Front view of a long-haired chihuahua.

Why Do Chihuahuas Bark So Much?

When you think of a chihuahua, what comes to mind? Elle’s dog Bruiser in the movie, Legally Blonde comes immediately to my mind.  Chihuahuas are loving, loyal, and intelligent dogs. They’re tiny and cute, and they bark a lot. Their barking makes them seem aggressive and agitated at times, but they are energetic and fun and make great first dogs for pet newbies.  

Related: Dog Barking At Nothing

Do They Bark Too Much?

The barking behavior of chihuahuas is well-known but not fully understood. We usually think of barking as protective or aggressive, but chihuahuas actually bark for many reasons. Their sensitive hearing keeps them on vigilant alert all the time. They are natural watchdogs with high-pitched barking as their usual response. So the question is, do they bark too much? The short answer is yes, with few exceptions. 

Chihuahuas bark when they’re excited, anxious, sad, in pain, hungry, scared, or dreaming. They bark at other dogs and strangers because they’re afraid or feeling territorial. They even howl at night. So, some barking is expected and acceptable, while other behaviors can be corrected.   

Why Do Chihuahuas Bark So Much?

Here are some of the reasons your chihuahua will make a little racket. 

They’re Bored

Believe it or not, dogs often bark out of boredom. They are dealing with excess energy with nothing much to do. So they bark long and loud. It’s enough to drive you (and your neighbors) mad, but they won’t stop until they have released that energy. This will be a frequent occurrence unless you ensure your chihuahua gets plenty of exercise and activity. 

They’re Overprotective

It might be hard to believe, but your tiny chihuahua wants to protect you. These watchdogs will bark and bark to alert you of impending dangers. Their ears are super sensitive, and they can hear or sense things from a great distance - it’s their protection. Unfortunately, when they hear or sense anything at all, they sound the alarm. A neighbor walking by, a friend at the door, and everyday household sounds will all make your dog bark as if there’s a real emergency.   

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They’re Excited to See You

When you get back home after a day at work, your chihuahua will bark like crazy, along with lots of tail-wagging. They’re so excited to see you that they almost can’t handle their emotions. In addition to overreacting when you walk through the door, they can be clingy. This leaves them feeling sad and lonely when you aren’t around. Usually, some affection from you will reassure them of your love and presence and stop the barking. 

Related: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me

They’re Dreaming

There is plenty of evidence that dogs dream, and this is no different for your chihuahua. You’ll know when they’re dreaming when you notice them twitching a lot and breathing faster than usual while asleep. And sometimes, they make noises.  Depending on the dream, they may bark, whimper, or growl in their sleep. Like us, these dreams happen during their REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, which they can enter in as little as 20 minutes after falling asleep. 

What is my dog dreaming about, you ask? According to VCA Hospitals, dogs dream about running and chasing and other daytime experiences - just like we do. So if they bark in their sleep, they’re probably dreaming of whatever makes them bark when they’re awake. 

They’re in Need

As we discuss some of the less important times your chihuahua barks, we shouldn’t neglect to mention that they also bark when they need something. The bark is their way of speaking to you, and sometimes their asking for your help. They are communicating with you to voice hunger or thirst, pain, a need to play, poop, or they just need your loving, affectionate attention. Please don’t ignore them in the first instant. They might be stuck somewhere or locked in a room. 

Black short-haired chihuahua sitting in owner’s lap.

They’re Having a Best Life Moment

Think of their bark sometimes as a happy giggle. Your dog will occasionally bark when they are having crazy fun. You’ll know when it’s an overwhelming joy because the ever-loving tail-wagging accompanies the barks. Whatever is happening at that moment, they love it, and they want you to know it. This is a great way to understand what makes your chihuahua happy and provide more of it in their lives.  

They’re Anxious

Another reason your little buddy barks excessively is because he’s afraid, sad, or lonely. If you leave them at home alone while you work, they will almost definitely suffer from separation anxietyChihuahuas can be needy dogs, making any time you have to spend away from them, an occasion for stress and upset. In addition to barking, they may also howl or destroy things in the home. 

They’re Aggressive

Despite their small size, chihuahuas can be aggressive and feisty. Their size makes them feel vulnerable to other people and larger animals, so they try to be as loud and fierce as they can be. Often you will see them showing signs of an emanate attack by growling while bearing their teeth. This isn’t necessarily just for show. Beware, they may indeed attack.  

They Need Your Attention

Sometimes your dog barks and engages in unpleasant behavior because they want your attention. If your dog whimpers at the same time as barking at you and scratches at your leg, they may be crying for your attention. Consider time and attention spent on or to your dog as meeting their basic needs, like feeding and grooming. Life gets busy for everyone, and your dog may end up on the short end of the stick. But try to give them all the time and attention you can. Make sure you’re bonding with them, playing together, and teaching them tricks. 

They Have Strong Territorial Instincts

Chihuahuas love their space and don’t want any strangers in it! Don’t let their size fool you; your little dog will defend his territory against any invader. Their defense will include lots of barking and growling. Their territory isn’t just your home; it could also be their yard, bed, or any area they usually occupy. They will also react if someone touches their bowl, toys, or anything else they consider their own.   

Related: 30 Dog Toys That Will Keep Your Dog Entertained

Barking Chihuahuas in a Nutshell

Your cute little chihuahua is probably a barking machine. Some of the reasons they bark so excessively are understandable, and some may be corrected with a little more attention and some training. 

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