Beagle vs. Chihuahua: Comparing Two Popular Breeds


Choosing a dog breed can be a complex decision for a prospective pet owner. Comparing two popular breeds in detail can help you decide between a beagle and a chihuahua. Among the many breeds available, the beagle and chihuahua stand out for their distinctive traits and compatibility with different owners.

The beagle has a joyful demeanor and enjoys companionship. In contrast, the chihuahua is smaller in stature yet large in personality, often becoming strongly bonded to you as an owner.

The origins and histories of these breeds are as different as their physical characteristics. Developed in England for hunting, beagles have a keen sense of smell and tracking ability. Chihuahuas hail from Mexico and are thought to be descendants of an ancient breed, the techichi.

Regarding physicality, beagles typically have a harmonious build and a moderate shedding coat, while chihuahuas have a smaller frame and fewer outdoor exercise requirements. Their temperaments also differ, with beagles being outgoing and friendly and chihuahuas being lively yet potentially more reserved with strangers.

Beagles and chihuahuas each present unique considerations regarding their health and expected lifespan. Beagles may experience certain hereditary conditions, just as chihuahuas might, albeit different ones.

Additionally, they each come with distinct care and exercise needs that can influence the overall experience of ownership. Knowing these nuances will help in making an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle.


  • Beagles are a joyous, medium-sized breed suited for active families, while chihuahuas offer a big personality in a small package, ideal for closer companionship.
  • Beagles have a strong heritage as scent hounds with greater exercise needs, whereas chihuahuas emphasize a comfortable indoor lifestyle with fewer physical activity requirements.
  • Prospective owners should consider each breed’s specific health, lifespan, and care needs to ensure a compatible match for their household.

Breed Origin and History

The beagle and chihuahua have rich and distinct histories from England and Mexico, respectively. Various kennel clubs have recognized both, and they have evolved to become popular pets, each with its unique traits.

Beagle Origins

The beagle is a breed with a lineage tracing back to England, where it was developed primarily as a hunting dog. Its history is intertwined with the pursuit of small game, and it is believed to have existed since Roman times.

Chihuahua Origins

chihuahuas originate from Mexico, and their history is often associated with the ancient Aztec civilization. While their exact origins are mysterious, they are widely acknowledged as one of the smallest breeds and a national symbol of Mexico.

Breed Recognition

The Kennel Club in England officially recognized the beagle as a purebred in the 19th century. The chihuahua was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.

Popularity and Evolution

Beagles have consistently ranked among the top popular breeds in the United States. Chihuahuas also enjoy popularity, often due to their tiny size and status as a fashion symbol.

Distinctive Features and Size

  • Beagles: Typically small to medium, 13-16 inches in height and 20-30 pounds in weight. Because of their small size, only slightly larger than a French Bulldog, some people call this breed a pocket beagle.
  • Chihuahuas: Known for their tiny stature, they stand about 6-9 inches and weigh around 3-6 pounds.

Color Variations

Beagles come in various color combinations, including black, red, lemon, white, and tan. Chihuahuas also have a diverse palette of colors, such as black, white, tan, blue, brown, and more.

Temperament and Personality

  • Beagles have friendly and curious temperaments, with high-energy levels perfect for play.
  • Chihuahuas are known for their alert and spirited personality, sometimes showing an independent streak.

Common Health Concerns

Both breeds face health challenges.

  • Beagles: Prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and cherry eye.
  • Chihuahuas: Can suffer from health issues such as hypoglycemia, patellar luxation, and hydrocephalus.

Exercise and Training

Beagles require regular exercise due to their energy and enjoyment of various activities. Chihuahuas, while less demanding, need daily exercise to stay healthy. Both breeds are trainable but may have distinct challenges.

Care and Grooming

  • Beagles: Possess a short coat that requires minimal grooming yet sheds moderately.
  • Chihuahuas: May have a short or long coat that needs regular grooming to avoid tangles.

