Are Chihuahuas High Maintenance?

are Chihuahuas high maintenance

One of the first questions potential Chihuahua parents ask is: ‘Are Chihuahuas high maintenance?’ ‘Are Chihuahuas hard to take care of?’

After all; no one wants a high maintenance dog. We all want pets that are easy-to-manage.

The good news is that the Chihuahua breed is fairly easy to maintain and take care of. Being small in size, these pets do not need too much exercise or grooming. However, that does not mean that they do not need any maintenance and care. That isn’t the case at all.

Read on: I will tell you exactly what every Chihuahua owner should know as far as its maintenance is concerned.

Are Chihuahuas High Maintenance?

are Chihuahuas high maintenance

Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers. To answer the question, ‘are Chihuahuas high maintenance?’ we must find out what dog maintenance means.

What does dog maintenance entail?

For some people, the definition of a high maintenance dog is one that needs a lot of exercise, grooming, and frequent visits to the vet.

 Many dogs are also deemed high maintenance if they are super intelligent. While that is a good thing, it also has a downside in that; they tend to get bored very easily. Entertaining them and giving them a job to do becomes the dog owner’s responsibility.

Resultantly, such dogs need a lot of mental stimulation in addition to strenuous daily exercise.

So, in that regard, shouldn’t Chihuahuas be considered low maintenance?

Certainly, in that regard, a Chihuahua is not overly high maintenance.

This breed has the advantage of its small size. Whether you have a longhaired Chihuahua or a short smooth coated Chihuahua, you can rest assured that you won’t be spending too much time (or money) on grooming your pet. Even a long haired Chihuahua need short daily grooming sessions.

The same is the case with this breed’s exercise needs. A Chihuahua does not need too much exercise –it just needs short bouts of daily exercise. A couple of walks around the block are adequate to keep this tiny dog mentally and physically fit.

Then Why Are Chihuahuas High Maintenance?

are Chihuahuas high maintenance

Naturally, there are some Chihuahua owners that might still call it a high maintenance dog. These are their reasons:

1. Chis are super clingy dogs

The Chihuahua dog breed is prone to separation anxiety. Because of this reason, they won’t leave their owners alone for even a few minutes. If you have to leave your pet home alone for prolonged periods, then be prepared to train your pet to staying alone – from puppy-hood.

Otherwise, be prepared to come home to chewed-up slippers, indoor soiling, and even neighbors’ complaints of excess barking. Bottom-line, you will have to spend time in training this small dog firmly, patiently, and consistently.

2. Behavioral issues

Many Chihuahuas are genetically predisposed to certain behavioral issues. First of all, they have the ‘small dog syndrome’ which means they are aware of their small size. This makes them nervous and anxious all the time. Some also display aggression due to it. For some Chis, the smallest noise can trigger bouts of barking.

Often, their nervousness leads to fearful and nervous behaviors like indoor soiling, shaking, etc. Sometimes, they use these ploys to get their owners’ attention. Many Chis cannot stay away from their owners for even a few hours and they also get strongly attached to one person.

All these may seem cute in the beginning but can end up being annoying after a while.

3. Health issues and frequent vet visits

The Chihuahua is a small, delicate dog prone to several health issues including skin and stomach problems. They are also known to suffer from allergies like food, environmental, and skin allergies. All these problems could require frequent health checkups and vet bills. For this reason, some Chi owners label their pets ‘high maintenance’.

4. Special diets

Many Chihuahuas need special high-quality (read expensive) foods because of food sensitivities. While this small dog does not eat much, it still needs special food. Many Chis also require prescription diets from vets.

5. Small dog predatory risks and dangers

With a tiny dog there is a very high risk to predators, trauma, and injuries. This small dog could easily get crushed or hurt if it sleeps in bed next to a heavy sleeper. Chihuahuas have the tendency to sleep between their owners’ legs which could increase the small dog’s risk of injuries. If you have kids, you may want to teach them to behave around this tiny dog.

Also, the small dog could easily be carried away by predatory birds like eagles. So, you will always have to be on guard when your Chi is out in the yard. As such, this small dog is not fit to be left outdoors and safest indoors.

What is the Cost of a Chihuahua’s Maintenance and Upkeep?

are Chihuahuas high maintenance

One might think that a small dog like Chihuahua won’t be too costly to maintain.

However, that isn’t the case. Even a small dog like the Chihuahua could require spending nearly $150 per month. The ASPCA estimates that the per-annum cost of raising a small dog could be in the range of $580 to $1000 – and this is assuming that your Chihuahua is healthy. You will want to set aside emergency funds too.

The following table will show you approximate average costs for raising a Chi. You can factor these costs in when you try to answer the question: Are Chihuahuas high maintenance?

INITIAL COSTSPurchasing your Chi$400 to $1500 depending on breeder, your state, etc.
 Registration, microchipping, de-sexing operation$400
 Initial set up costs (beds, food, bowls, crate, toys)$500 o $800
 Collars, leashes, harness$50 to $100
 Training costs$100 to $1000
 Food and treats$200 to $500
 Fleas, ticks, deworming costs$200 to $400
 Accessories$100 to $200
 Annual vaccination$150
 Illness costs$150

Please check out our guide on How Much is a Chihuahua to know the exact cost of raising your Chi.

Why Are Chihuahuas So Clingy?

