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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just got my first Chi last night and I have absolutely no idea even about basic dog conformation, so I need a detailed evaluation on her. Whether she should just be pet, breeder and/or show quality. I would love it if she were breeding or show quality because I think it would be fun to show her and then possibly get a puppy or two out of her for myself. But, I would also not have a problem at all with her being a pet quality and us getting her spayed. Here are her pictures for evaluation:





The above picture is to give you a side view of her head.





Don't be afraid to be brutally honest about her. Any flaws at all you see, please let me know. Also, you can of course point out the good :) Thanks, guys.
 

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I know you just got her so this isn't your fault, but bella is way, way too thin, bordering being considered emaciated. You won't be able to get a good critique on her until you get a few pounds on her, I would bet she needs to gain around 2.5lbs I know that doesn't sound like much, but is a lot for a chihuahua. What do you plan on feeding her
 

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I don't know much about showing at all, but to me she looks like a pet. I also don't think that she's emaciated. She looks thin, but it also depends on her age. How old is she? It could just be that she's in that lanky stage. The correct weight is when you can feel her ribs, but not see them.


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I dont think shes emaciated yet, just very thin. I do think that if she lost any more weight, she would be emaciated. She had posted on another thread that Bella is 8 months, my guys are usually past the lanky stage by that point, but Ive never had any go so thin in the lanky stage. Looking at some of the pictures, you can see that Bella is very sunken at the flanks, in the second picture you can see her hip bones sticking up,
in the third picture you can see that her backbone is sticking up visible, doesnt appear to have much muscle on her "thigh" area, and You should be able to feel ribs with a slight flesh padding over them, never see them. In the second picture of Bella if you look at the bottom of her rib cage, it looks like her ribs are starting to become visible, just when standing still. Im sure she will fill out in no time at her new home, shes adorable and Im sure shell be spoiled with plenty of TLC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She's only 8 months old. She's been seen regularly by a vet. I've decided to keep her with the same vet she had been seeing. The vet we're using has seen Bella's mother since she was pregnant and Bella's father and all of the siblings and I was told by the vet that Bella was the runt of the litter. I've continued with the same diet that she was on, which is Purina Little Bites. The vet doesn't think that she is much underweight nor emaciated or even borderline emaciated. You can feel her ribs but you can't easily see them. Some of the pictures were at some bad angles where she was turned and then you can see her ribs. Bella has easy access to her food and water 24/7. I don't regulate when she eats or drinks, because I do know that she needs to gain a little bit, but 2.5 lbs would make Bella overweight with her body structure and how tall she is.

Now, I have another question. What makes her pet quality, versus breeding or show quality? Like I said, I pretty much know nothing of showing and conformation so I'd like to learn the difference between Bella and what someone sees as breeding and/or show quality.
 

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She is very definitely pet quality. She also has an incorrect bite (undershot). But she is very cute and will be a great pet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are some pictures taken today of her bite:






Oh and please excuse my laundry in the background. It's laundry day for me lol. :) If you guys could pick her conformation apart and please explain why you think she is pet quality it would truly help me to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, she is only 8 months old. She's by far from being emaciated. The vet has seen her mother since she was pregnant with the litter, her father and her littermates. He told me that she was by far the runt of the litter of 4 puppies. So, 2.5 lbs for her would make her overweight. The vet also doesn't think there is anything wrong with her bite; it's not a perfect bite but it's not way under or overshot. She also has free and easy access to her food and water 24/7 and eats when she pleases. I can't say how she was treated at her last home but if anything had been wrong with her the vet would have told me about it. Also, she is currently eating Purina Little Bites dog food. It's what she has been on at her previous owner and I didn't want to chance upsetting her stomach by switching foods and she's doing fairly well on it. I know she's fairly thin, but she's far from being emaciated. You can feel her ribs but really you can't see them unless she is standing at an odd angle, which would explain you seeing her ribs in a couple of the shots. Also, you can see her spine, but not alarmingly so. Her hip bones are also not as prominent as what these pictures may make it out to be. I'm just curious as to how you guys are determining that she is pet quality. I'm just trying to learn, so specific things and explanations would be really helpful.
 

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-She has an underbite, a correct bite should be level or scissor
-Bad topline/roachbacked, sometimes putting weight on them can pull the topline down closer to level.
-Neck is set at an odd angle
-Looks like weak pasterns in some of the pictures
-She has an "applehead" but her muzzle is long for her head size
-She has no chest. Some dogs develop chest as they age and fill out, but I doubt she'll be one as her legs are set too far forward to allow her to develope much chest.
-Long in the back
-Overall she doesnt have great "balance" and proportions, they tend to prefer them more bobby and short bodied while she is on the tall and long bodied side
 

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Her bite isnt undershot enough that it would cause her any health problems, but as far as show standards, it would be considered undershot. I have one here I bought to show who is the same way unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for being so specific, Mydaddysjag. Anyone else want to give their explanations and specifics?

Also, what would you guys suggest that I do in order to get her to gain a little bit of weight? I leave her food out 24/7 and she eats when she wants but she is still a bit thin.
 

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I know you said you dont want to change her food, but honestly, once shes settled in, I would change it. If she has free choice kibble and still cant gain weight, the problem is usually the food. Purina little bites is rated 1 out of 5 stars on both of the dog food review sites, its main ingredient is corn and its full or cheap fillers. Here are links to the reviews:
Purina Little Bites Dog Food | Review and Rating
Dog Food Reviews - Purina Little Bites Indoor Complete - Powered by ReviewPost

If your stuck with walmart brand foods, a better choice might be something like purina one beyond, its still cheap and walmart stocks it, it might not be a 5 star food, but its leaps and bounds ahead of the little bites ingredient wise. The kibble size is still plenty small enough for a chihuahua
 

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She is precious. I love her coloring! I have 2 with bites just like hers as well.

