Chihuahuas have one of the longest lifespans for dogs, so the puppy you select may be with you 15 to 18 years. Taking the time to find the right puppy helps ensure you get the best companion. Although you may want to take the first cute puppy you see, knowing what to look for helps you resist the impulse.
Evaluate if you really want a tiny breed puppy which may require feeding 4 to 6 times a day to maintain blood sugar levels, dehydrates rapidly with diarrhea, requires extra warmth and cannot tolerate fleas, advises Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. Consider getting a larger breed, an adult Chihuahua or an older puppy if your lifestyle makes care for a young puppy too difficult.2
Go to a dog show and meet breeders and Chihuahuas in order to learn what a well-bred dog looks like. Talk to breeders about grooming needs for each coat, smooth or long-coated, and decide which length of hair you prefer. Discuss the options for acquiring a pet, including pet quality or potential show. Decide if you might enjoy the fun of showing a puppy or if a companion only meets your needs.3
Avoid breeders that advertise "teacup" Chihuahuas as these puppies typically come from breeding runts and often have serious health and genetic problems. Shun pet stores, which acquire puppies from for-profit breeders and puppy mills, to improve chances for healthy dogs, advises Norma Bennett Wolfe, editor and writer for Dog Owner's Guide.4
Contact your local Chihuahua club or the Chihuahua Club of America to find breeders with litters or willing to help you locate potential litters.5
Find breeders with litters and ask for information about their available puppies and upcoming litters. Prepare to fill out applications that will require information, such as proof you own your home or have permission to own a pet, veterinary and other recommendations and an agreement for a home visit.6
Consider litters with proof of health testing on the sire and dam, especially heart, eye and patella (kneecap) evaluations recommended by the Chihuahua Club of America.7
Discuss health guarantees and contract obligations, including requirements to spay or neuter and requirements for show potential puppies.8
Expect to wait for several months for a well-bred puppy as responsible breeders have a limited number available, according to Wolfe.