What are the best things about owning a Chihuahua?
June 14, 2013 12:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm writing a story where one of the kids gets a Chihuahua. I've never owned a dog (my husband is allergic). If you have a Chihuahua, what is it that you love about them?
posted by alexthepink to Pets & Animals (32 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
1) Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal to one person. They follow you around the house, constantly want to cuddle with you, etc.

2) They're adorable! And they have a "little dog bark" that isn't menacing at all, it's incredibly cute.

3) The chihuahua I had was incredibly goofy/goofy-looking... not really sure how to describe it.

4) You can plop them on your lap and do whatever it is you were doing... watching tv, on the computer, whatever.

One thing, though... Not sure why you picked a chihuahua, but from my experience at least Chihuahuas don't mix well with kids. They can be snappy/fearful/weird little buggers if the kids try to rough handle them.
posted by Autumn at 1:35 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

You know the way tiny dogs can go yap and huge dogs go woof. Our jack russel/chihuahua X goes yoof. Honest it is the most joyful dog noise. Other adorable traits include watching television that involves dogs and initiating play by standing on his back legs whilst waving with the front ones.
posted by BenPens at 2:50 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

The chihuahua I had as a kid was very cuddly and had these big, incredibly expressive eyes. She never got the memo about being a delicate lap dog and used to accompany us on all our childhood adventures in the woods etc.. She would go into fits of ecstasy when we returned home after even an hour away.

That said, the point above about them and very small kids is a good one. I was eight when we got her and would not recommend mixing them with little kids who might not understand the need to be gentle. They will nip to protect themselves.
posted by rpfields at 3:10 AM on June 14, 2013

We just adopted a chihuahua pup last winter. She is insanely cute. Longhaired & snaggletoothed stella blue. Gah, the noises she makes, little growls and plaintive queries to please, please help me get up onto the couch with you guys! Pawing at you like a cat to get you to pet her, but no evil cat claws, just puppy pads! She sleeps with us (usually me but she gets around) and does this burrowing thing, nosing her way under the covers so she's sure to have contact with a human through the night. We can't figure out how she breathes under there. Also she's very clever, always finding new nooks and crannies in which to deposit fresh poop.
posted by headnsouth at 4:33 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing that Chihuahuas aren't historically known to be awesome with little kids, but Corgis are.
posted by kinetic at 4:34 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Another suggestion, if you're looking for a small/adorable/good with kids dog is to give them a Toy Fox Terrier. I had one growing up and he was around the size of a Chihuahua and me/all my kiddo friends loved him.
posted by Autumn at 5:01 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

My favorite part about chihuahuas is how they have this attitude that the world revolves around them, and that they are always the most important being in the room. If something displeases a chihuahua, you will know about it.

The snuggling and burrowing under the blankets is a close second.

Third is that compared to other dog kisses, chihuahuas' are smaller, cleaner, less drooly, and just as full of love.
posted by Fig at 5:04 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who rescues chihuahuas and the thing I think is hysterical about them is that they have NO idea that they are little, tiny dogs. They have the attitude of a rottweiler. They have no fear and will stare down a mastiff because they think they're equals.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:08 AM on June 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

everything i know about chihuahuas i learned from this episode of Dogs 101 on animal planet!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 5:08 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

We have three chihuahuas (clockwise: Mister Fusspot, Esme, Mister Vimes), two long coat and a short coat. Find the Instagram link in my profile if you want to see a bunch more pictures of them.

They love to be close to their people. I work from home, and I have at least one of them sleeping under my desk at all times. The other two might be under my chair or napping in the middle of the room, but they are always close. If I get up to go to the bathroom or go to the kitchen to get something, all three of them follow me.

When we go to bed, Esme usually gets under the covers and down around my wife's feet and snuggles, and Vimes gets between us under the covers, with his head touching her and his butt touching me. Fusspot stays above the covers, at the foot of the bed. When we sit on the couch watching TV or reading, all three of them are up with us, either in someones lap or laying between us.

Others have mentioned the "not good with kids thing", so I'll mention that chihuahuas hear EVERYTHING.. If a leaf falls in the neighbor's yard down the street and around the corner, they hear it, and will often let you know about it. This is amusing at 2 in the afternoon, and not so amusing at 2 in the morning. But if someone is in your yard (person, dog, cat, deer, etc) you will know about it.

