Why Are Chihuahuas So Mean? (Explained)

Why Are Chihuahuas So Mean? Photo of a Chihuahua showing his teeth looking mean, and aggressive.

Chihuahuas: you either love ’em or hate ’em. Most who hate them feel this way because one was needlessly aggressive with them previously. Nothing wrong with forming an opinion based on that, of course — but have you ever thought about why are Chihuahuas so mean?

Chihuahuas often appear to be mean, permanently cranky dogs. In reality, they are just very protective dogs. They will guard their owners, families, toys, bedding, personal space, and more. They’ll also act out aggressively if they are in pain. They’ll show aggression through baring their teeth, growling, and barking when someone or something gets too close. This is done to protect what is theirs. Chihuahuas often show aggressive behaviors when anxious and scared, too — which is often!

Want to know more about a Chihuahua’s spicy attitude? Take a look below!

Why Chihuahuas are so evil

Evil is pretty harsh, but it is a word that some will use to describe Chihuahuas! They certainly are vocal when they don’t want something, that’s for sure. In essence, Chihuahuas are as “evil” as they are because they constantly have to be on guard.

They are small dogs that are susceptible to many threats and potential for harm. So, they are on guard, aggressive, and therefore seemingly evil all the time. You would be too if you were their size!

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Why is my Chihuahua so aggressive?

Whether you see them as being aggressive or evil, there are several reasons for this illogical — to us — attitude, as introduced above. Let’s take a look at them in detail. The more we understand, the better we can help our Chihuahuas feel more comfortable, after all. Reasons for aggression and evil behavior include:

  • Protecting someone
  • Protecting something
  • Protecting themselves
  • They are in pain 
  • They are scared
  • They are anxious

Protecting someone

They could be protecting you from a threat, someone in your household from something they perceive is a threat, or even the other household pets from something harmful. Basically, they love to protect the people they love and will do so fiercely.

Protecting something

Naturally predisposed to being bullied due to their small size, Chihuahuas will avidly protect their bed, blankets, toys, food, water, and more. They always need to ensure that they protect their essentials for life from what they think is threatening them.

Protecting themselves

This could be protecting themselves from potential harm or simply protecting their personal space if someone they don’t know or trust is physically getting too close to them. This happens a lot when meeting new people! Once they get to know someone, they’ll be much more like their usual selves that you have come to know and love.

They are in pain 

It could be from an injury or surgery. Dogs will always be a bit more aggressive when in pain. They could be aggressive when it comes to how close they’ll let someone come to them or focus on their injury location.

They are scared

Chihuahuas have a lot of things to be scared of since they are such tiny dogs compared to everything around them. They will act out in anger when they are scared because they know it will keep away what makes them fearful. Think of it “Come at me, I’m not afraid of you!” Even though they are, in reality.

They are anxious

Chihuahuas are very anxious dogs. It could be general anxiety, or something like separation anxiety, etc. Understanding this as an authentic personality trait will help you quell your dog’s fears and worries through reassurance.

Taking your Chihuahua’s anxiety seriously will help improve their overall quality of life and deepen your bond with them.

The reason for your Chihuahua to act out isn’t always apparent, and it could be something that you know to be harmless. However, you’ll have to be patient and understand that your Chihuahua’s tendency to act out aggressively is a biological behavior that is their defense mechanism against a whole world that is out to hurt them. Don’t criticize them for something that they can’t control!

Other reasons for a Chihuahua’s aggressiveness

Other than those discussed above, there might be a few reasons why your Chihuahua, in particular, is acting out. For example:

  • They feel threatened
  • They are confused
  • They have past trauma

They feel threatened

This doesn’t mean that something is threatening them. It just means that your Chihuahua’s radar has determined that one particular thing is a threat, and they are acting out preventatively to warn it away. They don’t understand, yet, that the fire hydrant isn’t a threat or that the new scent in the air isn’t going to hurt them. They will, in time.

They are confused

While Chihuahuas are intelligent and curious, they are also confused easily. When they feel confused, they will automatically assume that the thing confusing them is a threat and is misleading them. So, they’ll act out aggressively just to make sure that they stay safe. It’s kind of adorable when you think of it that way, right?

