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Are Chihuahuas Smart? Do You Really Know Your Pet?

Yes, Chihuahuas are smart, although Chihuahuas may rank low on the intelligence scale, Which is because Chihuahuas may not have high behavioral obedience. But they have many other great qualities and characteristics. If you’re thinking about getting a Chihuahua, they can be a wonderful partner to you and your family.  

How Smart Are Chihuahuas?

Compared to some other breeds of dogs, chihuahuas are not the smartest, but they are extremely devoted. One of the most popular breeds in the country, they make wonderful family pets for people who lead busy lives or rent apartments. Many people believe they possess high intelligence because they are capable of learning tricks, such as pretending to be dead at your feet until you become alarmed and drop your food! In order to get their owner’s attention, some owners claim that their chihuahua can perform actions like sitting up when told to or doing other tricks.

The German Shepherd breed has an average IQ of 65 to 70, which is lower than many other dog breeds like Border Collies (115), Poodles (105), and German Shepherds (130). Since their size prevents them from easily performing some tasks that other larger dog breeds can do with ease, like jumping up on furniture, they are frequently the subject of debate among breeders.

How To Tell If Your Chihuahua Is Smart?

are chihuahuas smart

Chihuahua intelligence testing should probably be more cognitive if the breed in question is one that might not be as eager to work without being rewarded. Give these dogs puzzles to solve and compare their results to the supposedly “brightest” dogs. offers a fun cognitive test you can do with your Chihuahuas. They have 20 games that were created by academics, trainers, and behavioral experts.

Measuring The Chihuahua’s Intelligence

Understanding how Stanley Coren determined canine intelligence is necessary before we can accurately assess how intelligent Chihuahuas are. And while his methods do have flaws, we think it’s a great starting point.

The renowned canine psychologist asked 199 obedience trial judges from the Canadian and American Kennel Club to conduct his research using his criteria. At the time, this was nearly half the trial judges in North America!

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria

According to Coren’s standards, the obedience trial judges evaluated and ultimately graded each dog breed’s performance. Although it is imperfect, it is largely impartial. Here’s what the criteria were based on:

  1. The number of repetitions it took for a dog to learn a new (unknown) command. A dog would be smarter if it needed fewer attempts to learn a new command.
  2. The success rate (%) that a dog obeys a known command on the first attempt. An intelligent and obedient breed is one with a higher success rate.

Only dog breeds with at least 100 responses qualified for Coren’s final dog intelligence rankings. They received a lot of responses, as Chihuahuas were among the top 40 breeds in popularity.

The criteria which Coren used to measure dog intelligence was met with a lot of criticism and skepticism at first – and rightfully so. We think that canine intelligence entails a lot more than just work ethic and obedience.

Chihuahua Performance In Intelligence Trials

Chihuahuas ranked in the bottom half of the dog breeds. Out of 138 qualified dog breeds, the Chihuahua ranked 125th. Undoubtedly lower than most Chihuahua owners would believe.

Classified in the “fair intelligence” category, the Chihuahua was able to learn a new command with just 40 to 80 repetitions. These dogs may require significantly longer than a few hours to learn a new command.

On the other hand, Chihuahuas would obey a known command on the first attempt with a 30% or better success rate. They appear to be disobedient on paper. However, owners argue that Chihuahuas respond better depending on the person giving the commands.

For comparison, popular dog breeds in the same intelligence range include the Maltese, Saint Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug, and French Bulldog. In spite of this, they were rated higher than the Beagle, Chow Chow, Shih Tzu, or Bloodhound.

Chihuahua Vs. Average Dogs

As mentioned, Chihuahuas were labeled “below average” according to What about in comparison to other dog breeds, according to Coren’s research? What was the level of dog intelligence on average?

The “average” dog needed just 25 to 40 repetitions to learn a new command. In other words, they’re almost twice as fast at learning commands than the Chihuahua.

In addition, average dog breeds can successfully obey a known command on the first try with a 50% (or better) success rate. These figures don’t differ significantly from the Chihuahua’s. However, they are better.

And for reference, some of the most popular dog breeds are “average.” These canines include the Bichon Frise, Havanese, Great Dane, Australian Shepherd, and Siberian Husky, among many others.

are chihuahuas smart

Why Chihuahuas Rank Low For Intelligence

Therefore, despite what Coren’s dog intelligence test indicates, owners claim that Chihuahuas are intelligent. What might be the reason behind the difference?

Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence rankings were primarily based on obedience trials. This indicates that the best-behaving dogs, like Border Collies, were more likely to comply with established commands.

It’s extremely difficult to standardize an IQ test for dogs because different dog breeds and individual dogs have different motivators. Some dogs respond much more favorably to treats. Others might respond to their favorite toy more favorably.

