Chihuahuas look cute in purses. Chihuahuas make great photo ops for Cinco de Mayo. Chihuahuas make adorable movies. But these cute pets are not accessories!
Sadly, these little pups have been indiscriminately bred after being featured in movies, commercials and as movie-star accessories. Often their needs as companion animals are ignored. There are tons of Chihuahuas in shelters, and they take a long time to adopt simply because there are so many. Also, they do have some funny quirks.
Now that we've fostered one Chihuahua and one Chiweenie (Chihuahua-Dachshund mix) here at BaxterBoo, we're starting to know what we're talking about! These are complex creatures.
1. They are stinking cute! No doubt about it, these little guys have the adorable factor. Little packages with big personalities make us instantly want to cuddle them. It's easy to see why people have wanted one for themselves.
2. They are good watchdogs. These little guys are vigilant about letting you know when something is out of the ordinary. This is usually a good thing unless you don't train them when to stop barking.
3. They don't take up much room. With such a small stature, the Chihuahua doesn't need a lot of space. They are perfectly fine in an apartment, can get a lot of their exercise indoors and can make great travel companions.
4. Grooming is a cinch. Occasional brushing, bathing and a nail trim is all that is required. Shedding varies within the breed, as we've learned. Long-haired Chihuahuas need more brushing.
5. They live a long time. Chihuahuas often live over 15 years, even up to 20!
6. They absolutely adore their caretaker. The way a Chihuahua bonds to a person is the ultimate sweet devotion.
1. Being tiny can make them fragile. Though there are some size differences within the breed, the smallest ones can be vulnerable to injury. Falling off the couch can break a bone. If they are under your feet, stepping on them can even be fatal!
2. Chihuahuas can be yappy. The watchdog instinct needs to be curtailed or you might have a dog that barks way too much. This can be a problem in apartments.
3. They don't do well with young children. Not only can kids accidentally hurt small chihuahuas, but they don't like being chased by them. Growling and nipping could mean relinquishment or worse. One of our Chihuahua fosters got returned because of this situation.
4. They tend to be one-person dogs. Chihuahuas aren't usually family oriented because they bond with one person. They can also be possessive of their person and exhibit guarding behaviors (growling, etc.,) towards other dogs and people who try to get close.
5. They don't tolerate cold. Here in Colorado, we had to dress our Chihuahua fosters in sweaters and coats regularly. Of course here at BaxterBoo, that wasn't a problem! Even in hot climates, if you use air conditioning, plan on a layer of clothing for your Chihuahua.
6. They do shed. Even though Chihuahuas are small, they can shed a surprising amount of hair. Of course this varies between dogs, but we had one that shed considerably and one that hardly shed at all. A good diet can help with this.
7. Chihuahuas can have health issues. Like many toy breeds, Chihuahuas can have patellar luxations (slipping of the kneecaps.) Sometimes their skulls don't fuse properly and they will have a chronic soft spot. Chihuahua owners also must be vigilant about oral health as they can be prone to dental problems.
Rescuing a Chihuahua will be an amazing adventure for the right person, and there are tons of these cuties just dying for a home. Just make sure you're making an informed choice. They deserve a safe, stable forever home that is filled with love.