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19 Reasons Why There Are So Many Chihuahuas In Shelters

Why Are There So Many Chihuahuas In Shelters

Chihuahuas are popular dogs in Hollywood.

They’re designer breeds, teacup pooches, etc…

And so you wonder:

“If they’re famous, 

Why are there so many Chihuahuas in shelters?”

In this article you’ll find out:

  • Is Hollywood to blame in this situation?
  • What are the common stereotypes about this breed?
  • 19 reasons why there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters.
  • And much more…

Why are there so many Chihuahuas in shelters?

There are so many Chihuahuas in shelters because of Hollywood hype, stereotypes, over-breeding, physical appearance, life span, they’re unfit for families and children, their personalities are feisty, active, vocal, possessive, aggressive, and high-maintenance.

19 reasons why there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters

#1: Hollywood mainstream

The first reason why there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters is the Hollywood hype.

Have you ever watched ‘Legally Blonde’? 

Or perhaps, seen Paris Hilton with her Chihuahua ‘Tinkerbell’ in her purse?

And who can forget?

They even have their own Taco Bell commercial!

These are some of the many on-screen exposures of Chihuahuas. 

Famous people have them as a fashion accessory.

Like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who carried these little pooches in their bags.

And since then, Chihuahuas have become dog celebrities. 

Having this dog breed became an instant fad overnight. 

They’re a must-have item. 

Because people wanted to imitate these celebrities. 

According to research, this was described as the ‘Paris Hilton Syndrome’.


There’s a dark reality behind the spotlight.

I remember reading a post about the lady who put their pooch in her purse. And she didn’t change the dog’s nappy. 

The poor Chihuahua had an acid burn on their private part. 

Because they’re soaking in their own pee.

“Oh no…”

The people didn’t have any idea about this dog breed, so they’re shocked.

Some didn’t like their Chihuahua’s personalities. They‘re a bit of a handful after all.

And others didn’t know a thing or two about taking care of them.

Because of this, thousands of Chihuahuas are being taken by animal shelters in California alone.

And in 2014, 75% of dogs who arrived in Oakland shelters consist of this breed.

Other shows and movies that caused dog hype

Ever seen ‘Game of Thrones’?

If you have, then you’d remember the loyal wolves of the main characters in the show.

Everyone wished that they could have their own ‘dire wolf’. 

So they bought Huskies because it has the closest resemblance to wolves.

But one year after this show aired, Huskies being surrendered for adoption increased.

The people were surprised by how active they were. 

So they failed to take care of them.


Another one is the Disney film ‘101 Dalmatians’. 

When this film was released, the Dalmatian breed became so popular. 

They’re given to children during that Christmas season. 

But like the others, they were also given up for adoption a year later. 

This event was also known as the ‘Dalmatian effect’.

#2: Breeders

There was a high demand for Chihuahuas because of their popularity in Hollywood.

So breeders continued to breed them. 

But people are greedy.

People without papers joined in. Even Chihuahua keepers have them bred with other dog breeds. 

So this resulted in an over-supply of Chihuahuas and their crossbreeds.

The result?

Too many Chihuahuas were unsold. 

So they’re left to become strays or given up for adoption in shelters instead. 

#3: Physical appearance

There Are Many Chihuahuas In Shelters Because Of Their Physical Appearance

A Chihuahua’s physical appearance may also be the reason why there are so many of them in shelters. 

They don’t look like other dogs. 

(There was even fake news that went viral before. It claims Chihuahuas are rodents, not dogs.)

And according to PetMD, they’re the smallest dog breed in the world. 

They have big ears. 

And large eyes. 

Because of this, people choose to adopt other breeds. 

They want something that looks more like, well… regular dogs.

Also read: “Chihuahuas Are NOT Dogs, They Are Rodents!” (5 Facts)

#4: They shake, shiver, and tremble a lot

Adopters think a shivering dog is hard to take care of. That’s why Chihuahuas don’t get adopted often.

People think they tremble because they’re sick. 

Or they’re too scared. 

But in reality, it’s natural for Chihuahuas to tremble.

They do this when they’re scared, happy, excited, or cold.

#5: Chihuahuas are unpredictable biters

Chihuahuas are also known to be biters.

That’s why most of their keepers give them up for adoption after a while.

