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. Why are Chihuahuas the second most euthanized dog?
Keep reading to find out:
- The truth to why shelters euthanize dogs.
- How California helps in reducing the killing of animals.
- Seven 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.
Seven 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).
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 accessories.
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 puppy named ‘Tinkerbell.’
And she used to carry her pooch around wherever she went.
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 famous then, 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 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 called 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 we can’t deny it.
Their Hollywood popularity is why so many of them are 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 they bred Chihuahuas like crazy in puppy mills.
You may think that’s the end of it.
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 covers 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 Chihuahuas.
But why would they choose to end the life of the poor puppies?”
It just so happened that there are so many Chis in the shelters.
In reality, there are factors why shelters choose a particular dog to be euthanized.
The first one is the severity of a dog’s sickness.
Some people leave their dogs in shelters when their puppies 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 it’ll have to be put to sleep.
Is it painful for the dogs?
“Petya, will the dog experience pain when they’re euthanized?”
People from the shelters are animal lovers, so it’s hard for them to put the dogs to sleep too.
Because of this, veterinarians have developed euthanasia, and 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:
- 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 famous 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.
They will check 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 specific 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.)
There’s still a chance for dogs like Chihuahuas to be adopted.
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 cell.
Both of these things can make dogs ‘kennel crazy’.
They’d be so anxious that it’ll be impossible for them to calm down.
According to the ASPCA, aggression is one of the most challenging behaviors to treat in dogs.
That’s why many Chihuahuas are euthanized.
#5: 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 and constantly 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 a chance to find their forever homes.
Heartbreaking, isn’t it?
Now, Chihuahuas have the same situation as Pitbulls.
They’re seen in the media as sweet dogs with the leading ladies.
I am 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…
Big dogs in a small body.
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 other people will adopt and care for their poor dogs.
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.
They can also learn to behave like other dogs with the correct training.
But some people don’t get this.
They’d end a dog’s life if that means it’s easier.
Why do Chihuahuas get abandoned?
You’d be surprised by some reasons why some people 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 making a mess.
Some keepers live in a rental.
They must get rid of them when they complain about having a noisy canine.
(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 out live 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
Many Chis are 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.
First-time dog parents wouldn’t want to have a troubled pup as they’re harder to take care of.
They’d rather have a dog with whom they can have an instant connection.
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 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 to sleep.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Time for some good news, everyone. 🙂
Recently, the California governor signed two bills to reduce shelter animal killing.
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.