Do Chihuahuas Bark A Lot?
[Everything you need to know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Chihuahuas are cute companions that are fun and loving; however, if you’re considering adopting one of these adorable pups, you may have a few questions about their yapping. 

While the yappy stereotype can be true, excessive barking can be caused by a host of different reasons and will differ from dog to dog. Most Chihuahuas do tend to bark a lot and bark quite loudly, and luckily this isn’t a sign that something is wrong. 

If you own a Chihuahua and are worried that they’re barking too much or want to train them to become less yappy, don’t fear, certain training methods can help with excessive barking. While this can be an option, it’s important to remember that barking and general yappy noise are natural to the Chihuahua breed, and it can’t be completely stopped. 

Here’s our research into why Chihuahuas bark so much and what you can do as dog owners to help them!

How Often Do Chihuahuas Bark?

This is the most common question regarding Chihuahuas; many ask this just before they commit to adopting one. It’s also a difficult question to answer since Chihuahuas don’t bark non-stop; however, they do bark more frequently than other breeds. 

Like all breeds, each Chihuahua has its personality, and this will lend them to barking more or less than expected. Some will have more energy, and some will be more laid back when barking is due to the dog’s personality training can be used to help, but if it’s in their nature to bark, then this can be hard to stop! Dog owners will know their pet best, only be worried when their personality completely changes. 

However, many factors can cause more barking than usual, and these can be causing problems with a Chihuahua no matter what their temperament is like. 

Why Does My Chihuahua Bark At Nothing?

Sometimes Chihuahua owners complain that their dog seems to be barking at nothing, this may seem like an impossible issue to resolve, but there could be a real reason behind it. 

Like most dogs, Chihuahuas have a very developed sense of smell, hearing, and sight and can sense more than we can. So, if your Chihuahua seems to be yapping at thin air, it could be a smell or noise that you don’t pick up on!

Why Does My Chihuahua Bark At Strangers And Other Dogs?

There are a few different reasons that could be causing your Chihuahua to bark at others. This could be fear, territory, or even excitement. It’s always important to identify why your Chihuahua is barking before you attempt to train the behavior; if you’re unsure what the root of the barking is, you can always consult a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian for some professional advice. 

If fear is the cause of the barking, it can be important to review who makes your Chihuahua feel this way. Make sure you’re not accidentally leaving your pup in situations where they feel vulnerable, this can cause them to feel scared, and the barking will start. Try holding your Chihuahua when they get scared or ask the other dog owner (or person being barked at) to keep a little distance to calm your Chihuahua down. If you repeat this process, your dog may become more confident as they get used to the other person. 

If it seems like your Chihuahua is trying to guard their territory by barking at other dogs, it’s often best to remove them from the territory or remove the resource they’re guarding. By doing this, you essentially teach your pup that guarding things by barking loudly isn’t good, and it reinforced “if you guard it, you lose it.” If your Chihuahua stops the excessive barking and behaves well, they can have their territory back. This can help reinforce good social behaviors and will limit excessive barking patterns. 

When the excitement is the cause of barking at others, you need to prevent them from becoming over-excited when they meet other dogs/people. This can be prevented by playing with them or giving them their favorite treats before meeting any other dogs. They’ll have already been excited and will be calmer for the new interaction. Ensure that they don’t meet their friends while they’re in a state of excessive barking; this is difficult as they’re excited, but letting them get into the yappy state will reinforce it as good behavior to them. 

If you want your Chihuahua to stop barking, make sure you look for any of these causes before treating the issue. 

Does It Depend On Their Personality?

All dog breeds have certain personality traits and stereotypes that differ from one to the next, but are these the complete truth?

Chihuahuas and their barking habits are a breed expectation; that’s why you may have already heard about how yappy they can be. This breed expectation is accurate most of the time; however, that doesn’t make them bad dogs. Like any dog breed, Chihuahuas are loving and fun! Some may find their barking more undesirable than others, which is why it’s essential to research them before adopting. 

Most Chihuahuas have a lot of energy, they’re fun-loving and frantic at times, but this is why we love them. Despite their energy, they can also be lazy at times, and they’re intensely loyal too; you don’t need a giant backyard or time for excessive walks to look after one. 

Not everyone realizes how loyal Chihuahuas are. They often direct their love to a select few people (usually their caregivers), creating a great bond between them and their family members. This also means they’re less enthusiastic about meeting strangers and other dogs, resulting in them expressing this through a lot of barking. 

Always note that each Chihuahua will have a different personality, and their temperament isn’t guaranteed. While stereotypes are usually genuine, your Chihuahua may be the exception! If you invest time and patience in training or consult a professional, the problem barking can generally be nipped in the bud.

What Makes A Chihuahua Yappy?

If your Chihuahua is constantly yapping, the key to solving the problem is working out what they’re trying to communicate with you. Sometimes people assume their excessive barking doesn’t mean anything as this is what the breed is known for; however, more often than not, it’s their way of talking to you. 

