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Discussion Starter #1
I suppose this might be relative since their natural lifespans seem to vary quite a bit going by this forum.
My mom had suggested adopting a 1-2 yr old chihuahua because then I'll be assured of a more fit and healthier dog.
I've looked at a few in the 5-7 yr old range and am wondering about this.
She says then I won't have them very long before they start to develop geriatric problems.
I guess if they'll only live to be 15, then they would age like my eskie did who was PTS at age 15. IF they lived until they were 20+, then I suppose this age range would be fine.

Yes, I do care about doggy fitness issues.
It's one of two reasons I looked at puppies from breeders even through I don't particularly want a puppy. The other reason being that I was having a hard time finding long hair chis being re-homed as adults.
No, I don't plan to dump an old dog with geriatric issues, but I'd hope to not have only geriatric issues the entire time I had a dog.
 

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My first chi lived to be 22. I don't think it matters what age, if you find one in the 5-7 age range you could provide a good life for them for the rest of their life. I am sure they are hard to adopt out at that age and may soon be PTS. An older chi may require more work and patience if they have had a rough life.
 

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You seem very surprised by a lot of commonplace things that small dog owners here have mentioned, I would recommend really thinking first about if a small dog is right for you, especially the smallest breed of all. They can have a lot of special needs. They require a lot of care. And a chihuahua rescue is in rescue most often for a reason (it was doing something it's owner absolutely could not stand). Sometimes they end up in rescue for other reasons (e.g. owner died), but usually it is behavioural so rescues can be a challenge in an already challenging breed. An adult rescue usually is every bit as much work as a new puppy. Chihuahuas also need an immense amount of positive reinforcement and energy, negativity can ruin your relationship with a chihuahua as a dog.
 

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I was going to post something very close to what Kristi said, but she beat me to it.
You sound like you are really zoned for a large breed dog IMO.
Chihuahua's ARE dogs, but they are not like any other dog I've ever owned.

Some here may flame me for this, but they are much more delicate and not "working" dogs, it sounds like that is what you want? Chihuahua's excel at being lapdogs and constant and I mean CONSTANT companions.

My dogs are happiest to lounge around with me.
In fact one of them despises any outdoor activities unless he's in a dog carrier :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I used to be out with my eskie, people would call her a small dog. I guess it's all relative. I would have considered a standard eskie like I had to be a smallish-medium dog.

Early on, I did consider a German shepherd as one of my choices.
I decided against a GSD early on for various reasons.
For starters, I think dogs should be matched according to available space. They are good for people on farms with space to run. Not for artists moving in little places who might move into more little places.
 

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I think you need to pick a dog breed based on you liking the characteristics of the breed and wanting to share your life with that specific breed and the specific dog.

I know people who have had all sizes of dogs in all sizes of houses/apts. I raised one of my border collies in a smallish townhouse with 2 roommates and then moved into an apartment and raised the second there. I did not have a farm or a fenced yard. But I was committed to the breed and my dogs and I made a conscious effort to find them parks to play in off leash. We did obedience work and trained in agility. The time we spent in the house/apt was spent with them happily playing with toys and just hanging out with me. They are now 11 years old and 8 years old respectively.

A good friend of my raised her GSD in an apt while she was in pharmacy school. Again, she made the effort to make sure he got his exercise and they had a great relationship. He is now 12 years old.

I adopted my chihuahua when she was about 1 -1.5 years old. She was one of the lucky ones that didn't appear to have any issues. She seems like she was a beloved pet that somehow got lost (she was picked up by animal control wandering up the side of the road).
 

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Some here may flame me for this, but they are much more delicate and not "working" dogs, it sounds like that is what you want? Chihuahua's excel at being lapdogs and constant and I mean CONSTANT companions.
I agree, chihuahuas are definatly alot more delicate than most other dogs, especially the tinies, and definatly not as robust as larger breeds. Though having said that my 7lber is very rough and tumble and will run around with lots of other dogs at the park. Though I know americans have to be very careful about birds of prey and things, we don't have that in the UK. The tinies are very delicate and need extra special care whereas a 7lber is less fragile and can cope easier than a tiny.

I adopted my boy when he was 16mths and I wouldn't change him for the world. I want my next chihuahua to be a rescue or rehome to. I don't want a puppy but a chihuahua aged between 1-3years would be a good fit.

