The Pitbull Chihuahua mix combines two very different dogs.
So what can you expect from this curious combination?
And do they make good family pets?
As American Pitbull Terriers and Pitbull mixes continue to grow in popularity, so does exposure to these breeds. And thankfully, with exposure, misinformation seems to be tapering off.
You may or may not be surprised to hear that research and canine authorities alike suggest any aggression or temperament issues you find in a Pitbull Chihuahua mix are more likely to come from the Chihuahua’s family tree than the Pitbull’s.
More about Pitbulls:
Of course, in general, temperament issues are most likely rooted in irresponsible pet ownership rather than any genetic variances (see more in Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Temperament).
That being said, let’s dive into whether or not Pitbull Chihuahuas (AKA Chipits, Pithuahua) are, in fact, a solid choice of pet.
Where Does the Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Come From?
Despite the breed’s name, the American Pitbull Terrier actually has roots in England, Ireland, and Scotland. This is where dog breeders began crossing terriers and bull-baiting dogs in the 1800s.
Immigrants brought many of these cross-breeds to the United States where they were further interbred for the hunting, herding, and companionship purposes.
These became the direct ancestors of the modern American Pitbull Terrier.
In 1898, the American Pitbull Terrier was registered with the United Kennel Club. However, the American Kennel Club does not acknowledge the ‘Pitbull’ as a specific breed.
More recently, Pitbulls have become a somewhat restricted breed. In Kearney, Missouri, for instance, any dog that bears five of eight ‘Pitbull characteristics’ is subject to a city-wide ban.
Chihuahuas have a less certain ancestry.
Both the Aztec and Toltec civilizations had dogs which were used for food, religious purposes, and companionship.
Some theories suggest these were early Chihuahuas, however, no one knows for certain.
Artifacts from the time seem to back this theory.
We don’t know for sure that Chihuahuas came to the United States. But it’s thought to be around the 1800s when tourists started bringing them back from Mexico.
By the 1890s they were in dog shows. And in 1908, the American Kennel Club recognized them as a breed. Them, in 1948 the United Kennel Club followed suit.
There’s a long history of debate in the dog world over the pros and cons of mixed breeds versus purebreds.
An ethical breeder will do their best to root-out any genetic disorders or undesirable personality traits prevalent in certain pure breeds. This will result in a much more predictable pet.
But adopting a mixed-breed dog is always an alternative.
Mixing breeds can add more diversity to a dog’s gene pool, which makes it inherently less likely they will develop a genetic disease.
Additionally, many mixed breeds come from shelters. Adopting a dog from a shelter, as long as you can properly care for it, is always a worthy cause.
Fun Facts About the Pitbull Chihuahua Mix
Although some cities in the United States have banned ‘Pitbulls,’ this is a highly subjective practice.
For instance, Ukraine has banned Labrador Retrievers, an American favorite. Bermuda has also restricted Australian Cattle dogs owing to their ‘aggressive tendencies.’
The influential bandleader Xavier Cugat promoted the Chihuahua breed during his shows, and in his public life, throughout the 1940s and 50s.
Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Appearance
Due to the vast differences in the parent breeds, the appearance of Pitbull Chihuahua mixes can vary greatly.
However, by looking at the characteristics of both breeds, you can still get some idea of what possible combinations you might expect.
The dome-shaped head of the American Pitbull Terrier often brings out the “apple head” of Chihuahuas. Their snouts are generally short but not snubbed.
Some Pitbull Chihuahua heads can appear disproportionately small or large compared to the body.
This mixed-breed usually has a body shaped more like that of the Pitbull—athletic, lean, muscular, and somewhat stocky.
In size, however, they can go either way with most individuals falling into the lower end of the mid-sized range.
You can count on a Pitbull Chihuahua mix to be under 20 inches from its toes to the lower part of its neck. However, some can be much shorter.
Furthermore, if you get them as a puppy it can be difficult to tell exactly what size dog you’ll end up.
Based on the Pitbull’s maximum weight, a healthy Pitbull Chihuahua mix will almost certainly weigh less than sixty pounds.
Again, yours may weigh considerably less than this. My minimum estimate would be around 20 pounds, but that’s really just one pet writer’s guess.
This mix can come in a variety of colors, except for merle, which is not found in either American Pitbull Terriers or Chihuahuas.
I have never come across a Pitbull and long-haired Chihuahua mix in-person or online. However, there is no reason this couldn’t happen.
Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Temperament
Pitbull Chihuahua mixes might seem like an unlikely combination. But when it comes to what’s on the inside, these breeds compliment each other well.
Despite a reputation for nervousness, Chihuahuas are actually quite a confident breed of dog.
They are also highly loyal and usually seek out a large amount of affection. The stereotypical big-dog mentality of the Chihuahua is generally accurate.
Some evidence suggests American Pitbull Terriers are more prone to biting habits than other breeds.
However, several factors likely contribute to biases in American Pitbull Terrier bite rate statistics, including:
- Higher reporting rates compared to other breeds due to perceived danger and breed appearance.
- Misidentification of American Pitbull Terrier and grouping of all similar ‘Pitbull’ breeds.
- Pitbulls are underreported by owners due to restrictions and perceptions which leads to a higher bite-per-dog ratio.
- American Pitbull Terrier breeds attracting irresponsible owners.
This research supports the idea that there aren’t really grounds for characterizing particular breeds as inherently dangerous.
I myself frequently work with various Pitbull mixes at my local animal shelter.
Of the 5–10 Pitbull mixes I have observed, approximately 0.0000% have shown signs of aggression toward myself, other dogs, other adults, or children.
However, readers should note that many experts agree on the genetic predisposition of Pitbulls to resort to aggression when improperly trained and loved.
