Are Chihuahuas protective?
I see all kinds of dogs at the dog park – big and small – pulling their owners in all directions. But more often than a Great Dane, it is a Yorkie or a Chihuahua breed barking, yapping, or snarling at other dogs and humans.
So, are small dogs like Chihuahuas more protective towards their loved ones than the larger dog breeds?
Yes, we have all seen funny videos of ‘burglars’ running away from a yappy Chihuahua! While it does depend from dog to dog, I definitely believe that the tinier a dog, the more fiercely protective it is of its owners.
Let us delve deeper into this psyche!
Are Chihuahuas Protective?
Yes Chihuahuas are one of the more protective dog breeds ever known. Sure, we must always remember that no two dogs are the same, and even within the same breed, we cannot and should not generalize.
Therefore, we cannot say that ALL Chihuahuas are protective.
However, we could certainly safely say that most Chihuahuas are highly protective and loyal.
Being small dogs, they are also very cuddly and they like to show affection. Showing protectiveness is a Chi’s way of returning the favor for all that you do for it. After all, all dogs understand the universal language of love and your Chihuahua is no different.
Haven’t we heard courageous stories of numerous dogs saving their owner’s lives?
I must mention here, the case of a Chihuahua mix who saved its 86-year old owner’s life during a stroke. The owner simply asked the Chi (named Boo Boo) to ‘seek help’ when he could not move his arms and legs during a stroke. The little dog did the needful saving the owner’s life in the process.
So, do not let its small size fool you. This tiny dog – the smallest dog breed in the world – can definitely be very protective!
So Why Are Chihuahuas Protective of their Owners?
A Chihuahua will consider you to be a part of its family as soon as you bring it home. So why do Chis display such loyalty? Below are some reasons behind a Chihuahua’s fierce protectiveness:
1. They suffer from the small dog syndrome
Imagine for one second that you were tiny. What would you do?
I think I would be defensive and mean as heck!
The Napoleon Complex may be a human thing but I believe we can easily extend the same to explain our Chihuahuas’ natures as well.
Do not mistaken for once that your Chi is ‘mean’. Not at all. This tiny dog gets scared of anything larger than it is, and hence it views everything as a threat. That is why it might show aggression as it wants to protect not only itself but also you, its loved ones.
By showing aggression, your Chihuahua believes that it can compensate for its small size and this also makes it naturally protective as well.
2. They make great watch dogs
Another reason behind a Chihuahua’s protective nature is its ability to watch over its territory and loved ones.
Sure, they weren’t bred to be a guard dog but they make great watch dogs nonetheless. This means that they won’t hesitate to bark their tiny heads off and alert you to something amiss in their surroundings.
Indeed, your little Chihuahua takes it watch dog duty very seriously. Naturally, you will want to invest time in your pet’s obedience training so as to sharpen these skills.
3. They are a fiercely loyal dog breed
The Chihuahua is definitely one of the most loyal small dog breeds. It is naturally very affectionate towards its family and that makes it fiercely protective towards each member as well.
Of course, this born protector will need structured training to help reinforce these qualities. You will also want to socialize your pet to prevent nervousness, aggression, and fear.
4. Protection comes instinctively to your Chi
The Chihuahua breed naturally has the instinct of protecting and it won’t hesitate to display the same from time to time.
Let me give you an example.
One evening, a stranger came over to our house to ask for directions. Our Chihuahua, Bella stood on guard – well-trained that she is. The stranger then gestured – in a non-threatening way – but to Bella, it was all the cue she needed to launch herself at him.
I had to convince her that I was OK and the stranger meant no harm. But, her protectiveness towards me was very evident in that action.
5. They have the sixth sense for danger
Never underestimate your small dog. Like all dogs, it has the nose for sensing danger. And while most Chihuahuas have gotten the bad rap for being aggressive, with their family members, they are docile, loving, and very affectionate.
The moment they smell danger, they will kick into that protective mode. And maybe your small dog might not do much, but it can definitely bark its tiny head off and even bite if it senses harm from something or someone.
6. They can read your body language
Do not let your Chihuahua’s small size fool you. These cute dogs usually appear reserved towards strangers for a reason: they won’t trust them fully until you show your pet you do. Only when you are completely relaxed will your Chi relax as well.
I always wonder why people think that the Chihuahua isn’t smart! They are an intelligent and high-IQ dog breed because of their instinctive ability to accurately read their humans.
7. They are bred to be companion dogs
Modern Chihuahuas are bred to be companion dogs or lap dogs. This has been ingrained in their nature and love and loyalty comes to them naturally. That is why, without too much training too, your little pet will still have a heightened sense of protectiveness towards all its ‘pack’ members.
Just make sure you train your Chi to listen to your commands otherwise it will dominate you as well!
8. They know all about mutual give and take
Your tiny dog expects you to protect it and, in return, will be naturally be loyal and protective towards you. It consider you to be family or part of its pack. In return for the love, treats, and hugs, it will repay you by being protective!