Male vs female Chihuahua

A Chi is considered clingy when it follows you around the house, looks at you with rapt attention, and also cries, whines, or howls when you are about to leave it alone.

Clingy behavior in Chihuahuas can be cute and adorable but there are times when a pet parent might get frustrated and annoyed with it too.

Here are the common reasons why Chihuahuas are usually clingy:

1. You might have encouraged it

Often, pet parents unknowingly encourage clingy behavior by petting their dogs, or carrying it around, or treating it when it follows them in the kitchen. The Chi looks forward to the food treats and thinks that it is a reward for following you around.

2. Anxious dogs

As explained earlier, Chihuahuas are inherently and genetically prone to separation anxiety. This often leads to clingy behavior because they are afraid of being on their own.

3. Inadequate socialization

Another reason why Chihuahuas get clingy is because they are not socialized and desensitized to being left alone. If you start training your pet to being alone from puppyhood, then its chances of becoming clingy in adulthood can be greatly minimized.

4. Illness

Often, Chihuahuas that are sick become clingy because of pain or discomfort. They might feel reassured in your presence. Older Chis might become clingy if they lose their sense of sight or hearing.

Are Small Dogs Like Chihuahua Easier to Take Care of?

Are Chihuahuas good emotional support dogs

There are two sides to every coin!

Reasons why small dogs may be easier to care for

  • Small dogs are easier to care for as you can easily pick and carry them around. Travel is also cheaper as you can take your Chi in an airplane without spending too much.
  • Small dogs are also definitely a lot cheaper than larger dog breeds – especially as far as food costs are concerned.
  • Also, if you do not have too much time, taking a small dog for a daily walk would be much easier and faster than larger dogs that need hours of workout.

Reasons why small dogs may not always be easier to care for

First of all, there are many myths surrounding the size of dogs and one of them is that all small dogs are always easy to care for. That isn’t the case.

Below are some of the reasons why small dog breeds like Chihuahuas may not always be the easiest to care for:

1.  Small dogs also have health issues

Certainly, smaller dog breeds live longer than many larger dog breeds like Great Danes that only live an average of 7-8 years. However, that does not mean that small dogs do not have any health issues at all. Common health issues in small dogs are collapsed trachea, hypoglycemia, and even patella luxation.

2. They need exercise too

Just because your dog is small, does not mean that it should be a couch potato or a lap dog all the time. Your small dog breed still needs daily exercise for optimal health and mental well-being.

3. They could have training problems

Many small dogs have a stubborn streak and a mind of their own. This feistiness could get in the way of training. Often, pet parents let their cute smaller dog get away with bad behaviors which can further impede training.

4. Small dogs – more barking and aggression

Small dogs have a Napoleon syndrome which makes them bark at everything. This can be an issue if you live in an apartment complex where neighbors could complain. Also, smaller dog breeds have more energy and may feel too wired leading to annoying barking in the middle of the night.

5.  Risk of injuries

Your small pet is also at a greater risk of injuries from kids and accidents. Their small size makes them difficult to be seen which could put them at a great risk from everything and everyone at home.

Which Dog Breeds are Low and High Maintenance?

are Chihuahuas high maintenance

Low Maintenance Dog Breeds

Some of the low maintenance dog breeds are:

  • Dachshund
  • Greyhound
  • Beagles
  • Bichon Frise
  • Papillon
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pug
  • French bulldog

High Maintenance Dog Breeds

  • Border Collie
  • Siberian Husky
  • Golden Retriever
  • German shepherd
  • Doberman
  • Belgian Malinois

FAQs on Are Chihuahuas High Maintenance?

1. Is it hard taking care of a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas are fairly easy to care for and they make good dogs for first-time dog owners. Apart from daily walks, regular grooming, and feeding high-quality meals, these hardy dogs do not need much. However, it also depends on the way you have raised your Chi; its training will determine its behavior.

 Naturally, you must buy your Chihuahua from a reputed breeder. That way, it will have fewer health issues and temperament problems.

You must also protect your small dog from injuries, predators, and accidents. Other than that, this is a fairly low-maintenance dog breed.

2. Do Chihuahuas need special care?

Chihuahuas need special care in the cold weather. They are small dogs without too much body fat and that is why they get cold easily. You may want to dress up your Chi in warm clothing, sweaters, or jackets.

LOPHIPETS Dog Cotton Hoodies Sweatshirts for Small Dogs Chihuahua Puppy Clothes Cold Weather Coat-Navy/XXS

3. Can a Chihuahua be left alone during the day?

Ideally, a Chi should not be left alone for prolonged period during the day. It is prone to separation anxiety and might resort to destructive behavior like barking, defecating indoors, destroying furniture, etc. Training and desensitization can help to some extent.


Are Chihuahuas high maintenance? Or are they low maintenance dog breed?

There is no single answer here. For some Chihuahua owner, a high maintenance dog is the one that needs tons of exercise or massive amounts of grooming. In both these aspects, Chihuahuas are fairly low maintenance.

However, they are still prone to health issues, behavioral problems, etc. They definitely need firm handling and early training as well as regular physical and mental activity. Without these, your pet could get bored and destructive and could display behavioral problems for life. Some Chis also need special diets.

Chihuahuas are often quite clingy and do not take too well to being left home alone. Early training, socialization, and desensitization are therefore a must for this little dog.

12 Common Health Problems in Chihuahuas & What to Do About Them

Can Dogs Eat Squid?