How Do I Know If My Chihuahua Is Purebred
You know you will always be proud of your little Chi, even if its body is a little too big for a Chihuahua, or its legs are too long, or its snout appears bigger than most. You know your adorable dog will always be your friend for life, and that is what really matters in the end. Although it is very common that you may be curious about your Chi’s origins if you adopted them from a shelter or want to verify that the Chihuahua you bought from a dog breeder is truly purebred, the fact remains that you must take care of your Chi no matter its breed status. Still, breed identification is rather important in mapping out the wellness status for your pooch as well as give you an insight into any potential genetic conditions that it may have as a result of its purebred status.
The statistics of a Purebred Chihuahua
The trend of purchasing purebred dogs appeared from the result of famous movies portraying particular dog breeds, which caused a temporary craze to the public as people wanted to follow the stereotypes seen in the movie. Some of the most common breeds that people flock to breeders for are Dalmatians (especially after the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians), Labradors (from Marley and Me), and in the case of Chihuahuas, from Beverly Hills Chihuahua or Legally Blond. In these movies, we can see the charm of the Chihuahua dog breed, such as their small size and large personality, along with a variety of coat colors and types. According to the American Kennel Club, a purebred Chi will typically be an exceptionally little dog that cannot weigh more than 6 pounds when it reaches adulthood. Moreover, the breed standard does not specify a specific height, although Chihuahuas do not usually exceed five inches tall at the shoulder in maturity. Their ears and eyes are large compared to their heads, with fairly long tails over the back. Interestingly, the breed standard permits the coat of the Chis to appear in any color, in both smooth and long coats.
Signs that your Chihuahua is Purebred
First-time dog owners may not be aware of what it means to have a purebred dog, and they could find themselves questioning whether their Chis are actually mutts. There are several ways one can follow to pinpoint their puppy’s lineage, such as visual cues where the puppy is compared to the breed standard, specific personality traits that dogs from that breed usually share, and finally, DNA testing which can determine the full scope of the genetic information stored within the cells of your pooch. In the case that you bought your Chihuahua from a breeder, you may have received papers from them, either when the dog was a puppy or when they were an adult with a transfer of ownership. In most cases, these papers are official certificates issued by local state-operated organizations and reputable kennel clubs and should list pedigrees, the parents of the dog, the person who registered the dog, and seals that verify the legitimacy of these claims.
A pedigree essentially shows that your dog was born from two dogs of the same breed and is enrolled with a recognized club or society that has a history of registering with dogs of that description. One of the more well-known pedigree dog registration schemes is the Kennel Club.
Buying a Purebred Chihuahua from a breeder
Buying a dog from a reputable breeder is the single, most accurate way of knowing that your Chi is purebred. If your breeder meets the standards of multiple health tests conducted on the dogs, proofs of temperament, certificates of pedigrees, and has the evidence to prove this, they are already in the top percentage of breeders in the United States and the world, and you stand a great chance that your Chi is indeed purebred. However, there are a few red flags and indicators of irresponsible breeding that you might want to be on the watch, as that could potentially mean that your breeder either lied to you about the breed status of your Chi or they simply was not aware of it.
Some concerning features of questionable breeders include:
- Breeding unusual colors and coats. This is one of the rare occasions that this does not apply to Chihuahuas, as the breed standard states that they can be of any color. If the breeder is claiming that a common color of the breed is rare and asks for a higher price, then this is worrying and should be further investigated by you.
- Breeding dogs that are prior to the age of two. You need to know whether this was an accident on the part of the breeder or intentional, as most health testing cannot be done before the age of two in Chis and other dog breeds.
Moreover, noticing these signs below is considered a red flag and you should avoid this breeder as they cannot be trusted in delivering you a purebred puppy:
- Whether they sell puppies on websites such as Craigslist, Gumtree, Puppyfind, etc. Reputable breeders do not use these sites, as they have their own site or build connections in-person and through their professional network.
- Prices puppies on a different standard based on color and gender. This is a particular red flag, as the only times a responsible breeder may change the price in the same litter is whether they have a puppy with an unexpected health condition. The prices for both male and female dogs should remain the same.
- Having the option of purchasing a puppy from their website by using PayPal or other online options. A reputable breeder will first invite you to see the puppy for yourself and their parents before they give you the option of buying it.
- Producing six or more litters per year. The normal standard in a reputable breeder is two litters per year, as this allows time to check for medical conditions and to issue the correct certificates, as well as check at the wellbeing of the dogs.
- And finally, not allowing you to meet them in person before selling their puppy. It is generally expected that you should meet the breeder and have a long discussion with them since their goal is to make sure that you are offering the puppy a good home.
Health Conditions of Purebred Chihuahuas
Other ways to determine whether your Chihuahua is purebred would be to take your pooch to a veterinarian for identification. An experienced veterinarian should give you some clues about your Chi’s lineage as they have probably seen an extensive number of breeds and have treated breed-specific conditions and medical issues. A particular condition could provide clues about the breed mix of your Chi if you are not sure about its purebred status. It is increasingly common to find pure Chihuahuas with conditions such as eye problems (glaucoma), heart diseases, tracheal collapses, hip necrosis, and hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
Of course, that does not mean that your Chi will have one of these conditions, however, a purebred dog has increased chances of suffering from these disorders. This is not intended to frighten you on the genetic diseases that your Chi may have, but to educate you on the genetic predispositions of the breed, especially if your pooch is purebred.
DNA Testing and your Chi
Another resort to figuring the breed status of your Chihuahua is conducting a DNA test on it, throwing away all the guesswork on the matter of its breed. Even from 2010, test kits have become widely available through online retailers and stores, with their function being untangling the mystery of a mutt’s breed mix or confirming the bloodlines of a purebred. The process of acquiring a DNA sample from your Chi is simple, with just a swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek. After that, the sample is sent to the lab and the results can appear in a few days!
Often, DNA testing offers to check if your pooch has a vulnerability to a certain disease. It is important to note that this does not mean that your dog will actually develop the disease, although you could be looking at some regular vet appointments, especially as your Chi grows older.
Something important to remember
No matter the family history of your Chihuahua, it is an understatement when we say that they will love you no matter their status as a mixed or pure breed. While some people may be disappointed to find out that their Chi is a mutt, mixed-breed dogs have been found to be healthier than purebred dogs and they tend to live longer because of their strong genetic variability. It is common to see recessive disorders resurfacing in purebred dogs due to the practice of inbreeding and so, you should be happy if you find out that your precious pooch is a mixed breed. Needless to say, what matters when getting a dog should not be whether its parents are of a particular breed, but whether you are ready to give them a home. Besides, it is always better to adopt a Chihuahua rather than buy one! They will thank you by becoming one of the best companions in your life.