Are Chihuahuas the New Pit Bulls?

Are Chihuahuas the New Pit Bulls?

Holding Lily the Chihuahua required a gentle touch recently at a hair salon, for fear of breaking one of her bird-like bones that could be felt through her thin fur and skin. Sitting still on my lap, she stared appreciatively into my eyes as she waited for her owner, Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA in California. When finished, Lindquist told me, "I'm worried about all Chihuahuas now. They're on their way to becoming the next pit bulls."

She explains that dog breed popularity can follow trends. Due to the latest breed "fashion" and Disney's movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, more people have been bringing home tiny breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, and then dumping them off at shelters not long afterwards. The same thing has happened to pit bulls over the years, since they have an established "tough and cool" image. She says, "Sadly, many people do little research into breed characteristics and don't understand and commit to the responsibilities of lifetime ownership of a puppy or dog."

The Good and Bad of Chihuahuas
Every good quality of a person or pet can be perceived as a negative, depending on one's perspective and situation. For example, a friend who phones you night and day might get on your nerves. But then that same person could be there for you when other friends aren't available. The same yin and yang balance of characteristics applies to Chihuahuas, too:

Good They are fiercely loyal, intelligent and full of personality.
Bad This loyal, protective nature can lead to excessive barking and even occasional nipping. A study conducted earlier this year by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society and National Taiwan Normal University found that Chihuahuas and other tiny breeds can be aggressive toward both human and canine strangers.

Good The life expectancy of a Chihuahua is around 20 years, Lindquist says.
Bad As pets get older, they often require more medical treatment. According to PetPlace, the cost of owning a small to medium-sized dog over an average life span of just 14 years is $7,240 to $12,400.

Good Chihuahuas love to burrow, so they often snuggle into everything from your shirt to your bed blankets before resting and sleeping.
Bad Not everyone wants an ever-present dog buddy.

Good Their size and overall good manner when not feeling threatened make them ideal for outings, such as to a restaurant or hotel that allows dogs. They fit well in lightweight over-the-shoulder carriers.
Bad It's recommended that children be school-aged or older before a Chihuahua is added to their home. This is for the safety of both child and dog.

The Pitfalls of Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas and Other Pets
If you're still considering adding a Chihuahua to your home, perhaps after having admired one on TV or in a film, John Dauzat, director of Fremont Animal Services in California, offers some words to chew on. "A puppy that looks cute in a movie may not seem as cute when it chews a favorite shoe or cries to go out at 3 a.m. in the morning," he says. "Rather than work through the issues, it is often easier to dump the animal."

"Sadder yet," adds Adam Parascandola, director of California's Oakland Animal Services, "is when a family realizes a poor fit and relegates the innocent animal to the backyard. That is when we get calls for barking or neglected dogs." He continues, "Many times help reaches these animals too late -- some are too antisocial and fearful to ever enjoy life with a family again."

How to Avert a Chihuahua Disaster
Despite the potential problems, countless Chihuahua owners can attest to the fact that this smallest of breeds makes one of the sweetest and most loving of pet companions -- for the right individuals and families. To avoid Chihuahuas going the way of pit bulls (becoming home rejects at shelters), Linquist offers the following advice:

  • Resist the impulse buy of a dog These animals are solely dependent upon us, and their lives are completely in our hands. That is a huge responsibility for a long, long time.
  • Do your homework Research various breeds to determine which best suits your own particular lifestyle. You can do this online, by reading books, or by talking to neighbors, co- workers, veterinarians and other animal experts.
  • Volunteer at a shelter Most could use the helping hands, and it will allow you to see what's involved in pet care, how different breeds behave and how many dogs, like pit bulls, wind up in rescue facilities through no fault of their own.
  • Consider your living situation Do you plan to stay in your home for a while, or could you move in a few years? If you rent, will your landlord allow pets, even small dogs like Chihuahuas? All of these factors, and more, could affect what happens to your dog in the long run.
  • Be honest about your financial ability Take a hard, detailed look at your income and savings to make sure that you'll be able to afford pet care costs now and in the years to come.
  • Consider saving a shelter dog While many reputable Chihuahua breeders exist, check with your local shelter first to see if they have what you are looking for. You could save a life while saving money.

Lily is proof that loving little Chihuahuas can be found at animal shelters, and that caring homes can break the pit bull shelter cycle. Is she here to stay? Just ask one of Lindquist three additional dogs, all pit bulls, which have grown very protective of Lily and have voted that she's a keeper.


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Posted on February 22, 2012

Mary says: Lesa, I think you may be right that your three year old male chihuahua, Killer, is still apprehensive of women. All you can do is love, love, love him, but also give him space. If I were you I'd look up articles on how to cope with dog's depressions - when he's vulnerable like that might be just the time you can sit beside him, pet him and stroke him some so he knows you are there, but don't overdue it. If you take your hand away and remain beside him, before long, he may start nudging your hand or fingers which means he wants more stroking. I rescued a larger size dog once that was afraid of everything and that is how I worked my way into her heart - I was always there for her but never pressured her and eventually she responded. Got her the day before her kill date and someone must have really done a number on her. I made sure I devoted the rest of her life to helping her live as normal a life as possible. It's about them after all , not us.

Posted on January 21, 2012

Ben Lowe says: Worked emergency rooms for 10 years- by far the most dog bites came from cocker spaniels. No other breed was even close.

Posted on January 22, 2012

annette says: My chihuahua, Chili, is a valued, recognized member of our family. She is 8yrs old. She has hovered over every baby that has entered our family and watched them in dangerous situations just as an adult would. When they first learned going up and down the stairs..she would run to the top and watch anxiously as they came up..then run down and watch as they descended with the same anxiousness. When we would tell the baby/toddler to get out of something..she would run over and bark at them as if reiterating what we were saying..never trying to nip. She barks to warn us when someone is at the door..We could never ask for a better addition to our family. But..we understand that we had to find alternatives to making her go outside to use the bathroom during the winter..as her size made going in the snow very difficult. We respected the fact that children under a certain age scared her..because she knew that they could..unintenionally hurt her. We wanted to breed her..but accepted the fact that due to her extremely small size carrying a litter of puppies would endanger her life. We made sure we got her from a reputable breeder who had good references. We met her the day of her birth and went once a week to bond with her. We cherish our Chili Baby and again..she is a member of our family.

