How Fast Can a Chihuahua Run?

How Fast Can a Chihuahua Run? Photo of a Chihuahua sitting down.

Since they are so small, many wonder how fast can a chihuahua run. Is it slower or faster than other dogs? Let’s take a look.

Though they are especially tiny dogs, Chihuahuas can run up to 21 MPH (33.7 KMH) at their fastest, which is impressive. Getting to the speed often takes training, however. Most Chihuahuas without specialized training will end up being around 8MPH (12 KMH) at top speed.

Do Chihuahuas like to run?

Generally, Chihuahuas do enjoy running. They are energetic and smart little dogs that will want to be out running with you as much as any other dog would be. They aren’t known for being couch potatoes and require a walk every day.

Training a Chihuahua to run its fastest possible is actually a great way to help work out some of their energy! We’ll talk more about that later, of course.

What is the fastest a Chihuahua can run?

As mentioned briefly in the introduction, a Chihuahua can run, at its absolute top speed, up to 21 MPH (33.7 KMH). This doesn’t mean that your dog can keep up this pace for long, however.

When your dog is at this speed, it’s literally the fastest they can possibly move. Think of it as a professional athlete running a sprint. You can certainly help your dog achieve it, but it isn’t sustainable for long periods of time.

The only time your Chihuahua should keep at this pace is if their life depends on int — obviously, this isn’t something that you ever want to test.

Chihuahuas and distance running

There are some FAQs about Chihuahuas and running distances. Let’s cover some of those below to help see just what these incredible little dogs can do!

Can a Chihuahua run a mile?

Chihuahuas can run a mile, though they shouldn’t do it at their top speed. A mile would be amongst the top distance that your Chihuahua can run at a time without hurting themselves. With training, it can be increased.

Can a Chihuahua run a 5k?

Generally, it’s not advised to let your Chihuahua run a 5k with you. That’s a long, long-distance for a Chihuahua to do, and this is especially because you’d expect them to catch up and keep up with your pace doing the same thing. 

What is the longest a Chihuahua can run?

This depends mainly on their training, of course. They can comfortably keep up with their humans for a standard 20-30 minute jog. They love a great walk and can enjoy playtime. Most agree about 30 minutes at a consistent run is the maximum for a Chihuahua that isn’t conditioned or trained! They are naturally active dogs, after all.

Can you train a Chihuahua to be fast?

Yes! You can absolutely train a Chihuahua to run fast — and they’ll enjoy it as much as you will. We’ve covered that more in-depth later.

Can a human outrun a Chihuahua?

Assuming humans can run a normal amount, they can outrun a Chihuahua when it comes to the actual pace. However, remember that Chihuahuas are very quick and can move in tiny spaces better than humans.

While you may be able to outrun a Chihuahua for pace, you’ll also have to outrun them for maneuvering through furniture and more!

Can you jog with a Chihuahua?

Yes, with time and training, you can jog with a Chihuahua so that you can combine their exercise needs with your own! Make sure that you are careful to work them up to it since your pace will be much faster than theirs with the size difference!

Can Chihuahuas hike?

Chihuahuas will love to go on a hike with their humans! They love to be active, explore, and generally enjoy life. If you are going on a hike, your Chi can undoubtedly come along.

Just make sure that you pay attention to hydration, heat, and fatigue. Your Chihuahua will need to rest frequently, and it’s best if you bring with you a sling or a dog carrier so that you can allow your Chihuahua to rest as you continue your hike.

How to train a Chihuahua to run fast

Chihuahuas are incredibly fast and talented creatures. They can be trained to become their fastest possible, but it will take time and diligence. Here’s what you need to know!

  • Start slow
  • Pick a good running surface
  • Make sure you supplement nutrition
  • Check with your vet
  • Accept your dog’s limitations

Start slow

This means both pace and the actual training process. Because of the size difference, it will feel like you are moving too slow, but your Chihuahua is moving much faster than you!

Pick a good running surface

You’ll want one that will protect their joints and paws when they get going quickly and for longer periods of time. We talk about this a bit more below. However, a trainer or a vet can also give you some great ideas! Try to keep it consistent, as this will help them speed up and train much easier.

Make sure you supplement nutrition

With your vet’s approval, supplement their muscle and joint health with omega-3s and proteins. This is really important since you are training your dog on an intense schedule! You don’t want to compromise their health!

Check with your vet

Before you get serious in a running schedule, you’ll want to ask your vet about your dog’s health. Think of it as a professional screening, as there would be for any professional athlete looking to step up their training. Whatever your vet says, listen to it!

Accept your dog’s limitations

Every dog will have limitations. Maybe they’re physical limitations, and maybe they’re mental and emotional ones. Respect all of those needs as much as possible so that you can protect your dog’s health in all of the ways that matter! There’s more on that later, too.

Photo of a Chihuahua running fast.

Chihuahua running limitations

From regular daily runs to the actual training itself, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding the limitations of a Chihuahua. After all, your priority is going to be your dog’s safety. These limitations include:

  • Stride
  • Pace
  • Proper training organization
  • Temeprature and comfort
  • Safety on the move
  • Listening to your dog’s needs


 A human’s stride is bigger than a Chihuahua’s stride. Much bigger. What is a slow walk to you is a fast jog to them. When you are training, start with those slower strides so that you can help them get used to endurance before you pair it with pace. It’s essential to help them start and work with one thing first since their health can be at risk.


Once they are used to keeping up to your stride, you can speed your own pace up. This will happen quickly for them, so make sure that you don’t push them from your walk to your run. It’s essential to do it slowly and carefully for the same reasons as above.

Proper training organization

Next is the organization of the training itself. A trainer can help you out with this, of course, especially if you find one experienced with Chihuahuas. You can also find these plans online. They’ll help you figure out how to combine stride with pace and escalate everything so that you are doing it comfortably and logically for everyone involved.

Temeprature and comfort

The running surface matters a lot since concrete and asphalt will be hot on your dog’s tender feet. If you can, train your dog on grass and other soft running surfaces. This will also protect their joints as they train.

Safety on the move

This is about physical safety. Even at full growth, Chihuahuas are tiny. It’s easy to step on them, and this can hurt them. If you are walking quickly or jogging or even flat-out running with your Chihuahua, be very careful where you put your own feet!

Since they dart around, it can be terrifyingly easy to lose sight of them, and it can mean heartbreak. Put them in high-vis gear if you have it, and keep them on a leash so that you can control them as much as possible.

Listen to your dog’s needs

Just because your Chihuahua is capable of running up to 21 MPH (33.7 KMH) doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to. They might be happier staying at 8MPH (12 KMH) or even less. Make sure that you listen to your dog’s needs and don’t force them to go faster than they want to, even if you know that they are physically capable of doing so.

All in all

Untrained Chihuahuas can run up to 8MPH (12 KMH), and you can train your dog to get up to 21 MPH (33.7 KMH) at their absolute fastest. These are athletic and naturally energetic dogs, so this is a great challenge to take on for those that want something fun to do outside with their dog in the evenings.

Chihuahuas are fast little runners, and they enjoy running! Next time you want a new challenge to take on with your hyperactive dog, maybe running will be it! Know someone who will love the idea of training their Chi to run? Share it with them!

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Dog Advisory Council

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