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All this information should be looked into before ever deciding to breed your chihuahua.

Is your chihuahua registered? I believe unregisted chihuahuas should not be bred because you do not know the background of your chihuahua without a pedigree and you don't know what your breeding into.
Only chihuahuas that match the AKC breed standard should be bred we should be breeding to better the breed and this is following akcs standard.

Know your chihuahuas faults no dog is perfect but when you think about breeding your chihuahua should be almost perfect to the breed standard or you will be tore apart in the ring. Finding faults in the chihuahua breed
Wait to atleast your female and male is 2 years of age many faults do not show up till then.

Another concern is health of your chihuahua a chihuahua with genetic health concerns should be spayed/nutered to pervent this from being passed on to puppies.

I also suggest any chihuahua bred should be OFA and CERF Learn what these things are about and why it is important to have these tests done.
(found it)

Next thing to look at is Temperment.
When showing how would you fill if your lovely show chihuahua nip the judges hand? Awful and you would be bared from showing and producing puppies from this dog would only pass it on to the puppies. Chihuahua with bad tempers is bred into them so any chihuahua with bad tempers should not be bred.

Pedigrees and Ancestry- Needs to be evaluated
Understanding Genetics

What is your Chihuahua's lines?
~Is your bitch from a line of free-whelpers? This is really important as this is passed in the lines. However, this doesn't apply to the teeny tiny Chihuahua's weighing less than 3.5lbs. My vet says 99% of the tinier weight Chihuahua's require a C-section. And of course this theory goes out the window with even a free whelper if a puppy comes into the birth canal sideways.

~It's best to study back at least 5-7 generations in your dogs lines. Call the breeder and ask about health/genetic concerns in the lines. REMEMBER...Just because a CH appears in the ancestrial chain doesn't mean a thing if there is knee trouble or bad hearts in the lines.

~Is this a petshop Chi, or purchased from a puppymill? Please spay/neuter. You can't be sure of the ancestry, genetics, temperament, etc... of the lines. And well... without petshops, puppymills would go out of business.

~Two important questions you should be able to ask yourself and answer is- "Why do I want to breed?" and "What am I hoping for from a breeding?"

~If you answered this question "because I want to make $$$". Please seek another occupation or apply to a vo-tech school or a school that will train you for a trade. When you breed correctly there is virtually no $$$ to be made. Once you deduct all that you've put out into a proper breeding- it comes nowhere close to equaling out or even going above the $$$ put out into a litter of puppies.

So after reading all of this are you still considering breeding?

In order for a breed to be established, inbreeding and line breeding are a must. That is how certain traits are developed and carried on. Chihuahuas are somewhat of a natural breed and the gene pool is really wide open. That is why one can find so many Chihuahuas that look nothing alike except for the fact that they are the same breed. Even though our breed standard may at first appear to be quite specific, it actually leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation. Unlike Dobermans or Poodles, Chihuahuas do not have a universal "look", size or temperament. A goal for most breeders is to establish a consistent "line". That is, generations of dogs with similar enough traits that one could almost recognize the breeder when seeing the dog.

There is a tool to measure how inbred a dog called the "Inbreeding Coefficient". This percentage is based upon the fact that a dog inherits exactly 50% of its genes from each parent. Littermates bred together would produce a dog with an IC of 50%. Although there are various opinions on what the ideal IC% should be for the breed , the popular consensus seems to be a range of 15% to 20% for Chihuahuas and maybe a bit higher for Papillons. Normally, that would be a composite result of generations of line breeding rather than immediate inbreeding.

There is often some question regarding the term "inbred". The major point to realize here is that the subject matter is a breed of dog whose mates are being chosen with thought and experience. Humans mate for many reasons - almost none of them being the genetic implications of offspring resulting from the pairing. "Inbreeding" being associated with such a negative response is basically due to this factor.

