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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can someone shed some light on this for me, as I'm kinda confused.
There's always been lots of debate on what the chihuahua standard is (deerhead/apple especially, not to mention the lanky body type vs. cobby etc)
This question relates to all COMPANION TOY BREED dogs, not just chihuahuas... but Who and what *determines* what the standard of a "Companion" dog is?

Sure, I get the importance that a dachshund should have a long body- to tunnel into burrows of the vermin it's chasing. And the long legs of a greyhound that help it to run. There are many, many physical attributes and standard specifics to working breeds and terriers that help it do exactly what it was bred to do.

But frankly, if a breeds purpose was just to BE a companion, a lap dog (think pekingese, maltese, etc) why does any of those physical characteristics truly matter? How does a shorter nose make a dog any more of a companion? I just kinda think it's stupid and somewhere along the line everyone got to wrapped up in breeding to fit these characteristics that they completely lost track of the fact that for a COMPANION dog, those traits don't even have a purpose.

Yes, whoever wrote up the AKC standard DECIDED chi's should have that shorter nose, that apple dome head; but what benefit are ANY of those qualities to the dog? =/ Does anyone know WHY those specific standards were applied to the chihuahua; to what benefit of the breed?

Its a weird outlook but I guess it's one of the biggest reasons I don't.. I guess you could say, "buy into" the whole standard thing when it comes to chihuahuas. The only thing that should matter, IMO is the HEALTH of a companion dog. Sure, give the breed a height and a weight limit just to keep the breed distinguished; but shape of the skull? I mean REALLY? How does that actually make it any "better" a companion???

I almost feel that if the people who wrote up that AKC standard waaay back in the day actually preferred a longer snout or head shape, that they coulda just written that in there instead because there doesn't seem to be anything backing up WHY that's any better of a trait. I'm all for 'bettering the breed,' but in the case of a dog that's supposed to be a lap dog, a pet, I just don't see how specifics like that even have any bearing....
 

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The breed parent club determines what a chihuahua "should" be.

Part of the job of a companion breed is to be visually appealing to the owner...if you want a certain look...wouldn't it stand to reason there needs to be some guidelines to keep a breed relatively true to it? :) Some people don't care what their dog looks like, others do. That's why some people rescue, and others don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But that's it then? Just visually appealing? I mean, Kahlua doesn't fit that breed standard but IMO I would've just made HER the standard if I was part of that breed parent club. But thats what I'm getting at, if it was is just a bunch of people deciding on aesthetics, why is their opinion any better than mine?
I guess it just kind of reaffirms what I felt.. when it comes to the chihuahua, breed standard is just an opinion since there's no true health or any benefit to it. Just that it's "been decided that way for a long time." Based on *opinion* of people. That's why I don't buy into it... I don't see why people believe that "standard" is any "better" than a "non standard." It's just ONE standard, A standard... that frankly doesn't mean anything to me at all lol. MY standard, and the standard of the billions of people who adore long pointy-snooted pups better, holds just as much merit because it's all just based on the same thing; what they prefer.
 

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A breed in and of itself, in the toy and non-working class, pretty much is just an aesthetic thing. You factor in temperament, hardiness, health, etc...for the rest of what make up a breed. A parent club is made up of more than 1 person, and more than 1 person's opinion, and it takes a long time for them to come up with a standard for a breed.

Certain breeds are better for different climates, others are better if you travel a lot, etc. but bottom line is the first thing everyone notices when they see a dog is...what they see. Breeds are a form of art IMO.and something that took a lot of time to develop. THe fact that you can see consistency across the miles is really cool.

You are a pet owner, so, you're right, the standard doesn't matter much to you...but some pet owners DO seek out not only a specific temperament, but a specific look, too...believe it or not, GOOD breeders are not only in it to produce their next champion but also to help make the breed as healthy as possible.

Here's the thing, if a breeder is just breeding a chihuahua willy nilly,...they aren't showing their breeding stock, they aren't health testing, or seeking to better the breed,...sure maybe a cute dog pops out, but it is much more likely to have health issues than those that were bred with care.

