How Big Is A Chihuahua Brain?

How Big Is A Chihuahua Brain

Chihuahuas are tiny dogs. How big can their brains be? Does it affect how intelligent they are?

How big is a chihuahua brain? Do chis have the smallest brains? Not really! You will be surprised to know that chihuahuas actually have one of the largest sized brains in the dog kingdom!

In this article, you will learn about:

  • Chihuahuas and teacup chihuahuas’ brain sizes
  • How chihuahuas’ brain compares to a human brain?
  • Common brain problems faced by chihuahuas
  • And many more…

How Big Is A Chihuahua Brain? 

A chihuahua’s brain is about the size of an orange or tangerine and weighs about 55.10 grams. In fact, all dogs’ brains are of the same size, regardless of their breed. Hence, chihuahuas have one of the biggest sized brains due to its brain to body size ratio. 

How Big Is A Chihuahua Brain? 

A chihuahua’s brain is the size of a tangerine or orange. It is important to note that all dogs, regardless of their breeds, have the same size brain (tangerine-sized).

According to Central California SPCA, what makes chihuahuas to be considered as the dogs with the largest brain is their brain-to-body size ratio. Since these dogs are so tiny, their brain size seems to be the largest.

And the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out that chis are little dogs of high intelligence, and can respond well to positive training practices.

How Big Is A Teacup Chihuahua Brain?

A teacup chihuahua is a type of pure-bred chihuahua that is smaller in size than an average chihuahua. Also known as micro chihuahuas, a fully grown teacup chihuahua only reaches about 6 inches in height and weighs just around 3 pounds.

Despite their size differences from regular chihuahuas, teacup chihuahuas have the same brain size, the size of a tangerine, weighing 55.10 grams.

How Much Does A Chihuahua Brain Weigh?

Well, the tiny head of a chihuahua can house a brain the size of a tangerine. In a study that measures the correlation of brain weight and yawn duration across 23 dog breeds, it is reported that the mean brain weight of chihuahuas is 55.10 grams. 

Considering the fact that an average chihuahua weighs anywhere between 2 and 5 pounds, and can be 6 to 9 inches tall, a brain that weighs just over 55 grams is certainly large. So, in terms of brain-to-body size ratio, it is no wonder chihuahuas have the largest brain of all dog breeds.

Do Chihuahuas Have The Largest Brain?

Yes, chihuahuas have the largest brain of all dogs.

The average ratio of a dog’s body weight to its brain weight is about 1:125, and this applies to all dog breeds, including all the different variations of chihuahuas.

Any pure-bred chihuahua can weigh from 2 to 5 pounds and have a brain weight of 55.10 grams. This brain-to-body weight ratio makes it a fact that chihuahuas do have the largest brain.

Is A Chihuahua Brain Too Big For Its Skull?

Not all chihuahuas’ brains are too big for their skulls. In fact, their skull has the natural ability to grow to accommodate the size of their brain, as a chihuahua grows.

But, in some cases, a chihuahua’s brain can be too big for its skull. This is a specific condition that happens with the selective breeding of smaller dog breeds or toy dog breeds.

The condition is called Chiari-like Malformation and is commonly found in dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS), Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, etc.

With this condition, a dog’s brain gets too big and their skull too small to house it. The most common symptom that dogs with Chari-like Malformation encounter is frequent headaches.

Understanding The Human Brain Vs Chihuahua Brain

The brain power of both humans and dogs is determined based on the ratio of the size of their brain to the size of their body.

1. Brain To Body Size Ratio

On that front, a chihuahua’s brain, according to Popular Science, which is close to the size of a tangerine, has a brain-to-body size ratio of 1:125, while the same for humans is 1:40. The average human brain weighs around 3 pounds and can reach up to 15cm in length, and a dog’s brain weighs only 1/10th of a human’s brain.

This makes it clear that the brain power of dogs is incomparable to that of humans. However, they do have amazing intelligence when compared to other animals, like the great white shark, which has a brain-to-body size ratio of 1:2500.

2. Brain Structure

In terms of brain structure, both chihuahuas and humans have similar structures, which include the cerebral cortex, brain stem, cerebellum, hippocampus, and amygdala. However, the functioning of these structures varies significantly.

According to Dana Foundation, the cerebral cortex is the largest structure of the brain, and it is known to be radically different between humans and dogs, which is likely to be responsible for what makes us different.

3. Facial Recognition

A chihuahua’s brain doesn’t have as many folds as found in a human brain, which attributes to the capacity of their brain power, higher thinking, and also various other aspects.

A recent study conducted by researchers of the Department of Ethology at Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University also revealed that the brains of dogs and humans process faces differently.

4. Emotions

Dogs, including chihuahuas, are known to have the same brain structure as humans, as well as the same hormones. As a result, they encounter the same chemical changes during emotional phases, just like humans do.

When humans interact with the people they love, a hormone called oxytocin is released; the same happens with chihuahuas and other dogs as well. This makes it understandable to suggest that dogs also have emotions just like humans.

Though the brain structure of chihuahuas prevents them from experiencing more complex emotions like humans, they do, however, experience feelings like pain, anger, excitement, distress, etc.

Are Chihuahuas Smart Dogs?

While chihuahuas are not the smartest of all dog breeds, definitely not on the top 10 list, they are indeed intelligent and can learn quickly and process information efficiently.

In fact, Dr. Stanley Coren, in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, ranked chihuahuas at number 125 among the 138 dog breeds he tested for intelligence.

However, it has to be noted that this ranking is based on the dogs’ obedience, which cannot be a comprehensive indicator of their intelligence.

