How to Choose the Right Chihuahua Puppy From the Litter?
Choosing the right Chihuahua puppy from the litter is the foundation of your long and joyful life together with your furry friend. Hardly is there anything sadder than understanding that the dog you chose does not precisely fit your expectations.
Wrong puppy choices are the main reason why so many dogs, including Chihuahuas, end up in shelters today. Such mistakes also encourage numerous misconceptions and stigmas that force us to put labels on various breeds, making it hard for them to survive.
The main criteria you should pay attention to while choosing a puppy from the litter are:
- Temper or so-called “energy level”
Even the healthiest puppy may not be your best choice if his or her character or temper does not fit your lifestyle. At the same time, there is nothing more devastating than realizing that the dog you have bonded with so much demonstrates severe symptoms of health complications.
Continue reading, and you will learn how to find the balance between those critical criteria and chose a Chihuahua puppy from the litter that will become your devoted friend and partner for many years.
I am choosing a Chihuahua Puppy. Where do I start?
As soon as you have firmly decided that you want to get a Chihuahua puppy, it is better to conduct your brief independent research about the breed in general.
First of all, Chihuahua is one of the most diverse breeds known to humankind. Some enthusiasts claim that you may find up to 12 different types of Chis. Each of them has its physical, mental peculiarities and genetic specifications that may appear to be ultimate dealbreakers for certain owners.
For example, suppose you aim for the internationally recognized standard of the breed and plan to participate in dog shows. In that case, you may want to pay attention to the so-called apple-head Chihuahuas. Their exterior and physical specifications serve as the example of the breed’s standards.
However, those Chihuahua types may have their pitfalls. Being a result of heavy breeding, many of them are vulnerable to numerous genetic diseases. They are also significantly smaller than their most common brethren, which often becomes a reason for various behavioral and psychological complications with a wrong approach to the dog. In other words, by choosing an apple head Chi, you will get the ultimate embodiment of the breed itself. Still, you may have to invest a bit more effort and attention into providing a truly happy, healthy, and joyful life for both of you.
In case you are looking for a playful, sassy friend who may not correspond to the highest standards of the breed but still embodies everything we love about Chihuahuas so much, the so-called deer-head Chi is your ultimate choice.
Related to numerous wild canines of Central America, those dogs carry an ultimate cocktail of genetics, making them significantly more sustainable to congenital health complications. They are also bigger and steadier than most of their apple-head brethren, have a more robust skeleton, joints, and a more developed muscle structure. Such a dog will be your devoted friend and partner for any lifestyle and adventure.
Of course, the shape of Chihuahua’s head does not entirely determine or predict the dog’s health condition. It is more of aesthetics and personal preference than a decisive factor once picking a Chihuahua puppy from the litter.
As soon have you have settled with the aesthetics, it is time to contact local breeders and research them among fellow Chihuahua lovers. Remember that although most of those people are sincere appreciators of the breed, breeding is a business for all of them. Technically, those people are merchants, and like any other merchant, they are not always eager to reveal all the information about their products – the puppies.
However, once you ask the right questions, they must give you honest and direct answers. Here are the things you should focus on in your conversation with the breeder:
- Health condition and genetic disease of the puppies' parents and grandparents from both sides
- Asking about the dogs` health focus on the luxation of the knees, also known as the Patella Luxation – the most common health issue for Chihuahuas
- Epilepsy and seizures are another common issue among Chihuahuas, especially the apple-head ones, due to the peculiarities of their skulls. Make sure to ask about such cases within the litter or among puppies` parents
- Make sure the breeder provides you comprehensive information about puppies` vaccination plan and prophylactics of worming
- Ask about the litter’s diet, behavior, and health condition of their mother, her willingness to feed them, and participation in their primary spring up
You don’t have to be an expert in all those matters. Still, the very fact that you ask all those questions will demonstrate to a breeder that getting a Chihuahua puppy is a serious decision for you that you take responsibly. Both you and the breeder will develop a certain necessary level of trust after such a fundamental conversation.
Choosing a healthy Chihuahua puppy.
Now let’s go through the main parameters to help you choose the healthiest Chihuahua puppy from the litter.
It is always better to take with you a vet or an expert who knows all the physical peculiarities of the breed and can recognize and distinguish possible health complications once the puppy is still young. However, even if you are not an experienced Chihuahua owner and come to the meeting alone, specific rules and standards will help you make an informed decision.
Breeder’s attitude and conditions.
The first thing that will demonstrate to you whether you are about to choose a healthy puppy or may end up with a troubled one is the breeder’s attitude towards the dogs and the conditions he provides for them.
Once the mother and puppies are kept in a clean, well-arranged area, where they have enough place to move around, sleep and play, the chances to get a strong and healthy puppy are pretty high. Humans` neglect can lay the foundation for serious health and behavior issues even in a perfectly genetically healthy pup.
Previously sold puppies.
You may either conduct your research and try to locate puppies previously sold by the breeder or ask him yourself if he can give you contacts of any previous years.
They can describe possible complications and diseases that they might have revealed sometime after they have brought their Chihuahua puppies home.
A credible and respectful breeder will never knowingly sell you a defective puppy, but some complications and diseases are pretty hard to diagnose at a young age.
