Chihuahua Life Expectancy

As the world’s most popular breed of lap dog, chihuahua’s are a special little breed of dog. From children’s movies to fast food commercials, chihuahua’s have most definitely made a name for themselves around the world.

For as small as these dogs are, their life expectancy and the factors that influence it may come as a surprise to some. Being aware of a chihuahua’s life expectancy is important for those who already own a chihuahua to know, as well as anyone who is considering adopting one. 

How Long Can a Chihuahua Live?

There is no accurate way to determine exactly how long any particular chihuahua is destined to live, but we do have a good average age range that we can go by. We can also rely on the fact that smaller dogs tend to live longer lives in general.

From chihuahuas to shih tzus, smaller breeds tend to have longer life expectancies compared to their larger counterparts. 

A generous average tells us that chihuahuas are known to live from 14-20 years. This average is based on the chihuahua living a relatively healthy life and not facing too many of factors that can have a negative effect on a chihuahua’s life expectancy. It's worth noting though, that there are things you can do to improve your pet's longevity.

The World’s Oldest Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are one of the world's longest living dog breeds. On record, the oldest chihuahua known to have existed lived a long happy life to the ripe old age of 20 years old, almost to 21. Megabyte, the name of this record-setting chihuahua died on New Year's Day in 2014. He was 20 years and 265 days old.

If you want to prolong your pet's life, here are guaranteed tips to improve your pet's longevity.

What Factors Affect a Chihuahua’s Life Expectancy?

There are several factors that greatly influence how long a chihuahua will be present in your life. You might notice that many of these factors are similar to what might impact how long a human will live, making them rather easy to remember.

Genetic Traits

A dog’s genes can tell you a lot about how long they might live or how healthy they are going to be in the long run. That is if you are so lucky to meet the parents or adopt from someone who knows about the chihuahua’s parents.

Diet and Nutrition

A chihuahua is only going to be as healthy as the food they eat. For instance, as much as most pet owners want to share their “people food” with their little buddies, it’s probably one of the worst things you can do for your chihuahua’s diet. People food is just as the name implies; it’s meant for people. 

Your pet needs better food for a longer life. A chihuahua needs to be given a balanced diet of high-quality pet food that is well balanced nutritionally and does not contain preservatives or fillers of any sort. A chihuahua’s diet is directly linked to how long they live due to how significantly it impacts their overall health. 

A good diet provides well-rounded nutrient intake and helps them to maintain a healthy weight. A plump little chihuahua might sound adorable, but these little dogs can have some serious negative impacts on their health if they are carrying around any excess weight. 

In order to ensure that your pet is getting the optimum amount of nutrients in their diet, you can start by making healthy homemade dog food yourself. Here are some of our best DIY dog food recipes that your pup will surely enjoy:

Weight Gain or Loss

Just like with humans, if chihuahuas gain and hold onto a few extra pounds, they are more susceptible to developing health problems. Typically these health problems include diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, both of which can lead to a shortened lifespan.

The average chihuahua weight ranges from 3-6 pounds. This means that even the slightest weight gain or loss can be significant for these tiny dogs. Yes, being underweight is also detrimental to the health and lifespan of a chihuahua. 

Being underweight often points to a chihuahua being undernourished, which can lead to a weakened immune system Meaning, a chihuahua who is underweight is at just as high of a risk for a shortened life span as an overweight chihuahua is.

Dental Hygiene

Small dog breeds such as chihuahuas are at very high risk for dental issues throughout their lives. If these problems are not prevented or handled as they appear, these small dogs can suffer some serious consequences to their health. 

If your chihuahua develops diseases such as gingivitis due to poor dental hygiene, bacteria can then get into their bloodstream and travel through their body. Typically, this bacteria ends up in their heart or kidneys, inflicting even further damage and shortening their life span. 


Chihuahuas are one of the luckier small breeds of dogs who have the ability to spend up to two loving and happy decades with us. Their life span is very much dependent upon several factors, some of which are in our control as their owners. Others, on the other hand, are just part of their nature. Such as their genetics or predisposition to certain diseases that can have a negative impact on their ability to live those full two decades. 

