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.


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

  1. Linda Sanchez says:

    My lol Black bear is a rescue as well . AT THE age of 1yr 8mo. Now 10 we nick named him Bb. My husband loves animals , we have Blue healers+ now Shepsky. We feel for Bb he s just now acting old. He gets plenty attention+ feels he’s in charge of OsO, our Shepsky lol. Lots of love. He s given us. If any one person know out there why wee should give these LITTLE 6lbsers- 8lbs Rabies,shot yearly, we won’t thus yr. Twice we almost lost him . Just a over load. He flys with us ,we made him a emotional support dog my husband & I have to travel to MDA in HUSTON Al has Thyroid recurring cancer. So this last trip Bb had his shots TURNED lethargic, almost did not make it. We also never leave him he goes every where we go also has a car seat to view our travel. So please let me know this year I refuse to put him thru Rabies but every 3 years. His system can not handle this at age10.

  2. Leasa says:

    I have two chihuahuas now. I had one, named Sheka, that passed away in 2012. She had been deaf and blind for a couple of years. No one could believe she was tho, because she would maneuver around the house and yard with no problems. Unless we had kids here and they left toys out. She went through a stage of depression when she went blind for about 2 months, I thought I would have to put her down because she got SO DEPRESSED, and I couldn’t communicate with her anymore other than touch. But she bounced back and did fine. Until diabetes started shutting her kidneys down FAST!! she was only 6.
    Shortly after she passed, my daughter and I decided we wanted to save another chihuahua from the humane society. We adopted a 4 year old girl who we named Bella, or should we say, she chose us!! She came from a very bad breeder. Apparently, the owner kicked her in the face and knocked all of her teeth out accept one cute little snaggle tooth, broke her nose and jaw, broke her hips. The vet said she had way too many litters of puppies. We saw her and she was so stressed being in the pound, there was no way we were leaving her there! At first we couldn’t have her around people, especially little kids!!! Couldn’t let anyone be around her with food. We were taking a big chance with her. I worked a lot with her. Now she is the best dog ever. Everyone loves her. She’s the kids favorite. You can take food right out of her mouth. She loves snuggles from everyone and kisses on the head from kids!
    She’s 9 now. Completely deaf and blind except shadows😢. When I first took her to vet they guessed her age but they said it was hard to tell since she didn’t have teeth. But they said since she was so severely abused that took many years off her life. She has been losing weight like crazy!! And sleeps non stop and doesn’t move very well. Also sometimes won’t even take treats. I worry she won’t be here much longer with us. I think these 5 years that she’s been with us, at least I hope, she has forgotten the life she had before. We always say she is our little princess from the Cinderella story!

  3. Janette says:

    I had 4 amazing chihuahuas Angel, Brownie, Omey & Buddie. The love these lil guys give to their owners is Angel passed on June 2017, Brownie passed on jan. 2, 2018 & since then i havent been the same. Im so glad that i still have my Buddie & Omey they helped me get thru it.

  4. Susie Whiting says:

    I have a 16 yo long haired chi. He was given to me by my daughter and her family. They got him for their family, but he loved me more. He was meant to be with me. He has been an emotional support after the death of my husband and son. He actually knows when I’m feeling bad, and comes over and snuggles down next to me. He has congestive heart failure but is on medication and the vet says he is doing well. His breath is so bad because of teeth that cannot be cared for. The vet says he wouldn’t come out of anesthesia. I keep him as comfortable as possible and feed him foods he is capable of eating. I love him so much. I too cannot understand how anyone could mistreat animals so capable of so much love!

    • Adell says:

      I agree they are so sweet and loving how could anyone hurt them or any animal. I have had 2 lived til 14 now have a little girl. Suzi 4 Year’s.

    • Carol Sykes says:

      I have a female long haired Chihuahua that I found on a busy street and could not track down the owner. I took her to my vet and she determined that she was one year old. She is now 18. She had a litter of puppies by a Boston terrier who got in my yard via the neighbors broken gate and we kept one. Then she was spayed as was the puppy when he was old enough. She is now 18. She has a hip problem which slows her down when she first gets up and she is almost deaf and is getting cataracts. She sleeps a lot but when she goes outside with the other dog she skips around like a little lamb. She is a very sweet dog and loves everyone.

  5. Peggy says:

    I just adopted a nine year old Chi. She was being picked on by her owners other dogs so she started to look for a new home for her. I was the one she chose . I have had a lot of dogs, taught obedience, but never had a chi before. This dog is the love of my life, she loves everyone, barks when she has to go outside, and is a complete joy to own.

