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The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

Why Chihuahuas are Misunderstood

This is a photo sequence of a Chihuahua growling then smiling. It was a popular meme in the early 2000’s.


With TikTok users such as @Pudgywoke, @sushithemenace, @mreviatar, and @thestadlerfam growing in fame over the past few years, Chihuahuas have also grown in both popularity and dislike. Chihuahuas are the gremlin and rat dogs among dog breeds, but how did they earn this reputation? Has it always been like this or is it something that recently became popular? Chihuahuas are amazing pets and this article will give you a list of reasons why, as well as explain their behavior and where this gremlin title came from. 

This is a thumbnail on @pudgywokes Tik Tok page. This is Pudgy growling into the microphone for a video, doing his iconic “owa owa”.

Explaining their behavior and reputation

Chihuahuas have been labeled gremlins and rat dogs. People say they are aggressive, yappy, temperamental dogs that are rabid. But just like any other breed, Chihuahuas need proper training. These tiny dogs may sometimes act threatening or aggressive because they feel like their space is being invaded or because their boundaries are being pushed. Due to their tiny stature, Chihuahuas feel the need to be more vocal with their communication and boundaries if they are pushed. Sometimes it can also be behavioral issues, which are not just limited to Chihuahuas. Any dog breed can have behavioral issues that are not easy to fix or sometimes can’t be fixed at all. Oftentimes though, if the owner respects their dog’s boundaries, the tiny dog will begin to notice and gain trust.

 Because these dogs are so small and see the world as threatening, since humans and just about everything tower over them, once they bond with their owner and have trust in them, the Chihuahua is normally friendly. This does not apply to all Chihuahuas but most. They are very loyal dogs but will see strangers as a threat to themselves or their owners, which can make them act territorial or yappy when meeting new people. This behavior can usually be fixed with the proper training, which the owner should take responsibility for. All these factors can explain a Chihuahua’s behavior…but some people do not see the need to justify this behavior and instead, demonize it, which sometimes may not be entirely the person’s fault for viewing it as such. Oftentimes this breed is demonized on social media, much like the Pitbull was for many years. But when did Chihuahua’s hate reach its peak? During the quarantine in 2020, TikTok was the best source to kill time. With online schools and unemployment rates being high, TikTok was globally growing in numbers more and more every single day. During this time, many of the users listed above became popular, such as @Pudgywoke which is known for its Chihuahua’s “Owa Owa” noise. Pudgy was an elderly Chihuahua who appeared to be aggressive and very yappy. But with a few scrolls, it’s apparent that the Chihuahua was purposely being irritated or having their boundaries pushed for the sake of content. In other videos, Pudgy is very sweet and not yappy, just communicating! Rest in peace, Pudgy the Chihuahua. 

A screenshot of the most controversial video previously on @thestradlerfarm page. This video is where the owners clearly irritate Madi on purpose which makes her aggressive. It has since been deleted.

Another great example of social media only seeing the worst in this dog breed is the user @Thestadlerfarm. This couple owns two Chihuahuas, but their most famous is Madi, a white, older female Chihuahua. During 2020 and 2021, videos were released of Madi’s aggressive behavior. She would snap at her owner and growl. For a year or two, this was all the viewers saw of Madi. A few times, the owner used the views to their advantage and would, again, purposely irritate Madi for content and trends. We later came to find out though that Madi was a rescue with behavioral issues due to past trauma, and, behind the scenes, her owners were doing proper training with her. Now in 2024, Madi is a very happy Chihuahua who is loved by her owners and now has a sibling. Though she is no longer as popular as she was during quarantine, so many people still remember Madi as the snappy Chihuahua they watched in 2020-2021. As for the other users mentioned earlier, their stories are very similar to the ones I’ve just told, and this is true for many other dog owners who post their pets online. These same scenarios have happened with Pit Bulls, Dobermans, and other breeds. Chihuahuas have always been targeted to some extent, but recently they have been the main target of hate for some time now. 

Their snappy behavior and funny features are also why they’ve been labeled as gremlins, rat dogs, and rabid. Some could argue they do look like rodents due to their big ears, black bulgy eyes, and skinny tails. But these dogs are not rodents. So now some may ask, why are Chihuahuas good pets and should I consider getting one? First off, some things listed may not apply to all Chihuahuas. Getting a new furry friend will always be unpredictable! As the owner, it is your responsibility to properly train them. As you read, keep that in mind. 

This is @wheresgizzie on Tik Tok. This Chihuahua owner speaks out against Tik Tok users who mistreat their Chihuahuas for views. This is a thumbnail for one of their Tik Tok videos.

