How Long Do Chihuahuas Live? Everything You Should Know About the Chihuahua’s Lifespan

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect dog. For some, it’s a large, fluffy, friendly, and affectionate pup with a laid-back personality. For others, it’s a bold, fun-loving, fiercely loyal, feisty toy breed with a big-dog attitude — like the Chihuahua.

Recognized as the world’s tiniest breed, the Chihuahua originated in Mexico and is named after the Mexican State of Chihuahua. While their pint-sized appearance may be the Chihuahua’s most distinguishable physical trait (they weigh a maximum of only six pounds and reach heights of up to 5–8 inches tall), their personality is anything but pint-sized. These little guys never shy away from making their opinions known to anybody who cares to listen (read: overly barky), particularly when flexing their protective instincts amidst unfamiliar faces.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

Besides their small stature, pointed ears, and big, protruding eyes, the Chihuahua’s uniquely shaped head is also like no other. This increasingly popular breed has earned nicknames such as “deer-head Chihuahua” and “apple-head Chihuahua” thanks to their deer-like or apple-like head shapes. Not to mention, Chihuahuas come in varying coat colors, and they can either have a short, smooth coat, a long-haired one.

The big question, though, is how long do Chihuahua dogs live? As you may probably know, life expectancy is one of the key factors to consider before adding a canine companion to your home.

If you’re thinking of getting a Chihuahua, your mind is likely swirling with thoughts about its lifespan. Well, stick around as we uncover answers to commonly asked questions about the Chihuahua’s longevity, from “How long do Chihuahuas live on average?” to “How long do teacup Chihuahuas live?” “How long do long-haired Chihuahuas live?” “How long do apple-head Chihuahuas live?” and last but not least, “How long do deer-head Chihuahuas live?”

A close-up of a Chihuahua, Chihuahuas are among the dog breeds with the longest lifespans

We’ll also look into the leading health conditions that afflict this tiny dog breed, ways to extend your Chihuahua’s life span, and more.

Here’s How Long Chihuahuas Live on Average

According to the American Kennel Club, the Chihuahua dog’s lifespan — including teacup, long-haired, deer-head, or apple-head Chihuahuas — is pretty long, averaging between 15–17 years.

WebMD notes that 15 years for a small dog breed is equivalent to 76 human years. Yes, you read that right. So, if you’ve ever wondered how long Chihuahuas live in human years, we bet you now have a rough estimate. You’re so welcome!

Close up of a black and tan Chihuahua lying on the bed,
(Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh | Pexels)

We can confidently say that the Chihuahua’s life expectancy is quite impressive, given that dogs generally live between 10 and 13 years on average. In fact, Chihuahuas are among the breeds with the longest life span. It’s not unheard of for this pint-sized breed to live beyond their average life expectancy, with the longest-living Chihuahua on record being a pup in Ohio aged 23 years old.

Like most small dogs, Chihuahuas tend to enjoy more years on earth thanks to their diminutive sizes. Experts say breeds like the Chihuahua don’t age at an accelerated pace, as is the case with larger dogs. Due to the advantage of slow aging, Chihuahuas are less likely to develop age-related illnesses at an earlier stage in their life, hence their long lifespan.

However, like other breeds, the Chihuahua’s longevity may be shortened by various health conditions that this breed is predisposed to. For this reason, it’s essential to prioritize regular vet visits to increase your Chihuahua’s chances of a healthy, longer life.

Common Health Issues that Affect the Chihuahua’s Lifespan

A leashed white and brown Chihuahua standing on a green lawn
(Photo Credit: Rafael Guajardo | Pexels)

Chihuahuas are susceptible to a couple of health problems, majority of which are genetically triggered. Here are five common conditions that often affect the longevity of the Chihuahua:

Dental Problems

Chihuahuas are more prone to dental issues due to their small head sizes. Generally, toy breeds tend to have a higher tooth-to-jaw ratio and thus experience teeth overcrowding.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

Without proper (and regular) oral care, your beloved Chihuahua’s teeth may be home to plaque and tartar, leading to serious dental problems. In the worst case, poor or lack of dental hygiene may result in life-threatening bacteria entering your pup’s bloodstream and affecting vital organs.


Hypoglycemia, in scientific description, refers to lower-than-average blood sugar levels. Toy breeds, like the Chihuahua, are genetically predisposed to hypoglycemia because of their small body mass (which leads to the absence of enough fat stores in their bodies).

Factors such as missing meals regularly may further increase your Chihuahua’s risk of becoming hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia is associated with symptoms such as seizures, depression, and body weakness; it can cause brain damage if not medically managed.

Spinal and Joint Injuries

Because of their small, fragile bodies, Chihuahuas are highly susceptible to spinal and joint injuries while rough-playing with larger dogs or doing everyday activities such as jumping off a higher surface.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?
Photo credit:

Collapsed Trachea

Chihuahuas are genetically predisposed to collapsed trachea, a respiratory problem characterized by the dangerous narrowing of the trachea. Collapsed trachea, which is common in smaller dogs, causes symptoms such as breathing difficulty, constant coughing, gagging, and obvious signs of respiratory distress like wheezing. This condition worsens over time and can lead to death if not managed medically.

Heart Conditions

Unfortunately, heart problems are quite prevalent among Chihuahuas. This lovely breed is predisposed to conditions such as mitral valve disease and congestive heart failure. According to the American Kennel Club, heart failure is among the leading causes of death in Chihuahuas.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation — a condition in which the kneecaps slip out of their normal position — is common in small breeds, including Chihuahuas. Genetics plays a big role in the development of this condition, which leads to symptoms like lameness, joint pain, and difficulty walking.

Without veterinary care, Patellar Luxation can significantly lower your Chihuahua’s quality of life and, ultimately, lifespan.

4 Top Tips to Extend Your Chihuahua’s Lifespan

A white and brown Chihuahua lying on a green lawn
(Photo Credit: Rafael Guajardo | Pexels)

It’s every Chihuahua owner’s wish that their little furry friend could live forever. Although this is far from possible, the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure your Chihuahua sticks around longer than their average lifespan.

Here are four surefire ways to increase your pup’s life expectancy and keep them thriving in their senior years:

Prioritize a healthy, balanced, and vet-approved diet

Feeding your Chihuahua a healthy, vet-approved diet — in the appropriate portions — is vital in promoting their overall health and preventing the onset of avoidable medical issues.

Incorporate physical exercise and mental stimulation into their daily routine

Like every other breed, Chihuahuas require regular mental and physical exercise to thrive and maintain a healthy body weight. When it comes to physical exercise, though, be careful not to push your Chihuahua beyond their limits lest their fragile body sustains injury.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

Make regular veterinary check-ups a priority

Regular veterinary check-ups will help your vet detect any health problem that your Chihuahua has early enough before it morphs into a serious, untreatable condition.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?

Take dental care seriously

Given how susceptible Chihuahuas are to dental diseases, be sure to consistently observe proper oral hygiene practices. Plus, often consult your vet on what (and what not to do) to keep your pup’s overall dental health in check.

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