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Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids? – The Parent’s Guide to Raising a Chihuahua

Do Chihuahuas get along with children? A guide for parents.
Written by Richard Jeng

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world. Meaning, they’re perfect playmates for children, right? Not so fast. There are things a parent should know before bringing back a Chihuahua to a household with kids.

So are Chihuahuas good with kids? While a Chihuahua won’t likely hurt your kids, rowdy and energetic children can potentially hurt the tiny dog. With that said, they’re not ideal for kids under the age of 10. However, with strict rules and training, it’s possible to nurture a loving relationship between the two.

These dogs are some of the best companions and lap dogs. However, they are special and need to be treated with respect. Let’s examine how a Chihuahua can fit in a home with kids.

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A Chihuahua’s Temperament

Have you ever walked past a house and out of nowhere a little Chihuahua pops out and starts barking at you? You may be 25 times bigger, but that doesn’t stop them!

The most well known quality of the Chihuahua is their loyalty. Though small in size, these dogs won’t back down easily if they perceive a “threat” to their family. They stand their ground as if they’re 80 pound dogs.

For this reason, they’re considered to be one of the most dignified and fearless breeds in the dogdom.

So while they may not be the best protectors or guardians, they’re excellent watchdogs. It’s difficult to get past a Chihuahua with their perpetually-erect ears and vigilant demeanor.

With the confidence, sassiness and loyalty of the Chihuahua also comes the stubbornness. Yes, they’re known to be a little difficult to train. In fact, they’re notoriously hard to housebreak.

But don’t mistaken this for low intelligence. They’re actually much smarter than you think – you just need more patience and consistency with them.

Chihuahuas really just want two things – love and attention. If you can provide this for them, they’ll thrive in a family environment.

Chihuahuas Are Good With Kids

Today, the Chihuahua is bred to be fantastic companion dogs and ratters in Mexico.

The Chihuahua is one of the most popular dog breeds in America. In fact, the AKC consistently has them as one of the top 40 dog breeds in the USA!

With their prevalence among families in America, there must be a reason why. That’s because, with the right approach and training, Chihuahuas are wonderful and loving companions for children.

Here’s why these small dogs can get along great with your kids.

Little Watch Dogs

As mentioned, these dogs will protect their own like any other big dog. They’re always alert and can sometimes be loyal to a fault. It’s good and bad.

The good news is that you know your Chihuahua will look after your kids in whatever way they can. If something feels off, they’ll definitely let you know with a string of barks.

However, the bad is that Chihuahuas are likely to suffer from “small dog syndrome.” That is, when a small dog needs to compensate for its small size by acting bigger than they actually are.

I guess it’s a blessing and curse. My Chi will try to protect me by letting me know of anything that’s fishy around the home (sounds, insects, etc.) but it can get a little annoying at times.

– Sandra L. (Chihuahua owner)

Chihuahuas will act big by barking and standing their ground when faced with intimidating people, threats and whatever makes them nervous.

The key is to find a balance. Although you don’t want your Chihuahua barking at everything, most parents can appreciate a second pair of eyes on their children.

Playful Chihuahuas

At the end of the day, Chihuahuas are playful little dogs. They’re bred to be companions and lap dogs and they do it so well.

If your kids enjoy a nice day lounging with a dog by their side, then the Chihuahua is the perfect fit. Because they’re so loyal, they’re up for whatever.

For a small dog, they’re pretty active dogs. They’re able to keep up with most kids for light activities, such as walking, hide n’ seek, tug-o-war and sometimes fetch. If you’re curious, here’s how you can play with them.

These are all great activities that your children can play with a Chihuahua. It’s not as intensive, so it’s perfect for both parties!

Not only will these activities keep your Chihuahua in shape, but it’s a good way for your kids to develop a good relationship with the dog. Socialization is so important with Chihuahuas.

Dangers of Chihuahuas & Kids

Though Chihuahuas can potentially make great companions for kids, it’s not guaranteed, especially if you don’t know what to look out for (or do).

Here are some realistic pitfalls that parents should be aware of when bringing home a Chihuahua.

Chihuahua & Other Kids

Be extra careful when the dog is approached by strangers – especially unfamiliar small kids. They may be small, but they’re feisty dogs that can still cause significant harm to small children.

Just because your Chihuahua gets along great with your children, doesn’t mean they will with your children’s friends. They may be loyal to your kids, but not someone else’s kids.

My chihuahua is also not child friendly at all. It took a couple snaps to convince parents that kept letting their kids try to approach him to stop.

– Exitthewarrior (Reddit)

Unless your Chihuahua is super well socialized with children, I’d try to avoid this encounter. And even then, you should keep a close watch on the interaction.

