Chihuahua Lifespan: Average Life Expectancy of The Chihuahua

Healthy adult Chihuahuas live an average of 15 to 20 years.

Healthy adult Chihuahuas live an average of 15 to 20 years.

As with any breed, a Chihuahua's lifespan varies depending on a number of different factors (see below for a complete list). Some of these factors are controllable, whereas others are outside of owners' control. Owners should familiarize themselves with these factors so they give their Chihuahua the longest, fullest life possible.

There's no fool-proof method for predicting exactly how long they can live, but current data suggests that Chihuahuas live an average of 15 to 20 years when properly cared for by a loving owner.

Small breeds like the Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier live longer than medium-to-large breeds like the Labrador Retriever and Mastiff. Medium-to-large breeds have an average life expectancy of 10 to 13 years.

Does this mean all Chihuahuas live between 15 and 20 years? Not necessarily, but this is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Factors That Impact a Chihuahua's Lifespan:

  • Diet - a Chihuahua's diet will directly impact their lifespan. Owners should feed their furry four-legged friends a nutritious, well-balanced premium dog food with no fillers, preservatives or artificial flavors. Avoid the temptation of feeding your Chihuahua leftover dinner scraps, as this can lead to obesity, toxicosis and other health problems.
  • Weight - equally as influential in a Chihuahua's lifespan is weight. Obese Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of adverse health conditions which may lower their average lifespan, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Underweight Chis may also experience a lower average lifespan due to malnutrition and a weakened immune system.
  • Healthcare - it should come as no surprise that healthcare plays a role in a Chihuahua's lifespan as well. Taking them to the veterinarian for routine checkups will promote a long, healthy life by diagnosing illnesses early, before they progress to life-threatening ailments. Most veterinarians recommend taking adult Chihuahuas between the ages of 7 and 10 for a wellness check once a year. If you have senior Chihuahua over the age of 10, however, you should take them for a wellness check twice a year.
  • Genetics - "good genes" can lengthen a Chihuahuas lifespan, which is why it's important to pay close attention to a pup's parents if you're looking to adopt. If the parents are healthy, energetic and happy, their pups are more likely to live a long and healthy life.
  • Spaying/neutering - Chihuahuas that are spayed and neutered tend to live longer than those that aren't fixed. Neutering a male Chi before the age of year will decrease their risk of developing testicular and prostate cancers, and fixing female Chis before their first heat cycle can reduce their risk of developing uterine and ovarian cancers. Of course there are other health benefits associated with spaying and neutering a Chihuahua, such as lowered aggression levels, reduced risk of running away, and fewer pups ending up in the pound.
  • Vaccinations - Chihuahuas require vaccinations and follow-up booster shots to protect against potentially life-threatening disease like the parvovirusLeptospirosis, Bordetella bronchiseptica (kenel cough), canine influenza, distemper and rabies.
  • Oral Care - like most small breeds, Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems like tooth decay, tooth toss and gum disease. Some studies suggest that as many as 9 out of 10 Chihuahuas will experience dental problems. Allowing your Chihuahua to suffer from poor oral health can reduce their lifespan. Bacteria enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums (caused by gingivitis) and goes straight to the heart and kidneys.
  • Gender - statistically speaking, females live longer than their male counterparts. The exact cause of this longer average lifespan is unknown, but studies suggest female Chihuahuas live 1 to 2 years longer than males.
  • Activity Levels - keeping your Chihuahua active is crucial to promoting a long, healthy life. Whether it's playing fetch, tug-of-war (with a toy, of course), or going for a walk around the neighbor, give your Chi plenty of daily exercise. Doing so will burn excess fat, build muscle, strengthen their immune system and ward off illness, of which impact their average lifespan.

The World's Oldest Chihuahua

The world's oldest Chihuahua on record (keyword being on record) is Megabyte, who passed away on January 1, 2014 at the age of 20 years and 265 days. Other than the occasional news article and blog posts, details are scare about Megabyte's life; however, we know this full-bred Chihuahua lived 20 full years before passing away on New Year's Day, 2014.

There have been several reports of Chihuahuas living to 20, 21 and even 22 years of age. These reports were never verified, and thus Megabyte retains his title as the world's oldest Chihuahua.

Chihuahua Age In Human Years and Dog Years

Age In Human Years Age In Dog Years
1 15
2 21
3 25
4 29
5 33
6 37
7 41
8 45
9 49
10 53
11 57
12 61
13 65
14 69
15 73
16 77
17 81
18 85
19 89
20 93
21 97
22 101
23 105
24 109
25 113

*this chart can be used for all dogs under 20 pounds.


45 Responses to “Chihuahua Lifespan: Average Life Expectancy of The Chihuahua”

  1. DaysiandJay says:

    Jayjay is going to be 5 and is a rescue pup, I have never loved anything so precious in my entire life… but then again I’m 20 with no kids lol. I LOVE MY DEER HEAD CHIHUAHUA!

