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Should You Rescue a Chihuahua or Buy One From a Breeder?

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Potential Chihuahua parents might not know where to begin their search for their future four legged friend. There are so many options, it can be overwhelming! This article will help you determine where you should acquire your Chihuahua.

sleeping chihuahua puppy

Where can I get a Chihuahua?

The possibilities are endless. The most common ways to acquire a Chihuahua are:

Adoption or Rescue. Chihuahuas may be adopted from animal shelters, private rescues, veterinary offices, or re-homed by individuals.

Breeders. Chihuahua puppies may be purchased from breeders. Many breeders have adult Chihuahuas available for adoption when they are no longer able to be bred.

There are an assortment of breeders; AKC certified breeders who breed show dogs and/or pet quality dogs, experienced dog owners who breed as a result of a passion for the breed, and sadly, unethical breeders such as puppy mill breeders or other individuals who choose to breed their dog solely for profit, not for a love of their dogs.

Be sure to check out our post on how to find a reputable chihuahua breeder.


Pet Stores. Some pet stores sell purebred Chihuahua puppies. Sadly, pet store puppies are generally supplied by puppy mills, which are unethical, commercial dog breeding facilities. Learn more about puppy mills from the ASPCA, the National Mill Dog Rescue, and Harley’s Dream.

Why should I adopt a Chihuahua?

chihuahua puppy with arms out

Chihuahuas are among one of the most popular breed of dogs. This means that they are frequently bred unethically by unscrupulous individuals who are motivated solely by profit. This also means that many people who get a Chihuahua may do so simply because the breed is popular.

Some change their mind if their puppy becomes bigger than they would like, and others are not prepared for the significant commitment that comes along with the breed’s long life span. As a result, shelters and rescues are filled with Chihuahuas who desperately need loving homes who were abandoned by their families due to no fault of their own.

According to Dr. Stanley Coren, dogs have intelligence comparable to a human two year old or three year old human. Dogs are intelligent beings, which means that being in a shelter or being neglected or unloved makes an impact on them.

Rescues and shelters have dogs of all ages and breeds available for adoption. It is completely possible to adopt a purebred Chihuahua puppy or adult.

While it does not make you a bad person to want a puppy, just remember how many dogs are in need. Please consider adding an adult or senior who needs a home to your family as well, or regularly donating to or volunteering with Chihuahua rescue organizations that you trust.

One of the things rescues need the most is foster homes; consider opening your home to Chihuahuas in need.

What should I expect if I rescue a Chihuahua?

grey chihuahua puppy


Every family’s rescue story will be a little bit different, but here are some things to be prepared for:

The adjustment period. Rescued dogs need time to decompress and settle into their new home, especially if they were rescued from being kept in a kennel environment like in a traditional animal shelter.

Even if your dog was kept in a private foster home, the change of homes may still be stressful.

Their first two weeks should be fairly quiet and a routine should be implemented to help them feel secure and learn how life will work in your home. Both you and your dog will be learning each other’s likes, dislikes and quirks. It takes time for a bond to be formed; do not expect it to happen over night and have grace when you encounter a bump in the road.

Patience. You will need patience as your dog learns what you expect of him, such as house training.

Dogs who were rescued from extremely abusive situations such as puppy mills, a back yard breeder, a hoarder, etc, will need extra patience as they learn to live in a house. Dogs rescued from these situations may never have encountered stairs, mirrors, glass doors, televisions, grass, dog toys, or a cozy bed.

They will need patience, love, and care as they learn what being a dog should actually be like. If you want to rescue a dog from an extremely abusive situation but are not sure how to help them adjust, there are many resources to help you. Know that it is totally doable if you are willing to be dedicated to your dog.

The life change. Rescuing a dog changes your life in ways that you will not understand until you experience it. Dogs live in the moment.

Sadly, too many dogs experience the worst of humanity, but they still love unconditionally and with reckless abandon. If you welcome a rescue dog into a loving home, you have the privilege and joy of watching them come out of their shell and blossom from expecting neglect and abuse to expecting love.

The bond you will share with a dog who you have the privilege of giving a new life to will be so crazy strong you will not believe it until you experience it. Knowing what your dog experienced will motivate you to be the best dog owner you can be, and to make sure that they never experience abuse again. It will open your eyes and your heart to the suffering of other dogs and inspire you to become involved in helping other dogs find loving homes.

Is a purebred puppy healthier than a rescued Chihuahua?

Not necessarily! Purebred dogs tend to carry specific medical conditions through their lineage due to a small gene pool being bred, whereas rescue dogs are more likely to have a more diversified genetic back ground, which can actually make them healthier.

There are purebred dogs who will be born with serious illnesses, as well as special needs rescue dogs who will have serious medical conditions.

For example, if you rescue a dog from an extremely abusive situation, such as a senior who was in a puppy mill, you should be prepared to help nurse him back to health and work regularly with a trusted veterinarian.

4 tiny chihuahua puppies

Is it better to buy a puppy from a breeder?

It can actually be worse to buy a puppy from a breeder if you are purchasing the puppy from an unethical breeder. Purchasing a puppy from an unethical breeder supports their business and contributes to their profits, which gives them another reason to keep their operation open.

Should you encounter an unethical Chihuahua breeder during your search, you should promptly report them to the proper authorities. If you feel that local law enforcement is not acting, contact the ASPCA.