Living Environment

Beagles adapt well to homes with yards where they can explore. Given their small size, chihuahuas are suitable for apartment living but need a warm environment.

Lifespan and Development

  • Beagles: Typically live for 12-15 years.
  • Chihuahuas: Often enjoy a longer lifespan, ranging from 14-16 years or more.

Breed-Specific Traits

Beagles have a strong prey drive and are known for their vocal nature. Chihuahuas are often regarded as excellent watchdogs and, despite their size, have a bold and protective temperament.

Beagle vs. Chihuahua Physical Characteristics

When comparing beagles and chihuahuas, distinct physical characteristics such as size, coat type, and coloring set them apart, catering to different preferences of potential dog owners.

Size Comparison

Beagles typically stand between 13 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 20 to 30 pounds. In contrast, chihuahuas are considerably smaller, standing 5 to 8 inches tall and weighing a mere 3 to 6 pounds.

Coat Types

The beagle has a short, dense coat that provides good resistance to the elements. In comparison, the chihuahua may have either a short or a long coat, with the long-coated variety requiring more grooming.

Shedding and Grooming

Beagles shed moderately but regularly throughout the year. Chihuahuas shed less than beagles if they have a short coat, but long-coated chihuahuas may shed as much, if not more, and require regular brushing.

Color Patterns

Beagles come in a variety of colors, including tri-color (black, brown, and white), red and white, and lemon. Chihuahuas also have a wide color range, including black, white, fawn, chocolate, and silver.

Breed Distinguishing Features

Beagles are recognized by their floppy ears and expressive eyes, contributing to their friendly appearance. Chihuahuas have distinctive apple-shaped heads and erect ears, which give them alert expressions. Each breed possesses a unique charm that is easily recognizable.

Behavioral Traits and Temperament

When comparing beagles and chihuahuas, it’s essential to consider their distinct behavioral traits and temperaments. Both breeds have unique characteristics that may suit different family environments and lifestyles. If you want to consider a beagle mix, you will also find a dog with quite a few advantageous traits.

Energy and Playfulness


  • Energy level: High. Beagles are energetic, needing regular exercise to keep fit and prevent boredom, but they don't need as much stimulation as an Australian cattle dog or even a golden retriever.
  • Playfulness: Very playful. Beagles enjoy interactive games and thrive in environments where they can explore and sniff.


  • Energy level: Moderate. Chihuahuas have bursts of energy and are content with short play sessions.
  • Playfulness: Moderately playful. Chihuahuas enjoy being engaged in activities but can also be quite content relaxing with their owners.

Guarding and Protection


  • Guarding: Low. Beagles are not typically used for guarding due to their friendly nature.
  • Protection: Low to moderate. Beagles may bark at strangers but are generally welcoming once they know there’s no threat.


  • Guarding: Moderate. Chihuahuas can be territorial and may bark at unfamiliar people or sounds.
  • Protection: Moderate; despite their small size, they can be quite fearless and protective of their owners.

Interaction with Family and Pets


  • Family dog: Yes. Beagles are known as excellent family pets that are good with children.
  • Pet friendly: Yes. Beagles are sociable with other dogs and pets if socialized properly from a young age.


  • Family dog: Conditional. They can be suitable for families but are often better with older children who understand how to be gentle.
  • Pet friendly: Conditional. They can get along with other pets, but their small size and sometimes jealous nature require careful introductions and monitoring.

Training and Intelligence


  • Training: Moderate difficulty. Beagles are known to be stubborn, requiring patience and consistency.
  • Intelligence: Smart. They are clever but are sometimes led by their noses, which can distract them during training sessions.


  • Training: Moderate. They can be trained effectively with positive reinforcement and consistent methods.
  • Intelligence: Smart. Chihuahuas are quick learners and can perform well in various dog sports and activities.