Posted on January 17, 2012

Matt says: This article must truly be a joke, next you are going to be hearing every breed of dog becoming the new pitbull.

Posted on November 16, 2011

Laura says: The only reason why anyone is anti-any breed (pitbull, chihuahua or otherwise) is due to ignorance and media-bias. Every time there's a dog attack the media says it's a pitbull and many times it isn't even a bully breed. Same thing with chihuahuas I would imagine - I have a Jack Russell mix that looks similar to a chihuahua. People see similar features and think it's that type of dog. As far as the over-breeding goes, Disney has been responsible for MUCH of this with the 101 Dalmatians movie and the Beverly Hills Chihuahua. People don't learn about the breed, adopt the dog because it's a Disney dog and then realize it's not the right breed for their apartment or home. Like all the clown fish that got killed due to parents buying Nemo fish for their kids. In every situation it's the owner's fault - for not knowing the breed well enough to protect the dog from itself, neighbors, other dogs, etc.

Posted on November 9, 2011

Patti says: Finn is 6years. He LOVES my husband Tom. Follows him everywhere. He will only go for a walk when he goes too. He will sit on my lap only whrn Tom is not home! Sleeps between my husbands legs. Hates strangers and other dogs. But boy is he cute!

Posted on November 7, 2011

Judy says: I have a 11years old long hair chihuahua Bam Bam who is totally in love with my 9 years old Lab MiMi. Also a diabetic 12 years old Poodle. I love them all and only have 3 dogs because it is so expensive. Bam Bam is very talkative and very protective. I feel once you take them into your home they are family and that is a life time commitment. You don't throw your family away. A lot of my money goes for the medicine of my poodle Izzy. She needed a home and once I said I would take her. End of story. Love them always.

Posted on October 27, 2011

Cindy says: OOccasionally nipp? Ha! :) In all of the years that I';ve known Chihuahuas (over 45 years) I find that the majority tend to be temoperamental, barky, AND nippy!

Posted on October 24, 2011

VICKY says: I was going to meet with someone to buy a cocker spaniel, but they never showed up. By pure chance, I walked into the veterinarian clinic, right there, and a man was selling a chihuahua puppy. I fell in love, and this dog ended up being one of the best things to ever happen to me. I never researched breeds, and I realize now, that I am lap doggy person and will never change breeds again. I got very lucky, but I should have done my research first. Evevry breed has its own personality chearacteristics:)

Posted on October 21, 2011

Erika Leighton says: My 7 year old "blue" Chihuahua Harley is our baby. He gets along great with other dogs, kids and people. Its mostly how you raise them. It's important to take them to dog parks and socialize them with bigger dogs and children. Include them and take them in the car and into stores that allow them. Don't over feed on the people food..I am learning that now from my vet.. Their tiny bodies need the best nutrition possible...buy Science diet or Iams dog food. A small bag will last you a while. Chihuhua's love to hike on Trails like the big dogs. My boyfriend is 6'4 and 250..he hated little dogs and now Harley is his best buddy. His friend even went out and got a rescue Chihuahua. They love to ride in the car and they don't take up a lot of room. Get a shelter Chihuahua..you will love him/her.

Posted on October 21, 2011

Erika Leighton says: People should go to jail more often for animal neglect/abuse. Don't get a dog if you can't love and feed it properly. Don't get a Chihuahua if you can't control your kids..they are delicate breakable dogs. But if your kids won't be dropping them and throwing them around, they are excellent family dogs.

Posted on October 21, 2011

Troy says: I never thought I would own one of the small toy breed dogs. we had an english bulldog for 11 years. when he passed, we decided to get a Chihuahua. Best Decision EVER! we now have 2 short haired females (1 is 2yrs old, 1 is 9 months old). both are extremely loyal. and require constant attention. I would not recommend a chihuahua if you're not willing to spend alot of time with it. they are not a dog to get and just let do their own thing. They want to be around you ALL the time. Both sleep in our bed...under the covers. Both are extremely good with our 2 young children. just have to teach the children to be gentle. I wouldn't trade our 2 Chi's for ANYTHING.

Posted on October 20, 2011

Nancy says: I have a five year old Chi and three ferrets. Ferrets tend to sleep 20 hours a day. I wanted a dog who could safely interact with the ferrets, be my buddy, and enjoy people. My Chi, Klondike, does just everything I ask. She is quiet, except to let me know when someone is walking past our home. She learned to use puppy pads from the ferrets. She absolutely loves every human and tolerates small children. Of course, I do watch closely when she is around children. Accidents happen when they are least expected. I did a lot of research before getting Klondike as a puppy. I had the same misperceptions as many others. I am not sure if she is such great dog because of me, her, or both. I only know that, as a first dog, she has been a special angel.

Posted on October 12, 2011

jjj mac2003 says: I have an 'apple head Chihuahua'. She's medium brown with short hair. Her name is Precious because that's all I could say when I saw her for the first time. She was 6 weeks old and fit in the palm of my hand. She was so very tiny. Precious is now 4 yrs old & weighs 4-5 lbs. If I had a dollar for every time someone said "that's the smallest dog I've ever seen" I'd own a new car now. She is the most lovable, sweet, loyal and smartest dog I've ever had. She is very much a one person dog & very protective of me. She can be a little jealous when someone sits close to me that she doesn't know very well. But then again she's known my son since she was a puppy and doesn't like it when he sits next to me or even when he touches me ! He always laughs when she 'goes after him' because he kissed or hugged me. He tells her that I was HIS mom first. She barks and does try to snip at him but actually her bite is too small to really even bite him and probably not strong enough to break the skin. She barks and gets aggressive when she feels threatened or thinks she needs to protect me. She really is a great watch dog because she lets me know if a car pulls in the drive way or if someone is walking up to the door minutes before they even knock. She is a great alarm ! Precious sleeps with me every night. I wouldn't know what to do without my best little friend. She's been right there next to me thru some very hard times. She keeps me company and loves me as much as I love her I'm very sure.

