Looking to become the owner of a cuddly Chihuahua but wondering ‘are Chihuahuas good guard dogs?’ then read on! We have all the information for you!
Many people believe that only the larger dog breeds make the best guard dogs. While that may be true to some extent, even small dog breeds are known to be alert, territorial, protective, and loyal and these traits make them great watch dogs.
Chihuahuas may be the world’s smallest dog breed but they are also known to possess many qualities which can surprise people unfamiliar with them.
One of the many Chi qualities includes highly loyal nature. Because of this trait, Chihuahuas can be considered fairly good guard dogs.
In this guide, I will tell you exactly what makes the Chi an excellent guard dog and also discuss the differences between guarding dogs and watch dogs.
Are Chihuahuas Good Guard Dogs? (The Short Answer)
Yes, Chihuahuas make excellent guard dogs despite their small sizes.
This is because they are yappy, observant, territorial, and alert and these traits come in handy when they watch their premises. Don’t be too surprised to see your yappy Chihuahua puppy barking at strangers!
Another reason why Chis make great guard dogs is that they are inherently possessive of their owners and their property. Resultantly, your Chi will not stand anyone coming near you or your yard! I believe that this loyalty trait makes them a very good guard dog.
In the next section, I will elaborate on this and discuss all the reasons why are Chihuahuas good guard dogs.
Why Are Chihuahuas Good Guard Dogs? (Long Answer)
Here are some of the Chi traits that make them fairly good guard dogs:
1. They are fearless
A well-trained Chihuahua is fearless but will not show unwanted aggression. With proper obedience training, your Chi can quickly alert you to dangers but can also strike the balance between protection and aggression.
2. They are naturally suspicious of strangers
Another property that makes Chis great guard dogs is that they are naturally wary of strangers. Only when their owners relax will they relax but most will still keep their guard on around someone new. This trait makes them excellent at guarding and protecting their beloved family members.
3. They love to bark!
As explained earlier, Chihuahuas are a ‘lot of dog’ in a small package. This means that they are mouthy and yappy and will bark away at strangers or at the slightest noise. No burglar or thief in their right mind would want to risk getting caught when there is a yappy Chi around!
4. They have a deep sense of loyalty
The Chihuahua breed exhibits a deep sense of loyalty towards its family members. This trait also makes them highly protective of their owners. Indeed, your Chi will go out of its way to protect its owners and property.
5. Chis can bite!
One of the main criteria for being a guard dog is the ability to bite.
Never underestimate this tiny dog’s ability to bite. This breed can and does bite and their bite is pretty powerful. It is certainly powerful enough to stop an intruder from doing more harm. Of course, you will have to teach your Chihuahua bite inhibition to prevent it from biting family members.
6. They can be trained to sharpen their guarding instinct
Without any formal training too, your Chi will always be on the lookout for dangers or strangers. Imagine what these courageous dogs can do when they are formally trained!
You can hone your Chi’s inherent guarding instinct and also make sure to direct training to make your pet less aggressive, shy, or fearful. I will discuss a few training tips to make your Chihuahua a better guard dog, later on in this guide.
What are Some Reasons Why Chihuahuas Do Not Make Good Guard Dogs?
Some Chihuahuas do not make good guard dogs because of the following reasons:
1. Their small size
A Chihuahua’s small size can sometimes be a deterrent in protecting the household. Because of its tiny stature, it can be immobilized quickly.
Also, its size isn’t intimidating to intruders, especially when you compare it with German Shepherds, Rottweiler, and other popular guard dogs.
2. Their fearful and nervous nature
Many untrained and un-socialized Chihuahuas are prone to feeling nervous. They also scare easily due to the smallest of sounds and hide when they are scared. This nervous element could make them poor watch dogs.
However, with proper training and socialization from an early age, you could reduce this shyness, fear, or nervousness.
Untrained Chihuahuas could also display aggression which can, if not controlled, even be directed towards family members.
Certainly, a guard dog does need a bit of aggression but without training, this can be an issue in Chihuahuas. Many untrained Chihuahuas are known to even display aggression towards family members.
What is the Difference between Guard Dog and Watch Dog?
Rome’s Pompeii depicts a large chained dog with the words ‘Cave Canem’ warning for intruders. This was perhaps the first of the ‘Beware of Dog’ signs to be ever used.
Indeed, criminals are still deterred by the sight of a dog.
There is a clear difference between a guard dog and a watch dog. The simple difference is that guard dogs are trained to bite – they won’t stop just at barking. Watch dogs, on the other hand, are only trained to bark and not attack or bite.
That is why Chihuahuas make excellent watch dogs since even small, alert barking dogs can alert the owners to the presence of intruders.
Chihuahua makes an ideal watch dog since it won’t stop yapping until the owner comes out to check what the ruckus is all about. Naturally, you need to train your dog to relax and stop barking once you give the cue that everything is OK.
An ideal watchdog should also welcome visitors if they are friends and family.
