Average lifespan of a Chihuahua (Plus How to Keep Them Happy)

average lifespan of a chihuahua

Chihuahuas are famous for their small size and big personality. They have the longest lifespan of among dogs. If you are considering getting a Chihuahua, then understanding their lifespan and how you can help them live longer is important.

In this article we are focusing on the Lifespan of Chihuahuas and how to elongate their life to keep you company for longer.

Here is a summary:

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

  • Chihuahuas live for an average 12- 20 years
  • Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds and have the longest lifespan among dogs
  • Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in Chihuahuas

Average Lifespan of a Chihuahua

Generally, smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones. Chihuahuas are among the smallest dog breeds weighing about 3 to 6 pounds and are 6 to 9 inches tall. [1] Because for their size they do not require much exercise

The average lifespan of a Chihuahua is estimated to be 12-20 years and is mainly because they are not prone to many illnesses.

This breed was named after the state of Chihuahuas in Mexico because that’s where the breed was seen most initially. Mexican merchants sold this dog to tourists across the border who then took the same dogs back into the United States and thus the popularity now. Apartment dwellers are ideal pet parents for this breed.

How Long do Chihuahua-Mix Breeds Live?   

The lifespan of Chihuahua mix breeds is between 13 to 16 years.

Chihuahuas have been mixed with most breeds with whom they share similar traits. Common examples of breeds that have been mixed with Chihuahuas are the Cocker Spaniel and Pomeranian among others.

The mix-breeds often retain the physique of their Chihuahua parents. Having still retained their small size they still have a relatively longer lifespan as compared to other breeds but a shorter one than the pure-bred Chihuahua.

How Long do Chihuahuas Live as Pets?         

As pets, Chihuahuas live longer than most, if not all, dogs. Provided that the dog is tended to with the appropriate healthcare, a good canine diet, the proper emotional and exercise needs, a Chihuahua can live up to 20 years as a pet.

The oldest known to have existed had lived for 20 full years and 265 days and was called Megabyte. If your Chihuahua is happy and healthy you can be sure to share more time with them. [2]

Outdoor or stray Chihuahuas tend to live shorter lives because of their delicate nature. It is rare for such dogs to live long considering they are also targeted by birds of prey.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

If you are in between decisions on which dog to get as a pet, then read about Pitbulls and other dog breeds in these articles.

Or if you are considering exotic pets, read about the Squirrels and Rats here.

What are Chihuahuas Most Likely to Die From?

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in Chihuahuas while the most prevalent disorders include; periodontal disease, obesity, retained deciduous dentition, anal sac impaction and aggression.

Notably, conditions such as periodontal disease and obesity increase with age.

Male Chihuahuas seem to die earlier than the females and are more prone to aggression, heart murmur, otitis externa, conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract infection. [3]

Types of Chihuahuas

The types of Chihuahuas can be classified based on two factors:

The length of their hair

  • Short coat: These ones have short fur.
  • Long coat: as the name suggests these ones have longer fur.

The shape of their heads.

  • Apple head chihuahua: The head of this one is shaped like an apple.
  • Deer head Chihuahua: This Chihuahua has a head-shape similar to that of a deer.

There is another type of chihuahua which is way smaller than the normal one and would fit in a teacup hence the name Teacup Chihuahua.

More About Chihuahuas

Sassy and adorable is what this breed is.

They have coats ranging from black, white, chocolate, red, fawn and cream with large dark beautiful eyes tempting us to pick them. It has even been referred to as the Mexican Royalty early hot water bottle thus making it the ultimate lap dog.

This dog is more common among women than men and represents the class with which this dog is recognized for. Elizabeth Perkins even went ahead to say, “It seems like all the good-looking people have smaller dogs these days. Especially for the women, because they always come in with their little chihuahuas and the guys come in with their golden retrievers.” [4]

While they are tiny, there are portable, lovable and protective of their owner. It is recommended that Chihuahuas are owned by one person as it tends to be very protective but with proper training and socialization, they can be very happy and accepting of other people.

This breed is known to have  big personalities. They love to be pampered and are high maintenance. These dogs are very popular thanks to their love for pampering.

The personality of a chihuahua is exhibited by the dog’s feisty nature and lack of self-awareness. A chihuahua may come at a Pitbull whereas in actual sense the Pitbull will outdo the chihuahua.

Moreover, chihuahuas are very hyper-aware dogs. This is attributed to their size and explains why they would be quick to bark and be aggressive when anxious.

Here are Some Tips to Help Your Chihuahua Live Longer

Generally, the Chihuahua breed is one of the few breeds with the longest lifespan among dogs. To even prolong the life of this breed further, it is paramount that the dog is:

  1. Provided with proper veterinary care with frequent vet visits. Strict adherence to the vaccination schedule is important too.
  2. A healthy and nutritious canine diet and adequate exercise needs must be met.
  3. The chihuahuas should be taken care of especially when outdoors since birds of prey consider them lunch.

Furthermore, chihuahuas have a molera, also referred to as a soft spot, at the top of the skulls. This spot was once considered a mark of purity in the breed. It is similar to the one found in human babies.

While most mammals have this soft spot and as they grow older the skull fully develops hardening that spot, chihuahua moleras often never disappear and are stuck with them for life. It is therefore significant to pay attention to the care of outdoor chihuahuas. [7]

I hope you found this article helpful. To learn more about how to care for your Chihuahua, here is an educative video that has personally helped me.

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