Posted on October 12, 2011

Mary says: We have 4 Chihuahua's. All were adopted from shelters. I love them all. They are our "fur" children and I would not trade them for anything!

Posted on October 10, 2011

Cassie says: My husband bought my chihuahua for me about a yr and a half ago, Lola. i LOVE this dog. We have 3 kids ranging from 9-14 and Lola loves them all. we are the only people she loves. even though we got her when she was about 5 mos old i have to watch her when other people come over and she will try to nip at them. i dont understand what happened, i always tried to get her to socialize when she was younger so that this would not happen. apparently it is just who they are. they are extremely loyal to their owners and really dont want to have anything to do with anybody outside of their immediate family no matter how long that person has been around..but i still love her and accept her for who she is and wouldnt trade her for the world

Posted on October 10, 2011

dianne says: I have a 12 year old apple head, deer legged chihuahua, she is everyone's friend, love my granddaughter and is a great stuggle buddy. She is also a great watch dog as she hears everything. She is always waiting for me on the back of my husband's chair when I get home from work. You couldn't ask for a better companion, human or otherwise.

Posted on October 3, 2011

I am me says: Personally, I don't like Chihuahua's... they are just a little too hyper and highpitched for me. But this just goes to show that any dog can be aggressive and it has more to do with the human than the dog.

Posted on October 5, 2011

Amy says: My 1st chi sid is a chug mixed with pug , quite a handful , I would only recomend full bred chis . I was told he was a full chi . He has adhd hates other animals is not social except4 his pack members . My 2nd Chi full bred is a female is loving giving cave dweller who wants 2 b nurtured 24 7 with 2 girls and me we give her so much love she is needy and very sweet , smart and delightful .Intresting she plays well with her pack ,does not take to strangers if u stick around she will love u up . Sid is so angry with other dogs but with his brother a Bishon n his lil girl Truly the chi he is so playful happy , and kind .He even plays with the cat n bird . I don't trust him around others animals or children so he stays mainly in his domain . He is cage trained and also a lover of caving .He can not sit still 2 b cuddled at all . I do notice a illbred dog mixed makes 4 trouble . He is 7 and a part of us , thus patience and preserverance must apply 2 him @ all times . he is fond of family n friends like to sit in his own chair n listen like a human . Other then that his harsh nature can be seen . While his sister is fully bred has a nice disposition . They all even play with the bird . In mexico they were carried by the banditos under ponchos to attack opponents in battle .The Myan kings and Queens used them as bed warmers . Both apply to this breed . TOOOO cute looks can be deceiving .

Posted on September 27, 2011

Judy says: My daughter gave us her chocolate male chi when she married, fearing he would be a problem when they started a family. Her surprise pregnancy and new grandson have proven Beau to not be a typical chi. From the first meeting, he has watched over Aiden, guarding him, licking his toes, and alerting us to his cries. He even does his best to locate missing toys and pacifiers. We learned that the breed characteristics are not as important as the energy from the owners, and the owner's expectations of what is acceptable behavior. From the first day, my husband made it clear to Beau that Dan was the Alpha in our pack, and things have been wonderful. Beau is good with people, especially if you are willing to scratch or pet him. Of all the dogs we have had in our lives, Beau is the most loving and funny of the bunch. I wouldn't trade him for anyone or anything, and I dread the day he will no longer be with us. He just turned 2 years old.

Posted on September 1, 2011

Kris says: I absolutely LOVE my Chi! Wouldn't trade him for the world. As a RVT, I made sure I did my research on the breed and handling them on a daily basis at our Vet Hosp also got me accustomed and educated on the breed. They have wonderful personalities and yes, they can get nippy, just like ppl. I think that is what makes them so unique. They are extremely loyal to their owners and love to be cuddled and loved. Their tiny stature only makes you want to protect them more, well for me anyway. They depend on us and look to us for comfort and unconditional love. My husband and I are having a baby in February so I am very anxious to see how our little man (Chi) takes to our baby. I am sure he will be fine but I am prepared and am making preparations well in advanced to get our Chi used to the idea of having a baby around. This is called responsible pet ownership. It's sad to see so many Chi's dumped into the streets and into shelters:(

Posted on September 2, 2011

Bekki says: Though worrisome, it is also kind of amusing to detach our tiny chi that is hanging from the upper lip or jowl of the long suffering husky that he has attacked. Chi's can definitely be ferocious and fearless. It's like no one ever told him he was so small, and his snarling and growling is really intimidating. Just hope the husky never figures it out.

Posted on September 5, 2011

janny says: Chihuahuas look like monkeys.

Posted on September 15, 2011

Linda says: They are the best dogs if you can'tcarefor them there is always a neighbor or someone willing to, there is no reason to dump them, they eat very little.

Posted on September 21, 2011

jimmy bee says: i have a chi that actually pees in a bucket if he gotta go during the night....(: now who can top that......i love my dog

Posted on September 26, 2011

Gwen says: There are many reputable breed-specific rescues listed on the internet, too. Most of these rescues may have the history of the animal - likes and dislikes, children okay, gets along with other animals, adults only, no other pets, housebroken or not, age, temperament. Adopters need to realize that taking an animal into your home means trying to think like the animal - how would you feel if brought into a totally new environment? Maybe after being in a shelter or rescue for weeks or months? Getting used to new people, new home, new food, possibly other animals? Patience is needed - plus lots of love.

