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Is the Chihuahua Right for Me?

    Chihuahuas truly are a wonderful little breed, but they are not the right breed for everyone. Because they are very small, special consideration needs to be given on the type of home they go too.  Chihuahuas may not be safe with other breeds of dog, such as sight-hounds. As dog breeders it is our responsibility to make sure that we find the best home possible for every puppy we place, and this means asking questions. No breeder wants his puppy to lead a stressed life, be hurt or abused by small children or other pets, or end up in an animal shelter or not cared for properly.
    Before acquiring any breed of dog, it is important to research that breed to ensure this is the right breed for you. Certain breeds have certain health problems, some require lots of grooming or exercise, some have breed traits such as excessive barking along with many other factors that may make it a nice breed for one person, but not the right breed for another. Never buy a puppy impulsively before doing research;  remember, this is a life long commitment. The average life span of a Chihuahua is 12 to 16 or more years.

1) Children
2)
Other Pets
3)
Small Size Consideration
4) Breed Traits

Children:
   
Children and Chihuahuas do not mix. This is not necessarily because the Chihuahua might be aggressive towards children, but because toddlers and small children can easily fall or drop a toy on a Chihuahua, or kick a Chi when suddenly racing across the room, or slamming a door on it. A Chihuahua can instinctively sense that a toddler or child is comparatively speaking, uncoordinated and "out of control" and can pose a danger. This is especially  true as children are more uncoordinated and clumsy than adults. Chihuahuas are not only small, but the vast majority of Chihuahuas have a soft-spot on top of their head, making them more prone to injury. Even a child that means well and loves the little dog can accidentally hurt the tiny breed by hugging a Chihuahua too hard or dropping it.  Also, children move quickly and impulsively, and can kick or step on a Chihuahua when they run across the room. An active family, however well-meaning, can be very hard on a Chi.   The mother, who already has enough to do in the family, would have the worrisome task of "watching out for the Chihuahua" around the clock on a daily basis added to her responsibilities.
    For families that wish to get a small dog, we would recommend either getting another small breed such as a Bichon Frise, a Pug or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that might be able to withstand children better, or at the very least, a larger sized Chihuahua that is a little more sturdy. These other delightful breeds are also loving and make great companions for the whole family.   The bonus would be that daily life at home would be more relaxing while the children grow up.

Other Pets:
   
Chihuahuas can get along quite well with other breeds of dogs and other pets, especially when raised from a young age in that type of setting, but generally, Chihuahuas should not be in the same household as larger breeds of dogs. A larger, rambunctious dog can easily hurt a Chihuahua in play, or if it suddenly wants to protect its food or chew toy, a snap at a Chihuahua can be life-threatening.
    Chihuahuas are generally not good with terrier breeds that have a terrier temperament (that are food/toy protective, will challenge other dogs, etc.) as the Chihuahua themselves have a terrier-like temperament. Thus a terrier and a Chihuahua might clash with their similar personalities, and this can be very dangerous as a Chihuahua does not know its size.
    Chihuahuas are prone to eye injuries because of their large unprotected eyes, so having a cat in the house may or may not be a good idea. Laid back cats are best. A cat that is shy or overly playful may scratch the Chihuahua's eyes.

Small Size Consideration:
   
Chihuahuas are not the right breed for everyone due to their small size. Because they are small, they can easily get into places that might not be safe, such as places with electrical cords, or underneath a fence or gate. Fences must be properly secured (we nail boards along the bottom) so that the Chihuahua can not escape. As described above, they are not necessarily the ideal pet to introduce to a household that has children or other pets. Also, great care must be taken when these little guys are outside. Birds of prey (hawks, etc.) as well as some cats and other wildlife (such as coyotes) may look at the Chihuahua as being a nice snack. Chihuahuas should never be left unattended for long periods of time, and when they are outside, they should be properly enclosed (including with a roof if birds of prey frequent the area). I have heard of several instances where a bird of prey snatched a Chihuahua off the ground before the owner knew what happened.

Breed Traits:
   
Chihuahuas are very loyal, and can be very protective of their owner. Chihuahuas really are a big dog in a small body. Some people think of a Chihuahua shaking, and scared of everything, but in reality, they do not know their size and most will challenge bigger dogs. Chihuahuas love human attention, and are true lap dogs. Chihuahuas are very personable and have their own personality and temperament, just like people.
    Chihuahuas can be very intelligent, to the point of outsmarting  you or being downright stubborn. Most are motivated by toy, food, or affection to make training easy. Many Chis try to please.
    Some Chihuahuas are barkers, while others are not. This trait really varies with the bloodline and the individual. Chihuahuas are not the yappy little ankle-biters as they used to be known, and their temperament has improved by leaps and bounds with the help of responsible breeders doing their part to improve the breed.
    As mentioned above, before choosing any breed of dog, be sure to do thorough research on the breed, ask different breeders questions about the breed, meet friends/family that have a pet Chihuahua, etc. There are many interesting books out there to learn more about Chihuahuas, and most are helpful about explaining how to care for them.


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