Overrun with Chihuahuas

December 10, 2009
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Thanks to their popularity and sometimes-difficult personalities, Chihuahuas are being dumped in animal shelters in the San Francisco area in huge numbers. The diminutive breed comprises more than half of the dogs in some Bay Area shelters, according to a Los Angeles Times story.

Gidget of Taco Bell fame along with Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell and other celebrity Chihuahuas brought an explosion of breeding and ultimately a glut, particularly in fashion-conscious cities. Now people are unloading them because their nervous, fragile personas aren’t easy to suffer.

Some of the dogs are being flown to shelters elsewhere in the country that have none—and want them.

That hasn’t happened in Indianapolis, says Tristan Schmid, spokesman for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. And he isn’t aware of plans to bring them here.

Not that some of them wouldn’t be wanted. The Humane Society has adopted out 70 Chihuahuas or Chihuahua-mixes this year.

People are abandoning large dogs after selling houses and moving into apartments. Small dogs don’t raise concerns of apartment managers like big ones do.

Still, Schmid cautions, while there’s demand for Chihuahuas, it isn’t overwhelming.

The practical streak in many Indianapolis people is skeptical of purebred genetic problems, Schmid says. And like other Midwesterners, many Indianapolis people like mixed breeds, he says, possibly a lingering characteristic of the region’s rural heritage.

“People don’t look down on mixed breeds like they do in other metropolitan areas,” Schmid says.

What has been your experience with Chihuahuas? Should the local humane society take some of the dogs from the Bay Area?

Thoughts about purebred vs. mixed-breed?


  • There may be one for you
    Maybe they have some teacups available
  • Rescued dogs rule
    My rescued chihuahua is the sweetest little guy ever. He was a bit skittish when we first brought him home but has quickly become a quiet, friendly love sponge. While this is not a good breed to have around young children, their portability and low maintenance make them excellent home and travel companions.
  • Rescued One Myself
    I recently rescued a chihuahua from Gibson County. The poor little guy was scared to death at first but seems to be doing great now. We never considered any genetic difficulties a pure bred would pose. He needed a home and that is all we considered. Mixed or pure, if they need a home, help them out. If we know we can adopt them out, then I think they should get some from the Bay area. Lets find them homes.
  • Jack
    We have a chihuahua named Jack and he doesn't have the typical chihuahua attitude. He is very friendly to everyone that comes to our house, he interacts very nicely with other dogs (including big dogs) and he is not "yappy". We may be lucky, but I wouldn't stereotype this breed... I mean with their size, even if they were mean, what damage could they do? However, I do agree that it's probably not best to chance it around kids... but adults (single, empty nesters, dinks, etc.) are fine, it's not like they're pit bulls. They all weigh under 10 pounds!

    I think the Human Society here should help. 70 chihuahuas over a year, here, is still close to 6 a month. I'm not saying they should take a lot... and I don't know if a certain quantity is required... but taking just 5 or 6 and bringing them here could help. Just think if every major metro area took 5 or 6 (since they're obviously not popular in Cali anymore), they could find homes quickly.
  • Purebred dogs in shelters
    At any given time, probably 1/4 of the Humane Society of Indy's shelter dogs are purebred. It varies, though, as we work with many breed-rescue groups to place purebreds.

    Granted, just because a dog is or appears to be one breed, that doesn't mean they'll have genetic issues. I have a 7-year-old Yellow Lab without hip dysplasia, and my family has had Cattle Dogs with no breed-specific problems.

    HSI encourage people to consider breed rescues and shelters when looking for purebred dogs rather than breeders; odds are great that you'll find the perfect match with a bit of patience and effort - both of which are necessary in dog ownership anyway :)

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