This area is very similar to human racism. A puppy is a puppy and a dog is dog; their genetics and their start to life do not make them better than anyone else. A puppy purchased from a breeder is no better than a rescued puppy. Every single puppy, adult dog, and senior dog in the world deserves to be safe and loved.

Why should I buy a Chihuahua from a breeder?

If you are interested in showing Chihuahuas, you would need to purchase an AKC registered pure bred Chihuahua puppy to be able to participate in dog shows. Some people just like purchasing a pure bred puppy to be their family pet, and others think you can only get a puppy from a breeder.

In fact, dogs of every breed and age are available for adoption, so if you are researching breeders purely because you want a puppy, please know that it is certainly possible to adopt a Chihuahua puppy.

Should you decide to purchase a puppy from a breeder, be sure to carefully research the breeder and only do business with a breeder who ethically breeds their Chihuahuas.

What should I expect if I buy a puppy from a breeder?

When welcoming a new puppy into your home, know that each journey through puppy hood will be unique, but expect the following:

Expenses. A puppy from a breeder will generally have more significant initial expenses than rescue dog would. Most often, rescues ensure their dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and in good health prior to being placed in a home, leaving the majority of your financial responsibility relating to obtaining supplies.

A new puppy will require a considerate amount of veterinary care, such as multiple examinations to ensure they are growing normally, vaccines, being spayed or neutered, and possibly oral surgery if their puppy teeth have difficulty coming out. Puppies grow and will need multiple harnesses and collars to fit them as they grow. Short hair Chihuahua owners have the added expense of a wardrobe since these little dogs like to be kept warm, which they will outgrow and require more outfits as they grow, similarly to human children.

There are lots of other unforeseen expenses that arise in either scenario, but one expense that is constant is training. Pet parents of rescued or purchased puppies should be prepared to enroll their puppy or dog in training classes.

Training. Bringing home a puppy means bringing home significant responsibility. Breeders do not begin training for owners; puppies are often sold at approximately eight weeks of age. This means your puppy is a blank canvas for you to start with. And that means that the end result will either be a master piece or a disaster depending on how much effort you are willing to put in, and this will be a reflection of you.

Training should begin as soon as your puppy comes home, and know that the habits form quickly and this is your chance to prevent bad habits from taking root.

Socializing. Puppy parents must socialize their puppies to help them live their best life. A dog who is properly socialized will be well balanced and calmer later in life. A dog who is not properly socialized will be anxious and struggle with different people and things they may encounter later in life.

To socialize your puppy, take them with you wherever you go as much as possible. Ensure that they have positive experiences and introductions to a variety of people, sounds, experiences, and animals.

Before introducing your Chihuahua to other dogs, ensure that they have been properly vaccinated and always ask a dog’s owner before allowing your Chihuahua to approach their dog. Keep in mind that a bad experience can be difficult and require lots of time and training for a dog to overcome.


All Chihuahuas are deserving of loving homes no matter where they come from, what they look like, or how old they are. Whether you choose to adopt or purchase your next Chihuahua, know that you may actively contribute to helping other Chihuahua’s lives become better by becoming involved with Chihuahua rescue.


Wednesday 29th of November 2023

When I lost my Chihuahua, 8-Ball, I immediately began searching for another Chihuahua. As a fairly new widow, I needed a furry companion fast. I searched shelters for months. In fact, as weeks passed, I actually began to pine away. Then, one night, I spotted Bella online at the shelter right down the street from my work. She was two years old and "her family could no longer care for her". Bella has been a wonderful companion. She was so easy to care for I called her my "wash-and-wear dog". When I worked there was no problem leaving her the run of the house. She has always read all of my emotions. When we lost our house in the California Camp Fire and had to live in Canada for four months, Bella was my rock. Bella is now 15 years old, deaf and blind, but nevertheless an amazing companion. I will always thank God and my "departed" family for finding this beautiful little girl to share my life with.

Cathy Bendzunas

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

That's a wonderful story Marguerite! I'm so glad she got you for her mom.

Cheryl Brown

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

i live in Wa.and am looking to adopt a chi from a rescue !i had one aged 3 and i had her for over 12 yrs and lost her recently ! i miss Paris terribly and wnat another cutie to adore and love !


Sunday 30th of August 2020

I would love to have chi but can't find one


Monday 20th of July 2020

I adopted a 12-year old Chi in April from the original owner who had purchased him from a breeder as a new puppy. (She had to rehome him after 12 years as she now has a special needs child that is allergic to the dog and she could no longer give the dog the attention he needs.) He is the perfect little dog. It only took him a few days to adjust to his new home and routine. I work nights and definitely keep odd hours, but he adjusted quickly. He is loving, playful, and everything anyone could want. He enjoys going to "work" and especially enjoys the meetings,where he can see the other members of my team--and their pets--on the computer screen. Adopting this senior dog was the best thing I have ever done! I would not hesitate to adopt a senior again.


Monday 20th of July 2020

I love your story Karen!

Anni Macht

Saturday 18th of July 2020

My darling Gigi is a puppy mill rescue - she was a breeding mama who, by age 3, had been bred too often and with too little attention paid to her own nutrition, could not provide enough milk for her wee pups to survive. So the owners dumped her at the rescue. She would not come out of her crate for a week; had little interest in food! You should see the little minx now! She’s my alpha pup - an attention hog & a Velcro dog. Bonded to her “sister” (also ~ 5 lbs) - mixed breed - no Chi. We’re a very happy home! No more breeders for me.


Saturday 18th of July 2020

I'm so glad she found a happy life with you Anni!