When a breeder sets out to produce qualities in a dog or their line, they have to look at the genes involved in the dog and the dog's parents. When improving on an animal, one intends to breed good qualities to good qualities and breeding a dog back to a relative will "lock in" those traits. The same can be said with negative traits so one has to be careful and be honest and objective with all the traits a dog has to offer. This is referred to as "line breeding". Usually not littermates, or parent to child. Genetic traits often skip generations or pair up differently so it makes much more sense to go back to grandparents or aunts and uncles.

When a breeder feels the need to add certain qualities to the line, they will often go to a dog that is unrelated. This is referred to as "outcrossing". This can be risky as the genes of the outside dog are literally an unknown factor now. One may have two nearly identical dogs of different lines produce wildly different offspring because of the genes they are carrying, not just the obvious ones one can see. Remember, gene inheritance is generally 50/50 so one cannot reliably predict the results of an outcrossing without in-depth knowledge of both lines and genetic heritability factors.

In short, inbreeding or line breeding does not automatically produce defects. Doubling up on negative traits carried by dogs that are bred does, regardless of their relationship.

Let's face it, Chihuahuas are not large dogs. As a result of being, in fact, the smallest breed of dog, they have small litters. Although the puppies themselves are quite tiny, relatively they are fairly large. Papillons aren't much bigger! A human baby at 8 pounds is roughly 6% to 8% of its mothers' size. A pound of Chihuahua newborns (about 4) can be 20% to 25% of momma's size! Not only that, but compared to other larger breeds, the puppies are fewer and larger in comparison with the relative size between dam and pup. The average litter size is only 3 puppies, 1 and 2 being common. Toy Breeds in general are very similar this way and require a great deal more attention and time than people realize. Frequently, these pregnancies end in Cesarean Sections - especially in the case of singletons.

It is by far safer to breed a bitch closer to 4 and 5 pounds than 3! Puppies can only be so small before health is compromised. A breeder could easily lose a 3 pound bitch trying to carry a litter of normal sized puppies. Free whelping is heritable and is a big factor. Just because a bitch is small does not necessarily preclude her from free whelping, her size simply increases the risk. Conversely, a larger bitch carries no guarantees against C-Sections either. There are so many other complications that arise - and frequently do - that it's impossible to include here without devoting the entire site to just breeding!

When a bitch is to be bred, it is best to have blood panels and tests run by your vet to ensure she is safe to breed. An experienced, trusted breeder is probably the best person to turn to in evaluating whether to breed your bitch or not and to whom she is bred to.

As you can see, there is much more to breeding responsibly than putting two cute dogs together in order to ensure health and a long life. Good breeding requires much study and some science. There is also a modicum of morality and ethical behavior that is a MUST to keep one from becoming a backyard breeder or puppy mill. Simply put, always keeping the quality and health of the animals at the top of the priority list; ensuring that each breeding is keeping not only within the Chihuahua standard but with a goal of improving each generation; and generally operating for the love of the animal rather than for monetary reasons.

Many breeders of Toy Breeds do not exactly go out and encourage others to become breeders for a variety of reasons, the primary one being that it takes a LOT of time (think 24 hour daycare for babies), a solid commitment, a huge heart with a tough hide, and quite a bit of money. If you are interested in breeding toy dogs, talk to a breeder you trust and ask that person to mentor you.

Information on the suppoused Teacup Chihuahua

More about breeding
Marli's Chi's - AKC Longcoat Chihuahuas

of San Jose, California

To Breed or Not to Breed?

The decision of whether or not to breed is a very serious one. It is an especially serious decision with toy breeds because the whelp is so much more difficult and potentially dangerous than with larger breeds. What I am about to write may sound like a lecture but please read all the way through and think about it very carefully. As a breeder of Chihuahuas I am obviously not going to say that it shouldn't be done, but it is important to know the risks, educate yourself, and be very sure that your girl really is breeding quality and likely to whelp easily before you begin.

