Is a Chihuahua the Right Pet
If you’re reading this article, odds are that
you’ve already made the decision to add a dog to your household. Hopefully, this
is not a decision that you’ve arrived at on a whim. While that puppy in the
window can be extremely cute, it is important to remember that he will grow up
quickly. And in the case of the Chihuahua, will be a part of your life for the
next decade or two.
Is the Chihuahua Right for You?
As our pet shelters
are currently overrun with dogs that their owners have abandoned, it is
important that you give serious thought to
the responsibilities of becoming a pet owner. There are several questions that you should ask yourself
prior to making a Chihuahua a permanent fixture in your home.
Are you ready to spend
the next 15+ years caring for a Chihuahua?
Most Chihuahuas will live for 15 years or more.
Dogs are not like children and will never grow up and become independent.
If you’re currently single, you should take into consideration that
during the lifespan of your Chi, your current circumstances will probably
undergo several changes. Do you plan
on getting married or adding a roommate?
Do you plan to have children?
In most cases, there is a good chance that your lifestyle today is not
reflective of where you will be 10 years from now.
If you are an apartment dweller, are you prepared to limit your potential
choices to properties that will accept pets if you decide to move?
If you’re purchasing a Chihuahua as a companion for an elderly or handicapped
person, will another family member be responsible for the pet if the owner is
incapacitated or passes away?
These are all questions you should be able to answer honestly before you move on
to choosing what type of dog you want.
Are you prepared to
assume the financial responsibility of a Chihuahua?
While most potential pet owners are usually cognizant of how
much they can spend on the initial purchase of a dog, unfortunately, many don’t
take into consideration the long term financial responsibilities of a pet.
In addition to the purchase price of the dog, take a minute to figure out
how much you’ll spend over the dog’s lifetime on food, regular veterinarian
visits, toys, supplies such as leashes, collars, crates, and possibly boarding
fees if you travel. In some locals
your dog will also have to be licensed every year and its extremely important
that you have access to emergency funds in case your pet is involved in an
accident or faces an unexpected illness.
Do you have the financial means to care for a pet?
Are you willing to devote the amount of time a dog
Most dogs require quite a bit of attention and do
not thrive in an environment where they are left alone for long periods of time.
Larger breeds require exercise and typically, smaller breeds require a
lot of lap time. Housebreaking and
training your dog will not happen overnight and will certainly never happen if
you’re not available to spend time with him.
Take a look at your current lifestyle…do you have time on your hands that
you are willing to devote to a pet?
If you’re currently working in a career that leaves you just a few precious
hours of downtime, how do you plan to work the demands of being a pet owner into
your schedule? A good question to
ask yourself is - how many hours a day do you currently spend at home?
Dogs are a little like postmen… rain or shine, snow or wind, they need to
be taken outside to relieve themselves.
Can you picture yourself standing in a blizzard at 5:30 in the morning
waiting for your dog to take care of his business? Fortunately, this isn’t as
much of an issue for the Chihuahua owner, because you can train him to use a pad
or litter box.
And finally, which breed of dog will be the best
suited to your current lifestyle?
This may be the most important decision you make
when choosing a pet and it’s an excellent idea to spend some time doing a little
soul-searching before settling on your choice.
When my family recently made the decision to replace a family pet that we
had to put to sleep due to old age, we sat down and made a list of all of the
characteristics of a dog that would be most conducive to our environment and
lifestyle. We then made another list
of the breeds we preferred. The
exercise was simple - we worked our way through the list and crossed off any
breed that did not meet our requirements.
By the time we were finished, we had narrowed our choices down to one.
In our case, the breed we settled on was a perfect fit and easily
transitioned into our family. Since
you’re currently reading this book, we’re going to assume that the Chihuahua is
currently on your list and this book may provide you with the information you
need to either move forward in your purchase or move on to another breed.
Hopefully, the information provided below will help you finalize your
The Chihuahua is a perfect pet for you if…
You have decided that a small dog is your best
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that although he’s
tiny in size, the Chihuahua is not a wimpy dog.
He’s tough, can be aggressive and will not back down in most situations.