PLEASE, please get her on a better food. You can easily slowly make the transition. What she is being fed now is a 1 star food. The worst. She is still a growing girl and needs good nutrition. Now is the time. I would start searching for foods and changing her over immediately. She may not be emaciated but this food will have her malnourished. For certain.

Here is an unbiased ratings site and I have pulled up her food. Read through and study it out for yourself.
Purina Little Bites Dog Food | Review and Rating

There are plenty here who can help you get her on a food that will help her be a strong, healthy companion for many, many years!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What other foods would people recommend? I've met a few of my friend's chi's and their mouths are bigger than Bella's so I don't want her to get choked on anything or have a hard time chewing things. What about a raw diet? Would that help her to gain weight and get the nutrtition she needs? Also, I'm pretty well stuck with a WalMart dog food because our local Feeder's Supply store has had numerous batches of bad dog food from both Eukanuba, TOTW, and other brands. So, I'm not really trusting their foods at this time. Any other good, reasonably priced dry foods that are small kibble sized that may be made for small breeds?
 

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Did you get Kennel Club Registration papers with her? If not, then you wouldn't be allowed to show in any event, and, if you bred with her, you would fall into the "Backyard Breeder" definition I think - certainly in Australia if a dog without papers is bred, there is a stigma of that nature.

I would worm her with regularity, especially initially to ensure her entire parasite load is shed, and feed her up on superior quality food ASAP; she's way too thin for my liking.

Rather than trying to get written specific explanations, it would be a great idea to pop along to a Chi only or All Breeds Show and check out the Chis showing on the day - much easier to SEE a comparison than try to understand someone's written explanation imo. The Kennel Club website always lists when & where they are.

She'll give you many years of love and adoration, and be a beautiful pet, they are all angels.
 

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Welcome. She is very precious. There are many on this forum that feed a raw diet. There is a thread that tells all about it plus many willing to answer questions. I personally feed Ziwi Peak which is considered raw, but is not homemade raw. You can look it up either on their website or dogfoodadvisor which is great to look up all dog foods to find the one that is best for you. That would be the first thing I would do as her new owner(speaking as someone who just learned all this from this forum)--learn what would be the best food for her. Also, while she is young, learn now about over-vaccinating. I just learned that also, but the vaccination schedule that many vets have dogs on is not necessary. Bella has had all her puppy shots at 8 months, but she will be due for her 1 yrs booster soon. My suggestion would be to do a titer instead to check her immunities. Most likely she will not need any vaccines, and check and see if the rabies she had as a puppy was a 3 yr in your state. If it was she won't need that either. Again, she is very precious. Keep the pics coming.
 

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Your dog is adorable but as others have commented she is very thin and could do with putting on a pound or so. I didn't see if you posted a current weight for her but if not please do and someone should be able to give advice on what a good weight would be for her.

A raw diet is great for getting weight on a dog in a healthy way but it takes commitment. You have to calculate the correct ratios of meat, bone and organ and you need to rotate your protein sources. I like many others feed a mix of ZiwiPeak which is a dehydrated raw with the optimal nutrient ratios already sorted out for one meal and then raw meat for the other meal - for me it's the best of both worlds and is really convenient. I just give a chicken wing once or twice a week for dental health. From your pic of her teeth your pup looks like she has a bit of plaque build up so definitely get her onto a couple of raw chicken wing segments per week and that will help clean her teeth.

I would suggest getting your dog on a feeding schedule. Sometimes free fed dogs can be a bit picky because they always have food available and are never really hungry. At 8 months 2 meals a day would be fine for her and you may find that she is actually hungry for her meals and eats more at meal times.


Rather than trying to get written specific explanations, it would be a great idea to pop along to a Chi only or All Breeds Show and check out the Chis showing on the day - much easier to SEE a comparison than try to understand someone's written explanation imo. The Kennel Club website always lists when & where they are.
There are also people who have kindly posted pics of their winning show dogs on the forunm so you can check those out. It takes a trained eye to see the finer details of confirmation but some of the things like a straight topline and length of muzzle are easy to spot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I want to thank you all for being so kind and informative. She was dewormed the other day when I got her. I took her the very next day to our vet and he did inform me that the previous owner wasn't too dilligent in keeping up with parasite control. So, that may be part of her problem and why she may be thin. I did boil a chicken breast tonight for her a special dinner and she loved it. I of course didn't feed her the entire chicken breast as it was quite large. I am saving it and will feed it to her for another special dinner tomorrow night. I'll be looking into things to supplement her kibble diet with raw things and keeping up with her parasite control and hopefully she will start to gain weight. I've also made an appointment for her to be spayed in a couple of weeks due to some of the things you guys have said as her being pet quality. Thank you.
 

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Keep feeding her the chicken breat you've cooked for her until it's gone but in future don't cook her meat, it pretty muck kills all the nutritional value.

Also it's best for their digestion to seperate kibble meals from raw meat meals as they digest at different rates.

Getting her on to a really high quality kibble (Fromm, Arcana, Orijen) for one meal a day and then various raw protein sources (rotate between beef, chicken, pork or whatever you can get your hands on really) for the other meal will be a really good diet and will definitely help her put on the weight she needs.
 
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