Thank God for the Chihuahua!

I have recently concluded that the Chihuahua breed of dog saves millions of lives of unborn, unwanted puppies every year!

Pretty gutsy claim, huh?! HOW in the world could that be?

I just volunteered to help out at an all-day spay/neuter clinic sponsored by our local animal shelter.  We had four vets on duty for the surgeries, probably a dozen vet techs, and about three dozen volunteers for the day. Our goal was to spay or neuter 100 dogs and cats.

This day was anonymously underwritten by a private donor, so all spays and neuters were free, and the event was highly publicized. Folks were supposed to start checking in with their animals at 7:00 a.m. Volunteers for the morning shift were to arrive by 6:30. We could take 100 animals, period.

When I drove up at the appointed time there was nowhere to park, and the line of people with their prospective “sterilizees” wrapped around the building into the parking lot of the nearby Outback Steakhouse.  Some had apparently arrived as early as 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in order to take advantage of this amazing offer to have their beloved 4-leggeds “fixed” for FREE. On a coooold, mid-winter, February morning to boot (thank goodness we didn’t have snow that day).

So what’s the deal with Chihuahuas, you may ask, and just how do they save puppies’ lives?

Well here it is. My own theory based on observation. So take it for what it’s worth.

About half the dogs we took in that morning were either purebred Chihuahuas or Chihuahua crosses. We had 3-mo.-old teensy, weensy, short-haired females, to 12-lb. long-haired blondes, to a litter of precious black “Chugs” (Chihuahua/Pug crosses), to one absolutely adorable pup in her pink “housecoat,” … you name it, we had just about every variety of Chihuahua or Chihuahua cross that could exist.

And of course there were more people and animals lined up than we could take in one day (though we did end up sterilizing 110 animals!). So when we reached our 100 mark, we started taking names in order to schedule appointments for the late-comers later in the week (I was the name-taker). And guess what.  At least half of those folks whose names I took had, you guessed it …… Chihuahuas.  Some had multiples. I would get their name and phone number and then ask what type of animal they had, and what sex. “Well, I have three Chihuahuas, one Chihuahua-mix . . .” and so on.  I was chuckling to myself by the end of my name-taking duties.

By the end of the day, about 13 hours later, handing back the Chihuahuas to their owners, mixed in with wrestling the Pit Bulls and Rotties, I had a huge “Aha” moment! As follows:

* Lots of folks have dogs they can’t contain or can’t afford to have fixed.

* Unfixed dogs running on the streets equals unquantifiable numbers of unwanted puppies.


* If many of those dog lovers own Chihuahuas instead of just any old Heinz 57 variety of dog, and

* Since we all know Chihuahua owners are crazy and regard their dogs as something akin to royalty and tend to carry them around on satin pillows and dress them in ridiculous outfits . . . . . . . . . . . then

* Those folks’ Chihuahuas are not out on the streets reproducing  ………. (are you with me here?)  SO …………………

Chihuahuas, due to their revered status, are cherished and mostly kept indoors and coddled. So that, even if they are not neutered or spayed, they take the place of thousands of  dogs their owners could have chosen otherwise — larger, more worldly types — who would probably now be roaming the streets and filling our shelters with all those unwanted puppies. Got it?

Well, anyway, it’s just a thought and, granted, a weird premise.

Alas, our shelters are still overflowing with unwanted puppies and kittens anyway, in spite of the efforts of the noble Chihuahua. But it did occur to me that perhaps the Chihuahua breed is doing its part, simply by virtue of its prima donna’esque traits, thereby demanding so much attention it is rarely left to its own devices out on the streets!

Yes. This is Frida. Truly irresistible.

And I have to admit that, after all these years of disparaging the breed, I am totally enraptured by my own Chihuahua, a long-haired named Frida,

My precious Tucker, the ultimate Chiweenie!

AND my Mr. Personality Plus Chiweenie, Tucker (a Chihuahua/Dachshund cross). I have three other dogs too, of all sizes, including a Great Pyrenees, but nothing can quite compare with the Chihuahua spirit. I just can’t explain it.

Perhaps it’s because the breed has a mission to help save, by default, all those gazillions of other puppies’ lives!



11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephanie Yeh, Leta Worthington. Leta Worthington said: Thank God for the Chihuahua!: I have recently concluded that the Chihuahua breed of dog saves millions of lives … […]

    • 2

      christine said,

      I am looking for a very small dog that will not get big.could you help find one and a cheap price

      • 3

        Hello Christine,
        Thanks for posting and I wish you good luck in your search for a small dog. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to help you long distance, but I feel sure if you use the internet to search for the dog of your dreams, at a low price, you will succeed. Check out the rescue groups in your area, especially for small-dog breeds. All the best! Leta

  2. 4

    Mary Kay said,

    Loved ths story and the photos esp of yours. It is interesting how we humans who are so very different also chose our dogs family and their spirit and then we are with that breed for life.

  3. 5

    I think I’m going to go try and find myself a chug. A chihuahua and a pug crossed – what could be cuter ??? I wonder how the two chihuahuas I have already will feel about that…

    • 6

      Hi Desiree! Thanks for posting. I actually met a litter of “chugs” recently, and O.M.G. ……….. there could be nothing cuter. Well … except my little Frida, of course. 🙂 Good luck with your search! And thanks again for tuning in. Leta

  4. 7

    DogMan said,

    My experience walking 3 1/2 miles around the local neighborhoods confirms this story. i see more chihuahuas than anything else. Running a close second are German Shepherd Dogs.

  5. 9

    Karen said,

    My chiweenie looks like Tucker. I sadly got mine fixed and now want another one just like him!! Do you have someone in mind you can refer me to? Here is a youtube video if my CHIWEENIE, Chuey….

    • 10

      Chuey is adorable! And he and Tucker could almost be doubles! You know, I got Tucker from the Shelter here in Santa Fe when he was 2 or 3 years old, and it has made no difference whatsoever in his devotion or ability to bond with me. So I would suggest keeping a look-out at your local shelter. I’m heavily involved with the one in Santa Fe, and we have Chihuahua mixes frequently. But what I HAVE noticed is that the Chiweenie “breed” is not standardized yet, so pups can have different physical characteristics and conformation. We had a whole litter of them at the Shelter just two weeks ago — some favored the Dachscund more, and some the Chihuahua more. Some had longer legs, some shorter legs, some were obviously going to be a little bigger than others, and their coloration varied too. I think that litter is out in foster care right now, getting big enough to be spayed and neutered so they can be adopted out, so if you want to make a drive to Santa Fe to find your next Chiweenie …………….. :). Thanks for writing, and I wish you luck in your search. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll find just the right one. Leta

  6. 11

    Paul said,

    Thank you for the well-written “thank god for the chihuahua” – they are definitely entertaining and comforting dogs. It does my heart good to know that you had such a terrific turnout.

    Too often owners forget to properly socialize and train their little Chihuahua and Chiweenies. Because of the coddling they are often not polite to other humans and dogs. Please treat your little comrades as if they are larger and thoroughly socialize and train.

    If you want to learn more about the Chiweenie and training visit us at

    Chiweenie Dog Training

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