You just need to sit and think which age range will be better for you but you also need to choose the right dog for you.
Whatever the age you will need to do some training and possibly work on toilet training to and depending on their background may need some more serious training to resolve any issues the dog may have.

Just because you get a dog thats aged younger does not necessarily mean they will live longer. You could get a 3year old and it could develop cancer and die at 7 or 8 for example. There is really no way of knowing what could happen.

You would have to evaluate each individual as they can be very different depending on their life experiences/previous training if any has been given. So I wouldn't focus on a set age, but to rather focus on each chi's individuality and decide that way.
 

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Lily was a rescue. I guess we were one of the lucky ones. We got her when she was 1.5 yrs old. She was surrendered because the people lost their jobs and couldn't take care of her anymore. She was potty trained, learns tricks very quickly, walks on a leash perfectly and for long periods of time, doesn't bite or bark. She's a pretty good dog. She did/does have separation anxiety issues but they seem to be subsiding. I see people here getting puppies, which makes me look for puppies then I think how "easy" Lily was/is and decide to just watch everyone else's puppies grow.
 

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Both of mine are rescues. Tango was a rescue at 7 1/2 months, Jazz at 11 weeks. I had no idea of their health histories when I took them in, so obviously it was a gamble. But my dedication to wanting to provide a home for a homeless dog superceded my concerns about potential health risks. And honestly, both of them were in really bad shape physically when they came to me. They'd both been on crappy food, had various eye and respiratory infections, were under-nourished, skin/coat issues. Jazz, the puppy was about to be put to sleep by its owner because she didn't want to pay a pet deposit! Stupid woman, but her loss my gain! Anyway, she was so ill that my vet said if the owner had waited much longer she wouldn't have needed to bother putting Jazz down, she would have just died. They're in excellent health now, but it was work. The only issues that have presented so far (Tango's 3 1/2 now, Jazz is 1 1/2) are Tango and Jazz's poor dental health in spite of my best efforts. Tango's already had a dental and a couple of teeth removed, and Jazz has an appointment next week for a dental and I think she's going to end up with same. And Tango has a slight skeletal issue where his front feet turn out more than they should. The vet said that could lead to some early arthritis problems. Other than that, so far so good. I've done my very best to maximize their chances for continuing good health by feeding them superior five/six star food and being a Nazi about quantity. They're both lean and fit, with no overweight to exacerbate or create any other problems.

You likely won't find immediate health issues if you adopt from a rescue organization....the dogs there will have been fully vetted before they're ever offered for adoption. But still, you have no prediction of what kind of health problems you're in for down the road. OTOH, you have no guarantees of good health if you adopt from a reputable breeder either...all you've done there is increased your chances of your dog maintaining decent health.

Are you aware of the general health challenges of this particular breed? I'm sure you realize that each breed has some kind of predisposition to certain health issues and challenges. You might want to do some homework about that, as a first step. Are you prepared to deal with any one, or any combination of the health issues that have the potential to present, in this breed? Again there are no guarantees here....you may get lucky and have a dog who is supremely healthy and long lived, no matter its origin. By the same token, you may end up with one who has issues and requires medication, consistent vet care, and special attention. But see, that's true with ANY dog, ANY breed. There are no guarantees.

Best you can do is operate with all available, generalilzed data and that would be breed characteristics for the breed you want and are they right for you. And then specific health issues routinely found in that breed and are you willing to deal with those should they arise. Once you've nailed those two points down, then you can go looking, and from there hopefully you'll get some specifics about whatever dog you're interested in. But even there, with a rescue, they may not have many, other than where they were rescued from and that the vet said they were healthy (which doesn't usually include things like x-rays, in depth blood work etc.)

Finally, you may end up with behavioral issues that present after adoption. A dog you were told was potty trained isn't....or at least isn't in this new place where he's scared. Or he develops separation anxiety. Or he freaks out at the sight of the neighbor's cat. Or he howls every time a car drives down the street, or starts resource guarding or any number of things that aren't caught by the rescue organization who do an amazing job but simply don't have the resources to be one on one with every single rescue. Or, more likely, the behavior issues just didn't present when they were in foster care because the triggers were different there than in your home.

