Chihuahuas are popular dogs in Hollywood. They’re designer breeds, teacup puppies, etc. And so you wonder: “If they’re famous, why are so many Chihuahuas in shelters?”

Why Are so Many Chihuahuas in Shelters?

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

1. Hollywood Mainstream

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

Have you ever watched ‘Legally Blonde’? Or, have you seen the Paris Hilton Chihuahua ‘Tinkerbell’ in her purse? People were going so crazy for the Paris Hilton Chihuahua that they started adopting poor pups to keep as toys.

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 fashion accessories. The Paris Hilton Chihuahua was a trademark, and Britney Spears carried these little puppies in their bags. 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.’ But, there’s a dark reality behind the spotlight.

I remember reading a post about the lady who put their puppy 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 were soaking in their pee.

The people didn’t know about this dog breed, so they were shocked. Some didn’t like their Chihuahua’s personalities, and 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 consisted of this breed.

Other Shows and Movies Causing Chi Hype

Ever seen ‘Game of Thrones? If you have, 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 the 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. Unprofessional Breeders

There was a high demand for Chihuahuas because of their popularity in Hollywood, so breeders continued to breed them. But, people became greedy.

People without papers joined in. Even Chihuahua keepers have them bred with other dog breeds. This resulted in an over-supply of Chihuahuas and their crossbreeds.

The result? Too many Chihuahuas were unsold, so they were left to become strays or given up for adoption in shelters instead. 

3. “Weird” Physical Appearance

A Chihuahua’s physical appearance may also be why so many of them are in shelters.  They don’t look like other dogs. 

There was even fake news that went viral before, claiming 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, so because of this, people choose to adopt other breeds. They wanted something that looks more like, well… regular dogs.

4. Shaking, Shivering & Trembling

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. The Biting Problem

Chihuahuas are also known to be biters. That’s why most of their keepers give them up for adoption.

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 annoyers.

But why are they like this?

It’s possibly because they have the ‘Little Dog Syndrome.’ They’re small dogs, so their destructive behaviors are often ignored. And since they’re not corrected, they continue doing these things.

6. Professional 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 puppies are not chipped, they’ll end up straying. Then they’ll take them to animal shelters.

7. Poor Choices

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

So, if these things are dealbreakers for you, then Chihuahuas are not the right fit.

  1. Tiggy says:

    We have raised four Chihuahuas and not one of them was a biter or a shaker, nor were they difficult to house train! they have been the most loving dogs I have ever had. These little fellas will react or respond to how you treat them. Love them they’ll love you back mistreat them they’ll react.

  2. Dawn Shearin says:

    I wish people would educate themselves on the dog breed they want before buying one and then when they become too much work, they just throw them away. I have a chihuahua beagle mix and he’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. Took me less than two weeks to housebreak him but I was home all the time and with these little babies, you must be able to take them out every hour or two. Now he can hold it all night, 12 hours or more because he doesn’t like to get up in the morning – lol. I don’t recommend them for anyone with children under 12 because they will bite if the kids try to pick them up by the legs, tail or ears. They are delicate and can break a leg trying to jump off the sofa. I treat mine like a dog, not a toy, dogs have to be allowed to be a dog. He is very protective of me and if I’m at my computer, he doesn’t allow anyone to get close to me, never even let my husband get close to me. I think it’s because I have my back to the room and he knows I can’t see what’s behind me. I have taught him about 12 tricks and he has been very easy to train, never took more than 5 minutes to teach him any of the tricks.

    All in all, if you want a good little companion dog, then this is the dog for you. If you already have a large dog, please don’t get one, they can seriously hurt these little dogs without meaning too. Put in the work and you willl get a great dog but if you don’t, you will get a nippy little dog that runs your house. It’s up to you as to which dog you get.


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