Ours are friendly-ish when dealing with other people. When we go out of town we have some friends come over to check on them, and from what they tell us the dogs will bark bark bark when they come in, but as soon as they sit down the dogs are in their laps before their butts hit the couch. If we're here and people come over, they'll usually bark for a bit, then decide that they are due some affection, and are your best friends as long as you're scritching them.
posted by ralan at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nthing the "thinks he is a fierce and mighty guard dog" thing. I had an elderly great-great aunt who had one, and he always sat next to her, baring his teeth and yapping at anyone who came too close to his human.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:33 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

I have three small dogs, only one of whom is a chihuahua (we think he may be mixed with pomeranian or papillon) and while everyone seems to like all three dogs, we hear a lot of, "There's just something about Skeeter!" I am sure it's because he's so small, but he's VERY friendly and sweet and energetic but not in an annoying way. I have a Jack Russell who has finally calmed down at age 15, but he was waaaay more in-your-face annoying than Skeeter is. They do hear everything, and they do think they're big dogs, but they are pretty awesome. We found Skeeter and were going to give him back and within 2 days we were super attached! Would rescue again, A++!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 6:13 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can dress them up!!! (Well, you can dress any dog up, I guess, but chihuahuas are much more stylish.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:22 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

My wife and I have two chihuahua rescues. One for 9 years the other for 5 years. We had a kid in the mean time and they are completely patient and understanding with him and his toddler ways. Other kids? Mixed results. One is snippy and holds her ground the other just runs to another room. I love those little dogs.

Best thing about them? Snuggling at night. One is under the covers with me wedged under my back, the other is under the covers at my wife's feet. Just loyal little helicopter dogs.
posted by LeanGreen at 6:25 AM on June 14, 2013

I love cats, but am currently without them. Not that fond of dogs, but currently have one disguised as a beagle. Given the choice of cancer or another dog, I'd have to think a minute. I say this to set the stage for the following:

In the not too distant past...a few years or so, there was a brief episode where my wife came into unexpected possession of a client's pets after they were carted off to prison. (The clients, not the pets.)

One was a chihuahua named Wiggles. I greeted her arrival with the same feeling i'd have if i found a cracked filling. I thought, what the hell, if it doesn't work out, there's always the microwave.

Inside a month, I was in love with it. Nicest little dog. Kept it in my fleece pocket while I worked all day. Funny, needy little beast. Cute bark. Good with my cats and my beagle.

Gave it to my mother in law who renamed it, but to this day, when we go to her house, it's so I can visit the dog, not the MIL. Sometimes, I will take a break and walk the MIL, but mostly, I sit and talk to Wiggles.

Only C i have ever met that I liked, but man, if they were all like Wiggles, I'd have another.

posted by FauxScot at 6:28 AM on June 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

They have huge personalities. I've had many come in and out of my life. They are all different. One of them was quite the character. Drama queen is the word that comes to mind. If you said the word "exercise" she would growl. And if I put my face close to her and make growling noises she would dramatically growl back until I made kissy faces. It was a fun game.

I love that a tough looking biker I knew had one that would ride with him everywhere. Killer was the dogs name, and he loved when women would dote on him.
posted by icanbreathe at 6:43 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

-You can dress in matching outfits

-I'll be surprised that my dog hasn't followed me into the bedroom, but then realize he can just *sense* when I'm getting into bed from the other room by divebombing into my arms the second my head hits the pillow

-You know the little hollow formed by a human body curled in the fetal position? Perfect size for a curled up chihuahua. Very helpful for saving on heating bills in the winter.

-If I'm upset/crying, he is all up on me, immediately, trying to lick my tears away and whimpering in the "something's wrong with mom!" kind of way

-My dog isn't a inbred puppymill dog (though those dogs are sweet little cuties who didn't ask to be bred by irresponsible humans, they often have heart problems and, anecdotally, often seem less intelligent and more scrambled-brain-yappy than a mutt or a responsibly-bred purebred). He isn't stupid or flighty, he's just as smart as other dogs, in a smaller package. He has a really good memory; my sister raised him as a puppy and when she visited after a year apart he totally, obviously recognized her and was happy to see her. He barks less and less at someone everytime they visit my house as he gets to know them; the clock doesn't reset between visits, he remembers people
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:07 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