Chihuahuas bite when they’re afraid of something. 

Or if they don’t like a person.

They’re also known to nip at the heels of people who annoy them. *facepalm*


But why are they like this?

It’s possibly because they have the ‘Little Dog Syndrome’. 

They’re small dogs, so their bad behaviors are often ignored. 

And since they’re not corrected, they continue doing these things.

#6: They’re escape artists

There are so many Chihuahuas in shelters because they escape from their homes.

They’re fast dogs. 

And they like finding their way out of their houses. 

Because of their size, a fence’s wide gaps are no match for them.

They can get out of it without breaking a sweat!

So if these pooches are not chipped, they’ll end up being strays. Then they’ll be taken to animal shelters.

#7: Prone to accidents

Sadly, many families give up their Chihuahuas to shelters after some time. 

And the reason for that is they’re not fit for their homes.

Their keepers find them hard to train. 

And potty training can be a bit of a challenge as well.

Because of this, they’re more prone to having peeing accidents at home. (Chihuahua puppies can pee every 1-2 hours.)

Also read: How Long Can A Chihuahua Hold Its Bladder? Puppy And Adult

#8: Chihuahuas are vocal

They may be small, but they make up for it by being vocal. 

Thus, why they’re being given up for adoption after some time. 

Their keepers find their Chihuahua’s high-pitched yapping annoying. Especially when these people are always in business meetings.

Or maybe they always get complaints from their landlord and neighbors. 

Well, Chihuahuas really howl and bark so much

(Take it from me. Lissa can be really talkative.)

So it can be a bit bothersome at times.

#9: They’re not for first-time dog keepers

Chihuahuas are an active dog breed. That’s why they’re not fit for first-time dog parents. 

Some people think that since Chihuahuas are so little, they’ll just settle inside purses without moving. 

But they’re dogs. 

And dogs are active.

Not to mention that Chihuahuas are fast-runners, too.

I mean, have you seen them on the go? 

It looks as if their feet are not touching the ground! 

Not only are they small, but they also run around the house often. They can trip people who’re not looking at where they’re going.

That’s why it’s not so ideal for them to live with kids and old people too. 

Check out also: 7 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Run Away + 15 Tips To Stop It

#10: They have a bold personality

Chihuahuas Have A Bold Personality

Few people know that Chihuahuas are independent dogs. 

They’re sassy, feisty, and have a bold spirit.

But being this way makes some people give them up for adoption. 

They think that these dogs are too much to handle because they may disobey rules. 

And because of their independent attitude, they may not get along well with the other family members. 

Aside from that, they’re also known for being bullies. 

(Weird, right? They’re small, but they come with a lot of attitudes!)

They’ll bully smaller animals. 

And even bigger dogs who get scared of them. 

I can testify… 

One day I and Lissa went to the dog park. And there we saw the cutest Chihuahua. With a sweet-looking lady beside them.

As soon as the Chihuahua started running towards Lissa, a horrible frown appeared on the lady’s face. 

“Chi-Chi, NO!”, she yelled. As her Chihuahua tried to aggressively bite my long-haired Chihuahua Mini-Spitz mix, Lissa.

I was so puzzled, it took me what seemed like forever to realize what’s going on. In reality, a few seconds have passed but I was so shocked. And everything appeared as in slow motion…

Luckily, I and the other lady managed to save Lissa on time. But if we hadn’t interfered, the small Chi would’ve bitten Lissa. No doubt about it. That tiny dog was fierce!

If I could describe the Chi’s attitude with song lyrics, I’d pick,

“I wanna get in trouble

I wanna start a fight”,

from ‘So What’ by P!nk. 

And, Lissa is not someone who lets other dogs bother her. 

When they try, she snaps – baring her teeth and growling. But this time, she was scared. This was probably reinforced by the fact that the Chi had no intention of backing off…

#11: They’re a one-person dog

Chihuahuas are very loyal dog breeds. 

And this is another reason why some people will give them up for adoption. 

It’s because they don’t interact well with other members of the family. 

Once they get attached to a person, it’ll be hard for them to sit well with others. 

They can be protective and aggressive as heck, too.

Not only for strangers. 

But even to people who are close to you as well.

For instance, if your partner comes near you, your Chihuahua might bark or growl. 

It’s a warning to back off. Or else, they’ll bite.


