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7 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are The Second Most Euthanized Dog

Why Are Chihuahuas The Second Most Euthanized Dog

You have to know the truth. 

Millions of dogs are put to sleep all over the world.

On top of that list are Pitbulls…

And Chihuahuas. 

Oh no!

Keep reading to find out:

  • The truth to why shelters euthanize dogs.
  • How California helps in reducing the killing of animals.
  • 7 reasons why Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog.
  • And much much more…

Why are Chihuahuas the second most euthanized dog?

Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog for reasons such as their breeding rate, having negative stereotypes, decreasing popularity, preventing sickness and contagious diseases, having aggressive behaviors, decreasing chances of getting adopted, or being surrendered often by owners.

7 reasons why Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog

#1: Their popularity ended

Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog. 

And this is because their popularity has come to an end.

But before I get into details…

Let’s talk about this breed first. 

Chis are small. 

Their average height is 5 to 8 inches (12.7 cm to 20.32 cm). And their weight is around 3 to 6 pounds (1.5 to 3 kg) only.

Their size makes them easy to carry around. 

Hence, why they’re known as ‘dogs for people who don’t have time and space’. 

They can also wear different clothing items since they always get cold. 

So they became popular in Hollywood as a fashion accessory.

Paris Hilton Syndrome

Paris Hilton Syndrome

“Wait. Chihuahuas were popular? 

What’s the hype all about?”

Uhm, do you know Paris Hilton?

She’s the celebrity who started the Chihuahua craze in Hollywood. 

Okay, so Paris has a Chihuahua pooch named ‘Tinkerbell’. 

And she used to carry her pooch around wherever she goes. 

She even had Tinkerbell inside her purse sometimes.

The two of them were inseparable. 

(I mean they even have matching clothes.) 

Since Paris Hilton was so popular at that time, all the ladies wanted to be like her. 

This is when the ‘Paris Hilton syndrome’ began.

Carrying a Chi became a trend. And other celebrities followed suit. 

Like Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Madonna, etc.

Movies and TV shows also started featuring Chihuahuas.

This breed became the hottest item on the market. 

They were selling like hotcakes in animal stores. 

And Chihuahuas were crossbred to accommodate the buyers.

The sad truth after their fame

But all good things come to an end.

The popularity of the Chis declined. 

People discovered that they’re not just some keychain in bags. 

That they’re in fact… dogs. 

Dogs who bite, pee, and need training.

The Chihuahuas became naughty because they were treated as babies and toys. 

And like other untrained dogs, they became aggressive and stubborn.

People were disappointed with their personalities. 

So many Chis were surrendered and left in shelters.

The sudden increase in their number in California shelters became alarming. 

And they were left with no other choice but to euthanize the poor Chihuahuas. 

Or else there will be an overpopulation in their shelters.

#2: Chihuahua overpopulation

The second reason why many Chis are euthanized is because of overpopulation.

It’s hard to think about ending the lives of animals. 

But if you’re asked the question, 

“What are the top dog breeds to be put to sleep in shelters?”

What would be your answer?

Chances are Chihuahuas wouldn’t be your first guess.

They’re small and famous after all. So how can they be on that list? 

But you’d be surprised to know.

That most of them occupy all the shelters in California. 

Statistics say 30-60% of dogs in shelters are composed of Chihuahuas. (This also includes their crossbreeds.)

This leads us to the second question,

“Why are there so many Chihuahuas in shelters?” 

The Hollywood hype

I’m not the one to point fingers. 

But it can’t be denied. 

Their Hollywood popularity is the reason why there are so many of them in shelters. 

Celebrities donned them as handbags. 

So the demand for Chihuahua pooches back then was at an all-time high. 

People thought of all the ways to supply the demand. 

So Chihuahuas were bred like crazy in puppy mills

You may think that’s the end of it. 

But no.

Breeders think that they must have excess Chihuahua inventory. 

So Chihuahuas are also crossbred with other dogs. 

Here are some of them:

  • Chipit (Chihuahua x Pitbull). 
  • Cheagle (Chihuahua x Beagle).
  • Rat-Cha (Rat Terrier x Chihuahua). 
  • Pomchi (Pomeranian x Chihuahua).
  • Chorkie (Yorkshire Terrier x Chihuahua). 

