The WSJ has an article recently about the overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323316804578165243827123884.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet.
I knew this was a huge problem that started from movie stars and various movies showcasing people carrying around Chihuahuas in stores and in purses, leading people to run out and get Chihuahuas but I thought it had died down. The smaller the dog the better a few years back. The issue with this was/is a few fold. If you see teacup or super miniature version of a breed, these are often not healthy animals as to breed such small animals breeders often use the smallest dogs of the litters and inbreed them over and over again to get the smallest of dogs that were never meant to be that way. This is also true if you want a “designer color.” As these traits are so rare, breeders may not be following what is best for the breed and instead focusing on certain traits to make money.
The Chihuahua overpopulation is not the first overpopulation that has happened as a result of fame. This also happened to Pugs after they were showcased in a movie or two. The article discusses a few rescue heroes who are moving the Chihuahuas from CA to states that are short small dogs like Chihuahuas including Connecticut and Maine. This is a great idea. Many dogs are saved by moving them from areas where there is demand for a certain type of dog but not enough in the shelter system.
The article states that in some communities in Southern California, 30% of the dogs in shelters are Chihuahuas. That is a staggeringly large number. Even worse, the number of Chihuahuas that have entered the shelter system there has tripled since 2006. This is not all because of movies and movie stars, a great deal of this rise is as a result of the lack of spaying and neutering in low income communities there.
The article is worth a read because it encapsulates the problem in America using this example of pet overpopulation with one breed in one community. The good news is that rescues and volunteers are making a dent in the problem; however, there still needs to be a great deal of change to fix the problem permanently. Spaying and neutering, education, regulation of unscrupulous breeders, and community support is all needed in tandem if we are to fix the root of the problem. So, if you have been thinking about adding a Chihuahua to your family, they are great dogs so take a look at shelters in California and save a life!