Chihuahuas: 101 Is a Chi the right dog for you? Got your heart set on a puppy or are you open to the possibility of offering a home to a chi in need? We'll give you a complete look at this breed, including where and how to purchase one.
Fair at tricks and obedience, but house training can be difficult.
General Breed Health
High risk of poorly bred and puppy mill dogs in this breed.
Ease of House Training
Smaller dogs can take longer to housebreak. More below.
Long hair chihuahuas are higher maintenance.
Good w/Other Pets
Can be very possessive. Socializing early and often never hurts.
Chihuahuas are not Non-shedding.
Good With Children?
Toy breed does not mean 'kid-sized'. Fearfulness can lead to snapping.
"Even the tiniest Poodle or Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart”
Friendly- A 'people friendly' Chi is easy to achieve with lots of diverse socializing. By nature, most would be timid and/or passive-aggressive if left to their own free will.
Trainability- They're quick learners and they're eager to please. Training sessions work best when you limit the time you spend teaching new tricks to around 10-15 minutes per session. Because Chihuahuas are a toy breed, house training may not come as easy as you like. We highly recommend these positive training techniques.
Loyalty- They are extremely loyal, but often devote themselves to only a single person. Though it's cute, unquestionably when a tiny dog fearlessly protects the lap of his chosen owner, but encouraging this behavior is stressful for the dog. Cute or not, the dog should be taken seriously and discouraged from too much unnecessary and overzealous protective behavior for his own mental well-being. Learn some basic training techniques here.
Excitability- More excitable than you might think, they can be aggressive and are not suitable for homes with small children. They also have no regard for the limitations of their own size and have no problem chasing or starting trouble with larger or more dangerous animals. For this reason, never leave your chi unharnessed outside the confines of your home.
Chihuahuas are extremely puppy mill prone.
There are thousand of really good and deserving chihuahuas, right now, dying needlessly in shelters, miserable, alone and afraid. Meanwhile, puppy mill dogs are suffering in the exact same way in order to over-produce puppies for the uninformed and naive masses who are unknowingly paying large amounts of money to prolong the suffering.
You may be surprised to learn that this small, fragile and loyal breed is one of the most-often-killed breed in shelters! In fact, they are second only to pit bulls in the canine species.
Please watch the video we've included below. It's far from being an isolated case. There are over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States alone. These so-called businesses sell puppies online AND supply the pet store with puppies.
Please don't be fooled by cute pictures on a web page. Even felons are allowed to own cameras.
Breeders may not be felons, but a vast majority ARE preying on unsuspecting consumers and hiding their shameful behavior behind pretty backdrop settings adorned with pearls, bows, teacups and soda cans. Don't allow yourself to be their 'mark' simply because of your love for this or any other breed.
Even MORE About Chihuahuas…
Frequent grooming- The long haired varieties of this breed needs regular grooming and brushing. Their hair can become very matted, but care should be taken in bathing. Harsh shampoos can can take the natural sheen from long coats and cause dry itchy skin. The smooth coat variety is much lower maintenance.
Behavioral Issues- Toy breeds are among the hardest dogs to housebreak and the Chi is no exception. You shouldn't be surprised by accidents (or on-purposes). Very small dogs also have very small bladders.
Separation Anxiety is common. Dogs show frustration by destructive chewing or barking or by hiking their leg on your potted houseplant.
Disregarding the hype- There is technically no such thing as a ‘tea cup’ breed of any dog. Likewise for 'pocket', 'mini' and 'toy' chihuahuas. These are invented terms used by irresponsible breeders to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. More extremely shocking facts about teacup puppies.
Cold Sensitivity- Never leave this dog outside in the elements for extended periods, with or without a sweater.
This breed is not a good idea for people with small children. The smaller the dog, the more fragile he is. Even the most gentle of children can’t help mishandling a dog this small.
They can also pack a serious bite despite their small size. All children should be supervised constantly around your dog to keep them both safe.
Because of their willingness to protect their owners and possessiveness of their owner's affections, they can become aggressive with other people and dogs. For this reason and others, it’s never a good idea to walk him without a harness. Check out the harnesses below that will work double-duty and keep your chi warm while keeping him safe.
Hypoglycemia is a matter of concern for the owners of these small breed dogs. Often their tiny bodies are unable to properly regulate blood sugar. Symptoms range from lack of energy, shivering, loss of coordination to coma or even death.
Patellar Luxation is a joint condition in which kneecaps pop in and out of place. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) reports that about 6% of chihuahuas are affected in varying degrees, but that number could be much higher.
Hip Dysplasia is a developmental subluxation of the hip joints which can eventually lead to arthritis and/or lameness. It's causes are genetic as well as environmental. A secondary concern of this affliction is osteoarthritis.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome is yet another joint condition affecting the lives of these fragile dogs. Accoding the Orthopedic Foundation for animals a staggering 33.3% are currently affected. Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome is degenerative and leads to bone loss and collapse of the hip joint. Early treatment can help to prevent degenerative arthritis.
The use of pet steps has been shown to significantly reduce the wear and tear on joints. Please consider them if you own or plan to own a small breed dog.
Problems with teeth often occur because their mouths are so small that overcrowding becomes an issue and can lead to many secondary health conditions. Overcrowding of teeth can result in excessive tartar and plaque build-up due to food being lodged between them.
Bacteria from dirty teeth is like poison. Once it enters the blood stream it can cause heart, liver and kidney disease much faster in tiny dogs.
And it get worse.
The health risks above are even greater, both in severity and numbers when you take the chance of buying a pet store puppy or a website puppy.
And worse. You also condemn the mothers and fathers of these puppies to a life of misery by purchasing puppies online or in a pet store. Even buying just one puppy condemns her to her cage to await another heat cycle so she can be bred again.
Reality T.V. I've seen it up close and watched hundreds of dogs in some of the worst conditions imaginable, suffering with the most heinous of injuries and it's everywhere.
Puppy milll dogs live, eat, sleep, give birth and die in tiny cages filled with their own excrement so that some lazy, despicable excuse for a human, (be it the cruel-to-animals amish or a just an ordinary worthless Joe) can treat them like disposable inventory... and yet when you reach in to touch them, they still find the strength to lick your hand.
Be a part of the solution. Check petfinder.com for a chihuahua near you in need of your kindness! There are thousands!
Check out our Chi pictures page. It's loaded with Chihuahuas in need of loving homes... and links to a lot more!
Learn more about dog adoption. There is a great chihuahua near you in need of rescue and he's eagerly waiting to reward you for your kindness. The best dog in the world could be just down the road, in your very own town... and running out of time.
Our mission is to help dogs... Because we care. Deeply. Please let us know if there's any way we could have made your small-breed-dogs.com experience better. Helping you means helping dogs.
Please watch the videos, get involved and learn all you can about how to avoid puppy mill dogs and spread the word about never buying a dog from a pet store.