Are chihuahuas smart?

Chihuahuas are in fact rather intelligent little dogs. Although, they often have a naturally sassy personality that can interfere with their ability to be trained easily. They know that they are adorable, and will try and milk that fact for all that it’s worth for as long as they can. Surely, that’s a sign of intelligence in itself.

Which chihuahua breed is the smallest?

Teacup chihuahuas are the smallest member of the chihuahua family. Weighing in at a whopping 5 pounds or less, these tiny pets are definitely the right choice for someone who wants a dog that stays puppy-sized for life.

Where do chihuahuas come from?

Chihuahuas’ roots can easily be traced back to Mexico. History has it that Chihuahuas are distant relatives to a breed of dog called the techichi. These dogs were known to be companions to the Toltec people who inhabited certain regions of Mexico, with their partnership dating back as far as 300B.C.

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Written by Leo Roux


June Pritchett
My Precious was all of 3.6 lbs. She died in October at age 20. I spent a fortune feeding her. She was fussy just like your baby.
What I found was to keep rotating the food offered. The only thing she ate consistently was duck jerky. My Precious was blind and deaf and toothless for many years. I had to cut up everything for her. Even before she was old. Some chihuahuas like their food really small.
I discovered Stewart Raw Naturals freeze dried dog food. Both of my dogs like this more than anything else.
My Precious is gone but I’m getting a new little chihuahua girl today !
Her name is Roxy. She is about five years old. Roxy has been living outside under a tarp. She weighs about seven lbs. I’m so happy and excited.

Connie Maddox on Jan 03, 2021

I have a Deer Head chi. I got him at 6 weeks. He is 8 yrs old now. His weight got to 5 pounds and stays there. He is just an awesome dog. We have a black & white cocker spaniel also. She is 11 yrs old. We got her the same way. She got up to 20 lbs at 3 yrs and is still there. They are so funny. We would not trade the world for either one. Great dogs.

Terry Noel Underwood on Dec 29, 2020

Love the breed. My family just put our little guy to rest last month. He was 23 years old… moo moo was his name.. love this post

Josh on Dec 29, 2020

My Chihuahua died at 13 …he had heart failure. I never knew this until I was told by several vets that Chihuahuas have problems with their hearts

Carole villegas on Dec 16, 2020

I got my Chihuahua when he was 7 weeks old, he is now 3 years and I still can’t get him totally house trained. Although that’s a pain…my main concern is his eating (or lack of). I have tried every type of dog food, even the really expensive ones online. He may eat them one or two times and then turns up his nose (literally). I believe the lady that I bought him from fed all the puppies people food, having no money for regular dog food as that was all he would eat. He won’t even eat that reliably and gets quite thin at times. Any ideas will be appreciated.

June Pritchett on Dec 06, 2020

I have a very sweet chihuahua. Got her when she was 6 months old. Now she’ll be 14 months old this month. Her name is Miss. Abby. I could not ask for a better dig than Abby. We just love her so much. She’s so cute too and she knows it. Lol. As my husband always tells her that she gets away with so much stuff because of her being so cute. No she does not get people food at all even though she would love it if she thought she could get away with it. But we always tell her no to people food and she does listen really good with that. As long as we tell her no she will leave us alone to eat in peace. But all in all she’s a really good. We just love her so darn much. But she is a big time mama’s girl here. Could not ask for a better dog than Miss. Abby.

Gloria Richards on Dec 03, 2020

I’m looking for a chili weenie puppy do you know where I could get one are Chihuahua a puppy a black one

Donna hernandez on Dec 03, 2020

Love my Chi. Bobbe Merce. Just turned 1 yr. Hard to paper n outdoor train

Jean on Nov 30, 2020

More of the Chi news

Debbie on Nov 17, 2020

I thought it was very interesting ..

Susan parker on Oct 18, 2020

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