Chihuahuas are still one of the top surrendered dogs!
Covid has changed the world forever and this is certainly true in terms of dog ownership. The UK is now at peak dog ownership which means more people than ever have taken the plunge and brought a dog.
This high demand for all dog breeds pushed the price for puppies into the thousands and chihuahua pups are no exception. Their compact size making them a choice for people who live in apartments. However the reality of owning a dog can be very different from the original dream and this is certainly the case when it come to chihuahuas.
While chihuahuas are adorable puppies, they are also one of the hardest breeds to manage. They don’t respond to the traditional training methods and puppy socialization classes can often result in a barking, lunging heap of stressed dog. They can be a feisty breed to manage and are very prone to excitable barking.
Yes they are fantastic dogs, smart, sassy and intelligent, but they need careful management and a different approach to training that people don’t realise.
Unwanted handbag dogs
Fashion has also taken its toll on these small dog breeds, such as chihuahuas and yorkshire terriers. These tiny breeds have been a popular trend in recent years because of the celebrity spotlight and the fact these dogs and can fit into handbags and look cute being toted around.
Chihuahuas need exercise and mental stimulation like any breed and being in a handbag all day will not provide this. There are times when a bag is useful as chihuahuas can get trodden underfoot in busy places, but it’s not how they should spend their day.
Once owners who brought puppies because the latest ‘celebrity’ has one, realise what they have taken on, these dogs are quickly surrendered. Often with urine burns from being sat in a nappy all day, some even are hardly able to walk.
The problem is that people do not spend enough time researching what it takes to care for dogs, nor understand the care and commitment needed to train then and give them regularly exercise.
In fact, a recent survey suggests that one-third of owners spent less than a week researching what pet to get, a sign that dog ownership was not taken seriously. Chihuahuas have a long lifespan and regularly live longer than 15 years, so the decision to choose a chihuahua for a pet should not be taken lightly.
Something to take into careful consideration when rehoming a chihuahua is the reason they have been surrendered in the first place. Chihuahuas can exhibit some terrible behaviour. Barking, aggression and peeing in the house are likely to be the top reasons. It is perfectly possible to rehabilitate a chihuahua with these issues but it can be a daunting task for the beginner. But not all chihuahuas are given up for this reason. You may find bitches dumped after they are no longer viable for breeding.
Many chihuahuas urgently need rehoming, but adoption should be carefully considered to make sure that your home and family is suitable. Not all chihuahuas are a good fit for family with young children. While there are exceptions, it’s not a good idea to put a chihuahua with children under 11 years old. A chihuahua may find a toddler or young child worrying and may become snappy to keep them at bay.
Depending on the training and previous life a chihuahua had will determine how suitable they will be for you. It is best to read their case history carefully, so you find the perfect fit for your household.
Are rescues too strict?
While it’s important to make sure the family are a good fit for a chihuahua, some rescues are accused of being far too strict. Giving some very odd reasons why a dog can’t be rehomed. This is why the current fashion for bringing dogs in from overseas is gaining momentum. Rescues like this seem to ask fewer questions, which will eventually feed back into the UK rescues as people take on dogs they aren’t prepared for. UK rescues being too strict or too expensive will also push people to buy puppies as they get frustrated trying to find a rescue dog, again fueling the rescue scene. Finding the correct balance is key here, rescues need to be sensible and not overly officious.
The British Chihuahua Club Rescue Association re-homes chihuahuas that have suffered from hardship and neglect. They will match chihuahuas to homes based on the suitability found in the adoption forms. Foster homes are also used, to help get dogs used to family life as soon as possible.
The first place to look is your local rescue centres. A quick Google search will bring up some in your area. Many people will look at online marketplaces like Gumtree or Pets4homes. If you spot a dog that you’re interested in be very careful that the chihuahua you are buying actually exists or isn’t stolen. Always ask for chip details.
There are many ways for helping neglected chihuahuas, from adoption to temporary fostering or just by donating to charities to help cover the vet bills and food for the dogs. Another way you can help is providing transport to collect and deliver dogs when they are rehomed or fostered. If you want to help give chihuahuas a better life, get in touch with your local rescue charity and find out how you can help.
Chihuahua Power is not a rescue, if you would like to rehome a chihuahua please contact your local dog rescue or Battersea dog home.