How Much Exercise Does a Chihuahua Need

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 09/05/21 •  9 min read
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Have you just adopted a Chihuahua? Are you unsure how much exercise your Chihuahua needs? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!

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We’ve put together some information about Chihuahuas, how much exercise they require, as well as some fun activities you can enjoy with your dog! Let’s get started!

What is a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas are those tiny dogs who have quite large personalities! They can be funny, entertaining, and definitely endearing! These fun, adorable dogs love to be with their pet people. They tend to bond with one person; the dogs are so devoted and loyal they’ll follow their person everywhere in the house. What’s more, these tiny dogs can also become very demanding and spoiled.

Chihuahuas seem to have originated in Mexico with the Toltecs and then the Aztecs. From the time of the Spanish conquistadors to the 1800s, the small dogs lived in remote villages and farms. In the mid-1800s, Americans became interested in these tiny dogs. At that time, Chihuahuas were found in the Mexican State of Chihuahua. From there, the popularity of the dogs spread around the world.

When it comes to size, Chihuahuas stand between 6-9 inches tall and weigh between 3-6 lbs. They have an average life span of 10-18 years.

Chihuahua Personality

Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs who learn fast. And they’re more athletic than they appear! Chihuahuas excel in agility and obedience competitions. When it comes to training, these little dogs respond very well to positive reinforcement, praise, and treat rewards.

While they appear happy at home, these small dogs are known to be escape artists and intrepid travelers. They love nothing more (besides being with their person) than to get out and explore the world. You’ll be surprised at the small holes a Chihuahua can fit through!

While we’re on the topic of not being afraid, Chihuahuas are also known for being aggressive toward larger dogs. They don’t seem to know their size; instead, it seems Chihuahuas believe they’re as big as other dogs. For this reason, you’ll need to be careful when out walking your dog. Your Chihuahua will not be afraid to stand up to larger dogs.

For this and other reasons, it’s a good idea to enroll your Chihuahua in obedience training classes. This is because of their rather large personas, which can take over if allowed. You’ll soon find your home is ruled by that adorable, tiny fur baby if he’s not trained.

Chihuahuas also need to be socialized from a young age. Socialization means your fur baby needs to have a variety of experiences, meet different people, and more when he’s young. This way, your canine companion will be a happy, well-adjusted, self-confident little guy rather than a dog who is afraid of his shadow.

Chihuahua Characteristics

You’ll find these small dogs come with different coats: one is smooth, while the other is long. A Chihuahua’s smooth coat fits closely to the body, while a Chihuahua with a long coat is flat or curly. The dogs also come in a wide range of colors and markings, including black, white, fawn, gray, silver, chocolate, or tricolor. Chihuahuas can also be brindled, spotted, merle, and more.

These small dogs are pretty easy to wash, too. Just bathe your Chihuahua, dry him, and he’s good to go! Brushing is just as fast and should be done at least once a week to remove dead fur. These dogs do shed about twice a year, but nothing like larger dogs.

While it would seem that Chihuahuas and young children would be a good fit, it’s really not a good idea. Chihuahuas are fragile little guys and are easily hurt by kids playing too roughly. Having said that, Chihuahuas are great with older kids who are taught how to handle the small dogs.

When it comes to other pets, the Chihuahua does very well, even with cats. It’s best to introduce them to other pets at a young age.

How Much Exercise Does a Chihuahua Need?

Most people are surprised to learn that these small dogs have a lot of energy! With this in mind, most Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. However, keep in mind that a healthy adult dog may be able to go longer.

If Chihuahuas don’t receive enough exercise, their energy will stay pent up inside. You’ll want to avoid this because a Chihuahua with excess energy will find a way to let it all out. They may become destructive. Yes, even a Chihuahua can tear up pillows, the sofa, and more! Other activities to let off steam may include digging, escaping out of the yard, and more. Chihuahuas can also become aggressive if they don’t get enough exercise.

Activities to Enjoy with Your Chihuahua!

Here are some ways to help get your Chihuahua plenty of exercise! Plus, you two will have a fun time together!

1). Walking

Daily walks are a great way to keep your Chihuahua fit and active. Not only will he stay in shape, but he’ll be outside where so many interesting things await! Your fur baby can sniff around, watch the sights, and more. You might consider two daily walks of about 20 minutes each, as long as your dog is a healthy adult.

You may also want to consider using a harness for your dog. A harness provides you with more control over the dog. And the harness keeps the dog from choking himself, as he may with a collar.

We found this harness for small and medium dogs:

Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness: this harness is made with a soft, breathable mesh, which is lightweight and perfect for walks. The bands are also made with reflective material, so your fur baby will be visible out walking in the early morning or late in the evening.

You may also want to consider getting a sweater or dog coat for your fur baby. Chihuahuas don’t deal with the cold very well. We found this coat that may work for your canine companion:

JoyDaog 2 Layers Fleece Lined Warm Jacket for Dog: your fur baby will stay warm with this extra-warm fleece coat for small dogs. This coat has two layers of fleece-lined polyester fabric, which is windproof and comfortable. The coat is durable and easy to put on/take off. There’s also a leash hole on the back of the neck, so you can easily walk your dog in this coat.

2). Obedience Training

Obedience training is a great way to keep your dog in great shape mentally and physically. Not only that, but you also won’t have to worry about your little bundle of fur taking over the household.

Obedience training will help your dog know the boundaries and who is the leader (not him). In addition, your Chihuahua can learn how to walk correctly on the leash without pulling.

And while your tiny dog is learning how to behave, he’ll also be wearing off any excess energy. He’ll be too tired to think he’s the one in charge!

3). Agility Course

Another fun activity is to train your dog to run an agility course! You can either create an agility course in your backyard or find a club that offers agility course training. Either way, your fur baby will have fun with this activity!

Agility training keeps your dog in great shape while also offering a challenge and mental stimulation at the same time. We understand that most people don’t view Chihuahuas as a good candidates for agility training. However, this is a sport any dog from any breed can enjoy.

Chihuahuas are intelligent and have the energy to make this a fun activity for them. You can either choose to train your dog or join classes where you both learn together. No matter which way you choose, this is a great activity that will deepen the bond between you and your fur baby.

4). Play Fetch

Your fur baby may enjoy playing fetch! This is a classic dog game that involves you throwing a toy or another object and your canine companion running to retrieve it and bring the toy back. This is a great way to wear off excess energy, as well as have fun together!

If you’d like to add a twist to this classic dog game, consider the iFetch: this is an automatic tennis ball launcher for small dogs. The launcher comes with three mini tennis balls. You can adjust the distance to 10, 20, or 30 feet easily. And the launcher can be used indoors or outdoors. We would recommend outdoors, especially if you have many breakables in the house.

5). Buried Treasure

This is a fun game that wears your Chihuahua out! This game can be played indoors but is best played outside. That’s because it can create a huge mess!

You’ll need a shallow container that’s filled with clean sand. Find some toys or treats and bury these in the sand. Your dog may be spurred on by the smell of treats—watch him try to find the yummy snacks! Your fur baby will have a great time digging for buried treasure, and he’ll wear off pent-up energy at the same time!

There you have it! Your Chihuahua needs at least 30 minutes of exercise a day; however, more is better. Chihuahuas may be small, but they can be full of energy and mischief, just like the bigger dogs. So, make sure your fur baby gets plenty of exercise and that he knows you’re in charge. Then you’ll have a well-balanced, happy little companion to enjoy! You’ll both have fun exercising and staying active together as you build that deep bond with one another.

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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