Adaptability to Living Environments


  • Adaptability: Moderate. They adapt well to various living conditions but do best with space to roam and explore.
  • Apartment living: Conditional. It is possible if they have sufficient daily exercise to release their energy.


  • Adaptability: High. Chihuahuas are adaptable and can thrive in different homes, including apartments.
  • Apartment living: Ideal. Their small size makes them well-suited to apartment living, provided they get regular interaction and short walks.

Health and Lifespan

When comparing beagles and chihuahuas, it’s crucial to consider how health issues, lifespan, exercise, diet, and special care affect each breed’s overall well-being.

Common Health Issues

Beagles often face health challenges such as hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly, and epilepsy. They may also experience obesity if their diet and exercise aren’t managed properly.

Chihuahuas are predisposed to issues like hydrocephalus, commonly known as water on the brain, and patellar luxation, where the kneecap dislocates. They can also suffer from hypoglycemia, especially when they are puppies.

Breed Lifespan

Beagles generally enjoy a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, staying active well into their senior years with proper care.

Due to their smaller size and resilient nature, chihuahuas have a longer average lifespan of 12 to 20 years.

Exercise Needs

Beagles possess a high energy level and need ample exercise, at least an hour daily, to maintain good health and avoid obesity.

Chihuahuas, while energetic, require much less exercise. Due to their diminutive size, they often fare well with 30 to 45 minutes of daily activity.

Diet and Nutrition

For beagles, a balanced diet that prevents obesity and supports their active lifestyle is critical. Portion control and quality dog food tailored to their life stage can help mitigate dog health risks.

Chihuahuas need a diet formulated for small breeds to address their energy needs and potential for hypoglycemia. Regular meals are necessary to keep their blood sugar stable.

Special Care and Considerations

Beagles may need grooming to manage shedding and regular ear checks to prevent infections, which are common due to their floppy ears.

Chihuahuas may require dental care to prevent problems that can arise from their small mouths. Due to their short coats, they also need protection against cold weather.

Each breed has specific needs, and awareness of these is essential for maintaining their health and extending their lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Potential pet owners frequently inquire about differences in size, temperament, grooming needs, health, friendliness, and affection levels when choosing between a beagle and a chihuahua. This section addresses these common questions to aid in making an informed decision.

What size differences exist between beagles and chihuahuas?

Beagles, like the American foxhound, typically stand between 13 and 15 inches tall and weigh 20 to 30 pounds. In contrast, a chihuahua dog is much smaller, usually standing 6 to 9 inches tall and weighing 2 to 6 pounds.

How does the temperament of a beagle compare to that of a chihuahua?

Beagles are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, and they often get along well with children and other pets. Although loyal and affectionate with their owners, Chihuahuas can be more reserved and display a feisty, terrier-like temperament.

Can beagles be considered high maintenance in terms of grooming and care?

A beagle dog has a short coat that requires moderate grooming. They are known for shedding and need regular exercise to prevent obesity. By contrast, chihuahuas have either a short or long coat with varying grooming needs. Generally, they require less physical activity. For grooming, neither breed will compare to the wooly coat of a Bernese mountain dog or a border collie, but they both require some grooming work from you as the owner.

Which breed is generally regarded as healthier, beagles or chihuahuas?

Both of these popular dog breed options have unique health concerns. Beagles can be prone to obesity, ear infections, and hip dysplasia, while chihuahuas may face health issues like dental problems and patellar luxation. However, on average, chihuahuas have a longer lifespan than beagles. Either way, purchasing pet insurance is worth considering.

Are beagles typically considered more friendly than other dog breeds?

Beagles are one of the friendlier dog breeds, making them suitable companions for families and active individuals. They are among the favorite dog breeds for many dog owner candidates.

Do beagles generally enjoy cuddling and close contact with their owners?

Being social and affectionate dogs, beagles typically enjoy engaging in cuddling and close contact with their owners, which helps strengthen their bond.

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