Tips & FactsTraining & Behavior

Tips in Introducing Chihuahua to Big Dog: Owner’s Guide

While small, Chihuahuas have a larger-than-life personality. Unfortunately, such a bold attitude makes them adversarial with other canines. This makes it very challenging for Chi owners to raise the doggo with other pets, much so with a bigger breed. Nevertheless, introducing Chihuahua to big dog is still possible with the right approach and breed choice.

As a Chihuahua owner, I’m living proof that you should never underestimate the size of this dog. We once pet-sit a Great Dane, and he’s no match to our ever feisty Chi. Chihuahuas are atomic bombs packed in a small package. So if you’re planning to get another dog, you’re in for a ride.

Do Chihuahuas go along with other dogs?

introducing Chihuahua to big dog

Chihuahuas are notoriously known to be aggressive toward other canines. This is because of the breed’s intense territorial personality. Chis will guard their territory and family with their own life even if there’s really no serious threat.

Take note that Chihuahuas aren’t aware of their size so that they won’t back down even against a much larger dog. This can be a problem as Chis are prone to injuries if the other dog retaliates.

Aside from that, anxiety will make a Chihuahua aggressive. Such anxiety will spike if you bring home a new pet. After all, dogs like Chis are beings of habit. Any major disruption in their environment can trigger anxiety. This will activate their fight or flight response, on which fight is the most common scenario.

When there are other dogs around, Chihuahuas will try to impose their dominance. They always want to be the top dog, which is something pet owners have to keep in mind.

Tips in introducing Chihuahua to big dog

Take note that it requires more work to introduce a big dog to a Chi due to the size difference. This is to prevent the large dog from physically hurting the Chi and the Chihuahua from terrorizing the other canine.

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To make the process easier, here are some methods you can to successfully introduce your Chi to a larger canine:

🐶Choose the right breed

introducing Chihuahua to big dog

When it comes to getting a second dog, it’s crucial to match the breed to the personality of your Chihuahua. This way, the two dogs will have a harmonious relationship, and your Chi will acclimate to the new pet more easily.

Remember that Chihuahuas are territorial and won’t get along with just about any dog. It’s best to get a big dog with a more tolerant and laidback personality. This way, it will balance out the bold attitude of your Chi. Also, this will prevent the big dog from snapping if your Chihuahua becomes nippy or aggressive.

🐶Make sure that your Chi is well socialized.

Before the big dog arrives, it’s important to socialize your Chihuahua first. This will help reduce its aggressive tendencies when meeting a new canine. It will also help prevent other behavioral problems in your Chi.

If you’re new to socializing a Chihuahua, here are some of my proven advice:

  • Start with daily walks. Since Chis are quite sensitive dogs, you can start socialization through short walks around the neighborhood. This will introduce and expose your Chihuahua to various stimuli. As your doggo gets desensitized to such stimuli, it will be less likely to snap when introduced with a bigger dog.
  • Visit a dog park. Once your Chihuahua is fully vaccinated, you can try bringing it to a dog park. Still, you should keep the little doggo leashed at all times. At the dog park, your Chi can mingle with larger canines, which will prepare it for the arrival of your new pet.
  • Set up playdates. Another way to socialize your Chihuahua to big dogs is to set up play dates with your friends’ pets. But before you do so, make sure your Chi has been obedience-trained (discussed below).
  • Meet unfamiliar stimuli. Aside from other dogs, it’s also important to socialize your Chihuahua to other people, sounds, smells, and sensations. This way, the doggo will be more tolerant once your new pet is home.
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Take note that socialization is a process, so you should do it months before you get a new dog. And whether you’re getting a big dog or not, socialization is necessary to raise a disciplined canine.

🐶Brush up with obedience training first

Next, you should refresh your Chihuahua’s obedience training. This will come in handy once the pooch is meeting the large dog for the first time. You’d want to have some level of control over your feisty Chi to avoid dog fights and aggressive interactions.

Basic commands like sit, stay, stop, and leave it will be your superpowers once the two dogs are together. Always be patient because Chihuahuas can be challenging to train due to their stubborn personality.

To make obedience training easier, you should start the moment your Chi arrives home. Younger dogs are easier to train since they haven’t established their fears and biases yet.

🐶Start introducing the dogs’ scents.

Once the big dog is home, the first thing you can do is introduce each of the canines through their scents. You can do this by simply switching up their toys.

Observe how your Chihuahua will react to it. Some Chis will be in defensive mode and will bark and show aggression towards the scent. Despite this, you should allow your Chihuahua to get desensitized to the new scent until it fully calms down.

The trick here is rewarding your Chihuahua while sniffing the scent of the big dog. This way, your resident pooch will associate the scent with a positive experience. By the time you set the first meeting, your Chihuahua will be less likely to show aggression.

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🐶Set the first meeting in a neutral spot

After a few days, you can set up the first meeting of your Chihuahua and the bigger dog. It’s extremely important to keep both dogs leashed, especially the big one. This way, they won’t end up in a dog fight that will potentially injure your little Chihuahua.

