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The 7 Most Unusual Habits of Chihuahuas

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 12, 2024

Chihuahuas, the smallest breed of dog in the world, are renowned not only for their diminutive size but also for their bold and vibrant personalities. Originating from Mexico, these tiny canines carry a heritage that is both ancient and noble, having been revered by the Aztecs and used in sacred rituals. Despite their size, Chihuahuas are known for their fearlessness and can often display behaviors that seem larger than life. Their unique characteristics and behaviors can be both charming and puzzling to their owners. From their quirky habits to their strong personalities, Chihuahuas often act in ways that defy their small stature. This article delves into seven of the most unusual habits of Chihuahuas, exploring the reasons behind each behavior and offering insights into how these traits influence their interactions with the world around them.

1. Shivering or Trembling

One of the most noticeable habits of Chihuahuas is their tendency to shiver or tremble. This is not always due to being cold; rather, it can also be a reaction to excitement, fear, or anxiety. Due to their small size, Chihuahuas have a higher metabolism and less body fat, making them more susceptible to temperature changes, but emotional responses also play a significant role. This shivering can be a way of expending excess energy or an indication of emotional stress. Owners can help their pets by providing warm clothing during cooler weather, ensuring a comforting and secure environment, and being attentive to the causes of their anxiety or excitement, thereby managing the stimuli that trigger this behavior.

2. “Napoleon Complex”

Chihuahuas are often described as having a “Napoleon complex” or small dog syndrome, displaying behaviors that are typically associated with much larger dogs. This includes being overly aggressive or assertive towards other dogs, regardless of their size, and being extraordinarily protective of their owners. This unusual habit stems from their innate terrier-like qualities, including fearlessness and a strong sense of territory and pack hierarchy. Training and socialization from a young age are crucial in managing this behavior, helping to ensure that Chihuahuas develop a balanced temperament and learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs and people.

3. Burrowing into Bedding

Chihuahuas have a peculiar habit of burrowing into bedding, clothes, or any other soft materials they can find. This behavior is likely an instinctive need for warmth and security, given their vulnerability due to size. In the wild, small animals burrow to protect themselves from predators and the elements, and despite being domesticated, Chihuahuas retain this instinct. Providing them with ample soft blankets and perhaps a designated burrow bed can satisfy this need, ensuring they feel safe and warm without the need to dig into inappropriate places.

4. Sudden Racing

Chihuahuas are prone to episodes of suddenly running at high speeds around the house, often referred to as “zoomies.” This habit is usually a burst of energy being released in a playful manner and can occur after bath times or during play. It’s a normal behavior seen in many dog breeds but can be surprising due to the Chihuahua’s small size and rapid movements. Ensuring they have regular opportunities for exercise and play can help manage these bursts of energy in a controlled way, keeping them healthy and mentally stimulated.

5. Obsessive Licking

Chihuahuas often develop an unusual habit of obsessively licking themselves, their owners, or objects around them. This can be a sign of affection but may also indicate stress, boredom, or underlying health issues such as allergies. Observing when and what they lick can help determine the cause of this behavior. Addressing the root cause, whether it’s providing more attention, increasing mental stimulation, or consulting a veterinarian, can help reduce compulsive licking.

6. Selective Listening

Despite their intelligence, Chihuahuas can exhibit what appears to be selective listening, choosing when to respond to commands based on their mood or the environment. This can be particularly pronounced if they are not properly motivated or if they find the command unrewarding. Effective training techniques that use positive reinforcement and consistency can help overcome this stubborn streak, reinforcing good behavior and obedience.

7. Guarding Behavior

Chihuahuas can exhibit intense guarding behavior over their food, toys, or even a favorite spot on the couch. This can sometimes extend to guarding their owner from other people or pets. While this can stem from their inherent desire to protect their resources, it can also lead to problematic aggressive behavior if not correctly managed. Teaching them to share and socializing them to understand that they do not need to guard their possessions are essential steps in preventing this behavior from becoming a bigger issue.

Learn More About the Chihuahua Dog Breed: Information, Facts & Pictures

Chihuahuas are a breed full of personality and peculiar habits that often surprise those unfamiliar with their spirited nature. These behaviors, from shivering to guarding, highlight their complex temperament and adaptability. By understanding these unique habits, owners can provide better care and training, enhancing the quality of life for both the Chihuahua and its family. Embracing their idiosyncrasies with appropriate management strategies ensures that living with a Chihuahua is as joyful as it is intriguing.

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