When I was a child, I remember hearing from a source – that I’ve since long forgotten – that smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs.
I came to accept that as a fact, and since I’ve always been brought up with medium sized dogs, such as King Charles Spaniels, I never got to find out firsthand.
I am lucky enough that my family’s dogs are still with us, and due to them both still being fairly young, I never really gave much thought to how long they would stick around.
If you’re reading this, maybe you’re considering getting your own little friend, or perhaps you already have one.
Maybe this question has popped into your head too, and as much as you don’t want to think about it, it is something that we all need to consider at some point.
If you have, or will be having, a chihuahua as your own teeny tiny companion, and you’re here reading this, I’m sure the question has crossed your mind: how much time will you get to spend with them?
While you’re most likely wishing the answer is ‘forever’, we’re here to give you the straight answers.
Keep reading to find out just how long chihuahuas are generally expected to live.
The Average Lifespan
If you’re looking for the short answer, the average lifespan of a chihuahua is around 14 years old, although the age can range between 12 to 18 years.
The oldest chihuahua ever recorded to live was Megabyte, a dog that broke Guinness World Records. They made it to the grand old age of 20 years and 265 days, passing away on New Year’s Eve 2014.
Sadly, this age is unheard of for most chihuahuas, but it is a nice thought that it is, indeed, possible for them to live through two whole decades!
While there have actually been reports of chihuahuas surviving into their early twenties, even reaching 23 years of age in some cases, none of them were ever officially verified, meaning Megabyte still owns the title to this day.
In Comparison To Other Breeds
Chihuahuas have one the longest average lifespans of all dog breeds, if not the longest average lifespan.
Other breeds that live longer than most include toy poodles (10-18 years), dachshunds (12-16 years), and Jack Russell terriers (13-18 years), furthering my childhood belief that smaller dogs do tend to live longer than larger breeds.
While research is verified, some researchers do believe this fact to be the truth.
Cornelia Kraus, a biologist at the University of Göttingen, led research that discovered that larger dogs age at a faster acceleration, which leads to them being more likely to experience abnormal cell growth, which can often lead to cancer.
Larger breeds are also more likely to succumb to age-related illnesses, due to them growing at a faster speed.
The dog breeds most likely to live shorter lives include Bullmastiffs (7-8 years), Irish Wolfhounds (6-7 years) and Bernese Mountain dogs (5-7 years).
Factors That Contribute To A Long Life
Unfortunately, just because your tiny friend is expected to live a longer life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will.
While accidents are often unforeseeable, if we’re talking about health conditions, there are plenty of things that you can do to try and prevent future illnesses, and to keep your pet in the greatest physical condition possible.
Just like many other small dog breeds, if a chihuahua is overfed and becomes overweight, it is much more likely to develop health conditions that will inevitably shorten their lives, such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Limit their portion sizes, and be sure not to overfeed them.
It is also very important to remember to only feed your chihuahua small pieces of food – due to their size, they are more likely to choke on larger chunks of food.
Some owners prefer to puree their pet’s food, while others just finely chop up their ingredients.
This ties into the previous point: while you may think you’re not overfeeding your dog, you want to make sure you’re not feeding him/her the wrong foods. Stick to raw
meats and organic foods if possible, and if you wish to feed your dog store-bought
dog food, beware of added fillers that commercial brands tend to use to bulk up their
ingredients. Check that your pal is receiving all the nutrients they need!
Plants and grass are also extremely harmful and toxic to a chihuahua’s diet, and may
cause them to become very poorly if consumed.
Please ensure that your chihuahua has received all of their mandatory vaccinations
and boosters so that they don’t contract any life threatening illnesses: skipping this
step may cause your pet to become extremely unwell, and is easily avoided. It is
worth taking for routine check ups with your vet just to keep an eye on their health.
It’s also interesting to note that chihuahuas tend to live longer if they have been
neutered or spayed, as this limits their chances of developing several types of
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent ill-health when it comes to your little friend’s inherited traits. The best you can do is research who the puppy’s parents are before taking them home.
If you find out later on that there may be some unsafe genes involved, perhaps consider very carefully whether you should breed your dog or not if it means bringing more puppies into the world, just for them to live short, uncomfortable lives.
Your dog wants what everyone wants: someone to love and care for them, dearly. A chihuahua’s can depend on how much attention you pay them, and ensuring that they truly are cared for.
Before taking on the responsibility of becoming the parent of a fur baby, make sure you have researched the role beforehand so that you know what you’re getting yourself into, and make sure you have enough time on your hands to spend time with your little friend.
In the end, while no one wants to consider the fact that their pet won’t be around forever, the most important thing is that you love them unconditionally, and take care of them.
While your chihuahua won’t be around for the entirety of your lifespan, you will most likely be around for theirs, and you will be the most important part of their lives.
Aside from keeping an eye on their health and taking the best care of them you can, try to forget about the future, and focus on the present.
Enjoy the time that you have with your teeny tiny best friend, and make memories that neither of you will ever forget.