Wanting to breed is understandable - we love our little babies, naturally we want more just like them. Unfortunately, it is important to remember that there is no way to know for certain that any of the puppies will be anything like the parents. Because of the diversity in the Chihuahua gene pool, the odds are that they will be very different from him/her and each other, unless both parents are long-time line-bred from the same line and/or of very similar type with similar type parents. This is why a knowledge of lines and pedigrees is critical to a serious breeder. It is also important to remember that the welfare of any puppies you breed is your responsibility FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. If you pick out a dog (whether purchased or adopted) you can see what you're getting, but if you breed then there are NO guarantees.

Here is some input from other sources on the decision on whether to breed:

From the Dog Owners Guide on spaying:

"...Females are better pets if they do not experience estrus twice each year. Heat cycles bring hormonal changes that can lead to personality changes. Repeated heat cycles subject the reproductive system to UTERINE AND MAMMARY CANCERS and UTERINE INFECTIONS. Some bitches experience false pregnancies that can be a bother to deal with... "

From the Official Newsletter of the Canine Health Foundation (AKC) Fall 1999, Issue 1:

"Dogs develop more mammary tumors than any species other than mice. The incidence in bitches, 199/100,000 female dogs, is nearly three times that seen in women... "

"The most widely recognized risk factor for developing mammary carcinoma in the dog is the number of estrous cycles (heats) experienced prior to ovariohysterectomy (spaying). Bitches spayed before the first heat have a relative risk of 0.05% for mammary cancer, while those with one heat cycle had 8% and those with 2 or more cycles had 26% relative risk. The sparing effect of ovariohysterectomy is lost after two years or four cycles... "

Translation: Spayed bitches live longer healthier lives. In the over twenty years that I have been breeding Chihuahuas, I have personally observed this to be true. Mammary and uterine cancers will usually spread to the lungs and other internal organs long before you know the bitch is ill. It is an ugly painful death and difficult to prevent - except by early spaying.

From the Chihuahua Club of America breed fact pamphlet on breeding:


Breeding is not the mating together of two AKC registered dogs to produce puppies. That has been the downfall of many breeds. It's a creative art that requires the study of genetics, conformation, and bloodlines and veterinary procedures. The responsibilities for the future generations lies with a breeder. The mating together of outstanding champions will produce many pets, so if dogs that are not outstanding are bred, can you imagine what can happen? Personality, disposition and health are lost, along with the good looks of the breed. Chihuahuas are often delivered by Cesarean section and that's expensive! Puppies are small, usually 3 to 4 oz., and require a lot of extra care. SO CONSIDER CAREFULLY!"

Part of the decision process when picking two dogs to breed together is to look at the parents, grandparents and siblings of the dogs in question. Looking at dogs that are closely related to the dogs you plan to breed will tell you a lot about what you can expect to see in the puppies. Serious responsible breeders want to make sure that the lines in question are free of patellar luxation, bite distortion, heart disease and other hereditary diseases or defects. Even if your bitch is the perfect size for breeding (4-6 pounds), has a perfect scissor bite, excellent disposition, perfect “apple” dome, round eyes well set in the skull, perfectly shaped muzzle, perfectly level topline, perfect angulation, perfect proportion, perfect coat, good tuck-up, perfect tail set and carriage, etc. there may STILL be problems in her line she could pass on to her puppies. She may have had ugly, nasty parents and her good nature and good looks are a fluke that would not be passed on to her puppies. This is why a knowledge of genetics and the lines of both dogs in a mating pair is important.

Because it takes only a few dogs to breed but many bitches, usually only top winning Champions are used by good breeders as stud dogs. Many dogs that become Champions are still not considered perfect enough to use for breeding. And responsible owners of top-quality studs will not breed to bitches without papers. If your bitch is not registered, only the very worst quality studs owned by unscrupulous, disreputable, or ignorant people will be available to you. Because Chihuahuas are so small, the bitches are sometimes unable to deliver puppies naturally and need cesarean sections. To reduce the risk to the bitch, often only smaller stud dogs (under 4 pounds) from similarly sized parents are used, so that the bitch has the best chance possible of being able to deliver naturally. Breeding Chihuahuas can be very expensive and when the average stud fee to use the #10 or better top winning Chihuahua in the nation is only $250-$400, it makes sense to use only the best.

