Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids?
The answer depends on the age of the kids in question and also your pet’s training and socialization.
My 8-year-old female Chihuahua Bella is very sweet and generally quite good with kids. However, my neighbor’s Chi has been known to get aggressive with their baby. (Not the Chi’s fault: the baby apparently pulled their dog’s tail.)
The bottom-line: The answer to the question ‘Are Chihuahuas good with kids?’ depends on the age of children as well as your Chi’s training and socialization levels.
I will tell you exactly how to train your pet to get along with kids and vice-a-versa.
Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids?
Chihuahuas, in general, are good with kids aged 10 years and above. Younger kids might be too excitable and loud for this breed.
While most Chis are playful, friendly, and affectionate, some are known to be aggressive too.
And like all dogs, Chihuahuas love their peace and quiet. Therefore, a noisy toddler or naughty and boisterous young kids that pull tails, hit the dog, or even try to sit or ride on the small dog is not going to be welcome.
Therefore, the answer to the question: Are Chihuahuas good with kids depends upon the training the dog has received and also how you teach your kids to respect your Chi’s personal space.
Why Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids?
Most Chihuahuas are good with kids because:
1. They are companion dogs
Chihuahuas are bred to be family dogs or a companion dog.
Resultantly, they hate being alone and will welcome the company of any human, even if that happens to be a kid!
2. They are playful and social dogs
In general, Chihuahua temperament is playful and affectionate. This is why they like having kids around as they get a playmate in them. Their silky fur, cute button-eyes, and comical expressions are an added bonus!
Kids and Chihuahuas can easily bond with each other and even become like siblings!
3. Their energy levels and personalities match
Most Chihuahuas get along with children since they have the same energy level and personalities.
Kids in the age group from 10 and above are generally calm, busy with their studies, and like to do their own thing. Having a well-behaved Chihuahua by their side to cuddle and play with is definitely a bonus and extremely comforting for both the kid and the dog.
Kids that grow up with dogs are also known to be happier, calmer, and friendlier. Many single kids with dogs in the household also become more responsible by learning to take care of the pet.
4. Most Chis are gentle
Well trained and well-exercised Chihuahua’s temperament is kid-friendly and most are known to be quite gentle with kids. They typically make sweet, warm-hearted pets and soon become an indispensable part of the family.
5. Small family dogs fit for apartment dwellers
Chihuahuas are a small dog breed which makes them ideal for apartment and city dwellers. They are usually not high-maintenance and they adapt well to families with children.
They love being a part of the pack and will gladly join children for a walk around the block or for a game of fetch in the park.
Are Chihuahuas Good with Babies?
Often, a pet parent could be very concerned about having a baby when they have a Chihuahua at home. They love having the pet for the love, affection, and cuddles, but are, rightfully, concerned about their baby’s wellbeing too.
Most Chihuahuas are not too good with babies. They are usually better with kids aged 10 and above only.
Here are the reasons why most Chihuahuas are not good to have as pet if you have a baby on the way:
A. Small dog syndrome
Chihuahuas invariably suffer from the ‘small dog syndrome’ which means that they are aware of their small size. This makes them very insecure.
Even a crawling baby can seem intimidating to your Chihuahua. That is why it is best not to get a Chihuahua if you have a very young children in the house.
If you are planning to adopt/buy a Chi, please wait for a few years until your child is of school-going age.
In case you already have a Chihuahua and plan to start a family, then please speak with a dog behaviorist or a dog trainer to prepare your pet for the new arrival. (I will discuss some training tips later in this guide).
Yes, some Chihuahuas are known to show human emotions like jealousy. This usually occurs when all of their pet parent’s attention and affection goes to the newborn baby. This can be prevented through training, discipline, and socialization too.
C. Babies are not aware of their actions
We all know how sweet and innocent babies are. They love putting stuff in their mouths and also grabbing things that they aren’t supposed to.
Many unsupervised interactions have ended in unfortunate incidents where the Chihuahua has bitten or barked at the baby.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that even if this happens once, most dogs end up in the pound and are labeled as aggressive.
That is why it is important to never leave a baby unsupervised with a Chihuahua. Better yet, avoid getting a Chi until your child is a little older.
Also Read: Why Do Chihuahuas Lick So Much
In What Ways Can Chihuahuas Be Dangerous to Children?
Here are some potential dangers that Chihuahuas or dogs in general can pose to children.
In the United States, thousands of Chihuahuas end up in shelters each year because they have bitten someone in the family. In many cases, the bite victims are young kids- babies or toddlers.
Dog bites can happen at any time and especially during play. Your Chihuahua might also be ‘food aggressive’ or a resource guarder. Resultantly, it could bite a child if s/he picks up its food or treat.
Some Chihuahuas also bite when disturbed from their sleep or if the child provokes or teases them.
However, you can prevent these incidents by socializing your pet to children from its puppyhood, teaching it bite inhibition, and also teaching your kids to respect your pet.
There is also a small possibility that your Chihuahua could carry microbes or parasites that could lead to skin infections, diarrhea, and/or vomiting in your kids.
