Are Chihuahuas smart?

Are Chihuahuas smart?
Photo by Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash

Chihuahuas are super friendly, charming and very sociable, however, if you own one, or are considering introducing a Chihuahua to your household, you would’ve asked yourself the question: are Chihuahuas smart at some stage.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the intelligence of Chihuahuas and whether or not they are a smart breed after all!

 Are Chihuahuas smart?

In the education sector, exams are usually used as a method to check how intelligent students are. There will be a series of questions in the exam and the student will be required to go through and answer them, and they will then be benchmarked against the grading system.

But recently, there are movements opposing this method of assessment.

In reality, lots of things can happen during an exam that can affect the student’s performance, this is the same with the experiment conducted by the psychology professor, Stanley Coren while researching the brain psychology of dogs.

Stanley Coren conducted an experiment to measure how smart a dog breed was, and according to him, 51% of a dog’s intelligence is a result of its genes and the other 49% is based on other environmental circumstances. Out of the 138 recognized breeds of dog assessed, Chihuahua ranked 125.

Many experts agree with the professor and generally ranked the Chihuahua as fair or below average when it comes to smartness and intelligence. The dogs in this experiment were taken through diverse obedience performances by judges.

So, to answer your question of are Chihuahuas smart, the question could very much be … it depends, as there are lots of factors that could impact the intelligence of a Chihuahua at the point of assessment.

Chihuahuas intelligence

Besides this report, everyone knows that intelligence is subjective, especially when it comes to training a dog. A personal relationship is generally needful when training a dog. Chihuahuas are known to be notoriously stubborn, very protective and strong-willed. This means that they never want to be forced to do anything. This is why training Chihuahuas is quite different from training any other breed of dogs like the German Shepherd, Poodles, or the Golden Retriever.

You must understand what motivates your pet and use the positive reinforcements to instruct your dog and you will get the best result. Dog training takes time and you shouldn’t punish your dog if they don’t get an instruction right the right time, and as stubborn as they are, their adaptive intelligence is highly commendable and probably higher than most breeds.

Do Chihuahuas have the largest brain?

Ranking Chihuahuas as below average may say something different from their brain anatomy. Compared with other breeds of dogs, Chihuahuas have the largest brain-to-body ratio.

Big Brain Chihuahua
Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

This means that weight for weight, they have bigger brains than other dogs. So, their decision to take instructions whenever they feel like may actually be a result of independent reasoning, or an environmental factor rather than the lack of intelligence. Chihuahuas can think for themselves and have a high memory cognition, and therefore, are able to remember experiences clearly and are able to socialize with dogs and humans well. They are quite possessive and are loyal to whoever they have chosen as their alpha.

Where are Chihuahuas from?

Chihuahuas are known to originate from Mexico. The reason for this is not farfetched. The Chihuahua breed shares the name with Mexico’s largest city (Chuiauhua, yes, literally), a city famously known for its cool and utterly beautiful landscape.

As the Chihuahua breed is from this ancient city, it automatically became their name.

Due to their small size, they are often referred to as teacup Chihuahuas. In the year 2013, Milly, the famous Chi was officially recognized as the World’s smallest living dog by the Guinness World Records, she has the nickname “Miracle Milly”. Milly was only about 3.8 inches tall at full growth, so you can imagine, she is super tiny (and cute!)

Milly the Chihuahua
Photo by miraclemilly_official on Instagram

How long can Chihuahuas live for?

Despite their small size, they have been regarded to be one of the lucky breeds of dogs to enjoy a long life of about 14 to 16 years. This makes them a perfect match for anyone who wants to develop a long-lasting social relationship with a dog. Chihuahuas are known to be adorable, social-friendly and great around children. Coupled with their small size, it is possible for people to carry them around in small purses. These are some of the reasons why most celebs like Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Sharon Osbourne, and Madonna have kept them.

Asides from the size, they beautifully looking and very adorable. Chis are quite colourful and probably have the most diversified colours of all breeds of dogs. About 30 Chihuahua colours have been recognized including different combinations. This makes it possible for you to find diverse distinct colours in the same litter. But a pure white Chihuahua is very rare (and expensive if you find one).

Due to their long-lasting life span and great memory, Chihuahuas will experience lots of different social interactions and places throughout their lifetime. An older and more sociable Chihuahua is likely to be more intelligent than a dog that hasn’t experienced many social interactions.

How you treat your Chihuahua could impact their intelligence and mental wellbeing

Life is give-and-take and most people that don’t get the best from their Chihuahua may not have given their best to them. Chihuahuas are smart enough to show the same kindness that you show them and respond to your mood. This is why caring for them is key when it comes to getting the best from them. Below are some ways that you can take care of your Chihuahua.

Keep your Chihuahua clean

Chihuahuas come in two different coat types. They are either short or long coats. A short-coated Chihuahua will shed faster than one that has a long coat. However, there is no need to constantly brush the hair of the long coat to prevent tangling. Even though their ancestors originate from the desert and may not have been the biggest fan of cold and wet weather, they should be bathed regularly to keep them clean.

Keeping your Chihuahua clean will make them feel more comfortable in their coat, and in turn, this will lead to increased physical activity and overall, better mental wellbeing. Nobody likes to be smelly!

Take your Chihuahua on regular walks and socialize them with other dogs

Dogs and super sociable creatures, they like to see other dogs, see new places and go everywhere they can with their humans. Chihuahuas have a great memory, so the more that they are exposed to new social interactions and places, the more they learn and adapt. It’s important to walk your dog at least once a day so they can experience new interactions with other dogs, socialize and help maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Chihuahua taken on a walk
Photo by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash

There are various advantages to walking your dog regularly, however, on the topic of intelligence and whether Chihuahua’s are smart, it will also depend on how often they are walked and what social interactions and places they have been exposed to. Generally speaking, a more sociable dog is likely to be a more intelligent dog too.

If you’ve just picked up your new puppy, learn more about how to socialize a puppy here and what you need to consider before introducing them to other dogs.

Keep your Chihuahua healthy

A healthy dog means a healthy outlook and positive mental well-being. If your dog is in any sort of pain, this will impact their happiness and in turn, mental state and intelligence.

It’s super important to take care of your Chihuahua’s health and one approach that can be taken to ensure this is to feed your dog healthy foods. Serving a Chihuahua a diet high in sugar won’t be very good and will encourage weight gain and problems with their teeth, this can result in tooth decay and gum disease at a later stage. Frequent tooth brushing will help prevent any tooth problems. 

When handling or walking, you must always remember that they have very fragile necks. This is why it’s not great to apply a leash on a Chihuahua, as a sudden pull could damage their necks, pull a muscle or break a bone. Use a harness where possible when walking your Chihuahua. 

Are Chihuahua’s intelligent dogs?

Even though studies have shown that Chihuahuas are ranked as fair or below average when it comes to being smart, it all depends on how you treat your Chihuahua and get the best out of them. A healthy, sociable dog will be more intelligent than one that isn’t,

A Chihuahua is one of the loudest dogs you can find and they are super protective dogs, hence why they bark more than normal compared to other dogs. They are super affectionate and with the right training techniques, you will be able to get the best out of them!

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