Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Myths About Chihuahuas People Need to Stop Believing

Here are some of the common stereotypes about chihuahuas that surprisingly are still being thrown around these days. As someone who has owned many chihuahuas for the past 15 years, all with different personalities, I can honestly tell you I have found NONE of these stereotypes to be truthful. Most that are true are the result of bad breeding practices and the dogs were the product of puppymills and backyard breeders or simply uneducated owners.

1. Chihuahuas never properly housebreak.
Fact: This is untrue. I began training my dogs early, as early as 6 weeks (for those I bred) and by the time they were 4 months old, they were completely housebroken. Accidents were few and far between. If you request it, a good breeder will begin housebreaking long before the puppy goes to it's new home. The truth is, the earlier you start housebreaking, the less time it will take to complete.

2. Chihuahuas are too high-strung.
Fact: This may have been true in the old days when people kept chihuahuas in their home and did not socialize them properly. Chihuahuas, like all other dogs, must be socialized early. That means, taking them out to meet new people. Dog shows and pet supply stores are great places to take them to meet different people.

3. Chihuahuas are "shakers".
Fact: Chihuahuas have 2 official coat types, smooth and long coat. Sometimes the smooth chihuahuas don't have the protective undercoat, which causes them to chill easily. Though most breeders nowadays are going for the "plush" fur type, which does have a protective undercoat. In the past, NONE of my chihuahuas have been "shakers".

4. Chihuahuas are "yappers".
Fact: I have never had a chihuahua that was a "yapper". My dogs only barked when they heard someone at the door. But mine were not constant "yappers". "Yapping" is a product of a poorly-bred, poorly-socialized dog. This should be blamed on the owners, not the dogs.

5. Chihuahuas are stupid.
Fact: Actually, chihuahuas are pretty high on the list of most intelligent dogs. Though Cohen ranked them at #67 (and Australian shepherds at #42), my chihuahuas have all been very trainable. I've been told my chihuahuas are incredibly smart by people who have bought dogs from me. My secret is I let them nurse on the mother until she can no longer produce food for them. Which means my pups usually would suckle until they were about 8-10 weeks old. This is said to produce more intelligent pups.

6. Chihuahuas are not dogs. They're rodents.
Fact: Ahhh, the old "chihuahuas are rats" comment I typically get from the low-class, uneducated redneck kids who think a dog isn't a dog unless it weighs over 40 pounds and can bring down a bobcat. Chihuahuas are indeed dogs. They walk like dogs (not like rats), they bark like dogs (not like rats). In fact, rats cannot bark at all. And it is physiologically impossible to cross a dog with a rat. So, since there is no "in-between" classification, chihuahuas are indeed true dogs.

7. Chihuahuas are ugly.
Fact: Well, I cannot truly address this, as it is a matter of opinion. But my advice to people who say this is go look at chihuahuas at a dog show, and not in a typical uneducated family home that just got a chihuahua because they think it's "cute". Chihuahuas should have sweet, babydoll faces like this:

And not like this with the long nose, big ears and bulging eyes:

8. Chihuahuas are the worst dogs you can own.
Fact: Chihuahuas are not for everyone. Certainly not for the faint-of-heart. They are also not recommended for families that have small, rowdy children. But for adults with no kids, or elderly adults, this dog makes the perfect cuddle-buddy and are great for a chuckle, as I have known chihuahuas to have more character than most people.

9. Chihuahuas are mean.
Fact: Again, this is a product of poor breeding practices, such as people who breed for color and not for the bettering of the breed, and bad owners. In the 15 years I owned chihuahuas, only one I had was what can be called "mean", and it was because she came from a person who bred solely for color (for blue chihuahuas) rather than for quality. She would snap, but once she got to know someone, she would not snap at them anymore.

The fact of the matter is, all dogs will defend their owner from what they believe is a threat. Even the smallest dogs will, with everything they got. They're not like cats, they don't run from potential threats. Much like ants and bees, they will defend their 'leader' with as much might as they can muster. Even if it means they die in the process. This instinct can make any dog seem "mean". But in reality, they are doing what nature programmed them to do, aided by human nurturing.

Well, those are some of the biggest myths I've seen people believing about chihuahuas. Hopefully, it will help some look at chihuahuas in a different light. They get a bad rep, like a lot of other dogs, and they don't deserve it. I've never had a problem with my chihuahuas, and I've even recently chatted with someone online who said he hates chihuahuas because he has been around them, but the paradox was, he said he'd never owned one himself. I always say, don't knock them until you've owned one. Don't go by what a chihuahua owned by someone else you knew was like. You may or may not have any idea how that dog was raised, or if it was acquired by a decent, reputable breeder. People don't know this, but yes, breeding practices make ALL the difference in how a dog will behave.

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