Posted on August 4, 2011

debby says: I have 2 chihuahuas, one is12 yrs and one is 2 yrs. they are both shelter dogs and I would not trade them for anything they are so loving, I have been around chihuahuas ever since I was a child and have always had them, I have had other dog breeds as well but not as loving as a chiuhuahua , they are my favorite breed, they are so loyal, and hae never had trouble from any of them, thanks

Posted on August 5, 2011

JP says: I have 2 Chihuahuas they are loving and friendly, children will come up and pet them . They are both easy going, my grandchildren grew up with them holding them from the time they were 2 years old. I think bringing home a new puppy is very important to socialize them. We did this with both of our dogs and we can take them anywhere even the vet comments on their easy going attitude. They let the vet do whatever he needs to do but when he is done he holds them for a minute and they trust him. If they need to have any surgery (liek being spayed or neutered) they aren't left in a cage someone wraps them in a blanket and holds them until its time for us to come get them. Neither shakes like most chihuahuas do..I truly believe training and socializing are the answers. Each dog is unique Tiffy loves her belly rubbed, Rocky is more independent, but follows our grandaughter around he just loves her and the attention she showers on him. She talks to him he acts liek he is litening.

Posted on July 15, 2011

elly says: i have 2 sweet chi's my eldest one of 2.5yrs dances all the time with me,stands on her hind legs and we dance to music all the time,now shes got a new buddy of 3 months old..she protects him like shes his mother,there both the greatest lil dogs ever, i love them both and would only ever have chi's :)

Posted on July 15, 2011

sarah c says: We couldn't love without our Bookie, our 5 year old Chi. He has a perfect black heart on his butt. He is so handsome and little girls fall in love him and jokingly say they want to marry him. He's a little charmer. Bookie is so smart and full of personality. I wish I could have dozens of Chihuahuas!

Posted on July 19, 2011

chi lover says: This article does a disservice to chihuhua's, they are not all biting and barking little spaz dogs. I have known several, and owned one who never ever barked, bit or acted aggressive. Ours (Sanchez) was eternally patient with young children, unbarkable, and was an absolutely perfect dog companion. The vet told us half of the chihuahua'a are like our Sanchez.

Posted on July 24, 2011

Roberta says: This is true for all dogs and animals, regardless of breed, and I'm afriad humans as well. I've seen adult shower more love and understanding on their dog than their children. However I once talked with a lady that had her Chi mix in a purse of the same color, very nice dog, but very protective of her. I'd hate to be the person that tried to take her wallet That hand wold be shredded.

Posted on August 3, 2011

Darlene says: I have a four year old chihuahua. By now she is spoiled rotten. I experience the good and bad of dog ownership, however I have accepted the responsibility. I actually bought her for my 84 year old mother as a companion to her. She trained the dog to go to bed at 10:00 every night. Unfortunately (the dog) thinks that my bed is her bed. Since she was spaded, she hardly does that nuisance barking anymore. It may seem strange, but now when she barks I understand what she wants, (except when she has conversation with the neighbors two dogs). Chica is very lovable. She has a steady diet of Iams and is quite healthy. When she goes for her physical she gets good reports. She loves anyone who will play with her and her stuffed animals. (I make sure that all her stuffed animals are safe for pets). If you give love to a pet, they will definitely give it back.

Posted on May 18, 2011

Rick says: Chihuahuas...best dog ever. Yes they're rather delicate and can run up some vet bills, but they're just awesome dogs to own. I've had 3 of them and they have always been my favorite dogs.

Posted on May 31, 2011

CJ says: My sister has a chihuahua, named Sweet, and she is only SWEET to my sister. We call Sweet the "Banshee Bee-ach". She is very possessive of my sister. That dog has fangs she shows when she is angry. Talk about an ankle biter !!!!! Whoa !!!!

Posted on June 23, 2011

Jennifer says: Our little Tater Tot is a black & white, short hair male. We got him when he was three months old. He is my first chihuahua and I did my homework to learn how their characteristics. We socialized him very early with family, friends, and took him with us where ever we could take him. He is the sweetest little guy, he has such personality and is not your typical dog that I've ever been around by any means. He enjoys my husband holding him while he pushes the mower, they mow the whole yard together.He loves the hair dryer, he begs me to put it on him when I'm drying my hair, and he hardly barks at all-only at the doorbell. Other dogs pass by us in our neighborhood for walks and they bark at him and he simply struts on by not uttering so much as a whimper. I'm grateful to be the owner of such a sweet little guy. I'm glad I did my homework too, and that we socialized him.

Posted on June 23, 2011

tvc says: "...he's a thorough bread." REALLY, what bread is it thouroughly? White, wheat, rye? Suggestion: Elementary english is a fair start.

Posted on June 29, 2011

Sarah says: I commend this article for being mindful of the harmful pit bull stereotyping that takes place so prevelently in society today. I have an amazing pit bull who lives in loving harmony with a yellow lab, shih tzu, and five cats (all shelter rescues). My pit is so gentle and loving to all and it hurts when people are afraid of her for no reason at all. Any dog is subject to aggression due to poor breeding and cruel treatment. People need to be educated on these issues. Pit bulls are strong and aren't for everyone, but certainly deserve loving homes like any other breeds. I love that Lily lives with three that look after her; like mine does with all her furry siblings! <3

Posted on June 30, 2011

Deava Hitzroth says: I have a long haired Chi, rescued from an abusive situation. She has become a " dog-a-betic" That is one who can tell when a diabetic's sugar level is out of whack, she has brought me out of a near coma several times. No greater love than hers, everyone loves her, although she is cautious with who she gives her affection to. There are some people who can never touch her or talk to her, she definitely knows who she doesn't like, and I trust that. Dogs know good people, but she has never bitten, just turns her back or growls at some to make sure they don't touch me. Without her I couldn't live my life without worry, Maggie May thinks she;s the mother and I let her. There is nothing like crawling in bed with a warm loving 5lb ball of love. She is my 3rd, the othere 2 had good lives and left me at the age of 17

Posted on July 4, 2011

sandra foley says: Great stories.  my little Jack Russell was attacked by a coy dog I think last december.  I have not recovered from the loss. but if I do get a rescue dog it will be a Chi or a Chi mix.  thanks for the stories.