    I don’t know if I could have given her up but I am so glad that she did. She did such a great job working with her and her other four chi’s. They are all wonderfully trained. She has come to see he to make sure she made th right choice. This little dog will be ith u the rest of her life, In the case of something happening to us my grandson and his wife have asked o take her. God has been good to the dog and my husband and m.

  6. Helen says:

    I rescued a Male Chihuahua about 6 years ago. It was obvious he was abused. He was left on the balcony of an apartment complex, when the family moved. My daughter picked him up one night after getting off work as a Health Care Worker. She said, ” Mom do you want him,I am a softy, can’t stand people who abuse animals ( wonder if they abuse their children)so naturally, I said Yes”. I named him Jack, don’t ask me why, I have no idea?
    He is starting to show aggression and growls a lot. Is very territorial about his kennel, HIS HOME, HE LOVES, VERY Personal about it, even with me. But, sometimes when he dreams, he cries and whimpers and I think that someone has hurt him, for being aggressive. But, he has given me many hours of smiles and happiness.
    Please just love them, regardless their behavior. That is really all they want!! The vet, at time of (day after I got him) said he was young, so I have had him approximately 5-6 years, he would be that old. I am going to have in my living will, that Anna’s Dog Spot hotel take him. She rescues Chihuahua’s and I think letting even the family members would not understand him? And my daughter Jenny, would be the one I would appoint, but she has a 6 year old and an almost 2 year old February 10, 2018. They would love him, but I can not take the chance he might bite them. If there is anyone out there in this blog yhat has a similar situation, please respond

    • Peggy says:

      I’m blessed with a 16 year 5 month old blind and deaf chihuahua named Sugar. I bred him so I know his whole health history:. He lost his front teeth after being boarded at a veterinary kennel by getting abscesses from chewing wire cage. Couldn’t stand being cooped up. Needless to say he never has stayed at any other boarding kennel. I get a relative to house sit. He is the joy of my life! I even dream about him. My other 4 chis leave him alone mostly as he wonders around my property, supervised by me. He went blind and deaf about 2 years ago but knows every inch of home. If you have a senior Chi remember to feed frequent small meals with good protein and carbs. Don’t let them get malnourished. Frequent check ups and labs can help maintain health too! Sugar is 5 lbs so I watch his weight carefully and his labs as liver and kidney disease can happen fast. We owe our senior dogs quality of life and stress free home environment for all the love they gave and continue to give. Good luck folks enjoy your senior Chi, Happy 2018!

    • Adela says:

      My husband brought me a chi so adorable last year whenbibgot out ofvthe hospital after having a strock and he has been my companion in everything i love him so much tito is his name love your dogs they are the best friends anyone could have

  7. Angelo and Lilly says:

    My girlfriend and I just rescued a 3 yr old female Chihuahua from the A.R.L. other than having the Reverse-Sneezing issue when she gets excited, Iris our Chi is very healthy. We feel Blessed to have her and she is like a little joyous fur ball. Dogs are so loving and forgiving and all they seek is your love!!. May Iris live long and healthy a life for we will always be there for her.

  8. Cheryl says:

    I got my male chi at 2.5 years old. At 3 he got gum disease. He will not let me brush his teeth what little are left now at age 7. I get cleanings once a year. What more can I be doing to give him optimal health? Also, he is intact. I am thinking about getting a female chi to keep him company. Is he too old for a puppy being around? Will this impact his health in a positive or negative way? He has been without a partner for several years now.

  9. Noah says:

    I have a lovely, healthy, beautiful long haired chihuahua hula who is 13 years old ! He is my baby boy and I love him so much ! He only has about 2 teeth but that’s because they were pulled by a vet a few years ago cause they were no good, he is completely good and healthy though and is predicted to have many more years ! He is healthy, beautiful coat, playful, active and eats like a king ! I hope everyone’s chis are good !!! <3

  10. Holly says:

    I have a adorable female Chihuahua which adopted about six months ago. She is an older dog with an eye disease where her immune system has caused he eyes to no longer produce tears.
    She has to be given three expensive types of eye medications three times a day to keep her from going blind.
    Therefore, she is an older, disabled, expensive, high-maintenance dog and I love her to pieces. I am not rich but I have an account which is just for her medical costs. She is worth every cent and is an adorable snuggle bug who is devoted to me and follows me all around the house
    The point is, I knew th expense and the high-maintenance going into this adoption. I saw her photo on the rescue website and I fell in love with her and with the description of her personality as given by her foster mother.. Her foster mother was so glad that she found someone to adopt her who would take good care of her.
    Reading some of the comments on this website, I have become alarmed at the people who have dogs who cannot afford to have them spayed, who don’t know how to administer medicine to them, who put them in the freezer, etc. It makes me want to cry because dogs are so vulnerable and loving and depend on us to take care of them.
    But I am encouraged by the people who love and take care of their dogs into old age.