There is no safety guarantee with any dog. However, Chihuahuas have been known to react poorly around strangers, especially if rough play is involved.

Fragile and Small

Children are fragile and small, but not as much as Chihuahuas. Weighing around 5 pounds, these dogs are as small and fragile as they come.

With that said, rowdy and overly energetic children should not be playing with these dogs. This is especially true if they’re not old enough to learn how to respect the dog.

As parents, we know how rough and clumsy kids can be. Even if they don’t mean to hurt the dog, they can unintentionally hurt the dog if they’re not careful.

A good way to protect the Chihuahua during playtime is to lay some ground rules on how the child and dog can play with one another (we’ll discuss more on this later).

If you can control your children’s actions (yes I know, it’s tough with them), then you have a much better shot at creating a safe space for both the dog and kids.

Chihuahuas are best for children 10 years and over. Still, you can make it work with a younger child with some extra work and monitoring.

Chihuahuas & Babies

Chihuahuas may not be a great fit for families with toddlers or infants. According to the Bark Post, Chihuahuas top the list of “dogs that bark the most.”

And if you’ve been a parent for long enough, you already know that loud sounds and babies don’t mix well. Even if your Chihuahua is well trained, they can and will start barking in certain situations.

There are training tactics and methods you can use to minimize barking in Chihuahuas. However, it does require a bit of work that new parents (with a baby) may not have time for.

It’s why I don’t recommend these dogs in this particular situation. Rather, you should wait for the baby to grow older before bringing one home.

Please stop letting toddlers pull on dogs’ ears. If a kid pulls and it hurts the dog, the dog is going to defend itself by biting at the toddler, and will be blamed for being violent. What an unfortunate situation that would be.

– Curiousclam (Reddit)

Also, you wouldn’t want your baby to play with a Chihuahua anyway. Babies likely have no awareness of actions that hurt the dog. And, you can’t really blame them for it.

If the baby does something uncomfortable or painful to the Chihuahua, the dog may just retaliate by biting back. It’s a situation that no parents want, but happens all the time.

The good news is that it can easily be avoided. Either you avoid all physical interactions early on or you keep a close watch at all times. Don’t leave you baby with the dog and film the moment, like so many parents do.

Raising Chihuahuas with Kids

Making the relationship work between a child and Chihuahua can be a little tricky. Often times, it’s not a “match made in heaven” from the very start. It requires some time, effort and patience.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your Chihuahua for your kids (and vice versa). From asking real parents with Chihuahuas, here’s our top tips.

Training the Children

Training the kids is perhaps the most important step when it comes to raising them with Chihuahuas. Children need to be trained on how to act around the fragile little dog.

For instance, there should be absolutely no rough play with the Chihuahua. This needs to be a strict hard rule for them. If they can’t control themselves or understand this, it’s better to wait until they’re older or more mature.

Each household may not have the same rules, as both kids and the dog can vary in personality and temperament. So we leave that up to you.

However, rules such as the following may make sense:

  • No pulling on the dog’s tail or ears.
  • No attempting to ride the dog’s back.
  • Don’t push or shove the dog.
  • Leave the dog alone when he’s enjoying his meals or treats.
  • Never put your face too close to the dog’s face.
  • Don’t make loud noises, such as yelling, around the dog.

Not all rules will apply. Plus, there may be more rules you’d want to enforce with your kids. Do so as you see fit.

Socializing a Chihuahua

Socialization is one of the most crucial parts of training for your Chihuahua. Not only is it necessary to train them with children, but also with other dogs.

And according to The Spruce Pets, the most critical period for socializing your dog takes place between weeks 8 and 16.

During this period, your Chihuahua will be more willing to learn from the environment and accept others. So, it’s important they meet as many kids and dogs as possible early in their lives.

We pretty much invited all our relatives with kids…but set hard rules for them before play time with Nacho. I think it’s important for them to meet kids of all ages during socialization.

– Sandra L. (Chihuahua owner)

Just like with your own kids, you must “train” the other children to properly handle and play with your Chihuahua. There should be absolutely no rough play with a fragile small dog.

When you’re socializing your young pup, it’s important that you supervise all interactions for the time being. One terrible experience is all it takes to potentially traumatize them with kids.

The key is to try to present children in a positive light. The more opportunities they get to interact with children, the more likely they’ll feel comfortable around new children.

Chihuahuas in the Family

Chihuahuas are undeniably special dogs. Though they may not be ideal for families expecting babies, they can do well with children.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work to foster your dog’s relationship with the kids, you’ll have a happy and healthy family companion for years to come.

Remember that these dogs were literally developed for companionship. If your family can make it to the end, the reward will be well worth the journey

I highly recommend these dogs. And despite what others may say, it is absolutely possible for them to become superb playmates with your children.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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