They have past trauma

This applies mostly if you are not the first owner of your Chihuahua. However, it can also apply to those who bring puppies home in very rare cases. We don’t know the history of a rescue puppy or dog, and it could be filled with risks and unsafe circumstances.

Our dogs might be triggered by something that makes no sense to us but connects them to their past — which led to them being scared or injured. Being as smart as they are, they know to act out first rather than risk being harmed again. In time, this habit may subside once they see that they are safe with you.

Are all Chihuahuas actually aggressive?

No! Some Chihuahuas are as sweet as they come and are more prone to lick someone to death rather than act as a guard dog. Genetics and personality traits factor into a Chihuahua’s aggressive tendencies for sure.

Chihuahuas who are correctly trained with obedience commands and general social interaction will be less likely to show aggressive (and evil) behaviors when they grow up. Proper training and life experience are essential for these protective toy dogs’ overall comfort and well-being, mentally and emotionally.

Are Chihuahuas a mean breed?

Most would agree that Chihuahuas are more prone to being “mean” than other kinds of dogs. They are naturally aggressive and protective dogs, making them appear harsh and evil at times. This doesn’t mean that your Chihuahua is mean-spirited, though. They just come off that way!

Are Chihuahuas protective dogs?

Yes, Chihuahuas are very protective dogs. Since they are so much smaller than other dogs, they have to be more aggressive to protect what is theirs — they are easy targets for other animals to pick on.

How do you punish a Chihuahua?

It’s perfectly acceptable that you want to reprimand your Chihuahua from biting your toddler’s hand. However, remember that “punishing” just adds more fear and anxiety to your Chihuahua. They might even learn to fear you and those around you, making everything much harder and scarier for your dog.

The best thing to do when wanting to correct a behavior is to retrain the behavior through obedience training and commands. They’ll learn that biting your toddler’s hand doesn’t get them affection or treats. You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the family is on the same page with this approach.

Make sure that you understand the difference between their biological behaviors (instincts) and emotional behaviors (traits and tendencies). You can’t change the former, but the latter can be conditioned and relearned!

Why do Chihuahuas bite their owners?

The most likely reason behind a Chihuahua’s tendency to bite their owners is that they are feeling threatened. Maybe you woke them up from a nap. Or, they think that you’re trying to steal their toys. Retraining this behavior comes from understanding why they are feeling threatened.

The other thing to remember, as always, is that your Chihuahua has the right to protect themselves and their belongings. If they are biting you because you are bothering them or taking their treats or toys, they have a right to that! 

Are Chihuahuas more aggressive than Pit Bulls?

When compared directly, most agree that Chihuahuas are more aggressive than Pit Bulls. They will also be more aggressive when they meet new people or big dogs, compared to Pit Bulls. Their noticeably smaller size makes them have to be extra protective of themselves.

How to stop a Chihuahua’s aggressive behavior

While aggression has its place, you don’t want them being aggressive for no apparent reason in situations where children or other pets can be injured. As we’ve already discussed, stopping this aggression will come down to understanding the role of obedience training and social interaction.

The retraining process will take time, compassion, and a lot of patience. In many cases, even a Chihuahua who has been retrained successfully will be more aggressive than some of the other dog breeds out there. It just goes back to that lizard brain again, rather than anything personal. 

Consider a dog training class or ask your breeder or vet for suggestions on helping with your Chihuahua’s aggression if you need it!

In general

What comes across as mean or evil is actually a Chihuahua showing off their protective side. Their small size makes them more susceptible to risks and harm, so they’re extra aggressive to warn away any potential threat before it gets too close.

They are also very fearful and anxious dogs. Both of these can have them come across as mean and poor-tempered. Understanding what is within their control, and isn’t, as well as how to help them enjoy life a bit more, is essential!

Chihuahuas may be mean at times, but they are great dogs for a loving family dedicated to understanding their unique needs and fears.

Know someone who is always asking this question? Share this with them to help them love your little dog a bit more!

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Dog Advisory Council

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