Even if your Chi shows a natural tendency to be a guard dog, you will have to curb it with the right training techniques and socialization. You will also have to desensitize your pet from an early age and make them meet different people.
Only then can your pet become confident and avoid biting, aggression, and other anti-social behaviors.
Are Chihuahuas Protective?
Yes, Chihuahuas are extremely protective and inherently loyal dogs.
They have a fierce sense of loyalty and pack mentality which make them guard their property and owners dearly.
It is no wonder that many a Chihuahua has made the news for saving its owner’s life.
A Chihuahua’s protectiveness also stems from its genetic breeding. This is a territorial dog with a heightened ‘sixth sense’. It is always alert to small changes or noises in its environments.
It further helps that these small dogs were bred to be companion dogs or lapdogs and they take this role very seriously.
Although they are small in size, they do not let that stop them. If needed, they can use their bark and their bite to protect their loved ones from harm.
How to Train a Chihuahua to Be a Guard Dog?
Here are some basic steps you can use to train your Chi to be a guard dog:
1. Know what ‘not to teach’ your Chi
Understand that you must never train or teach your Chi to attack. Attacking is only used by law enforcement officials and their K9 units.
Attacking dogs are unreliable and could even attack friends or family. No average owner needs an attack dog.
2. Socialize your Chihuahua
Every guard dog needs to be very confident. One of the major aspects of a Chi’s personality which could be a hindrance during its guard dog training is the fact that they are often nervous and fearful.
However, you can prevent these traits from showing up by socializing your Chihuahua puppy from an early age. Socializing means taking it to meet people and other dogs.
(Of course, you must check with your vet first whether it is OK to take your young pet outdoors. It is also important that your Chi is up-to-date with its vaccinations and deworming schedules).
The more exposure your pet gets, the more confident it will be when it meets different people.
3. Teach it to be assertive without being aggressive
A good guard dog needs to be assertive and make its presence known to intruders without showing aggression.
Aggression is the last thing you want in your Chi because aggressive dogs are unreliable and can even bite friends and family.
Check out our guide on how to tame aggression in Chihuahuas. It is very important that you do this from an early age. Without proper training, the aggression can get out of hand which is not a desirable trait in a guard dog.
4. Teach it to learn and understand cues
A good guard Chihuahua will relax once you say it is OK to relax. This training is also linked to early socialization. When your Chi meets several people – especially family and friends – it gets the cues to relax when you relax.
Chis are good at reading their owner’s body language. So they understand when you are tensed and also when you are relaxed. This makes it easier when it comes to guard dog training.
5. Use positive reinforcement
Reward your puppy each time it has a good socialization experience.
6. Enroll your pet in obedience school
Puppy kindergarten or obedience classes can also be a great socialization experience for your Chihuahua. These can help your Chihuahua puppy meet many people as well as other dogs and these experiences can reduce fear and make your buddy more confident.
7. Teach basic commands
Your Chihuahua will also need to be well-versed in following basic obedience commands like ‘Stay’, ‘Heel’, etc. You can easily teach these commands at home or enlist the help of a dog trainer to teach them to your pet.
8. Train it to bark on cue
This is the most important step of training a Chihuahua for becoming a guard dog. You can use a word such as ‘Bark’ or ‘Speak’.
Say the chosen word and when your Chi barks, give it a treat and pet it. Use the same word every time you give the command.
Practice several times and help your pet understand the difference between barking on cue and unwanted barking. You can also create scenarios such as knocking on the door or having a friend ring the doorbell and have your pet bark.
Keep these training sessions short and prevent overtraining otherwise your Chi could get frustrated.
FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Good Guard Dogs
1. Which is the best guard dog for a family?
Bernese Mountain Dogs, German shepherds, Chow chows, Rottweiler, and Doberman Pinschers have been rated the top guard dog breeds. They are inherently suspicious of strangers, intimidating in size, and also have a loud bark.
2. Can Chihuahuas be left alone?
Yes, but you need to train your Chi from an early age to be left alone for several hours. Some Chihuahuas are prone to separation anxiety which could make them anxious and clingy. This can lead to behaviors like crying, howling, etc. A well-trained and properly socialized Chihuahua will not display such behaviors as it will be a lot more confident.
3. What are the most protective dog breeds?
All loyal dog breeds are highly protective as well. This list includes breeds like Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, etc. Some of these are also attack dog breeds.
4. What are the best guard dogs in the world?
This list differs slightly from the list of the best guard dogs for families. In it, the number one breed is Bullmastiff, followed by Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler.
Conclusion – Are Chihuahuas Good Guard Dogs?
Yes, Chihuahuas make good guard dog and excellent watch dogs because they are inherently loyal, territorial, and also quite yappy. They are also alert, wary of strangers, and highly protective of their premises and owners.
All these qualities are much-needed in guard dogs. However, you will have to train your Chi to curb unwanted traits such as aggression, nervousness, and fear, and also teach it to bark on cue.
We hope this guide helps you mold your Chi into the protection dog you need.