9. Their ancestry and genes
Protective nature also stems from your Chi’s ancestors – the wolves. All wolves hunt in packs and protect each other. The same is the case with your Chi. You are its pack member so it will want to go out of its way to protect you.
10. Past trauma
Past trauma could also make your Chihuahua very protective. If you have a Chihuahua rescue from an animal shelter, then it will pledge its loyalty and protection to you as long as it lives.
How to Tell That Your Chihuahua is Protective of You?
The reasons why you should be able to tell that your Chihuahua is protective of you is to make sure that it doesn’t get ‘over-protective’. Over protection can lead to an aggressive dog and could even take a dangerous turn where your Chihuahua bites other dogs or humans.
Here are some signs that can tell your Chi is protective of you:
1. It is easy to tell when your Chi is over-protective
It is always a good sign that your Chi is protective and watching over you. As a Chihuahua owner, you will be easily able to tell when it crosses the line into over-protection.
Please nip all of the early signs of aggression in the bud before they escalate.
2. Place it with other dogs
Socialize your pet and observe it with other dogs around. Analyze your Chi’s behavior when it is close to other animals/dogs. If it starts snapping, growling, or biting every time other dogs come near, it may be over-protective.
3. Have people visit you
Sit on the sofa with your Chihuahua and ask friend/s to come near. If your Chi growls or snaps, chances are that it is over-protective of you. You must take the steps to curb this behavior right from the start.
I tell you how, in the next section.
How to Prevent Your Chihuahua from Showing Over-Protection?
As a pet parent, it can be very flattering that your little Chihuahua wants to protect you. However, this behavior can quickly escalate and could even turn dangerous, sometimes with friends and family members as well. Worse still, your dog might even bite other house pets or your friends’ dogs.
It is very important to change this perspective of your Chihuahua and show it when it is exceeding the boundaries.
1. Use positive reinforcement
Select some healthy, low calorie treats that your Chihuahua is fond of.
Ask a friend or family member to walk towards you all the while tossing those tiny treats to your Chi. This will help create positive association between something threatening and tasty which will change your Chi’s perception.
If your Chihuahua barks, then ask your friend to stop treating. Continue until your Chi does not bark, snap, growl, etc.
2. Train your Chihuahua to be by itself
When your Chihuahua learns to spend time by itself, it will be much calmer and not ‘resource guard’ you all the time.
Crate train your Chihuahua and leave it alone for a couple of hours each day. Do this from puppy hood so it will get used to being alone from an early age.
3. Socialize it
Start your Chihuahua’s socialization training from an early age. Take it to meet friends, family members, and fellow dog-owners.
Take it to the Dog Park, mall, beach, etc. This will remove fear, aggression, and shyness, and make your Chihuahua more confident.
4. Teach it tricks
Teach your Chihuahua to work for its treats or attention. This way, it will know when the attention it gets is wanted and that it needs to work for it.
5. Enroll it in obedience school
Obedience training can help curb a lot of unwanted behaviors in your Chihuahua. If needed, work with a dog trainer or canine behaviorist to make the training more successful.
Will my Chihuahua Protect me from Other Dogs and Humans?
Most Chihuahuas, like all dogs, might not protect you from other humans.
Many dog breeds are protective but that is because of their breeding and origins. With a Chihuahua, given its tiny size and breeding of being a lapdog, it is mostly taught that humans are good because they give belly rugs and treats.
Having said that, most Chihuahuas might bark, bite, snap, and growl at an attacking human.
It also depends on the Chihuahua in question. If you have a fearful Chi, most probably, it might just stand there or hide or cower in fear.
There is a greater chance that your Chihuahua might protect you from an attacking dog.
Again, this is a generalization. No two dogs are the same. Many Chihuahuas might end up being on the news as heroes and saviors while most would sit cowering in fear waiting for humans to intervene.
FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Protective?
1. Why is my Chihuahua not protective?
If a Chihuahua is not protective it can be attributed to its training and socialization. It can also be attributed to its genetics and breeding – Chis are bred to be cuddly, lovable, dogs and are not trained to be guard dogs.
However, they do make good watchdogs. Some underlying issues like poor diet and health issues can also be a reason why your Chi does not seem eager to protect you.
2. What dogs are most protective?
According to experts, big dog breeds like Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, and Rottweiler are the top three most protective breeds.
3. Are Chihuahuas more protective of female owners?
No. Most dogs, Chis included, do not differentiate between genders when it comes to forming a close bond with one person of the household and protecting that person.
Conclusion – Are Chihuahuas Protective?
Many Chihuahuas are born protectors – they might go out of their way to become loyal watch dogs and will always show loyalty to their family members.
Because of their small stature, they often suffer from the small dog syndrome that makes them defensive. Without proper training and socialization though, they can become highly possessive or overprotective to the point where they start showing aggressive temperament.
Hence, positive reinforcement and obedience training are a must to curb this over-protective nature of a zealous Chihuahua.