One of the most difficult things for chihuahuas to do is learning new tricks; they might need to practice up to 80 times to become proficient in a trick.

Yes, chihuahuas are not the smartest dogs around but their adaptive and instinctive intelligence has been found to be higher than most other dog breeds.

Adaptive intelligence refers to the dog’s ability to learn from its mistakes, which means it will not make the same mistake twice.

Instinctive intelligence is an indication of a chihuahua’s innate ability to understand and respond to human needs and emotions, which makes chis amazing companions.

What Is The IQ Or Mental Capacity Of A Dog?

Again, according to Dr. Stanley Coren, the mental capacity/age, or equivalent intelligence of the brightest dogs is on par with a two-and-a-half to three-year-old human.

The average dog, on the other hand, has the mental capacity on par with a two to a two-and-a-half-year-old human child.

While “super dogs”, which make the top 20% of the most intelligent dogs, can learn up to 250 words, the average dog can learn around 165 words, including signals.

Dogs are so intelligent that they know the art of deception; they can easily deceive other dogs, and even people, during play to get rewards.

Are Chihuahuas Smarter Than Cats?

One of the longest ongoing debates among animal lovers happens to be whether dogs are smarter than cats. In our case, are chihuahuas smarter than cats?

Well, researchers might finally have an answer to this question!

Research published in the Frontiers in Neuroanatomy journal seems to vote in favor of dogs in this argument.

In this study, researchers compared the brains of a diverse group of mammals, such as raccoons, bears, striped hyenas, lions, and also domesticated cats and dogs. The research specifically focused on the cerebral cortex of these animals, the area of the brain that is attributed to intelligence.

The more densely packed the neurons are in a particular animal species’ cerebral cortex, the more intelligent the species is identified to be.

In the case of dogs and cats, dogs were found to have double the amount of neurons in their cerebral cortex when compared to cats, which makes them capable of processing more information and displaying more flexible and complex behavior than cats.

So, there you have it, chihuahuas are much smarter than cats.

What Are The Top 10 Smartest Dogs?

To answer this question, let’s get Dr. Stanley Coren’s help yet again. In his book The Intelligence of Dogs, he ranks more than 100 dog breeds based on three distinct types of intelligence: 

  • Adaptive intelligence: ability to solve problems independently, read facial expressions, and learn from previous mistakes.
  • Working intelligence: ability to learn and be trained by humans.
  • Instinctive intelligence: ability to do the tasks they are originally bred for, like hunting, herding, etc.

Based on this concept of intelligence, Dr. Coren ranked the top 10 smartest dogs as follows:

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

What Are The Top 10 Dumbest Dogs?

The dumbest dog breeds (in descending order), according to Dr. Coren, as mentioned in the same book were: 

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Mastiff
  3. Beagle
  4. Pekingese
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Borzoi
  7. Chow Chow
  8. Bull Dog
  9. Basenji
  10. Afghan Hound

What Can Chihuahuas’ Brains Do?

Chihuahuas’ brains are certainly fascinating. If you’re wondering what those tiny brains are capable of, here are a few amazing facts:

  1. They Can Dream

Yes, just like us humans, chihuahuas can dream too. According to research conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), rats can dream during their rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, which is known to be the sleep cycle when humans dream.

Since the intellectual capacity of rats is much less complex than dogs, researchers assumed that dogs can dream too.

Depending on the size of a dog, their frequency of dreaming also differs. Small dogs, like chihuahuas, dream more often than large dogs in one night, says Dr. Coren. He further adds that chis can experience a new dream every ten minutes.

  1. They Can Experience Anxiety And Depression

As discussed earlier, chihuahuas, just like all other dog breeds, can experience emotions very similar to humans, which means they can experience other feelings like anxiety and depression as well.

According to PetMD, dogs can feel depression in the form of sadness, grief, and blues.

A research paper published in Animals – an international, peer-reviewed journal devoted to animals, revealed the different signs of depression in dogs, which includes:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Uncommonly aggressive behavior towards other animals and/or humans
  • Demanding more attention and affection from their owners
  • Hiding
  • Inappropriate peeing or pooping around the home

What Are The Common Chihuahua Brain Problems?

Many health conditions and diseases in chihuahuas are genetic or hereditary. When it comes to brain problems, there are two major ones that affect chihuahuas: Hydrocephalus and Epilepsy.

  1. Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus in chihuahuas is a condition that causes accumulation of build-up of fluid in their brain. This fluid build-up applies pressure on the brain tissue, and it can cause symptoms like:

  • Seizures
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Circling
  • Dull mental functioning
  • Enlarged skull
  • Difficulty training

While this brain condition is often detected early, in some cases, it is only diagnosed in adult dogs. Sometimes, surgery can be the solution to this problem.

  1. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is another major brain problem that chihuahuas can encounter. This problem is typically genetic and can be difficult to diagnose, especially when the symptoms are isolated. Some of the symptoms of epilepsy in chis are:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear
  • Facial twitches
  • Attention seeking
  • Limp paddling
  • Defecation or urination during a seizure
  • Pupil dilation
  • Vomiting

Since epilepsy in dogs is quite hard to identify, it is important to consult with the vet to confirm the same, and this has to be done right after the initial display of one or more of the above-given symptoms.

Chihuahuas are confident, self-reliant, energetic, and loyal dogs with a highly entertaining and quirky personality. Of course, like with any other dog breed, they come with a set of issues of their own, like being difficult to housebreak, easy to get injured, etc. But, with proper training and care, they will make amazing family dogs.

Why is my dog walking with a hunched back

Why is my dog walking with a hunched back?

Why is there a lump where my dog got spayed

Why is there a lump where my dog got spayed?