Small and sassy, the Chihuahua is the tiniest of all dog breeds, often weighing in at less than four pounds. Their personalities are varied, ranging from shy and timid to plucky and outgoing. All Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal to the people they love, and eat up as much attention as they can get. They will often posture toward bigger dogs, barking their little hearts out, but always seem to recognize and welcome the company of other Chihuahuas. They tolerate being dressed up, and in the winter time will welcome the warmth of a sweater. Some have a reputation for being quite mean to strangers, but this stems from their protective of their owner and the fact that the only defense mechanisms they have are their bark and their teeth. They are an economical companion, as they don't eat much, and are a good choice for first-time dog owners.
All Chihuahua owners agree that this breed is an endless source of laughs. Their big eyes and ears, combined with an uncanny ability to cause mischief, provide hours of entertainment for the entire family. They also love to be warm. They will follow the sun's rays around the house all day, and when the sun goes down will burrow into couches, chairs, blankets and laps in order to stay cozy.
Chihuahuas don't need a lot of vigorous activity, so they are well suited for apartments and condominiums. Despite their size, they should be walked daily because it is easy to end up with an obese Chihuahua.
The ease of training a Chihuahua depends upon the dog itself, and it's own particular bloodline. Whereas some dogs can be trained out of fearfulness, timidity, aggression or rowdy behavioral, a Chihuahua's temperament is determined solely on his genetics. If he comes from high-struck parents, he will be high-strung. If he comes from an easy-going, friendly line, he'll be the same. Regardless of the individual dog's personality, training should be consistent, involve lots of positive reinforcement, and plenty of treats. Treating a dog this size with a harsh hand will only cause problems.
Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to house train, and many owners resort to litter boxes or indoor grass patches. They hate cold weather and despise the rain, and many times will flat out refuse to relieve themselves in such conditions.
Barking is the number one behavioral problem with Chihuahuas. Even easy going individuals who enjoy the company of new people will bark to announce that person's arrival. Some Chihuahuas are prone to bark literally every time a house guest makes a move, which can be alienating to friends and family. It is very important to socialize Chihuahuas as early and as often as possible, so that they are welcoming of new people.