Here are some of the main reasons a Chihuahua will excessively bark at you:

Feeling Threatened

If your Chihuahua is feeling like they’re being threatened or that they need to guard their territory, they will express it through barking. Chihuahua’s loyalty is a positive trait, but this personality trait will also lead them to be very territorial. They don’t like strangers or other dogs using their resources! 

Also, most small dogs, including Chihuahuas, don’t realize how small they are. Chihuahuas sometimes scare larger dogs away with their sheer confidence and barking. When you apply this to their territorial barking, it’s no surprise they bark excessively to guard their possessions or to keep strangers from entering their home. In some cases, they even bark at families entering the house if they’re surprised; it’s just their defense mechanism as they’re small. 


Unlike other dog breeds, Chihuahuas don’t need as much physical stimulation. Walks and playtime can be shorter for these pups; however, they can’t be missed as they need to release their pent-up energy. Dog owners need to make sure that they cater to playtime as well as exercise!

What Chihuahuas do need is mental stimulation to be satisfied; this is why they love being played with and being the center of attention. Even though they don’t need lots of space, they do need a toy or a ball to play with to keep them occupied. If they don’t get enough mental stimulation, they can end up feeling bored and will bark because there’s nothing else to do. 


All dog breeds will bark when excited, and Chihuahuas are no exception! Like humans, they celebrate their joy with noise, and this is a good thing. So don’t worry if your Chihuahua starts barking like crazy when the dog treats come out – this is a natural response! This also happens when they see their family members, so it can be a compliment too. 

Taught Behavior

Unfortunately, sometimes excessive barking is something we accidentally teach our dogs. If you always run and pick your Chihuahua up when they whine or bark, it will teach them that excessive barking is the way to get your attention. Since Chihuahuas love attention, whining and crying will become more common as they learn it will get you over to them! Make sure not to pander to every whimper from your Chihuahua to stop any taught behavior. 

How Can I Get My Chihuahua To Stop Barking?

Though barking is natural to Chihuahuas, it can be lessened with some home training. Note that you cannot stop their barking completely – this isn’t in their nature and wouldn’t be healthy for them. However, there are tools to limit the frequency of barks to make your life easier. 

Here are some helpful tips to limit excessive barking:

Socialize Your Chihuahua

Socialization is important for any dog, especially when they’re puppies. This prepares them for life living around other dogs and people; it can reduce anxiety and improve confidence around others. 

Ensure your Chihuahua is used to being around family members from a young age; this teaches them that not every new encounter is scary. An excellent way to do this is to slowly introduce them to people and dogs and initially keep them at a far distance. Over time slowly make the interactions more casual until your Chihuahua seems at ease with newcomers. 

This can be done by taking them on walks, introducing them to other pets, and meeting friends and family. Observe their reaction, and if the excessive barking starts, you may need to slow down until they’re at ease. 

Address Any Medical Issues

While there are numerous reasons for Chihuahuas to be constantly yapping, it could signal an underlying medical issue or discomfort. Since Chihuahuas are small dogs, their barks will be naturally higher, and this can make it hard to distinguish a yap from a painful cry. High pitched barks are normal within the breed, so it can be hard to tell a high-pitched bark apart from a yelp.  If nothing helps your Chihuahua’s yapping problem, it may be time to get them checked out by a vet to rule out any physical issues they might be trying to tell you about.  

Try A Professional Training Programme

While there are many home methods and regimes you can try, specialist or local training classes are always helpful for solving Chihuahua problem behaviors. Books can also be a great source to help stop any issues with yapping – but as always, check with a professional dog trainer if you’re unsure of any of the information!

Keep Them Entertained

Chihuahuas need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them entertained. Before adopting one of these cute pups, make sure you’ve researched how to provide their needs well to make sure they’ll thrive in your company. 

Toys can be a great way to provide them with mental stimulation and avoid boredom caused by excessive barking. Dog toys that incorporate healthy treats can be a great way to keep your Chihuahua entertained for hours! Always make sure to give them enough space to play when you’re not around. 

Do Not Encourage Cries For Attention

Finally, avoid encouraging their whines and barks that are for attention. This can be hard when you love your Chihuahua lots, but it’s for the best as you don’t want to accidentally reinforce yapping as the only way to get your attention – this conditions them to bark and cry for you. 

The Takeaway

Chihuahuas are known for excessive barking and yapping, a trait that can be managed with good training and a healthy lifestyle. Always remember that they don’t mean any harm through their yapping – it’s just their way of communicating! 

Setting ground rules and promoting healthy behaviors from puppyhood is the best way to cement what is polite behavior to a Chihuahua. If the excessive barking persists or something seems wrong, always consult a veterinarian to make sure your Chihuahua is healthy. 

There are solutions and tips to control yapping, but remember, you can’t get rid of it completely! A happy and healthy Chihuahua will always make noise, and that’s why we love them.