Posted on July 5, 2011

Retha says: We have a 6 yr old chocolate female and an 18 mo old female that is white w/tan spots and they are the sweetest and most loving girls you could ask for. Recently we rescued an 18 mo old red female that was abandoned and she is the dog from hell. She barks at every noice, tries to chase cars, and attacks the other two when they're all given a treat. And, she goes for the throat. She appears to love me, and she doesn't want the other two anywhere near me. Her only correction has been 'time out', but I don't want her to associate her crate with punishment. The white one that I call mine will run into her crate because it means that she is going somewhere. The other two are happy dogs, and the new one is causing them to be fearful and I don't know what to do.

Posted on February 5, 2011

judy says: Stella owns me and has for the past 7 years, and was rescued from the Pinellas County Animal Shelter when she was 8 months young.She is my true companion until other family members are around. Stella loves most people which is a bit unusual. She is very playful with us and plays withmy 4 cats as long as I am not holding her. She does not bark a lot but just woofs as if under her breath. She is my delight and sleeps with me,sits at my side on my chair and loves to go for car rides. She is very busy in making sure that our yard is free of turtles, neighbor cats,squirrels and other riffraff. She is a happy little dog that thinks she is the size of a greatdane,with the courage of a bulldog and the timerity of a terrier; if only Stella would realize she is only 7 pounds!

Posted on March 30, 2011

LadyMhere says: My Sophia Deer is 13 now, loves everyone, has gone to nursing homes since 11mos old - I got her at 10 1/2 mos - I was her 3rd owner. The last couple yrs she has decided she doesn't like Big dogs of course most cats are bigger than her but the large breed dogs definitely are a no. She is a long legged short hair 6 1/2 lbs.She Loves going to church when we can find one allowing her. She shows restless children how to behave in church. I loved this article - thank you. I always tell people it is not the breed it is the breeders in many cases & esp the owners.

Posted on April 4, 2011

suzanne says: I have a chi/peek mix and I adore him! He was a mess at the pet shop and was kept separate from all the other dogs for being too aggressive. I took to him immediately. Now he gets along just fine with our other 2 dogs, although he does not like other people. He's great with the family, but will bite anyone else entering the home. We've tried to work with him and he's a little better, but I wouldn't trust him at all. We simply keep him in a separate part of the house when others enter and then slowly introduce him to them. After about 10 minutes, he's fine and ignores them. Definitely extra work--but he's well worth it to us!

Posted on April 17, 2011

Veda says: Want to join the ranks in stating how wonderful Chihuahuas can be! I've ended up with 3 - all needing homes - Peanut, 4 yoa; Petunia, 3 yoa; and beloved Daisy, 2 yoa. Fun and sweet and we keep them safe in the house!

Posted on May 5, 2011

Jordan says: I have a Chihuahua and I love him to death, but part of what people don't understand is that they are small, but have a huge heart. They seem agressive, but really only appear that way. They are so small and so full of fear, that they are always trying to be mean when they feel threatened. They are so tiny, they are trying to defend themselves. Therefore, you have got to take this into consideration if you have little brothers, or small children, it is NOT a good idea. It's no one's fault, thats just how their mind works. ;)

Posted on May 8, 2011

Bratly says: Neighbors Chihuahua tried to bite me named George. Little rat was more worried about his mom catching him. Ran into the back of my leg and then got scared. More little dogs try to bite me then big ones.

Posted on May 8, 2011

jan clay says: Thank you for a very well written and informative article. My daughter worked for the spca for years and I know what it can be like and it is so sad.

Posted on May 9, 2011

Cindy says: Next door neighbor has Chihuahua mix that barks non-stop when they leave him outside all day while they are at work.  Has ruined being outdoors for our household.   

Posted on May 12, 2011

Angel1 says: I received my first chihuahua as a gift when I was five years old. The entire family was amazed when she trained herself as a hearing-ear dog for my deaf father. When she died, we purchased another chihuahua (male this time) that did the same thing. If the rest of the family was home and the phone rang or someone knocked at the door, the dog may bark - but if my father was home alone, the dog would run to him and take him to the door or telephone. Now I am the one with hearing problems - and I have a small terrier that does the same for me. Great dogs can come in small packages!

Posted on May 7, 2009

Kathy says: My Baby boy is a lover. Know way would he ever bit someone. He loves kids. When he was young a breeder told me to put my hands in his face often. It teaches them not to fear being handled. I just love my little guy to peices. Kathy

Posted on May 11, 2009

Haley says: I rescued a chihuahua/jack russell mix that I found in traffic in Los Angeles. He actually jumped into my backseat when I stopped on the street and got out to look for him. I did not know he was int he car till I got back in the car after I could not find him and thought he took off into the cars. It was straight out of a movie. "Peanut" was absolutely terrified, shaking, cut up, starving and filthy. He had obviously been attacked as well because he had a bite taken out of his ear. I knew I had my hands full with this little boy but I just fell in love with him. He needed lots of love and affection and to know that he would not be abandoned ever again. That was a year ago. Today, he is the happiest, most affectionate, funny, entertaining, snuggly little boy ever. He still barks at some men and at children although he would never bite them. It's because he fears them. But he is getting better all the time. He is different dog from when I rescued him. He is so full of love it is amazing. It's a miracle what love can do! He is the center of my world and I know all dog lovers understand that and not think I am crazy and obsessed with my dog. Usually it's the non-dog owners who say those things. All in all, I can not imagine my life without him. He is my forever baby and I love him more than words can express.

