Chihuahuas are tiny companions that don’t need a lot of maintenance, making them well-suited for people in apartments and other small living spaces. Still, not everyone who wants a small dog likes Chihuahuas. Fortunately, there are many dog breeds similar to Chihuahuas that are waiting to find their forever homes.
10 Dog Breeds Similar to Chihuahuas
If you’re smitten with the charm of Chihuahuas, it’s only natural to wonder about other breeds that might share similar traits. In this list, we explore 10 dog breeds similar to Chihuahuas. Our findings stem from the American Kennel Club and a variety of other knowledgeable sources. The chosen breeds share various traits with Chihuahuas, from their small size to their big personalities.
1. French Bulldog
Centuries ago, England was infamous for its bloodsports, one notable example being bullbaiting. Britannica shares an insight into this bloodsport, where a bull was tied to a stake and dogs were set loose on it one after another.
This grim sport saw the advent of a new breed of dogs, known as bulldogs. Over time, these bulldogs underwent transformations through selective breeding, leading to the variants we now recognize as modern bulldog breeds.
Of course, modern bulldogs are very different from their ancestors. They descend from the smallest bulldogs that were already popular pets in the early 19th century. We know this because English lacemakers went to France with their pets when the Industrial Revolution destroyed their livelihoods in their home country.
In France, those bulldogs became popular, so much so that the French started importing more and more of them. Over time, this produced the French Bulldog.
Commonly known as ‘Frenchie’, the French Bulldogs are notably good-tempered dogs who adore human company. They mingle very well with their human families, as they boast a large heart filled with unwavering loyalty. Marvelously intelligent, these dogs grasp commands quickly, albeit on their own terms.
A noteworthy aspect of this breed (just like Chihuahuas) is their profound attachment to their owners. These lovable creatures crave attention and adoration from their owners. Intense affection coupled with heavy dependence often makes them prone to ‘separation anxiety‘.
2. Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound, a dog breed known for its slender physique and vivacious nature, holds its roots deep in history. Originally, these dogs were brought to England from Italy, hence deriving their English name from their place of origin. Their lineage, however, is believed to be traced back even further.
Historical depictions from the Mediterranean Basin suggest that dogs resembling the modern Italian Greyhound existed long before the breed was officially recognized.
Although it may seem paradoxical to suggest that ‘Italian Greyhounds‘ existed before the breed was defined, it’s clear that the breed has ancient origins. Over time, evolutionary changes have sculpted the Italian Greyhound we know and love today.
Historically, the Italian Greyhound served dual roles, acting as both sighthounds for hunting small game and esteemed companions to the upper class. Whether engaged in a pursuit or offering their charming company, these versatile creatures are any pup-lover’s dream dog.
Today, the Italian Greyhound retains these qualities, possessing a gentle yet playful demeanor. However, like their petite counterparts, the Chihuahuas, they require a daily dose of exercise and constant human interaction.
Without these, they can easily become agitated. Thus, what makes them similar to Chihuahuas is their shared need for physical activity and socializing, underscoring the importance of a nurturing, active environment for them.
3. Miniature Schnauzer
Schnauzer comes from the German for “snout.” It makes sense because one of these dogs’ most distinctive characteristics would be their bearded snout.
Schnauzers have a deep-rooted history tracing back to Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries, where they were principally employed as guards and rat-catchers on farms. Moreover, their iconic image is famously depicted in various artifacts, including paintings and tapestries of that period.
The three types of Schnauzers include the Standard, Giant, and Miniature. The Standard Schnauzer is the original and medium-sized breed, known for its versatility as working and companion dogs. The Giant Schnauzer is more robust, typically serving as a police or military dog due to its imposing size and strength.
Lastly, the Miniature Schnauzer, noted for its compact size, serves as a wonderful companion and is a favorite choice among families and apartment dwellers.
Renowned for their charismatic personalities and compact size, Miniature Schnauzers have secured their popularity among dog enthusiasts. Their ratter lineage, however, can bubble to the surface, manifesting as a high prey drive.
In essence, much like Chihuahuas, they are bundles of energy, endlessly finding innovative ways to keep themselves engaged should they not receive adequate activity.
However, it’s not all about potential issues with Miniature Schnauzers. Underpinning those mild drawbacks is an incredible capacity to learn and adapt. They are bold, spirited, and yet surprisingly teachable, making them a remarkable breed for those interested.
The Papillon is a remarkable dog breed known for its distinguishable erect ears, reminiscent of a butterfly’s wings. Yeah, you’ve guessed it – that’s exactly where it got its French name from, “Papillon” translating to “butterfly”.
If you happen across a Papillon that doesn’t have these characteristic ears standing upright, instead, they are drooping, you’ve met its charming cousin – the Phalene.
The Papillon and Phalene, despite being two distinct breeds, share more similarities and can actually come from the same litter. Originating from France, these breeds have historical roots that trace back to the royal courts.