From my personal experience I would say that there are a few things you should ask yourself before you decide to breed:

Have you studied genetics and the backgrounds of the dogs in question? Do you feel confident that this will be a sound breeding (i.e. that the puppies will be free of any serious genetic defect and will be good quality examples of the breed)?

Is you bitch of appropriate size, and sufficient health and quality that it is advisable to breed her? Does she have good pelvic breadth and a good tuck up so she can carry and deliver the puppies safely?

Is she the right age to be bred? On her first breeding, she should be physically mature but still have some of the flexibility of youth to enable her to whelp and carry more easily. This usually means she should be bred the firs time on her second or third heat, but before the age of three. Breeding a bitch too young or too old can cause more damage to her health than if she were the correct age. No matter what age she is, having pups will almost certainly shorten her life span.

Why do you want to breed? What are you trying to produce? Do you have a breeding plan? If all you want is another puppy, buy one. It is cheaper, safer and easier.

If this is your first toy-breed litter, have you read about whelping and do you have a toy-breed breeder near you who can help you and act as your mentor?

Can you afford a cesarean section, x-rays, puppy shots and other possible medical expenses? Where I live, an emergency C-section can cost from $750 to $1,500 dollars.

Are you prepared to deal with the loss of the bitch if the unthinkable happens and the delivery kills her? Every Chihuahua breeder I know has had at least one breeding bitch die from infection contracted during the breeding, trauma during the delivery of the pups, or from complications afterwards.

Are you prepared to "put down" defective puppies rather than letting them suffer and watching them die slowly?

Are you prepared to never leave the bitch alone for more than and hour at a time for the entire week prior to when she is due to whelp until the time she actually delivers? Or if you cannot be with her, can you afford to hire a breeder to board her during this time and act as "midwife".

Are you prepared to help her deliver the pups or get her to a vet immediately if she needs assistance? Do you know how to turn or pull a stuck puppy without injuring the puppy or the bitch?

Do you know how to recognize eclampsia, mastitis, uterine inertia, and other potentially life- threatening complications?

Are you prepared to bottle and/or tube feed puppies every 3 hours if it is necessary?

Have you spent the time to pick out a good Champion stud dog with qualities that should compliment your bitches qualities and made arrangements with his owner? He should be of such outstanding quality and breeding potential that it will be worth it to you to risk your bitches life to produce his offspring.

Are you prepared to take responsibility for the puppies for the rest of their lives? To take them back and care for them if they are no longer wanted?

Are you prepared to refund money for any puppy you sell that does manifest a serious congenital disorder?

Do you know how to accomplish the breeding? To artificially inseminate, if necessary?

Have both dogs been checked for transmissible diseases?

Are you sure that both dogs are free of heritable defects or genetic disease such as patellar luxation, bite distortion, heart disease, etc.

Do you have a contract of sale that protects you and the purchaser of the puppy? Many states have "puppy lemon laws" that you should be familiar with before selling a puppy. If you choose to give puppies away instead of selling them, then statistically they will not be as well cared for by their new owners. Also, I guarantee that between stud fees, lost time at work and medical bills it will almost certainly end up being cheaper and will definitely be less stressful to buy a puppy.

