a dog being walked along a lake.

With their small stature but feisty attitude, it can be difficult to figure out how much exercise a chihuahua needs. Not only do they need different amounts of exercise depending on their life stage, but also on their individual personality. One dog might have to be dragged off the couch for a stroll, while others may be unfazed by a 10-mile hike.

Since exercise is so individualized, here’s a few tips on how to measure the amount of exercise your chihuahua needs.

Young Pups and Older Chihuahuas

Puppies and seniors have different needs compared to an adult dog. A puppy should never be taken for very long walks, go jogging with you, or asked to jump outside of their own play because their joints are still developing. Stick to gentle walks of no more than 5 minutes per month of age until they are fully grown. Chihuahuas reach full growth at about one year of age, to give you an idea.

Seniors also need gentler walks than the average dog because of arthritis and other health conditions. You’ll want to aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day but broken up into shorter walks instead of long bouts of exercise. The goal is more relaxation and mental health for older dogs, rather than exercise to burn energy.

If your pet is very unfit due to age or infirmity, the AKC recommends 15 minutes a day as part of their FitDog program.

Healthy Adult Dogs

The Kennel Club recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day for all breeds of dog, at the minimum. This means a good long walk every day to stretch muscles, smell the scents, and stimulate their busy little brains.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be unable to do sports or go for that hike. It means that even if your pet prefers to remain glued to her pillow, she still needs to exercise.

If you’re wondering how much is too much for your chihuahua, the good news is that many chihuahua owners report their dogs being able to walk for miles, hike, and compete in intense sports such as agility just fine.

Maximum potential

Most chihuahuas are flexible about their energy needs. They’re delighted to go for a walk or a hike, but are also just as happy snuggling on the couch watching a movie. It’s hard to believe that a small breed that has to scamper to keep up with a brisk walk from their owners is capable of being a sports dog, but it turns out chihuahuas can handle just about anything.

To find out more about the exercise regimens for one of the top dogs in the United States, we turned to Donna Britain, the owner of RACH Temple & Phipps’ Angel Gets Her Wings RM5, RAE4, TKP, CGC. Angel has an incredible 103 titles and still counting. She has competed in Rally, Agility, Parkour, as well as hiking and walking activities.

Regarding her exercise routine, Donna says, “I work her (Angel) for about 10-15 minutes per day, 6 days a week. I change up sports between Rally, Obedience and Dog Parkour, so she doesn’t get bored. When the weather permits, I’ll walk her for about 15 minutes through our neighborhood. She also plays with her companion, my Rat Terrier, Yoda, during the day while I’m at work.

“Although Chihuahuas don’t need as much exercise as a larger-breed dog, they DO need to work, to prevent obesity and heart problems. I like to call them a big dog in a small package, and they love having a “job” to do!”

Chihuahuas can also be taken on hikes without issue. If the dog is older, you may want to bring along a backpack designed for carrying dogs. We like this style so he can still enjoy the sights and smells of the hike.

Safety First

If your pet has a few pounds to shed, or you’re starting a new exercise program, it’s always best to see your vet first. Chihuahuas are prone to heart problems, and chihuahuas with smaller muzzles can sometimes deal with breathing issues. Talking over an exercise program with your vet first will help keep your pet safe, and give you an idea of where to start.

No matter where you start, both you and your chihuahua will benefit from going for a walk. Even 15 minutes a day can make a big difference in your dogs health and mental well-being.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

One thought on “How Much Exercise does a Chihuahua need?”
  1. […] Daily walkies are an important part of any Chihuahua’s life—until the snow gets up past their ears. It’s already hard enough getting them to go potty outside when the temperature drops below 60, walks are pretty much out of the question when there’s a mountain of snow to trek across. If you’re stuck inside, here’s how to entertain your dog during a blizzard. […]

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