    Please don’t adopt a dog if you cannot afford to have them spayed, which also means you probably cannot take them to the Vet regularly for vaccinations, or yearly check-ups, or pay for any serious illness or condition which they may develop. That’s the facts of life and dogs, like children, need responsible parents.

  11. Adele white says:

    Hi my chauiauwa is 17 blind deaf but still loves to eat and. Love her so much she has such a big heart still very determined

  12. Ryley says:

    My chihuahua mix is 10 poor boy has had a hard life he has only one eye(he got a cat scratch from our friends cat and it got infected when we took him to the pot holes on our island)
    He also had a few teeth removed one recently almost killed him
    Seriously i hope he lasts at least another 3 years but the other people are insane keeping a blind and deaf dog is horrible….
    If my boy goes any further and something big happens yeah i will put him down but only because it is the best for him not me i saw acceptance in his eyes when he looked like a dead dog(a month or so ago this happened) and i mean come on people accepting death is part of life…..i did accept my dog was going to die but he came home! I am happy i didn’t put him down but you got to also realize you aren’t in control of this stuff
    I just find people to be cruel when trying to be gods or trying to control fate
    It is what it is

    I am just glad everything is back to normal and Jake(My chihuahua mix) is alive…..

  13. Pablo Rodriguez says:

    I own the world’s oldest Chihuahua. He is 23 years old.

    • Lorrie Lynam says:

      I have a female who is 20 yrs

    • Tabi Smith says:

      May i ask what u have done to make him live so long?.. my casey (long haird chi) is turning 8 in July and im just wonder how to make her live a long life she has had all her shots, she is fixed, i take her to the vet 1-5times a year (when she gets a cold or acts funny) she is 5 or 6 lb, she will not let me brush her teeth so that not good, and she is pretty lazy but i play a game with her everyday its like tug a war she gets very hiper when we play it but most of the time she sleeps and cuddles with me shes the love of my life and if u could give me some info to prolong her life i would greatly appreciate it

  14. Tina says:

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I rescued an elderly Chi in February that was dying in the middle of the road. He was malnourished, had severe flea bite dermatitis and resistant infections. Upon xrays, he has an old broken nose, jaw, tail and injured spine. He has a chip that says he is 11, but the vets originally thought he was around 17 and at the end of life. Well…with alot of love and nutritional support, this little guy has made a full recovery, with exception to chronic sinus issues, and is running around like a spring chicken. He is so happy and full of love. I am so lucky to have found him and I am hoping to have him around for a very long time. It is my first time owning a Chi and this little breed is such a delight!❤

  15. Ian says:

    We have a 21 year old Chihuahua in December 26th

    • Tanja says:

      That’s amazing my lil girl just turned 14
      I’d give anything to have her another Seven years

    • Holly says:

      To Tina, who rescued the Chi who was near death. Bless your heart. That makes me so happy to hear stories like that. You are a guardian angel to that little one. Your story reminds me of my adoption of my Chi, but not so amazing. I really think that they know that we have rescued them and they are grateful and return our love to us.

  16. Kat says:

    I have a Mexican hairless chihuahua. His name is chillie and he will be 20 in May of 2018. Chillie is blind and deaf but he still gets around. I give him cut tiny tiny pieces of apples,cooked carrots, and he loves it. He sleeps a lot but he still with us. Chillie sister xena was 18 when she died. We miss her so much. My dogs are not outdoor dogs at night or do they run at a dog park. There very spoiled . They get Walks everyday and Vet checks. Just one thing for all chihuahua owners. Love them and keep them safe. I live coyote country and it’s not safe. Good luck.

  17. says:

    We have an amazing chihuahua mix she’s around 21 y/o my bf saved her in 97 from being hit by a car…
    We don’t know her exact age but we know that our love for her is definitely one of the things keeping her strong….
    She is amazing and love her to bits.

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