To strangers who come knocking at your door, your Chihuahua becomes a ferocious-sounding protector. But alone with you, he's a devoted, affectionate companion. The American Kennel Club describes the Chihuahua’s temperament as being terrierlike, meaning that the breed should exhibit a demeanor of confidence, alertness and self-reliance.
The alert Chihuahua is quick to take on the role of loyal defender, warding off intruders with warning barks and snarls. The Chi may be the smallest breed of dog, but inside him lurks an iron will and devotion to protect his human companion from all potential harm. Even while being held by his owner, he will bark and struggle to defend the person from any stranger who approaches. No matter how threatening his barks sound, the Chihuahua is a toy dog. He should be thought of as a keen watchdog or an alarm system rather than as a formidable guard dog.
Outspoken and Bold
Chihuahuas have earned a reputation of being yappy and scrappy. If a Chihuahua has something to say, he is not at all shy about vocalizing whatever is on his mind. Chihuahuas are determined, fearless and tenacious. These qualities, combined with a powerful set of vocal cords, make the Chihuahua a natural watchdog who will never fail to alert the family to anyone who darkens the door.
Many Chihuahuas are "one-person dogs." They tend to form strong ties with one preferred family member, craving opportunities to spend time with that individual. Once such bonds have been established, the little dogs may become jealous of his beloved's other family members. Some Chihuahuas will bond with their entire household, including their feline and canine housemates, but even then they typically do not react sociably toward strangers and other animals.
Not for Kids
Chihuahuas are lively and can be playful, but they do not make suitable companions for active children. They are likely to nip if they feel disturbed or threatened. Their small physical stature makes them too delicate for accidental drops, rough play or being accidentally kicked or stepped on by children.
Intelligent, Trainable and Admired
Chihuahuas need training. They have a keen intellect and are easily trained, but they can be willful and will test the limits of owners who have not taken the dominant role. Early and consistent obedience training and socializing are essential in setting guidelines for acceptable behavior.