Common diseases and parasites that Chihuahuas could carry are: fleas, ticks, lice, mange, ringworm, and internal parasites like pinworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.
Even your Chihuahua dog feces and saliva could transmit these germs making young children very sick.
Thankfully, as a Chihuahua owner, you can prevent this risk by keeping your pet up-to-date with its vaccinations and eliminating parasites, fleas, and ticks using regular treatments.
How to Train your Chihuahua to be Kid-Friendly?
Here are the steps to help your Chihuahua be a bit more kid-friendly:
1. Socialize your pet to kids
Start your Chihuahua’s training right since puppyhood – the earlier the better. Between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks, Chihuahuas like all dogs, are a bit more willing to accept new things.
If you have just brought your Chi home, introduce your kids and Chihuahua in a positive way.
Make sure your puppy also meets other kids.
Always monitor all interactions and teach kids to be calm and gentle around your new Chihuahua breed puppy. Do not hesitate to remove your Chihuahua at the first sign of trouble.
If your pet has positive feelings about kids, then it will like most kids and have positive interactions with all of them.
2. Enroll your pet in some obedience program
Obedience training involves teaching your pet basic commands like sit, stay, heel, and – most importantly – the leave it commands. In addition, you can also teach your Chihuahua puppy how to behave around kids, not jumping on them, and especially not biting.
You can seek help from one-on-one dog trainers or enroll your pet in a dog obedience school.
3. Teach your Chi to react gently to all kinds of handling
Even the gentlest of kids will not stop from throwing itself at the puppy, pulling its tail, or even sitting on it.
Treat your Chi while you pull its tail, paws, or throw your arms around. If your Chi continues to be anxious or aggressive when you do this, then it is best to warn kids away.
4. Teach your Chi not to jump on kids
Every time your Chihuahua jumps, say No. When it stops jumping and gets down, give it a treat. Repeat this several times until your dog understands that jumping does not give it treats.
5. Desensitize your pet to kids’ toys
Let your Chihuahua puppy explore your children’s toys: balls, Frisbees, and even the loud and noisy ones. This will prevent your Chi from attacking them, snatching balls, and displaying other unwanted behavior. Loud toys can also prevent anxiety and fear in pets.
6. Keep things positive
Never shout or hurt your Chihuahua if it does not obey or shows aggression towards kids. Hitting and physical punishments will only make your pet more fearful or shy.
Most importantly, do not force a Chihuahua to accept kids.
Stay calm, monitor all dog-child interactions, and be patient and consistent with your training efforts. Very soon you will see results.
How to Teach your Children to Behave with Your Chihuahua?
Here are the steps to teach your kids to remain civil and friendly with your Chihuahua:
1. Train them to respect boundaries
All dogs have limits and even the gentlest of dog will not take it too kindly to kids teasing, pulling, or hitting them.
Teach your children to never pull your dog’s tail, ears, etc. You must also teach them to never sneak up behind the pet while it is napping or eating.
2. Teach your kid to understand how your Chihuahua communicates
If your pet growls, snaps, bares its teeth, or has a tensed body posture, ask your child to back off.
Tell your kids to watch out for these signs. Body language such as tail wagging, whining, barking, etc. is also important.
3. Show your kids how to interact with your pet
Some Chihuahuas do not like being kissed or hugged as well.
Many also dislike it when neighboring kids come running at them on their walks. I often warn off kids from petting my Bella while she is sniffing around on her walks.
If you teach kids from an early age how to respect your dog, things will usually remain peaceful between them.
FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids
1. Are Chihuahuas good as family dogs?
Yes, most Chihuahuas make excellent family pets. They are usually better with older kid aged over 10 years.
Some Chihuahuas have a reputation for snapping, growling, etc. However, many of these behavioral issues can be prevented through early training and socialization.
2. Do Chihuahuas pick one favorite person?
Yes, most Chihuahuas have one favorite person and they will be their lap dog and always find ways to snuggle with them.
However, this is a loyal, affectionate breed that gets along well with all family members. Generally, they will pick the person who spends the most amount of time with them, trains them, etc.
3. Are Chihuahuas fragile?
Yes, some Chihuahuas are very fragile and delicate. This is a small dog and certain varieties have very delicate structure and bones. Some Chihuahua mix breeds are stronger and larger.
4. Do Chihuahuas get jealous of babies?
Like all dogs, Chihuahuas are capable of experiencing a variety of emotions. Resultantly, they could get jealous of a new baby if it gets all the attention.
5. Should I allow my Chi to lick the baby?
As far as possible, please avoid having your Chihuahua lick your baby. This could transmit germs and sometimes, the dog will start viewing the baby as its puppy.
Conclusion – Are Chihuahuas Good with Kids?
Most Chihuahuas are good with kids. However, it is best if the children are slightly older – 10 years and above.
With babies and toddlers, Chihuahuas could get snappy and they could even develop the small dog syndrome that might make the dog wary and fearful of kids as well.
Through proper training and socialization– for both your Chihuahua and your kids – you can ensure that both parties get along well and show love and respect to each other.