Here is a list of things you should point out when you first look at the litter:
- Puppies are playful and active. However, Chihuahua puppies sleep for about 18 hours per day. Therefore you should make sure to make an appointment with a breeder when they are awake
- Whether long or short, puppies` fur is clean and shiny without bald spots or knots
- Their eyes are clear. Signs of yellow and red shade in the eyes may point out liver, stomach, or heart disease
- Puppies’ noses should be clean, wet, and cold. However, if the puppies just woke up, their noses can stay warm and dry for a couple of minutes
- The ears, eyes, genitals, and paws of the puppies should be clean without any unpleasant smells
- There should not be any signs of coughing, choking, vomiting, or diarrhea;
- Excessive scratching, biting, or growling on the bottom may sign ticks, fleas, worms, and other parasites
As you see, some of those signs and symptoms are obvious from the first sight of the puppies, while others may reveal themselves sometime after. Therefore, it is crucial not to make any spontaneous decisions and spend as much time as possible around the puppies before making any choices.
Temper and behavior – find your perfect partner Chihuahua.
Just like people, Chihuahuas have different tempers and characters. Finding the one that fits your expectations and lifestyle is the key to comfortable and joyful co-existence.
From the youngest age, you can divide Chihuahuas` tempers into four types:
- Calm – a relaxed, mellow dog that does not get excited by loud noises, movement, or any other irritators
- Submissive – a quiet and shy dog, which is pretty easy to control
- Independent – and active and adventurous puppy always looking for new experience and discoveries
- Dominant – a puppy that is always ahead of the whole litter. The first one at the food ball, the first one at the door. Also active and adventurous but tends to be pretty pushy in his or her enthusiasm
There is no such thing as a good or bad character for a Chihuahua or any other dog. It is all about your temper, lifestyle, and expectations from owning a dog. Some are looking for an active, playful, and adventurous pet; in this case, Independent and dominant puppies will be perfect for them. However, such dogs are a bit harder to train and tend to have stronger personalities. Therefore you may have to put a bit more effort into gaining their trust and becoming the pack leader in their eyes.
Calm and submissive puppies are the most comfortable partners for those who prefer a quiet and mellow lifestyle. They are easy to train and tend to be less of troublemakers in the house. However, they are pretty vulnerable to stress and anxiety caused by dramatic changes in their routine. Also, don’t expect them to be too much of active playmates for children.
You don’t have to be an expert in dog behavior to determine the temper of a Chihuahua puppy, even at the youngest age. In fact, the younger the puppy is, the more chances are that you can clearly see his or her true nature before the dog went through any kind of traumatic experience or worked out behavior issues.
Most canine experts recommend sticking to a pretty simple 5-step test that helps to reveal and determine any dog’s true temper. However, you must understand that such kind of testing is not an exact science. It means that even if the puppy you are checking showed all signs of being an independent personality, he or she may appear to be pretty calm once you bring your new friend home.
The environment, conditions, company of other animals, and many other factors may seriously alter a dog’s behavior. Also, the line between calm and submissive or independent and dominant characters may be pretty vague.
Some experts recommend conducting testing in an unfamiliar environment for the puppy to eliminate the element of habit or influence of other familiar people and animals around. It is also a good idea to make a video while you are checking the puppy you liked. This way, you can analyze your impression once again before making the final choice or show the video to a professional who may give you his piece of opinion.
A Step-by-step Chihuahua character test
Step 1 – The floor test.
Take a puppy, and without picking him up, gently flip him over and put it on the floor. The puppy should be lying on his side. Don’t pressurize, and make sure not to traumatize the dog. Now check the Chi’s reaction.
- A quietly lying puppy that does not give any fight – Calm
- A puppy that does not fight but tries to lick your fingers nervously – Submissive
- A puppy that gives a fight and tries to get out – an Independent
- If a puppy is trying to bite, growls, barks, or wines – a Dominant
Step 2 – The pick-up test.
Try to gently pick up a puppy and cradle him in your arms.
- A puppy seems to be unsure in the beginning but relaxes in a few moments – Calm
- If a puppy does not demonstrate any reaction to being picked up by a stranger – Submissive
- A Chihuahua that tries to get off your hands or even avoid the contact from the very beginning – Independent
- A particularly active puppy that does not want to be picked up at all – Dominant
Step 3 – A follow test.
Stand up and walk around the room a bit.
- A puppy that shows interest and starts following you – Calm
- A puppy seems unsure or scared but still goes after you – Submissive
- A puppy that does not demonstrate any interest and does his own thing – Independent
- A puppy that tries to run after you play with your shoe or bite your ankle – Dominant
Step 4 – Attention test.
Sit on the floor and try to draw the puppy’s attention. You may call his or her name or clap your hands softly.
- A puppy that comes right away calmly without any signs of fear or excitement – Calm
- A puppy that starts to crawl on the floor or comes to you looking unsure with his or her head down and tail between the legs – Submissive
- A puppy that ignores all your attempts to make contact – Independent
- A puppy that comes right away looking playful and excited or tries to jump on you – Dominant
Step 5 – Curiosity test.
Ring your keys, snap your fingers, whistle or make any other sound that may be unfamiliar for the puppy.
- A puppy that comes right away looking intrigued and starts to look for the source of the sound – Calm
- A puppy that comes over but may seem unsure or scared when he or she sees the unfamiliar object – Submissive
- A puppy that may react to the sound but does not want to engage and discover the new object – Independent
- A puppy that starts to run around anxiously looking for the source of the sound or jump on you – Dominant
Once again, the test does not guarantee you the entire demonstration of the Chihuahua’s character. However, once you check at least 3 out of 5 of the same temper, there is a strong chance that this is the type you will be dealing with in the future if you pick that puppy.
At The End Of The Day
Different tempers can be a perfect suit for various owners and households; therefore, before making the final choice, analyze your lifestyle and expectations from getting a Chihuahua. Choosing a puppy is the process of introducing a new member into your family. Your little Chihuahua will become your partner and devoted friend for many years, so you must take full responsibility for his or her life. Making the right decision based on comprehensive research, analysis and expertise is the key to a long and happy life full of heartwarming memories and unconditional love.