This post was submitted by one of Grateful Dogs Rescue's volunteers who is also a Board Member and evaluator.
In Defense of "Chihuahua Mixes"
This post isn’t about Chihuahuas, those little 3-6 pound purse dogs that celebrities love to carry, but about Chihuahua mixes, the 7 to 15 pounds dogs that are filling up the shelters in California. The dogs that many potential adopters that want a “small dog that is not a Chihuahua” won’t even look at, and that some rescues have started to just say no to because they have so many already. I love these dogs, and I think more people need to give them a chance.
First let me say that these dogs are more small breed mutt than Chihuahuas at all. Forget about the so-called Deer Chihuahua and Spider Chihuahua, the AKC only recognizes 2 types of Chihuahuas, short and long-haired. The upper weight for a true Chihuahua is 6 pounds and they all have apple heads. The typical dog labeled Chihuahua mix is probably just as much Italian Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, Toy Fox Terrier, Rat Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Basenji, Pug, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dachshund, Chinese Crested and who know what else. But try as I might to label the dog as something else (I call my current foster a Taco Terrier which is a Toy Fox Terrier and Chihuahua mix) when I walk them on the street people say “oh a Chihuahua”. At least these little ones do have hybrid vigor going for them.
I have had a Chihuahua mix foster dog in my home, sometimes 2, for the last 4 years (occasionally I will have a terrier or a true Chihuahua). Sure there are the dogs that fit the stereotype of the “yappy, shivery Chihuahua” but most of them are amazing, fun, active companions. These little dogs have so much character. These dogs run and wrestle with my 40-pound pit mix like there is no size difference at all. While only a few of them have jogging companion potential, they can make great hiking companions. Some can fetch inexhaustibly like a retriever, and many are great with kids. They usually have very easy to care for short coats, much less expensive than the dogs that require grooming. After the hike they are ready to curl into your lap and nap, better than any hot water bottle. Their small size makes them wonderful apartment dogs, and their active nature makes them perfect for weekend warriors.
At a work event last week, I listened to a coworker talk about how she hated those yappy little Chihuahua dogs, so yesterday when I had my Chihuahua mix dog at work for a couple of hours I took her to the coworker’s office to visit. Within minutes all the prejudices fell away and she was saying what a great little dog this was. Please give them a chance. Potential adopters say they want to rescue a dog in need, well these are what our shelters are full of, and these dogs are the ones in need, and they are some of the most charismatic dogs you will ever meet.