These were referred to as ‘designer dogs’. 

Because of this, there was an over-supply of Chihuahuas.

So they disposed of the poor dogs by putting them on the street. A lot of Chis became strays. 

Some of them were rescued and then taken to shelters. 

But due to their high numbers, the shelters have to euthanize some of them to make room for other dogs.

#3: To prevent sickness

Because shelters have to prevent diseases from spreading, many dogs are put to sleep.

You see, shelters are full of animals. 

And sometimes there could also be many dogs in 1 cage.

In this kind of place, contagious diseases can spread in a snap of a finger. 

One sick dog can affect all the others.

So to prevent this from happening, they have to euthanize dogs like the Chihuahuas.

“Oh no!

But why would they choose to end the life of the poor pooches?”

It just so happened that there are so many Chis in the shelters. 

In reality, there are factors why shelters will choose a certain dog to be euthanized. 

The first one is the severity of a dog’s sickness. 

Some people would leave their dogs in shelters when their pooches get too sick. 

Like if they have cancer, infections, or contagious diseases.

It could be because the people can’t afford treatment or the euthanasia procedure. 

So they leave it to the shelter to take care of their dogs.

The next thing the shelter will look for is the chances of their survival and recovery.

And if they can recover, how long will the treatment be? How much will it cost?

The third factor is age. 

If a dog’s sick and old, there’s a big chance they’ll have to be put to sleep.

Is it painful for the dogs?

“Petya, will the dog experience pain when they’re euthanized?”

Good question.

People from the shelters are animal lovers. That’s why it’s hard for them to put the dogs to sleep too. 

Because of this, veterinarians have developed euthanasia. It’s the most humane way to end a dog’s life.

This method is painless. And dogs would not have to go through suffering. 

They’ll be injected with a formula that shuts down their brain and heart in minutes. 

Unlike other methods used before in some shelters like:

  • Shooting.
  • Drowning.
  • Electrocuting.
  • Decompressing.
  • Breaking of the neck for smaller animals (cervical dislocation).

These are all cruel ways to end an animal’s life.

#4: They’re an aggressive breed

Chihuahuas are known as small pooches. 

But aside from that, they’re also popular for being aggressive.

This is another reason why they’re the second most euthanized dog.

You see, the people in the shelter will test them for certain behaviors

They want to know if these dogs are fit to be with other people. Especially if the potential adopters have other dogs, too.

They would check is if a dog is resource guarding. 

Is the Chihuahua growling when people come near them when they’re eating? 

Or are they snapping when their toys are taken?


Chis are known for being biters. That’s why most of them will fail this part.) 

They would also look at a Chihuahua’s reaction when they’re being touched. 

Also, their body language to certain triggers like loud sounds. 

(Chihuahuas are shivering dogs. 

It’s natural for them to tremble all the time. More so when they’re feeling extreme emotions like excitement or fear.)

And the last thing they’d look for is…

The Chihuahua’s interaction with other dogs. 

Do they get along with other dogs? Or do others fear them?

(Some Chis are bullies to other dogs. 

Even to those who are much larger than them.) 

Kennel crazy

There’s still a chance for dogs like Chihuahuas to be adopted, you know. 

Although it will take a long time. 

But the more they wait, the more aggressive they can be. 

Being alone and confined in cages for too long. Or being cramped up with other dogs in 1 cage.

Both of these things can make dogs ‘kennel crazy’. 

They’d be anxious so much that it’ll be impossible for them to calm down. 


According to the ASPCA, aggression is one of the most difficult behaviors to treat in dogs. 

That’s why many Chihuahuas are euthanized. 

#5: Negative stereotypes

Chihuahuas Are The Second Most Euthanized Dog Because Of Negative Stereotypes

Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog. But did you know which dog breed is #1?

It’s the Pitbulls. 

And the reason why is because of their stereotype. 

They’re being discriminated against based on their breed.

In the media, Pitbulls are portrayed as dangerous pooches. Always attacking people or fighting with other dogs. 

So because of this, people are scared of them.

When Pitbulls get to the shelter, most of them are euthanized immediately. 

They’re not even given the chance to find their forever homes. 