Some people just don't understand why there are specific breeds, but me, and a lot of other people love them, and love preserving and bettering them, AND making them healthier. Some people desire certain aesthetics from a dog, you just may not be one of them and that doesn't make you better or worse at all, just realize there ARE people that desire a certain look or aesthetic appeal from a healthy pet that was bred with care, and there's nothing wrong with that approach to pet ownership, either.
 

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I think i remember reading somewhere that chi's were in fact a small vermin killer. or at least thought to be. But its also worth mentioning that a lot of dogs that had an original job or purpose aren't the same dog today. so i think a lot was lost through the years. I know salem has an insane prey drive to anything cute and fuzzy. he goes CRAZY, i can't take him anywhere that has a gerbil, hamster, or ferret where he can see it. he will destroy things to get at it. he's not like that with anything else including toys and cats ( cats are bigger then him Lol) so it reinforces to me, the possible ratter idea.

Mind you not a lot is known on the chi in the early days, as far as i know, so i beleive it was all speculation. I personally think they make a better alarm then all the systems you can by ;) they just need to learn to dial 911 too ;)


Eh i rambled cause i'm good at that. The point was the original look of chi has changed, and since not a lot is known about it they go by aesthetics now, instead of a purpose. which changes every few years. noses seem to be getting shorter and shorter as an example.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much for that educating post. I appreciate you taking the time to explain this kind of stuff as I know I'm just one weird person who overanalyzes things that are otherwise trivial to most people.
I guess what I'm wondering, acknowledging that some of the standards are aestheticly based: if there were a breeder who was breeding chihuahuas, health testing them to every extent possible, taking into consideration the lineage and everything; BUT they weren't the standard (example, imagine they all looked like my Kahlua); even if they were doing EVERYTHING ELSE right; would they still be considered an irresponsible breeder?
I know we all hear about breeders breeding just for size, just for color, and all kinds of things that take the actual AKC standard out of the picture and are breeding for money. We all know that's wrong.
But say there was someone who just 'disagreed' with the superficial aspects of the standard (like skull shape, nose shape, things that DON'T affect health) and still did everything else "perfect" with health tests and whatnot, and felt they were improving what in THEIR eyes was the perfect companion dog, would they still be considered a 'bad breeder?'
 

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I think that we shouldn't be trying to breed 10 lb chi's. since it does dillute the generalities of the breed. I don't nessacarily care if its a long nose or short ( i don't show) but i think there should be some responsibility in the breeding to keep the breed as intact as you can.

that being said, most breeders even when trying their best to breed "standard" get what they call pet quality. they go for cheaper, and generally with neuter/spay contracts. these are throwbacks and things that just happen, doesn't mean the dog has a third eye or 6 legs, just means its not the current standard.

Poms have major throwbacks where you can get a 15 lb pom out of a 6 lb momma with good bloodlines. its also why chi colors are always so random.

I think those that breed for health only, aren't bad breeders, but what they are doing or possibly doing is changing the breed slowly. and not always for the better as far as keeping the breed to its original standards I guess. some breeds do die out and get convoluted because of that sort of thing. think American pit bulls and staffordshire terriers. that whole debacle will make you go crosseyed.
 

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My definition of a reputable breeder is a breeder who breeds to better the breed and do all health testing and pays close attention to lines and such.

My chihuahuas love our ferrets, both past an present. They have never shown any prey drive at all towards any animal but that just may be mine ;-) I have also heard that they were used as ratters way back when but I have heard that they were used to warm the beds of royalty as well :)
 

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Thank you so much for that educating post. I appreciate you taking the time to explain this kind of stuff as I know I'm just one weird person who overanalyzes things that are otherwise trivial to most people.
I guess what I'm wondering, acknowledging that some of the standards are aestheticly based: if there were a breeder who was breeding chihuahuas, health testing them to every extent possible, taking into consideration the lineage and everything; BUT they weren't the standard (example, imagine they all looked like my Kahlua); even if they were doing EVERYTHING ELSE right; would they still be considered an irresponsible breeder?
I know we all hear about breeders breeding just for size, just for color, and all kinds of things that take the actual AKC standard out of the picture and are breeding for money. We all know that's wrong.
But say there was someone who just 'disagreed' with the superficial aspects of the standard (like skull shape, nose shape, things that DON'T affect health) and still did everything else "perfect" with health tests and whatnot, and felt they were improving what in THEIR eyes was the perfect companion dog, would they still be considered a 'bad breeder?'
It doesn't take long for a breed to "deteriorate"...in as little as 3-4 generations, you can get a dog that is virtually unrecognizable as a breed. To me that's no fun, but only because I LIKE the specific breeds, ya know? If you don't want a specific small dog, then, I think there are a lot of sweet rescues out there needing homes (but I also feel it's perfectly acceptable to want something specific...a bichon, a chihuahua, a poodle, etc).