What sets them uniquely apart, however, is the configuration of their ears. So, while these breeds may cause some confusion, remember – a Papillon’s ears flutter up like a butterfly, and a Phalene’s gently fall, akin to a moth!
In any case, both of these dog breeds make excellent companions. Generally speaking, they are intelligent, affectionate creatures that get along with both active and not-so-active families so long as their owners satisfy their need for regular exercise.
They share this trait with Chihuahuas, being highly intelligent and affectionate, looking for owners who can match their lively energy and satisfy their exercise needs. There have been many instances of Papillon Chihuahua mixes, and they’re very cute!
The Papillon can become distrustful around strange humans and non-humans, so much so that it can become aggressive from that distrust. The thing is – that issue isn’t unique to either this dog breed or its counterpart.
If anything, small dog owners should be extra-attentive about providing their canine companions with the proper training and socialization.
The Pomeranian breed traces its origins back to the province of Pomerania, a region that currently straddles north Poland and east Germany. They’ve been bred and loved for their unique characteristics for centuries, ultimately descending from large sled-pulling dogs. Hard to believe, right?
Just like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians are small in stature, but with a larger-than-life personality. Despite their small size, they showcase a feature that brings a perception of bigness – their luxuriant double coat. Often referred to as Dwarf Spitzes, Pomeranians indeed resemble smaller versions of their larger Spitz relatives.
Personality-wise, Pomeranians are similar to other dog breeds on this list. That means they are friendly dogs that are relatively smart and relatively easygoing.
Simultaneously, that also means they have big personalities crammed into little bodies. One can argue this is a good thing that provides Pomeranians with much of their charming liveliness.
The issue is that some of these dogs choose to challenge their bigger counterparts because of this. Size matters a lot in dog fights, meaning interested individuals should keep a watchful eye on their Pomeranians.
Furthermore, these dogs are small enough to be attractive targets for human thieves and non-human predators, making watchfulness even more necessary.
Originating from Belgium, the Schipperke is a captivating breed with an interesting heritage that may invite some discussion. With their distinct spitz-like attributes, it’s easy to see why some may draw parallels to spitz breeds.
Looking further into their lineage, sources like Vetstreet provide insights into the common belief that Schipperkes are indeed smaller versions of Belgian sheepdogs, tracing their roots back to herding ancestors.
In this ongoing debate, it’s crucial to note that being linked to Belgian sheepdogs does not negate their potential spitz connection. The two possibilities aren’t mutually exclusive and dogs may carry the genetics of various breeds in their ancestry.
Despite differing opinions, it is undisputed that the Schipperke, whether a Belgian sheepdog descendant or a European spitz relative, has garnered affection from dog lovers for their distinct appearance and natural charm.
Like the Chihuahua, these little dogs are bursting with life, constantly on the lookout for something interesting. However, this boundless energy means that they need a strong leader. They can display a stubborn streak if they don’t recognize you as their pack leader.
The Schipperke also needs ample physical and mental stimulation to stay in good spirits. Be aware, though, like their Chihuahua cousins, Schipperkes may display signs of separation anxiety.
They’re not quite as attention-seeking, but they do miss their humans when they’re gone. So, if you’re considering a Schipperke or any other small-dog breed, you’ll need to ensure you have plenty of time to share with them.
7. Toy Fox Terrier
Originating from England during the 18th century, the Terrier began as a hunting companion, valued for its agility and energetic nature.
Over time, this breed diverged into two distinct types known as the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. These names accurately reflect their individual coat types, with the former boasting a smooth coat and the latter, a wire-haired one.
The breed’s popularity crossed continents, inspiring breeders in the Americas to develop their unique version. One noteworthy result is the Toy Fox Terrier, a compact and adaptable version of these lively terriers. This American counterpart showcases the breed’s versatility, aligning with Australia’s own miniature variant.
The Toy Fox Terrier and the Chihuahua are similar in size, making them both perfect pets for smaller living spaces. Both dog breeds are well-suited for apartment living due to their low-maintenance nature.
Despite their small stature, these breeds have a big personality. The Toy Fox Terrier is known for its outgoing and playful demeanor, similar to the vibrant, confident character that the Chihuahua boasts.
In comparison to the Chihuahua, the Toy Fox Terrier can be seen as less “nippy” and tends to be less possessive than its owners. However, both of them are alert breeds and make for excellent watchdogs, always keen on keeping their home secure. Furthermore, they both love warm climates as they both have thin coats and can get chilly easily.
8. Toy Poodle
The Toy Poodle, historically, is a breed that traces its origins back to Germany, before finding significant popularity in France. True to its roots as a water retriever, this breed was initially a functional one, often utilized for duck hunting.
