Teacup Chihuahuas are smaller versions of the diminutive Chihuahua breed. They have become popular in recent years due to their appearance in television commercials and Hollywood movies, but this popularity has also resulted in irresponsible breeding and impulse buying. These practices have resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of Chihuahuas that are regularly abandoned at local animal shelters and rescued by Chihuahua rescue groups. They may be small, but they need the same level of care that any dog needs, and their strong personalities means they are not for everyone.
- Skill level:
Determine if the breed is right for you. While Chihuahuas are small and make great companions for apartment-dwellers, like most dogs, they require regular exercise. Chihuahuas often grow very attached to one person, are quite vocal, and love to receive a lot of love, attention and cuddle time. Before adopting, make sure you can provide a teacup Chihuahua with everything it needs, and take time to familiarise yourself with the characteristics of the breed.
Get in touch with your local animal shelter, especially if you live in California, which has an influx of Chihuahuas in their shelters. If your local shelter does not have any teacup Chihuahuas, they may be able to put you in touch with a rescue group.
Be prepared for a rigorous screening process. Rescue groups, much like professional, ethical breeders, are in it for the love of the breed, and their goal is to better the lives of the abandoned, often neglected dogs in their care. All groups will require that you fill out an adoption application, and many will perform a home visit before they consider you as an adoptive pet parent. Some groups like to keep track of their dogs and might refuse to adopt out an animal if it means it will be living far away. This does not apply to all shelters and rescue groups, but it is a possibility.
Be prepared to provide the rescue group or shelter with personal references, as well as the name and phone number of the veterinarian your dog will visit.
Expect to pay an adoption fee. This fee is usually in the hundreds of dollars. When a dog is brought to a shelter or rescue group, it receives necessary medical care and it is spayed or neutered. Since another goal of rescue groups is to reduce the population of unwanted animals, spaying or neutering is non-negotiable. Consider making a donation along with your adoption fee to support the work of the rescue group.
Update your dog's shelter from time to time on how your teacup Chihuahua is doing. The volunteers who run and support these groups typically put in so much time and effort that they love to receive a note now and then letting them know that their former charge is healthy and happy.
Tips and warnings
- While teacup Chihuahuas may have a mighty-dog personality, their size makes them sensitive to cold. Like any breed of dog, they should never be kept outdoors.
- Never bring an animal into your life if you are not prepared to spend the money and time required to provide it with a good life. Vet bills are not cheap, dogs must have daily exercise and excrement must be picked up.
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