    • tina says:

      I saved mine at six weeks my little taz man he is now 15, and when these horrible people were taking this pup to be put down because they couldn’t keep him O bought him. They wouldn’t give him to me and I couldn’t live without him.

  2. Lana jackson says:

    Daisy is 15 years old and still goin strong. We are proud of our daisy.

    • Tyler Mason says:

      My daisy is fat but I’m pretty sure it is just the way she is built, so I think she might be part wiener lol wiener.

      • Tyler Mason says:

        Does the lifespan of a Chihuahua change when it is a teacup Chihuahua other wise put as the “runt” of the Chihuahuas?

        • Bunny's Mom says:

          Small Chihuahuas do not live as long as larger ones. Therefore, if your Chihuahua is 6 pounds or even a little bit heavier (mine is 6.6 pounds, which my vet says is perfect for her), it will in all likelihood live longer than Chihuahuas that are 2 or 3 pounds. Unethical breeders produce tiny Chihuahuas to meet market demand. P.S. There is no such thing as a “teacup” Chihuahua, just a smaller one or a larger one.

  3. Audrey says:

    Our Sam is a biter; sometimes very ferocious especially when trying to remove his lead after a walk. He is a rescue, 7 years old. We have had him for 4 months. Love him very much but his bites hurt. Any advice?

    • Lindsay Levey says:

      Give him treats and praise him when you are removing his lead. You can also try to firmly say “no” when he tries to bite you. Training may help too. Good luck!

    • Trisha says:

      Give him treats and praise him when you are removing his lead. You can also try to firmly say “no” when he tries to bite you. Training may help too. Good luck!

    • joe says:

      Show him unconditional love hill break out of it.

  4. Monique says:

    I have a deer head and she will be 5 on New Years Day. She is extremely active and jumps high like a Jack Russell. There is no calming her down when I come home from work, or its time to go for a walk, or reward time with a treat! She can easily and effortlessly jump as high as my chest and I am a little over 5′ tall. I cringe every time I hear her little back legs hit the floor. I know one day this will take a toll on her tiny frame:( I wish there was a way I could discourage the jumping – but I know that is her way of expressing her happiness. Prayerfully, her instincts will kick in and her body will let her know when she needs to just wag in delight instead!

    • Liz says:

      When I read this I cringed, you must not let her jump up on you, my chi broke her leg 2x’s and has a metal plate in her leg- 11 years ago- $3,000.00. She almost lost her leg I hope your chi is ok.

  5. says:

    My mother has had as well as bred Chihuahuas for the last 15 or more yrs and always had good vet on speed dial. Lost a stud because the vet poisoned him accidentally while pulling bad teeth. Fixing girls don’t always help cause girl she has now blew-up 5 pounds heavier because of it. Be careful feeding them wet food because of no teeth to, soak hard good in tiny bit of broth or even water to keep weight down. She has also on many, MANY occasions had to help girls give birth because pups get stuck in birthing canal. It all boils down to if u love them, watch, learn, and love them the way you would your own human children! All dogs are the closest we can get to God on earth, their love is UNCONDITIONAL, and dog spelled backwards is WHAT??? God bless all u dog lovers….:-)

  6. Gail says:

    My Chihuahua is 17yo next month. He is in pretty good shape but can’t jump anymore. Sometimes his hips give way on the stairs but not often. He has lost most of his teeth from decay but still likes dry food. His eye sight is fine, but I think he is fairly deaf. He sometimes defecates on my tiled floor by the back door but I can’t be upset with him because of his age and I think it’s only the cold of winter outside that he avoids. He still has ‘playful’ moments which is really cute. He is still the best hugger in the world. We seem to have an unspoken understanding. I can’t image him not around but, still I won’t let him suffer if I think he has had enough.

    • Michael Knight says:

      I lost my baby on August 19 2016 he was 17 he was doing really good till I gave him some med for bloody diarea the lady from compound pharmacy called said they had prescription I had my care giver go get it I was excited I thought it was for his mouth I had most of his teeth removed over the years .had the lady asked if he had the bloody diareastill since the comtrolzole supresent was prescribed a mmonth n week prior I would have said he only had it once vet treated him Ihe was doing great as soon as I gave him the dose 1hour later he puked and 2hours later his back legs where like paradise he was Wably but he was drinking water wouldn’t eat he didn’t snap out of it I called 2vets they said wait till in the morning he was hydrarlted but puked for 106 hours I told vet to give him treazadone to counter act the drug they gave him iv said he might need go hospital then they called back talk me in to youth in Asia they brought him to the house to do it I didn’t want to I think the drug did something I h ave him in the freezer I’m waiting for packaging to freeze dry him do you think I should have his organs check by a different vet before I send him the freeze dry guy said he look him over n send back his insides does anyone have some advice

  7. bob says:

    I had a Chi Pug mix that lived to 23 and got hit by a car. 🙁

  8. joseph lewen says:

    My wife has a Chihuahua mix that going to be 21 years old in a month….