A recent litter of mine is a good example of what can happen:

Tami weighs 5 1/4 pounds so a C-section was not likely to be needed but I have had a bitch as large as 6 pounds who needed a C-section and I know of a 7 1/2 pound bitch who always does. Tami whelped 4 days before she was due and in the late afternoon while I was still at work. If I had not been bringing her into the office with me that week she would have been alone when she delivered. Bandit was born breech and had great difficulty breathing at first because he was premature. I really had to work to get his lungs clear and get him started breathing. If I had not known how to help him, he almost certainly would have died then. Tango was fairly normal but large and Tami had a little trouble pushing him out - I had to help and pull him. Without assistance, Tango probably would have been killed during the birthing process and Tami would likely have had pelvic injuries. At first I thought Bandit would need to be tube fed (because of his labored breathing I thought he would be too weak to nurse) but fortunately this was not the case. I have found it necessary to tube feed tiny puppies in the past, however - especially if there are more than three pups in the litter. Tube feeding is always a nerve-wracking business - make a mistake and you kill the puppy. For the first two weeks of his life until he stabilized, I checked on Bandit every three hours to make sure he was not in distress. When the pups were four weeks old Tami's milk dried up and I had to take over feeding them until they were weaned at six weeks.

This was a first litter by a good-sized bitch who was bred to a Champion-quality and proven stud dog who weighed under 3 pounds. If there had been only one puppy, it would probably have been bigger than Tango was and Tami almost certainly would have needed a C-section. Single pup litters are not at all uncommon with Chihuahuas, especially in first litters, and the fewer the number of puppies then the larger the individual pups are. The average litter size for Chihuahuas is only 1-3 pups.

I know many breeders who have lost bitches or puppies due to complications related to breeding such as anaesthesia poisoining or uncontrolled bleeding during C-section surgery, eclampsia, pyometra, mastitis, uterine inertia, etc. I have acted as mentor to several novice breeders and I can say that the ones who did a lot of study and research first fared better, although they all had their losses, too. By the way, this is not true of just Chihuahuas - breeders of all breeds will occasionally lose bitches and puppies to breeding complications. I know a lab breeder who lost a bitch during a c-section surgery.

For one novice breeder I mentored it was a horror story. I had advised her not to breed because her bitch was small and short-bodied. I thought I had convinced her but she decided to do it anyway. In the seventh week of carrying, the bitch's uterus burst open (it was too small for the pups she was carrying) and emergency surgery was needed to save her. After $1,500 in emergency vet bills, losing both of the puppies and nearly losing the bitch who was the woman's only pet and love of her life, I cannot begin to describe to you how this woman felt about what she had put her beloved “Lucky” through, what she had lost, and what it had almost cost her. In addition, her little 7 year old daughter was traumatized by what had happened to her little doggie.

If your main reason for wanting to breed your is that you have a Chihuahua that you love and would like another like him/her, then what makes the most sense is to find another to buy or adopt. It may take you time and work to find the right dog but it will be worth it. Remember, even if you do somehow end up breeding your Chi, it may be that none of the puppies will be anything like him/her and there are NO guarantees - not even that the bitch will survive.

I won't tell you that you shouldn't breed, but it really is more than just putting two dogs together and "letting her get pregnant". I studied a great deal and assisted on the whelps of other people's Chihuahuas before I ever bred a litter of my own. I had an experienced mentor to help me. I still regularly consult with other breeders and read books and articles to see what I can learn that will give every one of my furkids the best shot at health and happiness possible.

Be sure that you are also prepared to do what is needed and if you think that your little girl is too precious to risk, no matter how small the risk, don't do it. Even if absolutely nothing goes wrong with the breeding and the whelp, you will still be shortening her expected life span. I hate to sound pushy or like a doomsayer, but I have seen what happens when things go wrong with a breeding and the people involved were just not prepared to deal with it. Even for those of us who really know the risks and have had our losses, it hurts every time.

Breeding is not for everyone and don't kid yourself that only breeding one litter doesn't make you a breeder. For the sake of your little baby, you had better think of yourself as a breeder and do what needs to be done. It is a serious thing to do. Once you are committed, you can cry afterwards if things went wrong, but you had better be there 100% until it's all over. She will need you to be. That's what we "real breeders" do because little lives depend upon it.

-by Marli Medinnus

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