During this first meeting, you should keep the following in mind:

Ask someone to hold the other dog. You have to seek the help of another person to hold the new dog while you handle your Chihuahua. This will provide more control, and you can easily stop aggressive behavior.

  • Do it in a distance. When it comes to first meetings, you have to keep your Chihuahua and the big dog at a decent distance. This way, you have a buffer in case your Chi slips out of your hand and tries to attack the newcomer. The same goes for the big dog on the other end, which can injure your Chi.
  • Shower them with treats. Treats will help your Chihuahua associate the big dog with a positive experience. Just make sure that you hand-feed the treat and not toss it to the floor. When you toss it, both the dogs will race for the food, which can be catastrophic.
  • Keep it short. Keep the first meeting of the two dogs short. Also, you should end the interaction while both canines are in a good mood. And if any of the dogs show aggression or sign of stress, you should end the meeting right away. This way, the canines won’t despise meeting each other.
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🐶Provide them with separate territories

As mentioned, Chihuahuas are extremely territorial dogs. This is why you should never force the resident canine to share anything with the big dog. If you do this, your Chi will develop a bad case of resource-guarding, which is a form of aggression.

Moreover, you should provide each dog with their separate toys, bowls, bed, and basically every supply. And if possible, place them as far away as possible from each other.

Another method Chihuahua owners use is setting up baby gates. This will allow the big dog to mingle with your Chihuahua without the risk of dog fights. Just make sure that the baby gate is tall enough and won’t be overcome by the larger canine.

🐶Utilize positive reinforcement

No matter how frustrating the process is, you should only use positive reinforcement when introducing your Chi to a big dog. Physical violence will not help as it will only brew more behavioral problems later on.

If your Chihuahua is notoriously aggressive, you can enlist the help of a dog trainer. This way, your pooch will receive professional training that will help it get along with the bigger canine.

Best large dogs to pair with a Chihuahua

Large dogs aren’t a common pairing with Chihuahuas, but if you’re keen to do so, you’ll have better luck with these breeds:

  • Golden Retriever. Known for their friendly and tolerant disposition, Golden Retrievers can withstand the feisty behavior of Chihuahuas. Of course, this still requires proper training but considering Goldie’s personality, it won’t be hard to introduce them a Chi.
  • Labrador Retriever. Labs share some of the good traits of Golden Retrievers. They are a bit reserved than Goldies, but they are one of the most tolerant and friendliest breeds. If trained well, a Labrador Retriever will be a great companion for a Chihuahua.
  • Poodle. You can consider a Poodle to be your Chihuahua’s companion. However, you should dedicate a lot of the time to training since Poodles can be aggressive if separation anxiety is left unchecked.
  • Basset Hound. Bassets are one of the calmest dog breeds. They are couch potatoes and quite tolerant to noisy and energetic dogs. However, this breed is high-maintenance and prone to a slew of health problems.
  • Saint Bernard. Saint Bernards are known as ‘Gentle Giants’ because of their laidback personality despite their massive size. They can tolerate a Chihuahua, but you have to be careful as a Saint Bernard’s size can inadvertently become a threat to a Chi.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can small and large dogs live together?

A: Small and large dogs can live together given proper training and socialization. Also, you have to be smart with the breed pairing to ensure that the two canines will get along very well. Proper supervision is also necessary to ensure that the smaller dog won’t get hurt when roughhousing.

Q: Are Chihuahuas scared of big dogs?

A: Chihuahuas aren’t usually scared of big dogs. However, if your Chi has been attacked by a larger dog before, it may develop trauma and aversion toward the bigger kind. So if you’re planning to raise them together, you have to be careful in the introduction and training phase.

Q: How do I stop my Chihuahua barking at other dogs?

A: Training and desensitization are necessary to stop a Chihuahua’s excessive barking toward other canines.  You should also teach your Chi that not barking is a rewarded experience through positive reinforcement.

Q: Why are Chihuahuas so mean?

A: Chihuahuas tend to appear as mean dogs due to their territorial nature. Still, socialization and training will go a long way for this breed. However, you should know that you can’t thoroughly dampen a Chi’s aggressive tendencies since their territorial instinct and prey drive are hard-wired.

Q: Will my Chihuahua ever calm down?

A: Chihuahuas will start to calm down once it reaches a year old. Some will keep active and yappy for up to two years. In the end, it all boils down to the personality of the Chi puppy you got as well as how you raised them.

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Q: Can Chihuahuas breed with a large dog?

A: Yes, but this isn’t an ethical choice for the most part. If the female dog is a Chihuahua, the puppies would be too large for the Chi to carry. This will result in life-threatening conditions and potential defects in the puppies.

Final words

Introducing Chihuahua to a big dog is possible with the right approach. Just make sure that you choose the breed that matches your Chi to avoid problems later on. Also, you need to extend your patience since a Chihuahua may take quite a while to get along with a new pet. When in doubt, you can always ask the help of a professional dog trainer.