Posted on May 24, 2009

Lemon Drop says: I get stopped several times a day because my Chi is so cute. I always try and tell people with small children or young teenage girls, "I don't think you should get this breed." I also encourage people who would be suited for a Chi. I love my dog so much, and though they are a mighty breed they are also small and need to be protected.

Posted on June 1, 2009

Mary says: I just got my first dog ever - a chihuahua named Ellie. I have to say when my husband first showed me a picture that he got her, I wasn't happy. See I am a cat lover and the last thing I ever thought I'd own was a dog. Then I met Ellie. I fell in love with her. She was from a rescue. Ellie and her brother were the only (dog) family to survive. She is so smart and loves to cuddle. My friend took Ellie's brother and she has 4 children ranging from 4 to 13. He is great with all of them. I think its all in how you handle your dog and the love you give them. They are smarter than given credit. I have 4 cats and are slowly trusting Ellie. Ellie wants to play so bad that she comes on a little strong but she only wants to play. I have confidence that one day they will realize she is here to stay. I highly recommend a chihuahua as a pet and companion. If at all possible please adopt from a shelter or a Rescue Group. They need families more than we know. Now do I ever see myself with more than one....definitely!!

Posted on June 11, 2009

Tammy says: We have a male .. we call him Spaz .. he thinks he is the king of the house. Yes he has his moments as we have two other dogs,. but he is buy my side 24 --7 he is the best friend of friends.. and my buddy.. I love my chihuahua .. he is a year old and the master of our house LOL

Posted on June 17, 2009

anita says: i have 3 chihuahua's wouldnt trade them 4 the world.they r 5,5,&3yrs old.tacois short hair.paris&bruiser r long hair.they r loyal,true,friendly once they know ya.they all sleep w/us a night& take the whole bed up.they love all the grandkids.i wouldn'tknow what i do if anything happens 2 them they r my life&my kids now.i love them.

Posted on October 10, 2009

Lesa says: I have a 3 yr. old male chocolate chiihuahua, which I thought was rare. he's a thorough bread. anyway Killer and yeah that was his name when my husband 's friend rescued him from his abusive alcoholic mom. he was a year old then. Killer was a present for me but bonded with my husband more so. I LOVE my dog but he is so tempermental does not like nobody!! he shows affection more when my husband isn't home. I don't know if it's because a woman abused him so therefore i'm a woman but I love killer I give him special treats, toys etc. sometimes he goes into a deep depression to. anyway anly suggestions would be appreciated. thnx Lesa

Posted on January 15, 2011

Jim Waites says: We have five and never would I consider given one of them up. They are the best little dogs in the world.  They are strong and proud little babies, and love their owners.  Every dog has it's issues, "Most problems are from the owner not being the OWNER. Chihuahua's rule!!!

Posted on January 20, 2011

Manny Torres says: Great article and the truth, I never saw myself with one now got two, work part time with local shelters and rescues, these miracles with paws are the best companions for single and the elderly individuals. So much love! My guys rescued me! Love my Stitch and Spike! Thanks again!

Posted on February 1, 2011

Vanessa says: I have a two year old Chihuahua/Shih Tzu mix and he definitely always wants to be around me. He also has separation anxiety which is causing issues with me living in an apartment complex. He's staying at my mom's at the moment because he just requires too much attention and it's hard to leave my apartment because he cries/whines/howls and let's just say I don't have very compassionate neighbors. This breed is definitely a handful so when you do decide to get a chihuahua it's a HUGE committment. Thank god my mom loves him or else I would probably have to give him away to another family which would be devastating.

Posted on April 7, 2009

bonnie says: i have two sweet little babies male and female and i would not trad them in for enything . bout would love to help and devote my time for one more sweet baby and yes they can love kids to my female princess loves them all and would kiss them all if she could but sweet baby jack would hid behind mom the hole time. thank you

Posted on April 8, 2009

Samantha says: I am glad to read about all the chihuahua lovers out there. I am the proud owner of three chis, the most recent one I rescued from roaming the streets. We tried to find her owners but it turned out she was a pup without a home. After a few days with my two other chis she has become a friendly, lovable member to our family. I would hate for people to have generalizations about this breed as to compare them pitbulls. All dogs, no matter what breed they are develop personalities from how they are raised, not just only from what breed they are. My dogs are very protective and loyal but would never bite or nip another person, child or adult because of they way I have trained them. Chihuahuas make great pets so please don't stray away from adopting one because someone compares them to a pit bull.

Posted on April 10, 2009

Candace L Seaman says: u agree it's all the way the dog is raised. Unfortunatly some people have given a good breed a bad rap, like the pits, rotties, and other's. When we bought our house we were told no shephards, dobies, rotties, pits and one other breed because of the insurance. At the time my son-in- law's rotties was living with us, and my husband had to sign a waiver for the insurance. Herc died about 9 mos later, but he was the most loving dog I've know. I think it's cruel the way some breeds have gotten a bad rap from some people's doing's, like Micheal Vick's situation. You rarily hear anything nice about the breed, and why won't the AKC recognize them????

Posted on April 13, 2009

Kay says: "Angry I live in Nesconset LI New York the population is 95% white it was recent in the local news that not to far from my home an off duty police officer shot and killed a pit bull. This pit was protecting his property when a small dog was being walked went on the property of this pit he did attack the little dog i understand that they wanted the pit to let go of the dog but how do u let ur dog walk on someones property where u know all dogs are to be walked on a leash and u know that this house has another dog a pit bull" I have to agree here. That pit bull was doing the job it was trained to do. Just like my little dog protects the home here. Barking when he hears something outside. Usually it's the newspaper being delivered, but at least I know the paper has arrived. Many people also do NOT P/Up their dog's droppings as rules and laws state they must do. Then, when their dog craps (trying to be nice here) on OUR PROPERTY we are supposed to pick it up? I don't think that's right either. Some large dogs leave large piles and owners let it go. Pick it up and we'll all be happier. RESPECT ALL people whether they have TWO LEGS or FOUR LEGS - we are all LIVING breathing people and should be respected as such. Dogs and other animals that breathe like we do are human, too. ALL living breathing things must be respected. Stay out of our yard and our dog will leave yours alone. Obey the laws and leash the dog PLAY w/them IN YOUR OWN YARD unleashed only. OR, if no fenced in yard play indoors. On the note of Chihuahuas - my one friend will ONLY OWN a chi and she loves hers dearly.

