Why Are So Many Chihuahuas in Shelters? EXPLAINED

If you have been to a shelter lately, you may have noticed that there are a lot of Chihuahuas up for adoption.

But why are so many Chihuahuas in shelters?

Chihuahuas’ independent, obsessive, and sometimes aggressive personalities can be difficult for first-time owners to handle. Overbreeding may also contribute to the number of Chihuahuas abandoned in shelters.

There are several other reasons why this might be happening, and we’re going to explore them in this blog post.

Introduction to Chihuahuas

Though small, chihuahuas have big personalities that can be difficult for first-time dog owners to handle.

Chihuahuas may be the smallest breed of dog in the world, but they’re known for their BIG personalities.

Originating in Mexico, they were named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Originally, these dogs were bred to be companion animals, and they remain loyal and devoted companions to this day.

There are many types of Chihuahua coming in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and they can be either long-haired or short-haired.

Despite their small size, Chihuahuas are relatively active dogs, requiring regular playtime.

With proper care and training, Chihuahuas can make wonderful pets for both families and individuals.

In the early 20th century, Chihuahuas became popular in the United States after being featured in several movies and TV shows.

Today, Chihuahuas are one of the most popular breeds in both the US and the UK.

Here’s an interesting video on the history and personality of Chihuahuas:

Read More: Brindle Chihuahuas. We explore more about Chihuahuas and their unique coat patterns in this guide!

Why Are So Many Chihuahuas in Shelters Today?

Overbreeding has contributed to the number of chihuahuas found in dog shelters.
Here Are The Reasons Why Are So Many Chihuahuas In Shelters

Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are one the most common type of dogs found in animal shelters, often being referred to as the “default shelter dog.”

There are several reasons for this, and below are some of the most common reasons why.

Read More: How Long Do Shelters Keep Lost Dogs? Shelters may keep dogs anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. Here are the factors that determine their stay.

Hollywood Mainstream

One of the reasons why chihuahuas are often seen in shelters is because of the mainstream portrayal of these dogs in Hollywood.

In many movies and television shows, chihuahuas are shown as cuddly and adorable companions, leading potential owners to believe that they would make great pets.

If you’ve ever seen “Legally Blonde”, the famous Taco Bell commercial, or Paris Hilton carrying around her Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, then you know that Chihuahuas have been a trendy accessory for decades now.

But with this popularity, Chihuahuas became an essential commodity.

What many owners may not realize until they have their own Chihuahua, is that they can be difficult to care for and require a lot of attention.

Many of these people do not know the first thing about caring for them and as a result, animal shelters have taken in thousands of Chihuahuas.

Read More: Do Dogs Get Killed in Shelters? We explore the facts surrounding euthanasia in dog shelters.

Irresponsible Breeding

Irresponsible breeding has been a problem with all breeds, not just chihuahuas.

However, when people irresponsibly breed chihuahuas, they’re not doing their research on the background of the dog, what health problems they may have, and whether they will be a good fit for families.

This often leads to unhealthy dogs with behavior problems that lead to Chihuahuas being abandoned at shelters when their owners realize they can’t care for them.

Chihuahuas are also increasingly being bred for profitability, with many mills churning out poorly-bred puppies that are more likely to end up in shelters.

If you’re considering adding a chihuahua to your family, do your research to make sure you are getting a healthy dog from a responsible breeder.

Read More: Can You Find Puppies at Shelters? If you’re looking for a puppy, the good news is that some shelters see litters. We discuss puppy adoption in this guide!

Lack Of Knowledge Regarding Proper Care

Chihuahuas are small dogs with big personalities, and they require a different care regimen than larger breeds.

For example, they need to be groomed (because they do shed quite a bit), and they’re more susceptible to cold weather due to their small size.

In addition, chihuahuas often suffer from anxiety and stress, which can be exacerbated by changes in their environment or routine or when out on walks.

As a result, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to ensure that you’re providing the best possible care for your chihuahua.

By taking the time to learn about their unique needs, you can help to prevent your chihuahua from ending up in a shelter.

Read More: Best Dogs for Anxiety. Dogs aren’t the only ones who can experience anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety, these dogs can help.

Not Recommended For First-Time Dog Owners

People with no experience with dogs should not get a Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas have trouble getting their needs met because they are easily misunderstood and therefore, they commonly end up in shelters.

Despite their size, they need a great deal of attention.

Unfortunately, new dog owners frequently don’t understand the effort required to properly care for a Chihuahua.

Read More: Can Shelter Dogs Be Service Dogs? All breeds have the potential of becoming service dogs. Here’s what it takes.

Problems Interacting With Others

Chihuahuas are famous for being independent and even hostile despite their small stature.

This makes it challenging to socialize and train them, and it often results in behavioral issues.

Because of this fact alone, many Chihuahuas are abandoned or surrendered to shelters.

Chihuahuas may have a temperament that makes them tough to handle, but some things can be done to help them improve their social skills with other dogs and humans.

Most Chihuahuas, with time and effort, may learn to be obedient, friendly household pets.

Those who miss out on early socialization training, however, are more likely to struggle with interpersonal skills throughout their life.

Read More: How Long Do Chihuahuas Live? These dogs can live for 20 years or more, making them a big responsibility. Learn more!

What You Can Do for Chihuahuas in Shelters

Volunteering at your local animal shelter can give shelter chihuahuas a better quality of life.
Choosing to volunteer or donate to your local animal shelters can improve the quality of life of abandoned Chihuahuas.

As any pet-lover knows, animals in shelters often have a tough time finding a forever home.

However, there are things that concerned citizens can do to help these animals.

Here are some things you can do to help chihuahuas in shelters:

  1. Volunteer at a local shelter. For example, by volunteering to walk dogs. This is a great way to socialize the dogs and make them more adaptable.
  2. Help with transport. Many shelters rely on volunteers to help transport dogs to and from adoption events or vet appointments.
  3. Foster a dog. Having a safe, caring place to be while they look for their permanent family is invaluable and makes room for other pets to be adopted from the shelter.
  4. Donate money or supplies. Shelters always need food, toys, leashes, collars, and other supplies. Monetary donations can go a long way toward helping shelters.
  5. Spread the word about adoptable dogs. Share pictures and stories about adoptable dogs on social media or with your friends and family.

    You never know who might be inspired to open their home to a shelter dog!

Read More: Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas. Looking for quality dog food to donate to your shelter? These foods are tried and true for healthy Chihuahuas!

Final Thoughts

These little dogs are full of personality and make great companions. However, because they are small dogs, they can sometimes be nippy.

It’s important to socialize with them from an early age so that they learn how to interact with other dogs and people.

If you’re interested in adopting a chihuahua, many local shelters have plenty of adoptable pups waiting for their forever homes.

Further Reading: Why Are There So Many Abandoned Huskies? Huskies are another breed commonly found in shelters. Here’s why.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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