Due to the popularity of Chihuahuas, there are many unscrupulous breeders who will sell puppies and claim that it’s purebred even if it’s not. Aside from ripping off aspiring pet owners, their shady breeding practices also mean that the Chi isn’t in the best health. This is why knowing how to tell if a Chihuahua is purebred must be a requisite for all buyers.
Take note that you should only get your puppy from a legitimate breeder if you’re planning to buy one. This way, you’ll get a healthy Chihuahua with a good form and temperament.
To help you out, I discussed here a quick guide on how you can tell whether your Chi is purebred or not. Some of these points also apply to other breeds, which you can use in case you have multiple pets at home.
What is a purebred dog?
In the canine kingdom, the term ‘purebred’ refers to a dog that possesses all the traits expected of its parents. There are specific standards per dog breed, including those of Chihuahuas.
Basically, a purebred dog must be the product of two canines within the same breed. Also known as selective breeding, a purebred dog is deemed to be of high quality. In fact, dog shows judge canine contestants based on how well it matches their breeds’ standards.
Aside from that, all purebred dogs are pedigree, which means they are registered to a legitimate club. This is for the purpose of identifying and tracing the dog’s family history.
Just remember that purebred dogs are more expensive due to the process it takes to produce them. Breeders have to recoup all the money they spent on vet services, food, vaccination, stud bills, and so on.
However, just because a Chihuahua puppy is sold at a cheaper price doesn’t mean it’s automatically purebred. Any irresponsible breeder can inflate costs to make it appear as if their dogs are legitimate.
How to tell if a Chihuahua is purebred
There are several ways to tell if a Chihuahua is purebred or not. No matter how much the shady breeder tries to hide it, your Chi’s appearance, health, and documentation will reveal the truth.
So how would you know if you’re getting a 100% purebred Chihuahua? Here are some of the specific guidelines you should know:
1. Check the documentation
To confirm whether your Chihuahua is purebred or not, you should check the documentation that the breeder provides. Take note that this isn’t an absolute confirmation since fake breeders can forge the documents and make it appear that the pup is purebred. Nevertheless, it’s a good starting point for you as an aspiring owner.
Always ask for the pedigree paper of the Chihuahua puppy before bringing it home. If the breeder can’t present anything or is trying to change the conversation, it’s a sign that he or she is hiding something.
In the pedigree paper, it should show the club to which the pup has been registered. Most of the time, professional breeders will seek registration from the American Kennel Club (AKC) since it’s the biggest canine club in the country.
The paperwork should include the ancestry of your Chihuahua, including the details of its parents.
But then again, some breeders can be dishonest. It’s the reason why you should continue with the next steps.
2. Consult a veterinarian
If you have doubts over the paperwork of your supposedly purebred Chihuahua, the next thing you have to do is consult a licensed veterinarian. Experience vets know the actual appearance and characteristics of a purebred Chihuahua.
As with any other breed, Chihuahuas have their own share of health problems. The vet can check the health characteristics of your pup to support your findings of whether it’s purebred or not.
As much as possible, go to an experienced vet that’s been in the business for years. You’d want to consult with someone who has seen countless Chihuahuas in the past.
3. Contact a professional breeder
If you can’t find a vet who can give you a definitive answer, the best option is to consult a professional breeder. This person can examine the pup and tell you for sure if it’s purebred.
To find a legitimate Chihuahua breeder to consult, you can refer to the American Kennel Club list. These breeders are certified and experts in their field.
You have to bring the pup to the professional breeder for it to be checked. Mostly, this will include a physical examination to check whether the Chi meets the build standards of its breed. Any discrepancies will point out a possibility of having a mixed or mutt Chihuahua.
4. Compare your Chihuahua to the AKC standards
Comparing your Chihuahua to its breed standards will help you determine if it’s purebred or not. Each dog breed has a specific set of qualities in terms of temperament, personality, physical appearance, and peculiarities.
These are the same standards used for dog sporting events. It includes photos and descriptions that discuss in detail what a specific dog breed should look like to be considered purebred.
The American Kennel Club Chihuahua standard indicates that the breed must have a saucy expression with a terrier-like temperament. Here’s a quick rundown of a standard purebred Chihuahua according to the AKC:
- Head. In terms of appearance, its head should be well rounded or “apple dome” in breeders’ terms. Its eyes should be round but not protruding. Light-colored Chis can have a slightly lighter eye color. Any color difference between the two eyes is considered a flaw, therefore making the Chi a non-purebred pup.
- Ears. A purebred Chihuahua has erect and large ears. In repose, the ears of the canine should be flaring to the sides at 45 degrees.
- Bite. A purebred Chihuahua should have a scissor or level bite. Any distortion or overbite is considered a defect, although missing one or two teeth is still permissible.
- Muzzle. The muzzle of a purebred Chihuahua is just slightly pointed and short. Nose colors vary from pinkish, chocolate, blue, and dark shades.