Due to his size, he’s also extremely fragile so this breed is not
recommended for households with toddlers.
The Chihuahua can easily suffer broken bones if he’s stepped on or
dropped. Although he’s extremely
playful, the Chi is not sturdy enough for rough and tumble activity with his
owner. If you want a dog to wrestle
with, you’ll want to choose one with a sturdier build.
The Chi is also a good choice for the elderly or handicapped as his size
makes him easy to walk and pick up.
The Chi is an excellent pet for apartments with size restrictions for pets.
You enjoy cuddling and don’t mind when your pet
invades your space.
The Chihuahua is a very affectionate pet and is
considered a lap dog. He loves
attention and if you’re not giving it to him, he will simply insert himself into
whatever activity is keeping you from him.
If you’re the type of person who is easily irritated by a pet that is
often underfoot, you may want to reconsider your choice.
If companionship is one of the top reasons you’ve decided to get a pet,
however, the Chi is perfect. He will
prefer your presence to that of other animals and is quite social.
Although the Chi may originally be standoffish to guests, he usually
makes friends quickly and is willing to share his affection with anyone he feels
will return it. The tiny Chi does
have a jealous streak and without the opportunity to socialize with others may
become overly protective of his owner.
You’re looking for a dog that requires a minimal
amount of grooming.
Although a Chihuahua will shed year-round, basic
grooming needs are fairly simple.
While a long-coat will require a little more care, both varieties are considered
“wash and wear” pets. In other
words, give him a bath, clean his eyes and ears, trim his nails and he’s good to
go. Due to his small size, the
Chihuahua will fit in your sink making bathing a breeze.
You’re considering more than one dog.
As we mentioned earlier, the Chihuahua is a very
social animal and gets along well with people as well as other dogs.
Although the best combination is another Chi, the breed has coexisted
with other large and small dogs with very few problems.
In most cases, two female dogs will be better partners than two males or
a male and a female. Having both
pets spayed or neutered is a must.
If you’re adding a Chihuahua to a household that currently has a pet, he may not
be the best choice if you also have a very large dog.
Larger breeds can accidentally harm the Chi if they play too rough.
Space is a problem but you’d like a dog that will
offer some protection.
Although the Chi’s small size prohibits him from
being much help in the case of an attack, his bark alone is often enough to warn
off any potential intruders. The
Chihuahua has an excellent sense of hearing and will quickly alert you to
potential problems long before you’d identify them yourself.
The Chi’s bark is loud and shrill, however, they are easily trained to be
quiet on command. In most cases,
once the Chihuahua knows that he has alerted his owner to potential danger,
he’ll immediately quiet down. Most
Chi owners have reported that the dog has an uncanny ability to actually
determine the difference between a squirrel on the patio and real danger, and
rarely barks needlessly.
You don’t have the desire or the time to exercise a
Again because of his size, the Chihuahua usually
gets enough exercise simply romping around your home.
Although he enjoys an occasional walk, if he doesn’t get it - his health
will not suffer. The Chi can keep up
with his owner for short periods of time but is not a breed suited to be a
running or jogging partner. In most
cases, he’ll tire before you will and you’ll often see Chi owners carrying them
You enjoy traveling and would like your pet to be a
The Chihuahua loves to ride in the car and is
easily transported in a dog or even a cat carrier.
Although the Chi adjusts fairly well to changes in the climate, it will
be your responsibility to make sure that he stays warm when traveling.
A coat is a necessity if he’s going to be outside in cool or cold weather
for any length of time.
You’re willing to be patient when housebreaking your
Although the Chihuahua is considered to be an extremely intelligent and highly
trainable breed, because of the small size of his bladder, housebreaking him can
present a challenge. When he’s a
puppy, it’s important that someone will be available to take him outside on a
regular basis. Once trained,
however, the Chi rarely has accidents.
Crate training is usually the best option if you can’t take him along
with you during the day.
Gregg Dickson, co-founder of The Chihuahua Fanatics Club at
www.chihuahuafanatics.com has developed an online community; a place where
care for Chihuahuas are
joining together to share insights, information and
Chihuahua pet care tips.