You have to know the truth. Millions of dogs are put to sleep all over the world. On top of that list is Pitbulls, then come Chihuahuas. Why are Chihuahuas euthanized so much? And, why are they the second most euthanized dog?
Why are Chihuahuas the second most euthanized dog?
Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog for their breeding rate, negative stereotypes, and decreasing popularity. Another reason is the Paris Hilton syndrome. But, that’s not all.
People euthanize Chihuahuas to prevent sickness and contagious diseases and stop aggressive behavior. But, as we have seen, that’s not all.
Why Are Chihuahuas Euthanized?
1. Their decreasing popularity
Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog. And this is because their popularity has come to an end. But, 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. o they became popular in Hollywood as fashion accessories.
The Paris Hilton Syndrome
“Wait. Chihuahuas were popular? What’s the hype all about?” “And what exactly is the Paris Hilton syndrome?”
Uhm, do you know Paris Hilton?
She’s the celebrity who started the Chihuahua craze in Hollywood. Paris had 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. 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, falling for the Paris Hilton syndrome. This included Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Madonna, etc. Movies and TV shows also started featuring Chihuahuas, so they became the hottest item on the market.
They were selling like hotcakes in animal stores. Basically, Chihuahuas were crossbred to accommodate the buyers. And, the Paris Hilton syndrome took shape.
The sad truth after their fame
But all good things come to an end. The popularity of the Chis declined and people discovered that they’re not just some keychain in bags. They discovered that Chihuahuas are, in fact… dogs. Dogs that 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. So, they were left with no choice but to euthanize the poor Chihuahuas.
2. Chihuahua overpopulation
The second reason why are Chihuahuas euthanized is overpopulation.
It’s hard to think about ending the lives of animals, especially Chihuahuas. They’re small and famous, after all. So how can they be on that list? But you’d be surprised to know.
Chihuahuas occupy all the shelters in California. Statistics say that 30-60% of dogs in shelters are Chihuahuas. This also includes their crossbreeds.
Due to the high demand for them, they bred Chihuahuas like crazy in puppy mills. They also crossbred the poor pups with other dogs, creating:
- 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.
Some of them were rescued and then taken to shelters. But due to their high numbers, the covers had to have Chihuahuas put to sleep to make room for other dogs.
3. Preventing sicknesses
Because shelters have to prevent diseases from spreading, they have Chihuahuas put to sleep.
You see, shelters are full of animals. Sometimes there could also be many dogs in 1 cage. In this kind of place, contagious diseases can spread with a snap of a finger.
One sick dog can affect all the others. So to prevent this from happening, they have to euthanize Chihuahuas.
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 even to euthanize Chihuahuas.
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 dogs are sick and old, there’s a big chance that they’ll have the Chihuahuas put to sleep.
Is it painful for the dogs?
People from the shelters are animal lovers, so it’s hard for them to euthanize dogs.
Because of this, veterinarians have developed euthanasia. As such, it’s the most humane way to end a dog’s life. This method is painless. And dogs don’t have to suffer.
They’ll be injected with a formula that shuts down their brain and heart in minutes.
Get the latest Chihuahua Buzz
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 one of the most euthanized dog breeds.
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. Another factor is their body language to specific triggers like loud sounds.
For example, 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 shelters have Chihuahuas put to sleep.
The most euthanized dog breed
Shelters euthanize Chihuahuas so much that they hold second place for this phenomenon. But, the most euthanized dog breed is the Pitbull.
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.
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. That’s the Paris Hilton syndrome for you.
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 bodies. Bad dogs. These are some things other people say about Chihuahuas. It may be funny for some. But these words make an impact on 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 Chihuahuas put to sleep.
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. 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 is that the shelters will most likely euthanize Chihuahuas because they can’t handle them.
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 have their Chihuahuas put to sleep 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.
Chihuahuas bark (a lot)
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 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 considered unadoptable
Many shelters are opting for the euthanize Chihuahuas scenario. And it’s because these pups are 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 pup as they’re harder to take care of. They’d rather have a dog with whom they can have an instant connection.
And Chihuahuas are 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 many of them have Chihuahuas put to sleep.
The law to not euthanize Chihuahuas
However, 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 they can euthanize chihuahuas, the shelter must first scan the animal’s microchip. So, they have to contact and reason with the keeper first, who can prevent Chihuahuas put to sleep.