- Neck. The neck of a purebred Chihuahua is slightly arched and should slope nicely into its small shoulders.
- Coat. Purebred Chihuahuas come in either short/smooth coats or long coats. For soft coat Chihuahuas, the texture should be glossy and firm. Meanwhile, long-haired types have soft and slightly wavy fur with or without an undercoat.
- Color. A purebred Chihuahua can either have solid or splotched colors. Both are permitted as long as the dog meets all the other standard qualities as determined by the kennel club.
- Weight. Purebred Chihuahuas should weigh no more than 6 pounds. Anything heavier than that will disqualify the pup from securing a pedigree.
- Tail. Chihuahuas must have a moderately long tail. Bobtail and docked tails aren’t permitted and therefore a sign that the pooch might be mixed.
If you don’t trust your own level of appreciation for these standards, you can contact the kennel club to meet with a breed standard judge. This person has been trained and certified to identify whether a specific breed is purebred or not.
5. Get a DNA test for your Chihuahua
The best way to determine if a Chihuahua is purebred is to have it undergo dog DNA testing. Most veterinarians partner with canine DNA testing centers, so feel free to contact the nearest vet in your area.
The results of the test will directly and plainly reveal the lineage of your Chihuahua. It’s solid proof of whether the pooch is actually purebred or not.
However, you should know that these tests also have limitations. For example, the DNA test will not show the parentage of the dog and how it relates to its genetic features. Still, the general findings are enough to show whether your pooch is mixed or purebred.
Basically, the test aims to identify genetic composition in relation to breed standards. Just know that DNA tests aren’t made equal. Some can only recognize 100 breeds while others are more expansive and can test over 300 dog breeds. If possible, go for one with the most breed inclusions to give you a better look at your pet’s lineage.
What should I do if my Chihuahua isn’t purebred?
So what if you found out that your Chihuahua isn’t really purebred as the breeder claims it to be? Well, you have several options and it’s up to you which one you’d like. Here are a few points and how they will play out.
1. Go after the breeder
Holding the breeder accountable is important, so he or she won’t victimize other aspiring pet owners. You can report it to the authorities or the kennel club to which they are members. Through this, the operation of the breeder will be stopped and other buyers will be alerted of a potential scam.
Still, you should also consider the possibility that your Chihuahua is indeed purebred but just happened to have genetic defects. In that case, legitimate breeders will provide a contract clause that will let you return the puppy for a refund or replacement.
Contacting the breeder first is crucial. If the person refuses to entertain you, that’s the time you should go to the authorities.
2. Get your Chihuahua examined
The next order of business is to bring your Chihuahua to the veterinarian. It’s important to have the pup examined thoroughly for potential health problems.
The thing with dishonest breeders is that they may also have an irresponsible breeding process. This could result in sick puppies with life-long health problems.
The vet will conduct several tests, including blood work, X-rays, and so on. If your Chi has been diagnosed with a health problem, it’s best to have it treated right away.
For Chis with genetic defects, the vet will recommend spaying or neutering to prevent the faulty genes from spreading.
3. Rehome your Chihuahua
In some cases, pet owners will rehome their Chihuahuas once they found out that it’s not purebred. It’s not really a solution to the problem, but it’s understandable, especially if the pooch is intended for dog shows and other activities that require standard qualities.
I highly discourage dumping the Chihuahua to rescue shelters because this will create trauma for the dog. The best thing you can do is contact the breeder to help you find a forever home for the pooch. You can also coordinate with a local shelter to help find a new owner for your Chihuahua without having to leave the pooch in the kennel.
Purebred or not, dogs deserve love!
Whether your Chihuahua is purebred or not, it doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to the love they can give. All dogs deserve love even if they don’t meet standards or if they have been sold in dubious ways. Always remember that it’s not your Chihuahua’s fault that it didn’t pass the purebred standards.
A mixed or mutt Chihuahua still makes a great pet. They still have some traits of a standard Chi, but with a more interesting aspect. In the long run, you may not even tell the difference.
How to avoid dishonest Chihuahua breeders
Dishonest breeders are everywhere. In fact, there are thousands of puppy mills all over the United States. Some of these illegal breeders even pose their pups as purebreds to milk money from pet owners.
To avoid this, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you’re talking to a legitimate breeder. Here are a few reminders you should keep in mind before purchasing a Chihuahua puppy:
1. Check the price
First, check the price of the puppy they are selling. If it’s too cheap than average Chihuahua prices from other breeders, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with a puppy mill.
Still, the price isn’t the only indicator of whether a breeder is dishonest or not. You should also check the other indicators we have below.
2. Look for online reviews
Next, check the online presence of the breeder. Check their reviews and see what other buyers say about their Chihuahua puppies.
Take note that legitimate breeders won’t hesitate to connect you to one of their previous clients. Some would even let you visit their puppies.
The lack of online presence is a red flag, especially for a breeder that claims to be selling purebred Chihuahuas. In fact, actual purebred breeders will even have listings across websites.
