The Chihuahua has skyrocketed in popularity within the past decade. Television commercials featuring the breed as spokescanine, movies starring this toy breed, and public appearances of the Chi in the arms (or fashionable handbags) of well-known television stars, singers, musicians, and movie stars have all helped to make the Chihuahua the dog of the moment, the dog everyone wants to be seen with and own.
Even without this celebrity status, the Chihuahua has been a favored breed almost since its introduction in this country. The reasons for this are many. The Chihuahua — in both short and long coats — is a very attractive dog. With the breed's wide variations in color, patterns, and markings, Chis offer a certain degree of uniqueness (no two are ever alike) to their owners. And, of course, what really makes this breed is the Chi's temperament. These dogs are loving, devoted, playful, a bit feisty (think terrier), and brave. (Chis have died trying to protect their owners.)
Dogs of this breed will make you laugh out loud at their crazy antics; gasp as they ricochet off your furniture and walls in wild, exuberant play; sigh with contentment when they curl up to sleep in your lap or softly kiss your cheeks; and groan as you discover the latest trouble your little mischief-maker has gotten into. The Chihuahua will take you through a whole range of emotions and experiences during her lifetime. And it's virtually a guarantee that when the time comes for her to leave this world that you, too, will shed a tear and agree that even a long-lived breed never lives long enough. The Chihuahua, without a doubt, will be the pet you remember forever.
Of course, your enjoyment and richness of experience with a Chihuahua rests heavily on two factors. First is the Chihuahua's breeding, which not only affects how she looks but more importantly how healthy she will be in her lifetime, and what sort of temperament she is hard-wired to have. Second is you, the owner. Even the best-bred Chihuahua with tremendous potential to succeed as a wonderful pet can fail if you cannot give the dog the care, attention, and upbringing she needs.
Unfortunately, thousands of Chihuahuas wind up in shelters, pounds, and rescues across the country or are euthanized because of poor breeding practices or poor ownership. Sickly Chihuahua puppies are not unusual, nor are adult Chis with rotten temperaments and/or expensive, chronic health issues. It's a heartbreaking situation when a family does all the right things (provides good nutrition, preventive veterinary care, exercise, socialization, and training) and the Chihuahua is still unhealthy or has an overly aggressive or fearful temperament.
On the other hand just as many Chihuahuas wind up unwanted because their owners couldn't or wouldn't make the effort to meet the Chi's most basic needs. These are usually owners who purchased the Chihuahua on a whim and never really considered the fact that this was a dog and not a cute, cuddly toy that was pre-programmed to behave perfectly. When this owner discovers that raising and caring for a Chihuahua entails a lot more than simply providing the dog with a designer purse to ride around in — that is, that the Chihuahua eats, chews things up, relieves itself and requires housetraining, and is one of the more expensive breeds to maintain — then the dog becomes bothersome and annoying. For those who didn't think twice about purchasing a Chi, it's usually not too difficult a choice to drop the dog off and be rid of her.
The moral to this story is that the Chihuahua can make an incredible pet. It is, after all, an incredible dog. But most people are attracted to most breeds based primarily on what they've seen, or what the dog looks like. There's nothing wrong with this! But to make this highly adaptable breed a success in your home, you have to dig deeper. Learn what this dog is all about. Find out what makes this canine tick.
As you read The Everything® Chihuahua Book, hopefully you'll get a very good feel for this breed's distinctive needs, the problems you might encounter raising a Chi if you choose to purchase a puppy or adopt a rescued adult, and how you might have to adapt your lifestyle to make this breed work in your home and life.
Where there's a will, there's always a way to succeed with the Chihuahua. As long as you know what you're getting into and appreciate the level of commitment you will need to make for this loving dog, the Chihuahua will repay your kindness and care with a life as full of excitement and love as she is possible of giving. And for a Chihuahua, that's a whole lotta love.