Unless you have adopted your Chihuahua from a shelter or gotten an older dog from someone who has already had the dog altered, one of the most important decisions you will be faced with is whether or not to spay/neuter.
Some of the pros of spaying/neutering are as follows
- You will not have unwanted puppies.
- Less marking and territorial behavior in males.
- No spotting/heat in females.
- Less unwanted attention from males coming to investigate the scent of an in season female
- Increased health and lifespan for females
- Reduced risk of certain types of cancer
- Less cost down the road
- Reduced urge for males to roam in search of a partner, which also means less chance of getting lost
- Lower risk of aggressiveness
- Some cons to having your pet spayed or neutered:
- Surgery of any kind can pose a health risk
- Risk of infection, particularly in females
- Loss of the ability to breed an excellent pedigree
- Higher risk of certain types of cancer
- Cost of initial surgery
- Some vets may charge more to spay after the first heat cycle
Thankfully, if you do decide to have your pet spayed or neutered, there are many agencies that are willing to help pay a portion, if not all, of the cost for you to do so. The question then, is why you would choose not to have your pet altered? Many people tend to keep their pet from being spayed because they think they would like to have another one like them someday. Although I can see the logic behind this, many who feel this way don’t understand what it takes to successfully breed such a tiny dog.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, female Chihuahua’s can have a very difficult time whelping their pups. It may be quite costly to have a C-section done and there is a definite risk that you could lose the mother and the pups. It is not as simple as it might seem. Sure, there are thousands of Chihuahuas that have been bred accidentally, or by people who didn’t know quite what they were doing, but would you really want to put the dog you love so much through any situation that might cause them to be in danger of losing their life?
If your only objective is to have another dog like the one you have, you may want to consider adopting another dog. It might be less costly financially and emotionally.
If you simply feel as if you might “want to breed them,” at some point in the future, do your homework first. Breeding dogs that are champion bloodlines and can be used as show dogs or further the line of the top rated parent are where you make money. If you decide to breed your dog to sell the puppies, chances are the first litter will be very small and each pup there and after will at most go for a few hundred dollars.
If you make the decision to breed, your dog should be checked out by his or her vet thoroughly before engaging in sexual intercourse. You should ensure that the partner you choose for your female Chi is the correct size. If the male is too big for her she may not be able to deliver the pups or she may die before delivery even arrives. You should learn about ideal body shapes and sizes for females to see if your dog will be able to carry her pups to full term, or least ways to have the best possible chance of doing so without incident.
Learning as much as you can about the health history of the other dog you choose, is a very important step. If both dogs do not belong to you, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to know about any abnormalities in previous litters the father has sired. You should have a complete mapping of genotype and phenotype before pursuing a pairing.
You should never attempt to breed a female Chihuahua before she is at least one year old and at least four pounds. Many people have lost their precious dogs from trying to breed a Chihuahua that is too small to have pups. She is not going to be large enough to carry her pups to full term if she is any smaller than this.
Chihuahua’s can have up to five puppies, but the standard litter is 1-2 puppies. The females often suffer from breech births, which can complicate the birthing process and force an emergency trip to the vet.
Take your dog to the vet and get a clean health record free of venereal diseases, or she may get infected and never be able to have a litter in the future.
Once the pups are born, there is still further risk to the mother and the puppies. The mother can experience severe bouts of hypoglycemia and so can the puppies. She and the pups may also suffer acute metritis, which is a serious bacterial infection that can lead to death. The mother may also suffer from lethal eclampsia.
As far as males go, if you are planning to stud your male Chi for the money, please realize that unless he is a champion pedigree from a long line of champs, he will not fetch top dollar as a stud. Some of the most famous Chi Sires in the world were studded out for only a few hundred dollars.
Some other things to consider might be what you will do with any remaining puppies if you are not successful at selling them or finding them homes. If you breed the dogs with the intent to sell them, are you going to offer a health guarantee on the pups you have sold? Will you offer to reimburse the new owner if any health issues arise with the puppies? Will you take them back and offer a reimbursement if they don’t work out in the new home they go to? These are all things that breeders are familiar with. Becoming a breeder is far more difficult than just finding a pair of Chihuahuas to mate together. That is just the beginning of the responsibility.
Ultimately whether or not to alter your dog is your decision. You should weigh your options carefully before making a final conclusion. Whatever you do now will affect what happens in the future of your dog’s life. If you are not willing to risk that your female might become impregnated by a dog you did not choose and might suffer the consequences of such an accident, then it is always better to have her spayed.
‘Backyard breeding’ has contributed to many size and height differences within the Chihuahua breed and also played a large role in the formation of genetic defects. Unless you are absolutely certain what the traits of your potential breeding pair are, you may end up with some unwanted and undesirable traits in your pups. Dogs that are not well bred are much more likely to experience early declines in health, joint issues and other health problems, even if the finer examples of that breed do not.
Many of the tiniest Chihuahua puppies must be bottle fed every few hours, including at night because they are too small to feed from the mother or the mother cannot provide adequate nourishment for her litter. If you work outside the home, this can be a particularly large responsibility.
The vet bills for new litters of puppies can also be quite expensive, especially if there are any pups in the litter that are not feeding well or developing as they should. When you add that to the cost of milk replacement supplements and the necessary equipment to feed the pups, the bill can total into the hundreds or in extreme cases even the thousands.
It is always good to head into a new experience feeling confident and informed. If you think your dog/dogs have excellent potential for breeding and they are genetically sound to do so, you may find that this lifestyle is for you. It is a huge time and financial commitment, and when you breed a dog, whether planned or not, you accept that responsibility.