Learn more about this topic by reading this article. 

#12: They shut down

There are still so many Chihuahuas in shelters because they become hopeless.

When a Chihuahua gets abandoned, they lose their spirit. They become sad and lonely beyond words.

That’s why in shelters, they’re often seen tucked away in a corner.

Shaking and avoiding any interaction.

Because they shut down and become depressed, many adopters don’t give them any notice.

They prefer to adopt happy pooches who look like they aren’t much work.

#13: Stereotype

Chihuahuas are stereotyped as a bad breed. 

That’s why they don’t get adopted in shelters compared to the others.

Look at meme-related websites. 

Then try to search for ‘Chihuahuas’. 

There you’ll find that there’s a lot of stereotypes about them. 

Here’s some I found on the Internet recently: 

  • 50% anger, 50% tremble.
  • They’re very ugly and annoying.
  • Chihuahuas: The weakest dog breed. 
  • There are no bad dogs unless it’s a Chihuahua.
  • Chihuahuas are the most aggressive dog breed.

Because of this, people think that this breed isn’t any good. 

They’re perceived as problem-related dogs who’re bad and hateful. 

And then there’s this viral post from Facebook. 

One woman described her fostered Chihuahua pooch as:

“Neurotic, man-hating, animal hating, children hating dogs that look like gremlins.”

Well, at least this earned a lot of attention. 

Hey, I’m not a 100% fan of the descriptions she put about the Chihuahua here. 

But to cut her some slack she managed to get the dog adopted because of this post. 🙂

#14: They’re always cold

This could be a minor one.

But another reason why they may not get adopted easily is that Chihuahuas always get cold. 

Think about it.

If you’re an adopter who lives in a place with low temperature, you wouldn’t want a pooch who’s not meant for that, right?

They’ll be hard to take care of. 

And you don’t want a dog to suffer like that. 

So why are Chihuahuas always cold anyway?

It’s because of their high metabolism. 

Their bodies burn heat fast. So they always shiver to keep themselves warm. 

#15: Chihuahuas are high-maintenance

Another reason why there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters is that they’re high-maintenance. 

In other words – hard to take care of. 

For instance, they’re prone to having certain conditions like hypoglycemia

That’s why you have to make sure they’re fed on the dot. 

Chihuahuas are always cold too. 

Now, if they’re short-haired, you need to provide them with clothes

You also need to put barriers and fences around your home because they escape often. 

Lastly, they could be bullies. 

So it’s better if they’re separated from babies and other dogs. 

#16: Lack of socialization

“Why are there so many Chihuahuas in shelters?” 

When dogs aren’t socialized, they misbehave. 

They lack exposure to different things. 

Maybe they were separated too early from their siblings by breeders.

Or since they’re considered as an accessory by some, they don’t get exposed to their own kind.

They don’t know how to interact with other dogs. So they become afraid. 

Because of that, they become aggressive

They bite and snap at other dogs. Even strangers. 

#17: Long lifespan

Here’s a trivia: 

Did you know that a Chihuahua’s life span can reach 20 years?

But sadly, this is another reason why they’re left in shelters.

You see, Chihuahuas can outlive their dog parents. 

And when they do, there’s no one left to take care of them.

If they’re a one-person dog, chances are they don’t get along well with the other members.

So there’s nothing left for them to do but to surrender the poor dog in the shelter.

#18: Lack of breed education

There are so many Chihuahuas in shelters. 

But it isn’t because of the dog’s fault. 

It’s the keeper’s lack of education of their breed.

Maybe they didn’t even bother to learn about a Chihuahua’s needs or personalities before they got them.

Chihuahuas are the victims in this situation.

I mean, they didn’t want to be seen as a fad.

Or be stereotyped as a bad pooch. 

They’re regular dogs who were handled by the wrong kind of people.

#19: They’re treated as babies

Last but not least…

It’s the keeper’s responsibility why there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters. 

They treat them as babies or a display. Not as dogs. 

Because they’re small, the keepers thought that they wouldn’t cause trouble. 

So they didn’t bother training them.

But what if they treat the Chihuahuas as regular pooches?

For sure, the result will be different.

When Chihuahuas are trained properly, they behave.

They’re sweet dogs who just want to be loved too. If you want to know more about the good side of the Chihuahuas, check out this cool article.