So here's the thing, even if you have someone following good breeding practices to the letter of the law, they very quickly will be producing dogs that no longer are the standard at all. Almost all breeders have dogs less standard than others in their breeding programs but they even them out with "more standard" dogs. I wouldn't say the breeder is "bad", but I feel like, if you are going to breed, it should be to achieve something beyond just...healthy puppies, because in a few generations, they won't be breeding off-standard, they'll be breeding something pretty unrecognizable. Hopefully that makes sense...

It's also true that everyone has to start somewhere, I know the dogs I start breeding with will be the best I can get, but nowhere near as "good" as those someone who has been breeding for years and years has access to or has bred to work with, BUT, my aim is toward a standard, not away from it...so if the breeder describe's goal is to preserve the chihuahua as the chihuahua, not to breed "just because", you have to give them credit for getting the rest of their ducks in a row initially, as many do it "later".

There are also a lot of "bad" breeders out there, producing the so called tiny "apple headed" puppies that have a world of issues...too, just wanted to put that out there too, with no regard to temperament or health. Those are the worst kind of breeder, IMO, who are just looking to make a fast buck on an unfortunate fashion trend.
 

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My definition of a reputable breeder is a breeder who breeds to better the breed and do all health testing and pays close attention to lines and such.

My chihuahuas love our ferrets, both past an present. They have never shown any prey drive at all towards any animal but that just may be mine ;-) I have also heard that they were used as ratters way back when but I have heard that they were used to warm the beds of royalty as well :)
Haha we did pet photos with santa for the rescue i volunteer at, someone brought in two ferrets, i had to leave, he was freaking out as soon as he saw them, and if one got loose i had NO clue what he would do. lol.

yea i heard the bed warmers, but that far back they may have done both, lots of rats scurrying around back then i suppose! although honestly they are so small you'd need like 5 to keep warm, although i guess mexico areas were pretty warm in general right? hehe
 

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My definition of a reputable breeder is a breeder who breeds to better the breed and do all health testing and pays close attention to lines and such.

My chihuahuas love our ferrets, both past an present. They have never shown any prey drive at all towards any animal but that just may be mine ;-) I have also heard that they were used as ratters way back when but I have heard that they were used to warm the beds of royalty as well :)
My mom's chi Taylor has successfully caught mice in their house :) She said that he kills them with such deft efficiency that it's really pretty amazing, so, I bet it's in there somewhere...LOL but a ferret is MUCH bigger than a mouse or a rat even (altho I guess some rats can get pretty big)...I don't even know, excuse my ignorance on ferrets, but are they classified as vermin or are they something else, lol that sounds like an awful question but I genuinely do not know if they are considered as something to be preyed upon for purposes of eliminating a pest...b'c all I've ever known them as is people's pets.
 

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I think in the wild ferrets would have been a nuisance creature. i've seen how smart and crafty they are ;) but i think they are of the weasel family. but i don't know for sure
 

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I have seen pictures from way in history showing a woman pulling her covers back and there were like 10 or 12 Chihuahuas there, LOL! I wish I could remember where I saw it?

I think that Ferrets were used to kill rodents as well as snakes?
 

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I wanted to add that my daughters new ferret at around 25 weeks is bigger than my Chi's LOL! I could see him doing more damage to them than vise versa, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmm. This thread got very interesting, lol.

I think what needs to happen ultimately, is little Kahlua needs to be measured, analyzed, and everything needs to be documented.
And this will be the new Chihuahua type dog... I shall call them... Lulers.
Yup. They're be health tests and everything to make sure they're genetically healthy. And I'm going to start my own club, and my own show ring; but SHE will BE the new standard.
And then soon we will have a bunch of healthy little chihuahuas that look just like Kahlua except in all kinds of different colors.
 
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