Is a Chihuahua right for you?
Chihuahuas truly are a wonderful little breed, but they are not the right breed for everyone. Because they are very small, special consideration needs to be given on the type of home they go too. Chihuahuas may not be safe with other breeds of dog, such as sight-hounds. Children and Chihuahuas do not mix. This is not necessarily because the Chihuahua might be aggressive towards children, but because toddlers and small children can easily fall or drop a toy on a Chihuahua, or kick a Chi when suddenly racing across the room, or slamming a door on it. A Chihuahua can instinctively sense that a toddler or child is comparatively speaking, uncoordinated and "out of control" and can pose a danger. This is especially true as children are more uncoordinated and clumsy than adults. Chihuahuas are not only small, but the vast majority of Chihuahuas have a soft-spot on top of their head, making them more prone to injury. Even a child that means well and loves the little dog can accidentally hurt the tiny breed by hugging a Chihuahua too hard or dropping it. Also, children move quickly and impulsively, and can kick or step on a Chihuahua when they run across the room. An active family, however well-meaning, can be very hard on a Chi. The mother, who already has enough to do in the family, would have the worrisome task of "watching out for the Chihuahua" around the clock on a daily basis added to her responsibilities. Chihuahuas are not the right breed for everyone due to their small size. Because they are small, they can easily get into places that might not be safe, such as places with electrical cords, or underneath a fence or gate. Fences must be properly secured (we nail boards along the bottom) so that the Chihuahua can not escape. As described above, they are not necessarily the ideal pet to introduce to a household that has children or other pets. Also, great care must be taken when these little guys are outside. Birds of prey (hawks, etc.) as well as some cats and other wildlife (such as coyotes) may look at the Chihuahua as being a nice snack. Chihuahuas should never be left unattended for long periods of time, and when they are outside, they should be properly enclosed (including with a roof if birds of prey frequent the area).
Chihuahuas are very loyal, and can be very protective of their owner. Chihuahuas really are a big dog in a small body. Some people think of a Chihuahua shaking, and scared of everything, but in reality, they do not know their size and most will challenge bigger dogs. Chihuahuas love human attention, and are true lap dogs. Chihuahuas are very personable and have their own personality and temperament, just like people.
Chihuahuas can be very intelligent, to the point of outsmarting you or being downright stubborn. Most are motivated by toy, food, or affection to make training easy. Many Chis try to please.
Some Chihuahuas are barkers, while others are not. This trait really varies with the bloodline and the individual. Chihuahuas are not the yappy little ankle-biters as they used to be known, and their temperament has improved by leaps and bounds with the help of responsible breeders doing their part to improve the breed.
As mentioned above, before choosing any breed of dog, be sure to do thorough research on the breed, ask different breeders questions about the breed, meet friends/family that have a pet Chihuahua, etc. There are many interesting books out there to learn more about Chihuahuas, and most are helpful about explaining how to care for them.