Posted on April 20, 2009

Kathleen says: I have the sweetest chi named Baby, she is almost 7 yrs old, she is very protective of my husband and I, she is so funny, she makes us laugh all the time, she gets under blankets to sleep and loves to have her tummy rubbed, we love her so much!!!!!!

Posted on April 26, 2009

Sandy says: My sister and I bought a pair of long haired chuis all most 6 yers ago. I have them both now as her dtr move din with 3 litttle ones. One burrows next to all the time and the other is a loner except when its bedtime. Would not give them up for any thing.

Posted on May 7, 2009

Rae says: I rescued a little 1/2 long haired chihuahua 1/2 pom last August off the street. He was terrified, phone # on tags no good, full of fleas and cockleburrs- just pitiful!! I took him and had him groomed and de-fleaed right then. Took him to the vet a few days later, and he agreed with me that he had been abused. So, I decided to keep him. He was very anti-social, but I watched the Dog Whisperer every day for months and picked up on how to socialize him. We've hit on some very bad times with the economy in the condition it's in, but now I have a lot of comfort with my little doggie, my little best bud in the world. He sleeps with me every night and is a wonderful addition to our family. You can really learn a lot from Cesar Milan-this dog actually use to BITE me on occassion, but something told me not to give up and here we are!

Posted on April 2, 2009

Rose says: Can you send your problem to the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan? He is excellent on his TV show and has great results in rehabilitating problem dogs. Then there is "It's Me or the Dog" with Victoria Stillwell. They do accept letters from viewers with problem dogs. Worth a try. Good luck with your pets. Rose

Posted on April 3, 2009

Teri says: My husband and I rescued 3 very different but wonderful chihuahuas from a puppy mill and the local shelter. Two are brothers and we also have a female.lt is true they do bark alot and are very protective. The brothers are now 6yrs old and Sierra is 5. They are Great dogs but you need to devote your life to them as they do the same for you. We recently adopted two more abandoned chi's a brother and sister Jewel and TJ. They immediately bonded with are first three and we love them all. It is very important to do your research before bringing a dog home no matter the breed, and chihuahuas are really not meant for homes with small children for the safety of the dog and child. My husband and I truly enjoy all five of our chi's, they each have their own personality and bring great joy to our home and lives. Teri

Posted on April 4, 2009

Sam says: I rescued a male long-haired Chihuahua almost 6 years ago. When I got him he was literally starving to death, had so many fleas that the fleas had fleas, and had been horribly abused. On top of all that, his former 'owners' had let him roam basically wild in town for the 8 months they had him. He was only 14 months when I got him. He is not very sociable towards children, though he won't hurt them, and he is my full-time protector. I love him dearly and I certainly hope he lives 20 years. Sam

Posted on April 6, 2009

Jennie says: I have four chihuahuas. Two are full blooded and two are mixed with Jack Russell or Dashound. They range in age from 9 years to 3 years. I would not give them up for anything. They love everyone and are not ankle biters. They bark a lot but so do the neighbors large dogs. The Dashound mix is leary of children but that is mostly because she was abused before I got her. They get along fine together. I recently got a very young Papillon pup(not knowing much about the breed). She is a real love and has been accepted by the other pets even though she is a real mischief. She and the three year old (who is very small)sleep together. I have had other breed dogs at one time or another but I would not exchange these for any other. They are my kids. Jennie

Posted on April 7, 2009

Terisa says: I read the letters on the chi breed u had posted . I wanted to say u are so right about pit bulls people dont understand that its not the breed thats bad is the owners of the dogs who dont train them right. I have two pits and friends and family who love this breed alot of them were rescues from animal shelters who were about to also be put to sleep. These dogs got a second chance in life and once they get better and get love showed a different way of life they will always protect there owners and there space. They are like any other breathing life. Please try not to judge any animal they only take care protect of what they know is theres . Respect them and gain there respect it will come back to u when u least expect. They may help save a life when u least expected.

Posted on April 7, 2009

Miles Tee says: I live in Nesconset LI New York the population is 95% white it was recent in the local news that not to far from my home an off duty police officer shot and killed a pit bull. This pit was protecting his property when a small dog was being walked went on the property of this pit he did attack the little dog i understand that they wanted the pit to let go of the dog but how do u let ur dog walk on someones property where u know all dogs are to be walked on a leash and u know that this house has another dog a pit bull the police officer made two shots one missed the dog and the other hit the pit and killed it..This family was Hispanic and there dog was the pit can people let me know what they think and what should happen with the officer and both dog owners.I dont understand how ! the owner of the small dog let his dog get on there property 2 not have the dog leashed and under his supervision at all times like the town says they should be 3 this cop shutting not once but two times hitting the pit killing it with second shot, i myself have bin having a problem with a few people on my block (police officer) regarding my large pit bull pup that has bin jumping the fence and looking to play no aggression when out of the fence the pup was born and has had contacts with the neighbors and there young kids i have bin living here for 4yrs with pups mom she will growl and bark in the yard never bite.My husband and i are an inter racial young couple on this block I understand safety but we always have him in our sight why not talk to us the first time instead of calling and making a report to animal control Can anyone help me understand why it would be so hard for u to talk with us instead of tracking the owner of the houses father then the owners home talking about leaves and dog fence outside then blowing things up im going to sue u and i want them out of here.