Why Chihuahuas make great pets

Chihuahuas make GREAT lap dogs! As one of the smallest breeds, Chihuahuas are amazing cuddle buddies (if they’re up for it). A Chihuahua will usually enjoy going all into their owner’s personal space and cozying right up against them. They do this for warmth and also just for snuggles. If a very affectionate and cuddly dog is what you’re looking for, a Chihuahua could be a great option! Chihuahuas are also very loyal, so if an extremely friendly and social dog is what you’re looking for, you may want to look at other breeds. But if you’re searching for a dog who will love you and you only, this breed may be a perfect match for you! And despite what people say, this breed is not untrainable. Chihuahuas are very smart and very energetic; they love to learn new tricks as long as they are receiving positive reinforcement and treats. They’re easily trained and enjoy being trained! Training sessions will usually be a breeze with this breed. 

If you’re currently a student planning on moving into a dorm once beginning college and want a furry companion for your new journey, a Chihuahua, being small sized, could be perfect! With daily walks, balanced play, and a good diet, a Chihuahua does not need a huge backyard to thrive. Although they would love it, daily walks and play will run down their energy just as much and they will still sleep peacefully in bed throughout the night. But with that being said, if you think you’ll be too busy to properly exercise a Chihuahua during college, a lazier or less energetic breed may be worth looking into, even if it’s at the cost of a bigger breed. 

Are Chihuahuas good family dogs? This cannot be simply answered with a yes or no. It does not solely depend on the dog’s behavior, but the child’s. Some breeds react well to children and have the patience to be labeled good family dogs. Chihuahuas are not as patient, and once again due to their size, rough play may be very scary and threatening to them which could result in aggressiveness. If someone has a very energetic and touchy kid, a Chihuahua would not be recommended as a family dog. But sometimes things do work out; it’s all about training both your dog and your kid! Boundaries are very important for any dog breed, especially with children, so that everyone can be safe and happy. 

This is a picture of my Chihuahua when she was 4 months old. In this photo I had just woken up to her cuddling under my neck.

Speaking from experience as a Chihuahua owner

I have a year-old Chihuahua named Medusa, and she is our family pet. She fits many of the criteria listed above, but she is an absolute sweetheart! She is very wary of strangers and she does bark or can be “yappy”, but she only ever does so when she feels like she needs to be protective of us since this breed is a watchdog. She is extremely cuddly and sleeps with me every night. She lays on me as soon as she gets the chance to, even if she isn’t sleeping. She will do anything as long as it’s next to me or on me. When she was a puppy (around 4 months old), she was very snappy if woken up abruptly, which was an issue since she chose to also be very cuddly while sleeping. After the proper training, she is no longer snappy when moved or woken up! Medusa loves to learn new tricks and she also loves training sessions. She has learned the basics as well as a few other more advanced tricks since my mother is a dog trainer. She is a family dog and is good with my high-energy brother. She has learned to be patient with him because even though we’ve tried to simply separate the two to avoid any problems, she chooses to be near him and chooses to learn patience with him, which shows just how intelligent this breed is! Another thing is, from my experience, Chihuahuas are great emotional support pets. All those cuddles just put a smile on my face, no matter how down I’m feeling!

This is my dog now. Medusa is a year and three months old. Although she is past the “puppy” stage, she loves to cuddle all the same.

The main purpose of this article is to shine a light on the mistreatment and the mischaracterization of this great dog breed. Not every breed is everyone’s cup of tea, and that is understandable. But as a new Chihuahua owner myself, people often don’t even give them the chance to prove themselves as good dogs! These dogs are great and should be treated the same as other breeds. I, too, once had a fear of Chihuahuas. The only thing I saw of them on social media was their snappy and aggressive behavior tendencies, which at first steered me away from wanting one. I was very easily influenced during quarantine and didn’t understand why anyone would want a Chihuahua at all. But now I do understand, and I would not trade Medusa for anything in the world. This dog truly is one of a kind who I have bonded greatly with and will never regret getting. Research is recommended before getting any pet, but if anyone reading is looking into getting a dog anytime soon, a Chihuahua may be worth looking into.


Works Cited

“Chihuahuas- the Breed You’ve Got All Wrong .”, 2024, 

Villanueva, Ayanna. “Defending the Misunderstood: Chihuahuas Edition.” The Franklin Post, 13 Mar. 2023,

Wenner Moyer, Melinda. “What Your Dog Wants.”, 2022, Accessed 28 May 2024.

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About the Contributor
Emily Hernandez
Emily Hernandez, Staff Reporter
Hello! My name is Emily Hernandez, I am a junior at Elmwood Park High School and this is my first year on staff. I enjoy a good horror and thriller book or TV show in my free time. I enjoy a bit of comedy as well. One of my favorite authors is Stephen King, an oldie but a goodie.
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