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Breeding

Breeding a Chihuahua

Chihuahua puppies sitting in suitcase
Overview
 
Breeding a Chihuahua is different than breeding other dogs. In fact, it is a difficult challenge and makes one wonder how we have Chihuahuas at all, considering the all of the elements that are involved.

Chihuahua breeding information is not given to discourage anyone from breeding; but rather to make sure a person understands all of the very real dangers and elements involved.

One must be aware of the process and the sometimes unfortunate outcome of breeding this tiny dog and then decide if they wish to do so.
Because the Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world, breeding a Chihuahua differs than breeding other, larger dogs. It is also very different than breeding other toy dogs such as the Pomeranian or Toy Poodle.

If you are thinking of breeding your Chihuahua to produce top quality pups, think this over again. It takes only a very few male stud dogs to breed, but a larger number of female dogs if you are to have your own program.

In most cases, only top winning Champion male dogs are considered to possess the high level of quality needed to qualify as a registered stud. If your female dog is not registered, an honest breeder would not allow a planned pairing to take place. Therefore, you would want to begin with an AKC, high quality female.

The Chihuahua is prone to needing to have a Cesarean. This can be quite expensive and it can compromise the health of the dog.

You must have all needed supplies, you must have time (breeders spend countless nights awake, hand feeding little puppies that cannot get milk from the dam and without constant nutrients would quickly develop Hypoglycemia), possibly dealing with post-pregnancy health issues for the dam, and you must have dedication, whether breeding one litter or wanting to become a professional breeder.

Reducing Risk

This, undoubtedly, is not the easiest purebred to breed. Size alone creates obstacles. Health to both dam and pups must be the first and more important goal.

Age - The proper age to start breeding a Chihuahua female is 2 years minimum with 3 years old being preferred. Some sources will state 1 or 1.5 years, however at that young age, the Chi is not yet fully grown. One of the crucial elements for a safe pregnancy and delivery is for the pelvic region and hip width to be fully formed and at maximum width. Young Chi's also do not have strong enough knee and hip formation, which is so important for carrying extra weight.

Females should be retired by the age of 6 (at the very most) or at any age before this if the veterinarian suggests so. Having a female Chihuahua assessed for breeding capability should be done before any planned pairing. There are a host of medical reasons why a Chi should be retired early from breeding, including stress on various areas (back, knees, hips) and a history of difficult deliveries.

For males, the proper age is at least 1 year old. The age at which sperm starts to be produced by male dogs is 7 to 8 months and giving a leeway until the age of 1, ensures the sperm strong enough to reach the female's eggs. Studs are in their prime from the age of 1.5 to 5 years old. After this time, the sperm will gradually weaken. While an un-neutered, senior male dog can technically still impregnate a female, the chances decline as the dog matures.
Size - With breeding, the female should always be larger than the male. Because the Chihuahua is so small, when a female is going to be matched up with a male, the male should be under 4 pounds (1.81 kg). 

Also, the male's parents should be between 4 and 5 pounds (1.81 kg to 2.26 kg ) . Doing this, will give the female Chihuahua a better chance of being able to have her puppies naturally. When these guidelines are not followed, there is a huge chance that the female will need to have a cesarean section. See: Chihuahua Pregnancy

If you are the owner of a female, think very carefully if you wish to place your dog at risk. Many Chihuahua dams will end up having a cesarean section;this can be very dangerous to such a small dog. The statistics of results of dog cesarean births are that only 67% of the pups will be born alive.
Medical Testing and Other

Any pairs of dogs that are planned for breeding should have complete medical examinations. For AKC, many are a requirement. You will need to obtain documentation showing that both sire and dam have been cleared for many issues, including eye issues and hip dysplasia.

Testing will determine any hereditary diseases which can be passed on to puppies. If found, the dogs should not be bred. Any dog that has health issues should not be bred. Females should be in top shape as the pregnancy will put her body under a great deal of stress. Those with unusual behavior, such as severe aggression should not be bred.

The Heat Cycle

Duration: 21 days on average for heat

Frequency: Every 6 months, this can vary

Signs:

    * A leak of clear fluid for a couple of days
    * A change to a cream colored fluid
    * A change to blood (red or reddish-brown)
    * Enlarged vulva, on a Chihuahua the vulva is usually extremely enlarged

When the bleeding stops, your Chihuahua may still be in heat for a few days. If you carefully touch the base of her tail and she moves her tail to the side, this is a sign that the cycle is not quite yet done.

During this window, ovulation will occur any time, but most commonly at some point during days 7-11. It is important to note that if she were to tie with more than 1 male during a time period of 3 days, she can carry pups fathered by 2 different sires. 

Just for this reason alone, she should be separated during the heat, without placing her in isolation (she will still need to be near the family so that she does not suffer from separation anxiety and other issues)

Allowing both chosen dogs to pair 3 times over the course of 3 days is often done to ensure that the process was successful. 

Other Dogs

While your Chihuahua is in heat, males dogs will be able to smell this from incredible long distances away. You will not even realize it, but the smell will transfer onto you and any other family members. Small children can then attract large dogs to them and this can be dangerous.
After Breeding

It is best to have your Chihuahua spayed if you are not going to be breeding her. This is the best possible thing you can do for you and it will be best for you also! This greatly reduces the chances of developing several types of cancer.

After the birth of a litter, a female should not be bred again until there is approval by a reputable veterinarian that she is healthy enough to do so. 

The average age of retirement is 6 years old, however for a variety of health reasons a female may only be bred once or she may be pulled out of a program at any age. The health of a dam should always be the first priority.
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