They are mostly, IME, utterly fearless when meeting new dogs. I have also noticed that when other dogs try to boss them around, they do this adorably ridiculous thing where they momentarily quiver with abject indignation before voicing their little warning snarls.
posted by elizardbits at 7:25 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I work at a small animal hospital, so I see a lot of different breeds of dogs day to day. Just like any breed, there are pets that exemplify the best and worst qualities of the breed. Some things that come to mind when I think of the Chihuahua's I've worked with are:
- They look pretty adorable. The big eyes, fox-like ears, and tiny bodies make you instantly want to pick them up and hold them and put them in a purse. As others have said, they can look pretty goofy. I once knew a Chi that had a congenital issue which caused her tongue to constantly hang out of the side of her mouth, which was hilariously cute.
- They like to be close. Most Chis seem happiest when they're being held or sitting in your lap.
- They're loyal, bordering on possessive/territorial. Often ChiChi's get away with certain behaviors (barking and growling at strangers, biting anyone who tries to get close to their owner) because they are small and therefore not threatening and hey isn't it cute when Fluffy growls and bares his teeth!
- Many Chihuahua's I've known have been incredibly tolerant of being handled. I think it's a by product of being picked up and carried around since they were puppies. Of course there are exceptions to this--I've met many Chis that would definitely qualify as "land sharks."
posted by gumtree at 8:00 AM on June 14, 2013

I grew up with packs of chihuahuas. They can be great with kids, if the kids are thoughtful and not grabby. I think the thing about kids is that many are not socialized to not grab tiny cute dogs, and if you were a tiny cute dog and were suddenly grabbed, you might bite. I've known many people with little kids and chihuahuas and the pups are quite good with the children.

I took my half Chihuahua everywhere with me. Camping, raves, hikes, snow- she was born on a ranch, and was the kind of dog that would happily plop herself down in a cool puddle of horse muck on a hot day (UGH!) As people have noted, they are great watchdogs, something that is really appreciated by rural people, and like many animals from desert environments they are hypersensitive to changing situations (like Arabian horses, who were supposed to alert their riders to distant movement). They love to be warm and will hang out any toasty place, like in from of the forced air vent. They really respond to how people behave toward them, in that people who treat them like cute things and don't train them tend to have untrained little dogs, and people who expect them to follow commands and train them have very obedient dogs. I had a friend whose partner trained her chihuahuas to use a litter box.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:26 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a 7-month-old foster Chi right now, came here two weeks ago from a weird puppy-mill/hoarding situation - basically, she had no idea at all of how to be a proper dog. Within the first week, she learned to walk with a harness and leash, go up and down stairs, walk on grass & play outside, and is dependably housebroken. I'm impressed with her cleverness and willingness to please. She's affectionate, but seems to be a one-person dog... in this case, me.

She's also cute as a bug. Very playful and athletic; runs runs runs runs around the yard at every chance. She is, however, starting to show signs of wanting to be the boss around the house and advance her standing in the pack - growling at Himself, barking when he gets in to bed. We're nipping this in the bud by making him her sole source of food. She takes herself very seriously, and is quite offended that she has to wait for the Really Big Man to get up before she gets breakfast now.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 8:35 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

(Also: insatiably curious. She has to follow both of us around to see what we're up to, at every moment of the day. We have wood floors, so the constant ticky-ticky-ticky behind you is like walking around with a pair of castanets tied to your ass.)
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:12 AM on June 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

My friend has an adorable Chihuahua mix, and he is a very portable size. She takes him on the bus, in cabs, wherever. He can walk on a leash just fine but it's really easy to just pick him up and hold him if necessary.
posted by radioamy at 9:29 AM on June 14, 2013

My chihuahua lived to the ripe old age of 17, and until her last 6 months, acted like a puppy. She was "big" at 7 lbs, but I carried her in a shoulder bag to go in movies, shops, etc. and no one knew she was there. I also had a front carrier later on (like a baby snugli, only for dogs) and she loved it.

She was smart, sneaky and sassy. Queen of the dog park (we had a big dog too). Loved her morning coffee, which she was incredibly clever at sneaking on the table to get when we stepped away for a second or two.

She was a re-homed dog, and when I first took her home, she hated me (fear) and growled and snapped. I second guessed the wisdom of adopting her. Then we walked in the door, greeted by a big dog, five cats, and four (older) kids, and she instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY, glued herself to me as her new person and never looked back. They are like that. They KNOW when they are rescued.