Bottom line, do your homework about breed specific traits, personality, behavior, and potential health issues and make SURE you really do want the breed you're focused on, and then do the best job you can of being smart about your choice once you get to the rescue. And make SURE that they have a return policy so that when you take your new dog to the vet for a FULL physical including blood work (and this will be THE VERY FIRST THING YOU DO ONCE YOU GET IT!!!!) if there's any major health issue you can know from the outset and if it's serious enough you can return the animal.

Let us know how it goes, OK?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like space is the only part so far that aligns with wanting a small dog...
I don't think I've ever said that.
Usually your posts are quite informative, however I think you need to be careful about jumping to conclusions.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pinkchi,
For those very reasons,I had decided to pick one on the larger end. That hasn't been difficult as most of the re-homed ones are larger ones.

Tink,
Thanks, I've tried to research health issues as much as I can.
One of the reasons I care about what I'll call doggy fitness is my late eskie came down with hip dysplasia which she was genetically predisposed to. It did limit her as she would limp and I didn't take her on as many outtings as I would have otherwise.
I'm trying to avoid this happening to me again.
I guess if people are going to be judgmental about not wanting a special needs or disabled dog, so be it.

I do find it ironic that IRL people have teased me for wanting a dog that I can carry in a handbag as a fashion accessory apparently.
When it comes out that I'm going to do more then stick a dog into a handbag, I get questioned too. Dog shouldn't be in a handbag...dog should be in handbag?.
*-
As for training, still concerned about that part no matter what dog I'd get due to being inexperienced. I did train my eskie some basics, she was friendly and well socialized.
I wasn't very good at the training. She was rebellious and would often refuse to heel, come or stay.
She used to do things like run into the forest when she didn't want inside for the night.

It's been a drawback that I could only research a chihuahua on paper(screen?). I would have preferred to interact with one IRL more.
 

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And a chihuahua in rescue is in rescue most often for a reason (it was doing something it's owner absolutely could not stand). Sometimes they end up in rescue for other reasons (e.g. owner died), but usually it is behavioural so rescues can be a challenge in an already challenging breed.
I agree with everything you said, Kristi, with exception of this bit which I disagree with. Yes, I do believe chi's definitely have special needs and they do require a lot of attention, but I disagree that most chi's are in rescue due to "doing something their owner absolutely could not stand." I wouldn't say most chi's are in rescue due to behavioral problems, certainly not problems that are out of the norm. In fact, most rescues will not take on and adopt out dogs with serious behavioral issues as they require special care, care that they are aware most people can't give.

From my experience dealing with rescues that handle a lot of chihuahuas, a lot of them are there due to being bred and backyard breeders no longer wanting them when they are no longer of use to them. Chi's are hugely popular with backyard breeders as they make a lot of money off the pups and they're easily sold.

A great many are also from puppy mills. Many are simply there due to owners not keeping them due to moving or financial reasons. This is the case with a lot of dogs in rescue. Many of them are also sadly dropped off and abandoned outside as well and most of them are lovely little dogs. Some are brought in simply because they wanted a cute dog and had a passing fancy to get a chi, but the dog was too needy and they couldn't give it the attention it needed. Chi's do need a lot of attention and a lot of people don't realize that when they get one.

Anyway, I disagree that the majority of chi's are in rescue due to behavioral problems. That has not been my experience working with rescue at all. Most of the chi's I have seen in rescue are good and loving little dogs. Due to their circumstances they will need extra care though, yes, all rescue dogs do.
 

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Paula good points.

Chihuahua's are exceptionally needy overall and I liken them to having another toddler quite frankly. I can do things with my Poodle, such as leave him to his own devices for several hours that is slightly more tricky with the Chi's lol.

If I leave the room my Poodle does not come looking for me, the Chi's have to know my EVERY move.. they are little stalkers :)
 

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I agree that Chihuahuas are like toddlers..they are so loveable and cuddley, charming little canines...BUT you have to keep a close eye on them. Having even a exceptional well behaved chihuahua is like having a two year old than will never grow up.
 

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Anyway, I disagree that the majority of chi's are in rescue due to behavioral problems. That has not been my experience working with rescue at all. Most of the chi's I have seen in rescue are good and loving little dogs. Due to their circumstances they will need extra care though, yes, all rescue dogs do.
I agree wholeheartedly. Although one of mine is a Chi mix (Chihuahua and Cairn Terrier), both are rescues.