3. Check their credentials
While you’re doing your research about the breeder, don’t forget to check their credentials as well. See if they have kennel club memberships and certifications.
Ideally, you’d want to get your Chihuahua puppy from a breeder with certifications from AKC. The American Kennel Club is the standard in the US and will guarantee that the breeder is legitimate.
You can also ask the breeder to show you proof of their credentials. If the person declines or tries to change the topic, walk away and look elsewhere.
4. Ask for a personal visit
Legitimate breeders won’t hesitate to show you where their puppies are born and raised. In fact, real Chihuahua breeders will demand you to go to their place as part of the contract. This is to ensure that you’re sincere about raising their dogs.
During your visit, examine the living conditions of the Chihuahua pups. Those that are raised in a household setting and not in cages are ideal. It’s because the pup is receiving constant socialization, which will prepare it for its life with new owners.
5. Meet the dog’s parents
You should also ask to meet the parents of the Chihuahua puppy you’re planning to get. This way, you can see its health condition and if it’s being overbred.
If the breeder declines or makes excuses, take it as a red flag. It’s likely that the parent dogs are in a bad shape or they are not really purebred Chihuahuas. Remember, never purchase a Chi puppy until you see its parents.
6. Require a health certification
Before signing the deal, ask for the health certification of the Chihuahua puppy. This may include DNA tests, eye tests, joint health tests, blood tests, and so on. Anything that will prove that the pup is healthy should be included in the document.
Again, if the breeder declines, do not buy the puppy. You’re likely dealing with a puppy mill that fraudulently sells puppies as purebreds even if they are not.
7. Ask them for the vet records of the pup
Chihuahua puppies should have an established veterinary record even before they are placed into a home. This is to prove that the pup has been examined by a licensed veterinarian and has received its initial vaccinations. Also, this should include the first rounds of deworming.
Once you received the vet records, I suggest visiting the veterinarian that signed the paperwork. This is to guarantee that the person is real and really affiliated with the breeder.
8. Always demand a contract
The breeder should always provide a contract when selling purebred puppies. This includes conditions to which the puppy should be raised as well as guidelines on what you should do in case the Chi turns out to be unhealthy.
Legitimate breeders will even provide an option to which you can give them the puppy back if it’s not a good fit for you. This way, the doggo won’t end up in shelters or abusive homes.
9. Beware of the warning signs
Lastly, always be wary of warning signs like poor breeding facilities, large batches of pups in a year, no titles, and selling the pup before the age of eight weeks.
Aside from that, you shouldn’t get a pup from a breeder if they breed the Chihuahua parents before the age of two or after the age of seven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does my Chihuahua have to be 100% purebred?
A: A Chihuahua doesn’t have to be 100% purebred to be a good pet. But in case you’re buying from a breeder that claims to be selling purebred dogs, you’d surely want to check its legitimacy. Ask for documentation and club memberships to guarantee that the pup you’re going to get is as pedigreed as the breeder claims it to be.
Q: How can I tell if my Chihuahua is mixed?
A: Aside from the differences in appearance compared to purebreds, you can also avail of a dog DNA test for your Chi. Basically, this test will determine the lineage of your Chihuahua. If there’s an overlap between another breed, that means that your doggo might be mixed.
Q: What does a full-blooded Chihuahua look like?
A: A full-blooded, purebred Chihuahua should have weight no heavier than 6 lbs. Also, it should have a demeanor similar to that of a terrier. Also, the ears must be erect and its eyes must be luminous and expressive. As for the coat color, it can either be short or long. Chihuahuas are also available in a variety of coat colors and patterns.
Q: What dog breeds make a Chihuahua?
A: Chihuahuas are believed to have descended from the ancient breed Techichi. However, there are also theories indicating that Chis are within the bloodline of Chinese Crested Dogs. It’s not fully clear what breeds made up this feisty dog, but one thing’s for sure: they are amazing pets.
Q: What’s the most expensive Chihuahua breed?
A: Teacup Chihuahuas tend to be the most expensive. The price of a pup can go as high as $2,000 or more. It’s because breeding a teacup puppy takes a rigorous process. Usually, breeders have to pick litter runts and mate them to produce small Chihuahuas. The process is painstaking, especially since the breeder has to ensure that the tiny dog is healthy, something that only experts can achieve.
Knowing how to tell if a Chihuahua is purebred will save you from shady breeders. Also, it will ensure that you’re getting a healthy pup that meets the breed standards.
Always do your research and never hesitate to ask questions. Above all, you should consult with the experts to identify whether your doggo is purebred or if you’ve been duped by a dishonest breeder.
Here at ILoveChihuahua, we share our personal experiences as owners of this feisty breed. We talk about recommended methods, dog supplies picks, and advice on common Chihuahua problems. Our goal is to promote responsible dog ownership, so there would be fewer Chihuahuas in shelters.