It’s always adorable when your little canine companion curls up between your legs to go to sleep, but have you ever wondered why Chihuahuas do this and what it means?
Chihuahuas can sleep between your legs for several reasons, but more often than not, they’re demonstrating affection for you, trying to stay warm, and sticking close to protect you from danger.
Chihuahuas are truly a special breed of dog, and their fierce loyalty knows no bounds. The rest of this article will walk you through why your Chihuahua might be sleeping between your legs and what it means for you and your canine companion.
Why Do Chihuahuas Sit and Sleep Between My Legs?
It’s a pretty common occurrence for your Chihuahua to curl up between your legs to go to sleep at night or tuck up under your legs while you’re sitting on the couch or working full time, but as it turns out, pack mentality, biological instinct, and the desire for emotional bonding drive this behaviour.
In fact, it’s not only Chihuahuas that enjoy sleeping between legs. I’ve met Dobermanns and Labradors that have tried this… however, the size of bigger dogs makes it socially less practical and acceptable.
As the leader of the pack, you are the source of order in your household. If you’ve trained your Chihuahua well, then they’ll look to you as the alpha and want to be near you. In the wild, the alpha picks the best hunting grounds, the best territory, and, of course, the best nap spots.
Your Chihuahua most likely enjoys curling up to you because it makes him feel safe as part of a pack. Huddling together also provides warmth and safety. If you should stir during the night, then your Chihuahua will be roused from sleep, too, leaving him capable of defending you if necessary.
Instinct is another driver that influences your Chihuahua’s behaviour of curling up between your legs. Cuddling or snuggling with your dog releases oxytocin for the both of you, a chemical messenger that increases bonding.
In a dog’s natural environment, this hormone builds positive social bonds with other members of the pack, and by cuddling with you, your Chihuahua is reinforcing those bonds.
Just like a Poodle is driven to run or an Italian Greyhound is driven to chase, all dogs are instinctually driven to bond with members of their pack (aka you). Whether you’re at the workplace with your Chihuahua office pet or just watching Netflix on the couch, your dog is driven by instinct to improve their social standing with you whenever possible.
Another interesting biological factor that encourages the behaviour is the burrowing instinct. In the wild, dogs will often sleep in dens to improve their survival odds and stay out of the cold. In between your legs might be the closest environment your Chihuahua has to simulate that environment.
Emotional bonding is likely to encourage your Chihuahua to continue sleeping near you. If you’ve developed a positive bond of trust between you and your pet, then it’s likely that they have a good deal of affection towards you and want to show it by spending time with you.
Whether it started as a safety instinct or an opportunity to get out of the cold, Chihuahuas (and dogs in general) will repeat a behaviour when it becomes the norm. Dogs are very routine-driven, and if your Chihuahua is used to cuddling up with you at night between your legs, then it’s going to become a regular occurrence.
Other Emotional Factors
There are some other emotional drivers that can cause the behaviour as well. If your Chihuahua can’t bear to be separated from you, it may suffer from separation anxiety. To cope, they will want to sleep as close as possible to you.
A particularly skittish Chihuahua experiencing strange sights or sounds (fireworks, for example), might want to sleep between your legs out of fear, especially if you’ve established yourself as a safe space.
Chihuahuas have a lot of odd and mysterious behaviours, but sleeping between your legs isn’t one of them. As it turns out, the simplest explanation is best: your Chihuahua just wants to be near you. A combination of learned pack behaviours, biological instinct, and the drive to bond emotionally with you all influence why your Chihuahua sleeps between your legs.