chihuahuas evolved from chipmunks.
One thing we know for sure: Chihuahuas held tremendous importance in Aztec culture. After the Toltec culture vanished, Chihuahuas were regarded as spiritual guides by Aztec royals. When an Aztec noble died, they would slay and cremate a Chihuahua alongside them so they could shepherd them into the spirit world.
Fortunately for owners, today’s Chihuahuas are probably more likely to guide you to the dog park rather than the great beyond.
#3 Chihuahuas Are The World’s Smallest Dog Breed
Despite what some naysayers think, Chihuahuas are in fact dogs, not chipmunks. While theirs may sound like a ridiculous claim, can https://post.bark.co/breeds/shih-tzu-breed-information-guide/we really blame them? After all, the Guinness World Record recognizes Chihuahuas as the smallest dog breed in the world.
The smallest dog in history was a Chihuahua named Miracle Milly. She was about 3.8 inches tall and weighed about the same as a can of soup (one pound).2
And because we still have lots of love for our tiny dog breeds, let’s give a shoutout to some honorable mentions who didn’t quite make the miniature cut:
Sorry tiny dogs, there’s always next year. Call us when you weigh as much as a stick of butter.
#4 Chihuahuas Have a Tight-Knit Community
While some dog breeds have oodles of variations (looking at you, poodles), Chihuahuas only have two. Some fun facts about the small dog include how to identify different variations of the little toy breed.If you see a naked Chihuahua, it’s a Mexican Hairless dog. And if you see a curly-haired Chihuahua, it’s probably a Pomeranian wearing a wig.
The two types of Chihuahua variations include:
- Short coat – Short coat Chihuahuas (also known as smooth coat Chihuahuas, have short hair typically measure between ½ and ¾ inches long. The hair itself feels slightly rough and inflexible in texture, not unlike a needle. Short coats are a dominant trait in Chihuahuas, making them the most common type.
- Long coat – Long coat Chihuahuas have long hair that can grow to around 1 ½ inches long. Having a longer coat is a recessive trait in Chihuahuas, so they tend to be less common. Their coat often feels smooth and fluffy but can require more attention and careful grooming.
While Chihuahua fur can appear radically different, the build, personality, and temperament between the two variations remain the same. So whether you prefer your little friend svelte or soft, trust that a sweet Chihuahua makes an excellent snuggle partner no matter what.
#5 Chihuahuas Celebrate Cinco De Mayo
Who says canines can’t celebrate their heritage too? Due to their Mexican roots, many owners will involve their Chihuahuas in their Mexican traditions. That’s why you see Chihuahuas party it up on Cinco De Mayo or Día de los Muertos.
In fact, many U.S. states will put on Chihuahua-friendly events where these small fries can compete in costume contests, parades, and even the Running of the Chihuahuas. Ándale!
#6 There Are Tons of A-List Chihuahua Celebs
Chihuahuas already have an iconic look and personality. But in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, they rose dramatically in popularity due to their prevalence in pop culture.
For a little blast from the past, say hello to our all-time favorite doggie divas:
- Tinkerbell – Tinkerbell (i.e. Paris Hilton’s best friend) reigned over pop culture in the early aughts. You’ve seen her in shades. You’ve seen her on the red carpet. You’ve seen her on TMZ. When it comes to 2000s fashion accessories, a Chihuahua quickly became a must-have. And as Paris Hilton once said—that’s hot.
- Gidget – You may not know this pup by her real name, but you may know her by her iconic catchphrase: “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” In the ’90s, Gidget became one of the most famous spokesdogs in the world. Suddenly the whole world was craving Taco Bell’s famous chalupas.
- Bruiser – We can’t leave out Elle Wood’s canine companion in Legally Blonde. Bruiser was a trailblazer as the first Gemini vegetarian dog to attend Harvard Law School. Another fun fact? Gidget (little miss Taco Bell dog) played Bruiser’s mom in Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde.3 What can we say? Talent recognizes talent.
We should give these pups some credit for popularizing the Chihuahua as a sweet and loyal household pet. They put these pups on the map. Yet another example of how representation really does matter.
#7 Chihuahuas Barely Shed
Regardless of their coat texture, Chihuahuas as a breed don’t shed very much. For many owners, this tiny trait can be a massive draw because:
- Chihuahuas are ideal for those with allergies or sensitivity to dog hair
- Chihuahuas won’t require you to use the vacuum every day
- Chihuahuas make grooming much easier and less expensive
So while hairstyle can seem like a superficial trait to consider, having to worry a little less about shedding can make a big difference in various aspects of your life.
#8 Chihuahuas Are A Household Name in El Pase
In 2013, citizens of El Paso, TX searched for a new team name for their Minor League Baseball team. With thousands of responses, they finally decided on…The El Paso Chihuahuas. Today, fans can now kick back and enjoy a game while sporting a T-Shirt featuring their team mascot, Chico the Chihuahua.
With his spiked collar and that mischievous look in his eye, we definitely wouldn’t want to mess around with that team.
#9 Chihuahuas Have Beauty And Brains
When you consider their proportions, Chihuahuas have enormous brains. This makes them highly intellectual and poised to dominate in training school. They’re quick-witted and their small size makes them exceedingly agile, making them excellent for competitive events.
Of course, all the sharpest students do their homework. Here are a few training tips you can try at home that may help your Chihuahua excel:4
- Start training early (Chihuahuas operate best when they learn house rules while they’re young)
- Use a firm but gentle hand
- Display your dominance (because they may try and undercut you!)
- Don’t allow your puppy to get away with anything—discipline is key
- Allow time for plenty of exercise (don’t let their small size fool you, they need to pump those tiny legs)
Owners, be warned: Just because these dogs have brains doesn’t mean they’re not stubborn. Known for their headstrong personalities, a Chihuahua may understand what you’re saying but choose not to obey. Darn those adorable rascals. They know just how cute they are.
#10 Chihuahuas Can Be Aggressive
Don’t let the tiny body and doe eyes fool you—Chihuahuas are forces to be reckoned with. A recent study concluded that Chihuahuas steal the title of most aggressive breed of dog on the behavioral spectrum.5 They don’t typically get along with strangers and will often feel territorial around children and other dog breeds.
However, Chihuahuas can temper this behavioral tendency by socializing with other dogs and humans at a young age. As with all dogs, building trust is key, and it should start as early as possible.
BarkPost: Your Chihuahua Central
Chihuahuas are certainly an acquired taste, but they represent qualities any dog owner would treasure: fortitude, a sassy attitude, and an intellect so bright they could put your smarts to shame. Today, we hope you learned as a (hopefully) future Chihuahua owner there’s more to this pup than meets the eye.
At BARK Post, we want to give every breed of canine a chance to shine. We’ll do your homework for you to give you the resources, product reviews, and Chihuahua-specific meals you need to ensure your pup keeps thriving.
Check out our BARK Post Blog to learn more interesting facts about your favorite dog breeds and give your doggo the spotlight they deserve.
- American Kennel Club. Chihuahua History: From Aztec Treasure to Popular Companion. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/Chihuahua-history-aztec-companion/
- Highland Canine. Meet 18 of the Smallest Dog Breeds in The World. https://highlandcanine.com/the-smallest-dog-breeds-in-the-world/
- Dog O Day. Bruiser Woods and the Taco Bell Dog Used to be Roommates. https://dogoday.com/2021/04/30/bruiser-woods-taco-bell-dog-roommates/
- American Kennel Club. Chihuahua. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/Chihuahua/
- The Atlantic. Pit Bulls Are Chiller Than Chihuahuas. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/pit-bulls-are-chiller-than-Chihuahuas/500558/