I have been owned by many dogs through the years, but the bulk of my shared anecdotes are of her. They have so much personality. Excellent watch dogs. Love to burrow under cushions, blankets, coats. She used to "ride" in my coat by stuffing her backend into my sleeve under my arm and sticking her head out at the neck. Seven years after losing her I still miss her.
posted by batikrose at 9:44 AM on June 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

Smaller chihuahua's can wear an argyle sock as an argyle sweater!
posted by vespabelle at 9:49 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

My 10 year old chihuahua still acts like a puppy, and he has no idea how small he is. He happily bosses around our bulldog mix, who outweighs him by 70 pounds, and the bulldog mix lets him. That's how big a chihuahua's personality is.

My chihuahua loves three thing: Being as near to me as possible, basking in the sun on the hot patio tiles in the summer, and "killing" his plush toy snake several times a day (grabbing it behind the head and shaking it vigorously until he decides it's dead, and then prancing around proudly for a few minutes).

He goes insane for bits of avocado, steamed broccoli, and red bell pepper.

He very meticulously makes complicated nests for himself out of throw pillows and blankets on the couch, and burrows under the covers in bed. Everything always has to be arranged just exactly to some complicated schema in his head.

Basically, he's a strange and hilarious little beast. I never would have figured myself for a chihuahua person, but this dog is just unbelievably cute and funny.
posted by erst at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

My neighbor has one, and he comes over to visit me a lot when I'm outside.

My favorite thing is watching his whole body wag when I come over to pet him. I realize that a lot of dogs do the whole-body wag, but the chihuahua is so little and his tail is proportionately large that it really looks like the tail is wagging the dog.
posted by jaguar at 10:40 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

My stepmother has chihuahuas and my favorite thing about them is the fact that they love to burrow in her couch -- they've got a couch with lots of throw pillows, afghans, etc and a dog can jump in there and literally burrow in. It's adorable and kind of makes me want a chihuahua and a big comfy couch.
posted by Sara C. at 10:41 AM on June 14, 2013

One thing about owning a chihuahua is that what the chihuahua-lover finds adorable, other people find annoying. For instance, other people might find that chirpy bark annoying. Or instead of sending the dog as loving they'd see it as endlessly needy.

Owning and loving a chihuahua is appreciating something that not everyone "gets" - which is cool.
posted by 26.2 at 10:43 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

In my posting history is a question about my chi. Here is a baby photo. He is now around 10 pounds and stocky. So we are pretty sure he wasn't purebred but he has definite chihuahua tendencies.

I was the person home with him all day when he was a baby and I am still his primary person now. He follows me everywhere and burrows under the covers at night. One night the blankets were twisted or something and inside my sweatshirt was acceptable. Mo has typical guard dog coloring (think doberman or rottweiler) but the light brown is actually brindle patterned. He began typical marking activity at puberty but after his surgery immediately stopped. He will tear up any piece of paper he can find and toilet paper is lots of fun. He will horde things that he believes are his.

The larger dogs play with him just fine. Bella is maternal and will knock him down for grooming. When she has long hair he grabs her beard and hangs from it. Otherwise he will grab her collar.

He does very well with my kids and with others who have come to the house. I think he is more noise tolerant than many chihuahuas. Our house is very close to the sidewalk so barking starts when someone is actually on the porch. He is our only dog who will sound an alarm. Our property is in a strange V of land with roads at the front and back. People walking or biking behind us usually just get followed along the fence. My neighbor to the side gets barked at whenever she is in her yard. He knows the sound of our cars and will start calling for his person who just arrived.
posted by Talia Devane at 11:19 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a chihuahua named Lucy. She's the cutest, silliest, girliest dog ever. She's a little on the plump side, so she has these adorable neck fats that I love to pet. She has a cold spot on her chest. I'm her number one human, with my partner not being far behind. She follows me everywhere, and when I get home from work, she dances around excitedly because she knows we're about to lay in the bed and watch TV together. She's glued to me in bed, and she sleeps in between us, usually on her side with her head peaking out of the covers, like a human. She tries to steal my heating pad and she loves sitting in sunbeams.

I have about 48 nicknames for her, and she seems to look like every animal...a seal, a deer, a meerkat, a cow. She's a little blorp of cute. Her ears are like satellite dishes.

She's very low key and sweet and likes to be lazy with me. She hung out with me last summer when I was really sick and bedridden. She's super friendly with other dogs and people and will sit in anyone's lap. She's fine with kids unless they grab her head. My sister has a boy chihuahua named Peanut and we always joke that they are soul mates; they are so cute together. Makes me want to get another chihuahua.
posted by hotelechozulu at 12:04 PM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

It turns out they play pool too! You can hear the adorable growl-queries in the video.
posted by headnsouth at 7:29 PM on June 14, 2013

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