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

Now, Chihuahuas are having the same situation as Pitbulls.

Yes, they’re seen in the media as sweet dogs who are always with the leading ladies. 

Always wearing pretty clothes. And sometimes even with shoes on.

But look further into social media. 

You’d see how bad the reputation of Chihuahuas is.

They’re known on the web as the most aggressive dog breed (much more than Pitbulls). As well as…

Ankle biters.

Big dogs in a small body.

Bad dogs.

These are some things other people say about Chihuahuas. 

It may be funny for some. But these words make an impact in people’s minds. 

It’s one of the reasons why only a few people want to adopt Chis in shelters. 

And those who don’t get adopted end up being euthanized.

#6: People dump them in shelters

Many dogs are put to sleep in shelters.

But sometimes, it’s not because of their breed.

It can also be because of their keepers.

The truth is, Chihuahuas can be too much to handle. 

No doubt about that.

But that doesn’t mean people have to abandon them in shelters. 

They could be hoping that other people will adopt and take care of their poor dog.

But what they don’t know… (Or maybe they do.) 

Is that they’re sentencing their dog’s death in shelters.

“Hey, you don’t know what those people are going through.

What do you want them to do?”

Let’s say a Chihuahua gets too naughty. You can always ask for help from dog trainers, right?

They’re intelligent dogs. 

With the correct training, they can learn to behave like other dogs too. 

But some people don’t get this. 

They’d rather end a dog’s life if that means it’s easier that way. 

Why do Chihuahuas get abandoned?

You’d be surprised by some of the reasons why some people would abandon their Chis. 

Someone is allergic to dogs. 

Chihuahuas get surrendered in shelters because a family member has dog allergies. 

They lost a dog parent. 

Chihuahuas are one-person dogs. 

That’s why it’s hard for them to get along with other people when their guardians die. 

They’re not fit for the family. 

Maybe they don’t get along with the other members or dogs. 

Or they’re not house trained so they keep on making a mess.

Chihuahuas bark (a lot). 

Some keepers live in a rental. 

When they get complaints about having a noisy pooch, they have to get rid of them. 

(Unless they want to pay penalties.)

Their pooch/ their guardian is getting old.

A Chihuahua’s life span is longer than most dogs. They can live 14-20 years if they’re healthy

So sometimes, they tend to outlive their keepers. 

There’s no one else to take care of them. So they’re being taken to shelters.

Or, it could also be the other way around. 

They’re the ones getting old.

And if their keeper can’t afford their medical bills, they’d leave the dog in the shelter.

But since they’re old, the shelter will have to euthanize the poor Chihuahua. 

#7: They’re unadoptable

There are many Chis being euthanized.

And it’s because they’re not adoptable like other dog breeds.

You see, most people choose to adopt an active pooch over a shy one. 

It’s simple. 

First-time dog-parents wouldn’t want to have a troubled pooch as they’re harder to take care of. 

They’d rather have a dog with whom they can have an instant connection. 

And Chihuahuas…

Well, they’re very loyal dogs.

Once they become attached to someone else, they won’t be able to connect with another person.

So for instance, a Chihuahua was left in a shelter by their previous guardian. 

It’ll be hard for the shelter to find them a new one.

They’d shy away from other people’s touch. And they would also avoid them.

This makes them more unlikely to become adopted. 

Aside from that, their physical characteristics may also be the reason. (As well as their behaviors.)

Their small and fragile bodies can intimidate some people. They could think of these dogs as weak. 

Not to mention Chihuahuas shake a lot too. 

This can all contribute to the reason why some people would not even bother to look twice at Chihuahuas.

Over time, more and more of this breed pile up in shelters. 

That’s why most of them are put into sleep. 

The light at the end of the tunnel


Time for some good news, everyone. 🙂

Recently, the California governor has signed 2 bills. These aim to reduce the killing of animals in shelters.

The first bill (AB-2152) is meant to stop retailing animals. 

Pet stores can only get animals that came from shelters and rescues. 

Because of this law, animals from shelters will lessen. 

The second bill (SB-573) requires all shelters to microchip the animals before adoption. 

And before euthanizing an animal, the shelter must first scan the animal’s microchip. 

They have to contact and reason with the keeper first.