Border Collies are more likely to comply because they love to work and will often obey commands for the sake of “working.” They are true workaholics with some of the best work ethics in the dogdom. In opposition to this, Chihuahuas are unique.

Chihuahuas Can Be Stubborn

A Chihuahua is not the best breed to get if you want a family-pleasing, well-mannered dog. These are little dogs with big personalities, and they are more likely to be disobedient than they are to be obedient. They will act independently and only pursue their personal goals. Because of this, you can’t teach them anything; in other words, don’t expect complete obedience from these little guys!

They are very devoted and independent as long as they have love and food, according to some, making them ideal lapdogs or companion animals, but other people find it frustrating when their dog spends the entire day barking instead of complying with commands like sit or stay. We think that the upbringing and training of your dog have a big impact on this.

Whatever you want in a pet is what matters in the end. This breed of dog might not be the best option if your goal is obedience and an animal that will obey commands without question, but if you’re looking for something small enough to carry around, cuddle with while reading at night, or just unwind after a long day at work, Chihuahuas are ideal!

Chihuahuas Can Learn Many Tricks

Chihuahuas are smart canines. As long as they are trained from a young age by someone who is knowledgeable about the breed, they are capable of understanding the majority of fundamental commands and can learn tricks with reasonable ease.

Chihuahuas require time, patience, and positive reinforcement in order to successfully learn obedience commands. When giving commands or teaching new tricks to your dog, you must always use its name to ensure that he understands what is expected of him. He will be able to learn a great deal faster if you are patient with him and speak in a slow, calm tone when instructing or training. As long as they are given the chance early in life, chihuahuas are very intelligent dogs. Chihuahuas are quite intelligent; providing their early stimulation is positive and consistent

The Intelligence Of Chihuahuas Can Vary

Chihuahuas are not the most intelligent dogs, which is why they are often considered to be “couch potatoes.” They pay more attention to their human or canine companions than to their surroundings. The individual Chihuahua will determine this, and some are much smarter than others. Some people have brains equivalent to those of a two-year-old!

Their intelligence varies from dog to dog, but if they are raised in an environment where there is no other way to obtain food, like in the wild, they may still have the instinct to hunt small animals like mice or birds.

Breeds like the Poodle or Doberman are just two examples of those that have been specifically bred for obedience work. Chihuahuas are not bred for this type of work and are often used as companion animals in homes with other smaller dogs that may need a “big brother” to provide them some protection from bigger dogs that are unfriendly.

Numerous variables, including how well they are trained, their diet, and other things, can influence intelligence. Chihuahuas are very independent-minded, that much is true. Therefore, trying to teach one trick or command will take up a lot of your time.

are chihuahuas smart

How To Your Train Your Chihuahua 

It is more likely that a Chihuahua will be successful in learning new skills if its owner is patient and teaches it in a way that they can comprehend. The majority of the time, owners who are impatient or don’t take the time to properly train their dogs will end up with a fairly dumb animal.

Your Chihuahua’s intelligence will depend on how much you train it; if not enough patience is used, the likelihood that you’ll have less intelligent pets than owners who know what they’re doing with proper training is high.

Your Chihuahua will improve with continued training!

Chihuahuas are not typically thought of as an intelligent breed. They are regarded as one of the most stupid breeds in existence by many people. How accurate is this, and what telltale signs indicate whether these dogs are intelligent or not?

When a dog obeys its owner’s commands, this is the most typical indication of intelligence in dogs. If you’ve ever attempted to train your pet to perform tricks, you are aware of how intelligent and obedient this animal can become with enough time and effort. A Chihuahua will take considerably longer than ten minutes to respond to a command, but once he does, he rarely disobeys again unless specifically ordered to do so. Thus, it is possible that Chihuahuas are more intelligent than we think.

What if, however, my Chihuahua is challenging to train?

One of our Chihuahuas can learn and perform tricks just as well as any Border Collie, but it may be harder for them to come when called if there is something unpleasant to roll in. She might get a quick roll in first. Is that a sign of intelligence? Absolutely, it does. She is intelligent enough to know what she wants, and if right now getting it means disobeying the rules (ahem, failing to return when called or recall), then that is exactly what she will do! Coming when called is outweighed by the offensive material. Any dog that is smart enough to understand which option is more rewarding is a very smart dog.

Other Characteristics Of Chihuahuas

Even though Chihuahuas don’t have a high IQ, they do have a number of other positive quirks and behavioral traits that make them endearing and wonderful canine companions. Energy levels in chihuahuas are typically high. No matter how little room they have, they like to run and stay active. No matter if it’s a quick stroll outside or a jog around the living room, chihuahuas need regular activity and exercise to stay healthy. Chihuahuas are devoted, loving dogs. They adore their family and enjoy cuddling.