They are so small they risk being crushed under foot, yet chihuahuas are one of the most destructive dogs to keep in your house.
The tiny pets typically cause £638 worth of damage to homes throughout their lifetimes, according to a survey.
Only Great Danes present a greater risk to property and possessions, with an average total repair bill of £670 – and they can at least blame their size.
Another surprise entry in the top ten of canine offenders are dachshunds. The sausage dogs typically cause £444 of damage during their lives.
The breed which causes the least damage is the pug. The toy is recognised for its ability to learn obedience skills, minimising behavioural problems in the home.
The bulky St Bernard doesn’t appear to have the same problems with its size as the Great Dane. Its gentle and stable nature puts it in second place among those which cause least damage.
The findings show goodwill between man and his best friend can be stretched to breaking point by clumsy, bored or bad tempered pets.
The most common form of damage is stained or soiled carpets, scratched doors, chewed door frames and ruined clothes.
Ripped sofas, chewed wires and broken ornaments are also common.
A total of 3,000 dog owners were interviewed by esure pet insurance, which found nearly two-thirds had paid to repair or replace items damaged by their animals. Most of the breakages happened when the dogs were puppies.
However, 14 per cent of owners said they had put up with destruction throughout their dog’s life.
Among the horror stories to emerge from the study was a Great Dane which ran into closed patio doors, knocking them and their frame right out of the wall.
A rottweiler knocked over a vase which was a £1,500 family heirloom and a border collie’s wagging tail hurled a glass of red wine over a £3,000 cream carpet two days after it had been laid.
A labrador pup chewed through three pairs of its owner’s £75 trainers and another dog pulled all the fabric off a sofa, leaving just the wood and springs.
Mike Pickard of Esure said: ‘It is not surprising that the Great Dane is number one – its sheer weight and size is bound to lead to accidents in the home.
‘What’s more surprising is the tiny chihuahua in second place – it’s amazing that the smallest of the toy breeds can cause so much havoc.
‘To help minimise your dog’s destructive behaviour, remember to house-train them from a very early age, maintain their health with regular vet check-ups and give them plenty of exercise – a bored dog is often a destructive dog.’
In July researchers at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that small dogs were among the most aggressive, with dachshunds top of the list.