Why Does a Chihuahua Shake?

By Theresa Bettmann

Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, yet what they lack in size, they make up with personality. These tiny dogs stand 6 to 10 inches tall, and average 6 lbs. Chihuahuas becoming quite attached to their owners, but take some time warming up to new people. This makes socializing and obedience training critical for a well-adjusted dog. Chihuahuas are prone to certain health conditions like patella luxation, hypoglycemia, dental problems, heart problems and eye problems. However, their shaking or shivering behavior has little or nothing to do with health.

Excess Energy

Resist the urge to carry them everywhere because Chihuahuas need lots of exercise.

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Chihuahuas are exuberant dogs with an abundance of energy. Often they simply need to go for a walk or play in order to burn off the excess energy, causing them to shake. Although is tempting to carry them everywhere due to their tiny stature, they need to be allowed to walk and run.


Chihuahuas often shiver and shake when they are excited. When a family member comes home or when it is meal time or play time they may tremble with anticipation. There is no cause for alarm, as often the shaking will lessen or stop once the excitement has worn off.

Nervous or Upset

As previously mentioned, Chihuahuas are often slow to warm to new people and experiences. The better a dog is socialized as a puppy, the less it will be upset by new stimuli. Often Chihuahuas will shake when nervous or upset. This could be the result of a storm brewing, a new person or animal, or any other situation the dog finds distressful. When a Chihuahua is upset the shaking will usually be accompanied by barking or whining. It is important to understand what is upsetting the dog and calmly remove the dog from the situation. It is very important not to coddle or aby the dog, as this only reinforces the behavior, making them more fearful. Often talking calmly to the dog will be enough to help the nervousness to pass.


Sweaters or coats are necessities for cool temperatures, not just a fashion statement.

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Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with high metabolisms and lose body heat rapidly. This breed got its name from the Chihuahua state of Mexico, where it originated. As a result, they are adapted for warmer climates and do not favor cooler temperatures. Shivering, for any animal, is a way to generate body heat. For this reason, sweaters or coats are necessary to help regulate body temperatures during cooler seasons. Chihuahuas should always be kept indoors, and protected when taken outdoors during the winter months and in cold climates.