The first step toward finding a fabulous four-legged family member is locating a respected breeder. The best Chihuahua breeders usually specialize in only Chihuahuas, devoting years to preserving the breed’s finest traits. Good breeders often are members of the Chihuahua Club of America (CCA), and perhaps local dog clubs as well. Whether they have just a few adult dogs or a large kennel, their breeding stock is excellent, they give their puppies plenty of affection, and they probably exhibit at dog shows.
Here’s a few things you need to pay attention too, in order to select a good breeder:
- If you’re set on a particular breed, make sure to get referrals ( from vets, AKC, local breed clubs).
- A good breeder will be able to answer your questions about the dog’s ancestry (make sure to ask about parents’ and grandparents’ temperaments)
- A good breeder should give you a grilling. That means he or she wants to be sure that a Chi is the right breed for your family and that you’ll give the puppy a good home. Steer clear of money-hungry puppy vendors who pretend Chihuahuas are ideal pets for everyone. It simply isn’t so.
- A good breeder will tell you that if you ever have to give up your Chihuahua, he or she will take her back and find her a new home.
- Energy level is critical, so make sure you ask about it – and not just about the dog you’re considering buying. If your breeder supplies to police departments, for instance, there’s a good chance he’s breeding very high-energy dogs. Is that really what you want?
- Ask for contact information for other people who have adopted the breeder’s puppies.
- Make sure to see several puppies, so you can find the one you’re most comfortable – and compatible-with.
- Pay very close attention to your puppy’s behavior. Bouncing off the walls at the breeder’s? He’ll do the same when he gets to your place. And the one who’s sitting in the corner may be a low-self-esteem puppy who’ll need a great deal of rehabilitation.
- Ask to take your chosen puppy for a leash walk. How does she behave away from her litter mates? How does she behave on the walk? How’s the chemistry between the two of you?
- Chihuahua puppies need to stay with their dam and litter mates until they’re at least 8 weeks old. Beware of any breeder who’s willing to let a pup leave for its new home any sooner than that.
- Look at the breeder ads in dog magazines. You can check out AKC Gazette, Dog World, and Dog Fancy, for instance. Besides being available by subscription, the magazines are sold in many bookstores and newsstands.
- Go to a dog show. Good breeders travel many miles to show their dogs, and they’ll be glad to talk to you after they finish competing.
Visiting The Breeder
Most reputable Chihuahua breeders cherish their Chihuahuas as a hobby, not a business. They’re proud to show you their facilities and tell you about their dogs. Just be sure to contact them ahead of time to set up appointments. Breeders don’t keep regular business hours like pet shops do, and their facilities are almost always attached to their homes. So meeting a breeder and seeing his or her stock is a lot like visiting someone socially.
Making a list of what you want in a Chihuahua and letting the breeders know your criteria before you visit simplifies things. For example, tell the breeder if you’re set on a male or a female, a smooth or a long coat, a certain color, and whether you plan to show your dog. That way, a breeder can save you a trip if he or she doesn’t have what you want, and he or she may be able to send you to another kennel where your dream dog awaits. Try visiting a few breeders and seeing several puppies before making a decision.