11 chihuahuas I saw this year that were at the top of their game

We all know the stereotype: Chihuahuas are mean. It had forever been a mystery to me as to why anybody would own such a crazy dog, but after living with one for a couple of years—despite the bites, the growls, the incessant barking—I finally understood. They are like evil little cats who poop outside, and those tiny moments of love and affection you get from a chihuahua make all the other bad times disappear, if only for a second.

Relocating to New York City this summer, I expected a sense of relief in moving away from Lexi, my temperamental canine roommate. She constantly sent mixed signals, sleeping in my armpit at night, growling when I tried to pick her up, and insisting on sitting in my lap only to bite me when I pet her. “What do you want from me?!” I asked. 

I never learned the answer.

via Feliks Garcia

The moment I arrived in the city, however, I found myself missing that dread, that fear of getting bit, and the sense of validation I felt from the rare moments Lexi licked my nose. (That happened maybe five times in the three years I knew her.)

Being the land of small apartments, it’s only fitting that a large number of New Yorkers have chihuahuas of their own. They are the closest thing to a proper dog that fits the 200-square-foot lifestyle. I don’t know if I’m hyper-aware of these chihuahuas walking down the street because there are simply a ton of chihuahuas in New York, or if I’m nostalgic for the times I lived with Lexi, a dog I largely considered my enemy and foil. All I know is that every chihuahua reminds me of mean teeny Lexi, and I feel my heart swell with indescribable sadness.

Since my move, I’ve kept a dossier of these sightings on the social media website Twitter.com. The animals range from conventional to remarkable, with one constant: They are not Lexi. Still, these monsters are fascinating in their ubiquity, and of the 30-plus chihuahuas I’ve documented in the past months, I imagine a few would happily bestow upon me the unchecked aggression and rare affection I miss so much.

1) Greenpoint chihuahua walking with purpose

2) Bushwick chihuahua giving me major side-eye

3) Chihuahua-dachshund mix means twice the anger (this one was chill, though)

4) Cart-chihuahua living in the lap of luxury

5) I couldn’t figure out which one of these was the boss

6) I had to go to San Francisco to find the most punk chihuahua ever

7) Puma had a name as fierce as his ‘tude

8) This Bay Area chihuahua is dressed for success

9) It gets cold cold in Brooklyn; luckily this nugget has a puffy turtleneck

10) The only thing better than one chihuahua in a coat is three

11) What’s the deal with chihuahuas, anyway?

Illustration by Max Fleishman

Feliks Garcia

Feliks Garcia

Feliks Garcia was a reporter and essayist whose work for the Daily Dot focused on social justice issues, internet culture, and the Rock. He was a staff writer for the Independent when he passed away in February 2017 after suffering a heart attack. He was 33.