On my quest to find my new puppy, the first step – naturally – is to choose which breed I’m going to go for. I knew right away I wanted a small breed. My previous dog, Jack, was a medium sized terrier mix, which isn’t big by any means. But it did come with some disadvantages. I’m in Europe, so most of my activities are either by foot, by bike, or by bus. For my dog’s safety, I often picked him up and carried him in my arms to cross busy streets and walk through crowded places. I got especially nervous when I saw lots of high heels around, ready to accidentally impale my dog’s paws. When you’re carrying roughly 26 pounds in your arms (about 12 kilos), you quickly realize that there are certain places you just can’t take your dog to.
After a lot of going back and forth between pinschers, bichons, small poodles, chihuahuas, pugs, yorkshires, and what have you, I finally settled for chihuahuas. They tick all the boxes for me. Tiny, lightweight, easy to work with, extremely sociable when properly trained. And did I mention they’re tiny? Plus, you have to admit, Jack kind of looked like a giant chihuahua, so I feel quite drawn to brown dogs with big ears :-)
My poor Jack had to fly in cargo when I traveled with him. It broke my heart, and I never wanted to put us both through that again. Now here’s the wonderful thing about chihuahuas (or any tiny breed for that matter): they’re allowed to fly in cabin. If you’re flying internationally, you obviously have some paperwork to worry about. But if you stick to domestic flights – or in my case, within the European Union – traveling should go like a breeze. I say *should* because I’ve never dealt with this first hand.
Then comes the question: where to buy? I don’t really have an answer to this yet. All my previous pets were rescues, so my first reflex was to check out shelters. To my biggest surprise though, shelters in Northern Europe are nothing like those I saw in the States. They don’t seem to have tiny breeds here like I’m looking for (except for an odd one here and there, but not a single chihuahua); and I started looking about 7 months ago. So I think it’s safe to say at this point that my next pup most likely won’t come from a shelter.
I think the other responsible option would be to check out registered breeders who have all their paperwork in check, and also should assure genetic diversity to minimize potential health risks. I’ve heard about pro breeder chihuahuas living up to 20 years. This would be awesome, obviously. I would have loved for my Jack to live two decades. He didn’t even reach the 10 year mark. So I can only hope my next pup will make it a little longer than he did. I can’t go through this ordeal every 8 years, it’s too heartbreaking. Which is another reason to think carefully right now before I settle for anything.
I definitely still have a lot of homework to do. I’m thinking about adopting in Spring 2014 at the very earliest. Or, ideally, after Summer 2014. It should be plenty of time to prepare the arrival of my next little companion!