Why do Chihuahuas Bite Their Owner?

Last Updated on April 6, 2023

Chihuahuas are small but mighty dogs. And as sweet and cuddly as they may look, sometimes there are behavior issues as with any breed of dog. And this can include biting. So why do Chihuahuas bite their owner?

People are drawn to Chihuahuas because they are so small and cute. Chihuahuas are loyal animals that are known for really loving their owners. They have a long lifespan and can make amazing family pets.

Chihuahuas are great pets for the right family and it’s important to understand what their needs are. When you know what they need then you will be better equipped to handle things when they don’t go well, like when your Chihuahua bites you.

Why Do Chihuahuas Bite Their Owner?

Biting is a defense mechanism for dogs. They are trying to communicate their needs with you. Not a very nice way to communicate but it’s not like they can sit down and have a conversation with you.

Dogs communicate through behavior and biting usually means that something is wrong. Here are some of the reasons that a dog might bite its owner.

Small Dog Syndrome

Small Dog Syndrome is when small dogs begin to act like they are much larger and can become aggressive. If your dog starts to growl, bite, bark, or become possessive over things they might be experiencing small dog syndrome.

Small dog syndrome isn’t a scientific term. It’s a behavior that many small dogs have exhibited and can be seen across all small dog breeds, not just the Chihuahua.

What are some of the behaviors dogs with “small dog syndrome” exhibit?

  • Not following basic commands
  • Growling at people and other pets
  • Whines
  • Won’t walk on a leash
  • Jumping on people
  • Jumping on furniture when they aren’t supposed to
  • Pushing through doors
  • Lunging and Nipping

With good and consistent training you can usually cure small dog syndrome. Check out our post on Tips for Training Your Chihuahua for more details.


Dogs can also become territorial with their things, such as food and toys.

For example, if you happen to take a dog’s food bowl away from them before they are finished eating they can get aggressive next time you come near that bowl.

Some signs of territorial aggression are:

  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Snarling the upper lip
  • Snapping
  • Lunging
  • Biting

There are many different types of training that can help with these different behaviors and are structured for different situations. It’s best to contact a dog trainer to get help on your dog’s specific behaviors if you are having trouble solving the problem on your own.

Pain-Induced Aggression

If your dog is in pain then it can bite its owner if touched in the wrong place.

It’s oftentimes really hard to tell if there is something wrong with your dog. Animals, in general, are wired to not show weakness, in order to protect themselves. So if your dog bites you then you might consider they could have a health issue.

If you read my post on Do Chihuahuas Like To Be Held you know that there is a right way and wrong way for Chihuahuas to be picked up and held. If you don’t follow those guidelines then you can hurt your Chihuahua and that could result in a bite.

Chihuahuas also tend to have certain health issues. One, in particular, is Patellar Luxation. This is when the knee cap moves in and out of place. If the owner touches the dog’s knee this can cause pain and result in a bite.

It’s very important to realize this when you get bit by your dog. It’s a common reaction to get mad at your dog when they bite you but there might be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Maternal Agression

The hormonal changes your dog goes through when they are pregnant and give birth have been known to cause aggression in dogs.

Oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates labor and Prolactin stimulates milk production. These hormones can cause an increase in maternal instinct and that can result in aggression.

It’s important to train your puppy at an early age and have a good amount of trust between you and your dog to minimize this maternal aggression.

Summary: Why do Chihuahuas bite their owner?

Just because your dog suffers from one of these issues doesn’t mean they aren’t good dogs to have. Chihuahuas are one of many breeds that can have one or more of them.

I guess the moral of the story is, having a dog is fun and amazing but it’s also a big responsibility. It is your job as the owner to make sure they have the proper medical care, food, exercise, and training that they need to be happy and healthy.

When you take care of your dog in all these ways you will have a happy and well-adjusted animal. And if you ever do have the issue of your Chihuahua biting you then don’t get angry.

Instead, think “did I do something to incite this aggression”? Where did I touch him or what was I reaching for when he bit me? Keeping cool and thinking about what the root of the issue is might help you and your dog in finding a solution to what is actually going on.

why do chihuahuas bite their owners