A parent breed of the American Pitbull Terrier, the English baiting dog, was bred to bite and hold “bulls, bears and other large animals.”
This tendency for aggression may have been exacerbated when this same parent breed was unfortunately later used and selectively bred for dogfighting.
Further, Pitbulls do have a ‘bite-and-hold’ biting style and extremely powerful jaws.
Careful socialization is essential.
Doing so should help to reduce the chances of aggression in your pet.
Combining these two confident, alert breeds will likely result in a dog with a big personality. They will also require frequent exercise and activity.
Experts on both breeds recommend engaging them (and therefore their mixes) in some sort of mental stimulation since both are highly intelligent.
Failing to do so could result in behavioral issues related to boredom.
Although Pitbull mixes are usually cooperative, this mix will probably not be afraid of independence, either. Both breeds possess plenty of confidence and willpower.
A Pitbull Chihuahua mix will probably respond well to rewarding positive reinforcement training methods.
Training Your Pitbull Chihuahua Mix
Training, exercise, and socialization are essential to the wellbeing of any household dog.
This is especially true for the Pitbull Chihuahua mix.
Picture the self-confidence of a Chihuahua, the strength of a Pitbull and the intelligence of both, and you’ll likely have some idea why training this mix is so important.
A Pitbull Chihuahua mix will have plenty of energy that needs to be released in order to maintain good behaviors and habits.
They will need some form of exercise every single day with regular intense exercise. Pitbulls and their mixes generally maintain this energy level without slowing much until very late in life.
As they exercise, look out for hip and joint stiffness in Pitbull Chihuahua mixes (more in Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Health).
Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Health
Chihuahuas have numerous health problems due to their small stature.
The main thing to look out for is dental issues since Chihuahuas often have weak teeth. They are also very prone to joint problems.
Make sure your puppy’s Chihuahua parent has never required dental surgery or intervention for a luxating patella.
Pitbulls can also live into the mid-teens but do have some associated health concerns. Hip dysplasia and other joint issues can occur in American Pitbull Terriers and their mixes.
Pitbulls may also be predisposed to
- thyroid disease
- skin infections
- nerve disease
- cerebellar ataxia
- bladder stones
- cleft lip or cleft palate.
Health screening is hugely important for both potential adoptees and current pets in order to maintain your dog’s wellbeing. This is even more true for breeders.
Does the Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Make a Good Family Dog?
Although American Pitbulls get a bad rap for aggression, they are actually exceedingly kind animals.
Their association with guard dogs may be particularly misplaced, which considers American Pitbull Terriers too friendly with strangers for this type of work.
When combined with the affection, bonding, and loyalty prevalent in Chihuahua’s, it’s no wonder families are seeking out this spunky mixed-breed more and more.
Rescuing a Pitbull Chihuahua Mix
Pitbull Chihuahua mixes would be a good candidate for adoption due to their generally friendly nature. If possible, always try to schedule a home visit before officially adopting a dog.
However, it will be difficult to tell how large your Pitbull Chihuahua mix might grow.
Finding a Pitbull Chihuahua Mix puppy
If you decide to buy a puppy, please be extremely careful to purchase your pup from a reputable breeder. Do not to support pet stores or puppy mills.
Although it may be tempting to rescue a puppy from such a situation, this will only make the problem worse.
It will also likely expose you, your family and others to an unpredictable animal.
This handy step-by-step guide has a trove of information for anyone looking to responsibly buy a puppy.
With the growing popularity of mixes, you shouldn’t have any problem tracking down an ethically sourced Pitbull Chihuahua mix.
Raising A Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Puppy
Raising a puppy is an arduous process but a rewarding one. To help you out here are some great guides for raising and training a puppy.
If you own other animals, especially cats, give this guide a read, as well.
Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Products and Accessories
And you’ll find some of the best toys for Pitbulls here.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Pitbull Chihuahua Mix
Overall, there are many pros to the Pitbull Chihuahua mixed-breed and only a couple of cons.
- Highly loving and affectionate
- Active and energetic
- Aggressive parentage
- Exercise time commitment
Similar Pitbull Chihuahua Mixes and Breeds
The Pitbull Chihuahua Mix may not be right for everybody.
You could also consider the following alternatives if you’re looking for something a bit different:
Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Rescues
While there aren’t any rescues for Pitbull Chihuahuas (yet!), you can check out these awesome resources and rescues for the parent breeds.
Is A Pitbull Chihuahua Mix Right for Me?
If you have the time to exercise and properly train your Pitbull Chihuahua mix then you might enjoy raising or rescuing one.
Make sure that you meet both parents and that they are friendly and relaxed.
And ask to see health checks from them both too.
A good breeder and enthusiastic early socialization will help your puppy to grow into a happy, friendly pet.
Or perhaps, you already own a Pitbull Chihuahua mix? If so, share your story below!
References and Further Reading
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Cohen, Judy, and John Richardson. “Pit Bull Panic.” The Journal of Popular Culture. 2002.
Deldalle S and Gaunet F. 2014. Effects of 2 Training Methods on Stress-Related Behaviors of the Dog (Canis Familiaris) and on the Dog–Owner Relationship. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.11.004
Foreman A et al. 2017. Dogs in the Workplace: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Challenges. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14050498
Lockwood R and Rindy K. 1987. Are ‘Pit Bulls’ Different? An Analysis of the Pit Bull Terrier Controversy. Anthrozoös. DOI: 10.2752/089279388787058713
Sacks JJ et al. 2000. Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. DOI: 10.2460/javma.2000.217.836
Medlin J. 2007. Pitbull Bans and the Human Factors Affecting Canine Behavior. DePaul Law Review.
Clifton M. 2009. Dog Attack Deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada. Animal People.