  9. 😡 says:

    first of all dog years in human years go by 7

  10. Alana says:

    My chihuahua is 10 years old and she has bad teeth she’s very overweight and has arthritic. How long would you say she is expected to live?

  11. Melissa Mcelaney says:

    My dog is female and six to seven years of age. She has had five pregnancies and may be pregnant again is this normal? She only had one puppy the last three pregnancies. Im so very worried and cant afford too spade her.

  12. chi hua says:


  13. ChiLover says:

    This could probably be adjusted. The current average age of death in female humans in the USA is 81 though counting in males would make it late 70’s but that’s still off some from the chart which has it early 70’s. Seems to me the majority of chihuahuas die about 15. That would make 15 chihuahua years closer to 81 or late 70’s. My current chihuahua has just made it to 16. When asked I told some kids that was probably about the equivalent of being in her 80’s.

  14. Runner says:

    My chihuahua is 16 YRS old. Her hips keeps giving out on her. I have to carry her outside to poop and when she needs to come in
    I pick her up to carry her in…
    I feel like she will be gone by end of winter. What do you think about her life span?

    • Annie says:

      I have a rescue chihuahua, that we think is 12 years old. He is healthy n gets lots of love. He had been kept in a crate for the first 1.5 yrs of life, and is trained on pee pads. I adopted him almost 10 years ago, and suddenly he is pooping all over the house. His diet has not changed, nor has the look and consistency of his poo. He is healthy in every way. Any ideas as to why he might be doing this? Is there a physical cause that this could be? Maybe mental?
      Thanks for any help.

      • Arianna says:

        Is your house carpet. I have a chihuahua that used to mistake the carpet for her training pads. We just didn’t let her around caroet, and put the training pads close to her bed, so she would mistaken any caroet as “her spot.”

      • Don says:

        Hi Annie,

        I don’t have a Chi yet but am looking. Your question was intriguing to me and I would like to know the answer if anyone had replied back to you with such. Kindly forward if you could be so kind to: – Thank you and good luck with your little one..! :o)

      • sandi says:

        my oldest Chi was 14..and she would forget where the door was and would get lost in my fenced in yard…her eye sight was failing and just like old people do,she would forget…maybe your chi is at that stage of his life…my oldest was a rescue…most of her life she was kept in a small cage for breeding,she had a number tattoo in her ear…she lived with me for 4 years…she was a sweetheart..wish I had found her sooner…my heart misses her.

      • Liz says:

        Annie, it’s just that your chi is getting old, they get a little senile. Mine is 12 and she has started going strange places she usually goes on her potty pad.

  15. MMrs Betty James-Simkins says:

    Most interesting, you have answered all of the things I wanted to know. My Vet said the more or less the same, but I wanted to hear from ordinary people who have hands on with their Chi’s. Thank – you for your informative information, we shall now get Portia spayed. x


    Betty James-Simkins ENGLAND U.K x

  16. GKoewing says:

    The chart is not so much incorrect as confusing. If you swap the name of the first column (Age in Human Years) to “Calendar Years” it eliminates any confusion. The “take-home message” of such charts and graphs is that we can look up the average lifespan of a particular species or breed, but with good care and a healthy environment, the FUNCTIONAL age of our animal companions often doesn’t coincide with chronological age in a linear fashion. (Wouldn’t it be great if we humans could live normal, active adult lives until the last 2 or 3 years of our full lifespans? Sign me up!)

  17. tracy neely says:

    How unfortunate I have no proof any more but I adopted my chihuahua with papers and all 10 years ago. Papers were destroyed in the big Texas fire of 2010…but on October 16 my little guy turned 24 years old!

  18. JoydZee says:

    This is just a correlation between a human and a dog based on averages. The fact remains time is relevant and well the dogs life is the same whether it is “dog Years” or not. I do not see the factors of this? but I do understand the segway if you will.

  19. Koen says:


    Interesting article but you have the headers in the table mixed up. Age in human years and age in dog years have to be swapped.


    • Me says:

      No they dont. One year in human years is 15 in dog years.

      • Brenda says:

        I am sorry but think someone needs to seriously check out the age of dogs listed in the chart. My vets have forever told me that to find your dogs real age was to take 7 X his birthday years and that is supposed to be accurate. I am not understanding what this chart is all about.

        • Smilint says:

          Very simple. The life span of a bull mastiff is completely different from that of a chihuahua. Hence age charts differ! Simple!

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