One was a problem child, as I like to refer to him. He bit, he hated children, and was just waiting in his cage for the end of the week when he was scheduled to be 'put down' due to his label of being 'unadoptable'. I don't have small children and I have a ton of patience, so I managed to sweet talk the shelter manager into letting me have him. It has taken some time to bring him around, but he's come a long way, and he's perfect in my eyes. All of his issues were inflicted on him by humans, but my husband and I were able to instill trust and love in him, and no one would even recognize him as the same dog today, in looks OR temperament. He is so happy, and so are we. (He was 3 years when we got him, by the way.)

Gracie (full Chi) was in rescue because her previous owners 'couldn't do anything with her'. She wasn't housetrained, and she wouldn't listen. The little thing was only 5 months old. They never tried or hadn't a clue how to work with her - that's all I can figure out. We had her housetrained in 2 weeks, and she's the sweetest smartest little girl I've ever seen. We can teach her a trick within a matter of minutes. She's eager to please, and the most loving little dog I've ever had.

Rescues are wonderful and rewarding, but you have to be up for the challenges, as well. You have to be able to put yourself in their position, being shuffled from place to place for whatever reason, and you have to work with them.

I would not hesitate to take in a 7 year old Chi if I had the space. There are so many in rescue in this area...My husband and I both plan to take in a few more once we move.
 

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Chihuahua's could be considered a unique species.
It's a very complicated relationship, and they are calling the shots - period.

I agree with what Paula said, more often it's bad owners ( unprepared for the realities) than bad dogs that lead to abandonment.

As for a 5-7 year old dog being too old to consider for adoption, because they may have geriatric issues soon - I'm just thankful for those who understand how absurd that is.
 

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I agree wholeheartedly. Although one of mine is a Chi mix (Chihuahua and Cairn Terrier), both are rescues.

One was a problem child, as I like to refer to him. He bit, he hated children, and was just waiting in his cage for the end of the week when he was scheduled to be 'put down' due to his label of being 'unadoptable'. I don't have small children and I have a ton of patience, so I managed to sweet talk the shelter manager into letting me have him. It has taken some time to bring him around, but he's come a long way, and he's perfect in my eyes. All of his issues were inflicted on him by humans, but my husband and I were able to instill trust and love in him, and no one would even recognize him as the same dog today, in looks OR temperament. He is so happy, and so are we. (He was 3 years when we got him, by the way.)

Gracie (full Chi) was in rescue because her previous owners 'couldn't do anything with her'. She wasn't housetrained, and she wouldn't listen. The little thing was only 5 months old. They never tried or hadn't a clue how to work with her - that's all I can figure out. We had her housetrained in 2 weeks, and she's the sweetest smartest little girl I've ever seen. We can teach her a trick within a matter of minutes. She's eager to please, and the most loving little dog I've ever had.

Rescues are wonderful and rewarding, but you have to be up for the challenges, as well. You have to be able to put yourself in their position, being shuffled from place to place for whatever reason, and you have to work with them.

I would not hesitate to take in a 7 year old Chi if I had the space. There are so many in rescue in this area...My husband and I both plan to take in a few more once we move.
I so agree with everything you said. So many people get dogs and are just completely clueless as to how to handle them. The majority of the problems lie with the people that had them, not with the dogs. Chi's have that cute factor that draws people in, but then they see the amount of attention and care required and they just can't deal with it. Most dogs in rescue are abandoned for truly unbelievable reasons.

That is a wonderful story about your little rescues, I'm so glad you found each other. :) Both of mine are rescues too and they are the sweetest, most loving, little ones on the planet. They did require a lot of patience as all rescues do, they were both very shy and docile, but they are amazing little ones today with huge loving and fun personalities. Like you said, rescue is extremely rewarding. I really don't want anyone put off of it because there are truly so many wonderful and lovable dogs in rescue that would make incredible, loving, pets.
 

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As for a 5-7 year old dog being too old to consider for adoption, because they may have geriatric issues soon - I'm just thankful for those who understand how absurd that is.
Agreed. I couldn't even address it, it was so absurd.
 
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