Why Are Chihuahuas So Mean? (And How To Correct Them)

The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds recognized by major kennel clubs.

This Mexican dog breed possesses big round eyes that can melt your heart and a variety of personalities ranging from shy this minute to feisty and outgoing the next minute.

Chihuahuas make absolutely beautiful pets with their loyal and loving nature, making them good first-time dogs.

However, a huge number of them can have a bad temperament. Some people call it an “evil dog” due to how badly they were treated by it.

But why are Chihuahuas so mean? Generally, it is believed that Chihuahuas have a reputation for being very mean dogs.

This article explains in detail why Chihuahuas are so aggressive and how to correct this behavior.

Why are Chihuahuas so Mean?

Night Portrait of Angry Chihuahua Showing Teeth

This is a question most Chihuahua owners ask. It is worth knowing that every dog can be mean. But are Chihuahuas mean dogs?

Meanness is not a particular dog’s trait. Some Chihuahuas can be friendly, calm, cheerful, and even shy, while others can be stubborn, nasty, and aggressive.

Below are some factors that can influence this unusually aggressive behavior in your dog.

The Genetic Temperament of Its parents and ancestors

Some Chihuahuas inherit their bad behaviors from their families.

That’s why it is advised to meet your Chihuahua’s original parents to ensure it does not have inherited genes for a bad attitude.

Size (Small Dog Syndrome)

Chihuahuas are really small dogs, and when they come in contact with bigger ones, it can be intimidating.

When dogs feel intimidated, they are likely to react in two ways: fight or escape.

Chihuahuas are not naturally mean dogs; they start to act defensive and choose to put up a fight when they feel intimidated.

Dive Deeper:
Why Do Small Dogs Bark So Much? 5 Reasons & Solution

Bad Training

when you excuse some bad attitudes your Chihuahua start exhibiting, you’re only breeding stereotypes.

It is not cute behavior to act nasty and mean. Train your dog early, so it doesn’t become so aggressive later on.

Poor Socialization

When you choose not to introduce your Chihuahua to other dogs, it won’t know how to behave around them because it’ll continue to feel intimidated and behave so unruly.

Preventing your Chihuahua from having a social experience can backfire in the long run.

Underlying Health Condition

Your Chihuahua can be aggressive because of a health issue you haven’t detected yet.

Your doggie won’t tell you when it’s hurting, so it is advisable to be on the lookout for signs that will show if your dog is healthy or not.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The aggressive behavior of your pet can be a result of PTSD. It reacts to everything violently as a defensive mechanism to protect itself from its past bad experiences.

It gets triggered once it perceives just the tiniest threat.

Territorial Nature

Chihuahuas, with their dominant personalities, are known to be inherently territorial dogs, and they can’t tolerate others in their own space.

If they feel you’re a threat to them, they won’t keep from intimidating you.


Chihuahuas are extremely sensitive dogs, and they get anxious about a lot of things which can lead to them acting negatively toward people around them.

How to Correct a Mean Chihuahua with Bad Temperament

A Chihuahua Biting Her Owner's Finger

Chihuahuas have a “not-so” great reputation for being mean, and there’s an ounce of truth in this.

“Change is constant and begins with you!” Though this nasty Chihuahua temperament might be inherited, there are known ways for dog owners to control it.

Proper Training

Your Chihuahua can come from a friendly home and still be aggressive to other dogs and humans.

As a Chi parent, you should equip your dog with adequate training because there is nothing cute about being so mean. Don’t overindulge it to behave nastily.

There are training classes also for dog owners who find it hard to train their Chihuahuas.

Encourage Early Socialization

Your Chihuahua socializing with other dogs is of great importance and should be encouraged.

Perhaps, interacting with other dogs can make them more friendly, sweet, and less aggressive.

It is advisable to start quite early to enable your dog to behave properly around people and other dogs.

Introduce Spaying or Neutering

Spaying can help curb nastiness in Chihuahuas, though not a long-lasting solution.

It will ensure the hormones that make them unfriendly and overly aggressive are no longer produced and control the meanness to keep your dog calm.

Detox Your Dog’s Mind of all its Bad Experiences

Some of these dogs have had nasty experiences, and they put up a bad attitude as a way to defend themselves from their past.

They suffer from PTSD and believe everyone is out to hurt them, so they try to act mean around others. You can correct the bad temperament caused by a horrible past by showing them enough love and care.

Make your dog feel happy and comfortable and show it that it doesn’t need to be frightened and act horribly.

Help it heal away from all of its bad experiences and troubled past.

Introduce Regular Exercising

Exercising is a wonderful way to control your Chihuahua’s snippy behavior. Half an hour of exercise can play a huge role in reducing your dogs’ meanness.

It has other benefits like making it less prone to diseases, keeping them fit, and killing boredom.

Schedule Regular Trips to the Veterinary Clinic

It is important that you take your Chihuahua on regular visits to the vet in cases where it becomes aggressive due to an underlying medical condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Chihuahuas aggressive?

Chihuahuas seem aggressive because they are inherently territorial and are very protective of their territory and owners.

When they feel scared, they are swift to defend themselves by growling, showing their teeth, barking, and even biting.

Are Chihuahuas naturally mean?

When dogs are intimidated, naturally, they either “fight” or “flight.”

While Chihuahuas are not naturally mean dogs, because of their small stature, their chances of feeling intimidated and choosing to “fight” is higher than other breeds.

Conclusion: Why are Chihuahuas so Aggressive?

Chihuahuas, though friendly and cute little dogs, have a nasty reputation for being so mean and aggressive.

Troubled past, health issues, poor socialization, anxieties, territorial nature, etc., are factors that can induce this aggressive behavior in your Chi.

If you notice your Chihuahua has a bad temperament, you should start correcting it early before it develops into becoming a horrible bully.

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References & Notes

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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