Posted on April 2, 2009

Rosemary says: I rescued my first Chihuahua from a pet store where he was kept in a too small cage, in the store window. I went in right to that cage, and when our eyes met, we both fell in love. Tiny Tim (better known as "Timmy") was 2 months old when I got him, and he just died last Oct. '08 - five months shy of 20 years! He was a prince of a dog. The greatest! And I've had many dogs in my life. I had a Boston Terrier when I got Timmy because she was lonely when I went to work and they bonded. When Lady died, Timmy mourned for her a long time. So I got him a "Buddy," another Chihuahua. You've heard, "You just can't have one Chihuahua!" Well, Buddy is now going into his 12th year and he has been lonely for Timmy, and has little appetite as they used to eat together and he misses his big brother so much. So I am in the process of adopting a senior special needs Chihuahua from a nearby shelter. I fell in love with this senior Chihuahua's photo and story that was online on the shelter website, and want to give this old guy a "forever home" where he can live out his days with a caring and loving family. He has poor eyesight and hearing, has lost his teeth, and a mild seizure problem, and his elderly owner had gone to a nursing home and he had no one to take him, so he went to a shelter. We are a retired couple and want Buddy to have a companion. If you have the willingness and commitment to care for a special needs senior dog, it is so worth it. The puppies will be adopted, but too often the older dogs, the seniors, are overlooked. What a waste and a shame. These tiny dogs are getting a bad rap, much like the pit bulls, Dobermans, and Rottis get. It all depends on the love they receive and training. All creatures great and small are to be loved and the rewards are wonderful when you have a loyal and faithful pet love you in return. My Timmy was a really old guy and was so lovable to the end and anyone would have had a great dog if I had passed away and he went to a shelter. That's why I am so willing to adopt another old dog in memory of my sweet old guy, Timmy. Rose, a Chihuahus Mommy

Posted on March 24, 2009

Sue says: We have a chi/terrier that we bought from now what is a puppy mill. He is almost 4 yrs old. He barks and will bite most strangers....I do not have a clue as to why he does.....He is a loving wonderful dog to us and some of the grandkids. Others he wants to bite them.......We also have a fox terrier that is 3. We were told that the both of them would not be more than 7 pounds......needless to say they both are huge the Chi is 22 and the terrier is 18lbs. When we go outdoors they bark at everyone and run to the fence and would love to get ahold of them. Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can do to break them of this?? Thank you.

Posted on March 24, 2009

sharon miller says: i have 3 chihuahua they are my babys they are 7 and 6 yrs old.they are so sweet lovable but do not like little kids i would never part with my babys

Posted on March 24, 2009

Jen says: I am a proud owner of a chihuahua for a number of years. She is my best friend. Knows when I'm not feeling well and is no trouble at all. The best decission was when she became a part of my home.

Posted on March 23, 2009

Katherine says: I rescued a chihuahua from the pound 4 yrs ago, she was a bag of bones with no hair and had sores all over her. Today she is my best friend and loyal to the bone but definitely fits the mold in that she does not like every one and is fiercely protective of me. She even goes on patrol of the house from time to time. But love her so much. BUT having said all this I agree that they are not a dog for everyone and should be thought out before getting one and then subjecting it to the sadness of rejection.

Posted on March 20, 2009

Laura says: I have a 2 year old Chihuahua. She is the total and complete center of attention in our house or should I say "Her" house. Yes you should research and really think about getting a Chihuahua or any dog for that matter. They do take your time and attention but I would not trade our little baby for anything.

Posted on March 17, 2009

Joan Sultemeier says: I have a 7 1/2 mo. old Chihuahua, he is my 4th over a period of 30+ years. Would never have any other breed. They are loveing, loyal, sweet, babish. I agree they aren't for a home with children, not for the childs sake but for the Chi. They are very fragile. If you can't devote 100% of your time and attention to them then do not get one. As a baby they demand at least that much time and attention. Be prepaired to devote your time, they demand as much and more than a human baby.

Posted on March 13, 2009

Marco says: My family rescued a chihuahua (some other kind of terrier) mix seven years ago that someone had dumped (injured) alongside a road. He has been my little buddy ever since. Love him, love him, love him. Great dog.

Posted on March 13, 2009

Becca Kratochvil says: I have 3 chihuhuas-2 mix breeds and 1 full chi and they are the most wonderful dogs. They are members of our family. Yes some can be afraid of strangers and kids but it just takes a little time to warm up to them. They are the best loyal and sweet dogs, that it makes me sad that people just abandon them. They all like to cuddle with me and add so much to our lives. You should feel lucky to own a chihuahua

Posted on March 10, 2009

Emma Bausher says: I had a rescue chi, the grandchilldren, 8 & 11 could hold her 24 hours a day. Very docile. Now I have a shelter one, have to keep a hand on her til I know how she will accept a stranger. Some she loves, others she wants to take their hand off. It really depends on the dog. they are all different. Bottom line, it is your responsibility to keep a close hand/eye on all dogs.

Posted on January 23, 2009

Amy Kelly says: I agree with the article that people need to research the pets that they are going to add to their family. Recently we rescued an abandoned Chihuahua, that had been left in a park in the middle of winter. He had been treated badly and had been exposed to the elements, fortunately we found him before any permanent damage occured. We already had three dogs as part of our family, and the all of them accepted the Chihuahua, named Cujo without any problems. It turns out that our Newfoundland, Brutus, found a best friend in the new addition, (Cujo loves to sleep in Brutus tail fur). Although, the pros and cons of owning a small dog are absolutely true, they need constant attention and care, he does not like to leave my side and we never leave him without adult supervision. He is so delicate(although he does not know it, he thinks he's tough) he must be handled with great care. We love him very much and are glad that he has become a member of our family.

Posted on February 7, 2009

Cait says: unless it is a service dog! People who buy small 'accessory' dogs and then take them to places where pets are not allowed (restaurants, grocery stores - basically anywhere food is sold!) make life seriously difficult for service dog users. Please don't imply that this is okay just because the breed is small!

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