However, their petite size and lively personality made Toy Poodles a beloved companion amongst French nobility, from where they gained fame as desired lapdogs.
In the present day, Poodles come in an array of sizes, with Toy Poodles being the smallest variety. Despite their size, they carry the same majestic aura as their larger counterparts. Other than the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle continues to be a small, albeit slightly larger, alternative for people seeking a compact pet.
Endowed with traits like intelligence, agility, and charm, these small dogs continue to capture hearts worldwide. If you’re a fan of the charming Chihuahua, you might also admire the intelligence and trainability of another breed the Poodle.
They both share a certain appeal through their desire to please their owners. The bonus with Poodles? Despite the lack of independence, they are recognized for their high level of smarts which translates to impressive trainability.
Visually, Poodles sport distinctly curly coats that make them quite the adorable sight. It’s worth noting, though, that Poodles aren’t the best choice for those seeking hypoallergenic dogs.
As Healthline reveals, there isn’t a truly hypoallergenic dog breed out there. It all comes down to individual responses to specific allergens, so as long as you discover your pup’s susceptibilities, you’ll be safe and sound.
9. Toy Xoloitzcuintle
Before the Columbian Exchange, Native Americans didn’t possess an abundance of domesticated animals. The cause behind this isn’t entirely clear. It might have been due to the fact that they had access to fewer species that could be domesticated.
The difficulty of domestication can vary greatly amongst different species, making some animals traditionally harder to domesticate than others.
What was highly cherished in Native American culture, you may ask? The answer is quite intriguing – dogs. The prevalence of dogs in historical accounts, particularly in Mexica beliefs, is quite evident.
They held high regard for Xolotl, a dog deity carrying the task of guiding souls to the afterlife. Although Xolotl, the unassuming twin to the dignified Quetzalcoatl, was not idolized like other deities, he was not perceived as malevolent as outlined in Mexico Lore.
Today’s dog population in the Americas can predominantly trace their ancestry to Eurasian forefathers, which is why the Xoloitzcuintle dog remains unique.
This breed takes its uniqueness to the next level in the canine world as it descends directly from the hairless Mexica dogs. The connection is even reflected in its name, Xoloitzcuintle, which is eerily similar to “Xolotl”, further solidifying its place in our list.
Modern times see the Xoloitzcuintle variety in different sizes, the Toy Xoloitzcuintle being the smallest. It is ideal for individuals looking for a Chihuahua-like companion. Despite their energized youth, they mellow into loyal and introverted adults.
But remember, a Toy Xoloitzcuintle thrives on social interactions within indoor living conditions and is not suited for solitary or outdoor life. Their unique hairless characteristic leaves them susceptible to harsh weather conditions.
10. Yorkshire Terrier
Did you know that the Yorkshire Terrier’s origins are rooted in the industrial working conditions of the mid-19th century?
This sprightly breed was born in Yorkshire, as their name suggests, during a time when Scottish workers migrated to the area in search of employment. These workers didn’t leave behind their cultural heritage, bringing along their terrier dogs to this new landscape.
The Yorkshire Terrier, often perceived today as an ornament of luxury and a pampered pet, came into existence with quite a contrasting background.
In their early existence, they were stolid workers in the harsh environments of mills and mines, belonging to the working class rather than the aristocracy. Their role as cogs in the industrial wheel makes their journey toward being cherished household pets quite remarkable.
With a history rooted in versatility and charismatic nature, the Yorkshire Terrier is much like the Chihuahua in size and adaptability. They have even been bred together, creating the adorable Yorkie Chihuahua mix.
Yorkies, as enthusiasts often call them, championed a standard size before breeding these dogs in the past. Their form came to be showcased in a humble-sized canine brimming with intelligence and spirit.
When given adequate training and socialization, these terriers transform into stellar companions for various households. A crucial point to remember is these terriers are descendants of work-driven dogs.
Due to this lineage, it’s vital to keep Yorkies stimulated both mentally and physically to ensure their contentment. Here lies another striking similarity with Chihuahuas, who also thrive when engaged in activities that challenge them.
So there you have it, ten lovely breeds that share striking similarities with the beloved Chihuahua. Whether you’re taken with the friendly Papillon, the feisty Italian Greyhound, or any of the other marvelous breeds on our list, the choice really comes down to your personal preference.
These dog breeds, like the Chihuahua, come with their unique personality traits, characteristics, and requirements. If you find yourself intrigued by their unique qualities, you might be carving out your way to become a pet parent of any of these beautiful breeds.
“Every dog has its day, and every breed its champion. Here’s to finding the four-legged friend who completes your household and brings joy into your life.”
Remember, while these breeds bear similarities to Chihuahuas, they will have their individualities too. It’s essential to understand and appreciate these fully before you decide to make one part of your family.
Lastly, don’t rush into any decisions – your pet will be with you for many years, so take time to explore your choices. Happy hunting!