Chihuahua “Golden Oldies”: Old Dogs Rule!

What defines a senior pet? Chihuahuas are among the longest-lived breeds, and many are still bouncing around at 15, with others living to 20 or more years of age. The important thing to remember is that every dog is an individual, so the age at which they begin to show physical or mental decline can vary.

Most breeder-exhibitors have a few retired show dogs whom they would be happy to place in loving homes, where the lucky new owners can discover these wonderful gifts of the dog world. So the next time you are contacted for a puppy, why not suggest “old faithful,” and tell the prospective new owner all the wonderful things an older dog can bring to their life?

Here are some points you might mention to help these “golden oldies” find a forever home.

They are a known quantity. You know their personality and that they are not going to get any bigger. What you see is what you get.

They are restful. If you want a pet to hang out with you while you watch TV or read a book, a senior is the way to go.

They aren’t necessarily inactive. They love to go for walks, bring back a ball, or follow you around the yard as you plant flowers—and they won’t dig them up.

They are usually already housetrained. They’ve lived in a home and know the drill, whether it’s going outside to potty or using a puppy-pad. Every once in awhile you may meet one who isn’t housetrained, but older dogs can learn just as quickly as youngsters if you take them out consistently and on a schedule.

They are wise in the way of the world. Older animals are observant, and they know how to learn, either by watching other animals in the family or from picking up on your cues. Watching them and seeing what they know and how they apply it to their new life is fascinating.

They come with a senior discount. An “older” dog may include one as young as 3 years old, but they will come with a reduced price and be just as loving to their new family as a puppy.

They bring the gift of love and joy. The older dog usually fits easily into a home because they are already experienced at living with other animals and people. They may have many good years ahead to bring happiness to a loving family.

Some people say that older dogs are grateful because they know you have given them a second chance at being that “special” dog. True or not, they will bring happiness and joy to any home.

Adopting an older dog can bring more benefits than one may realize. So next time you are contacted for a puppy, don’t forget to consider a “golden oldie.” You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Virginia (Jenny) Hauber, Chihuahua Club of America; June 2013 AKC Gazette