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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

My mum has finally caved to my hundreds of emails containing puppy photos and constant nagging and has agreed to let me get my dream puppy. I'm 22 and live with my mum, studying and working part time. I have 2 birds, a cat and we have a 13 year old golden retriever. All animals are very friendly, easy going and quiet. The golden wouldn't hurt a fly and usually just sleeps all day. My picks are between a Long Haired Chihuahua or a Papillon, and I'm having trouble choosing. I love both breeds and would love some more insight on them. I can't seem to find many people that own them near me and the only breeder of them is a few hours away, not really able to visit for no reason.

What I want most out of my new dog is,

- Friendly, loveable and loving towards myself and hopefully my mum and other people
- Able to wear clothes (Shh.. I know it's shallow, but I really want to so badly, LOL)
- Playful and affectionete
- Trainable
- Not aggressive

Which dog do you think would be best? I love both breeds, so it's more a matter of their perosnalites. I have read that Chihuahuas are hard to scoialize and are often aggressive, is this true? How can I avoid that? I plan on taking it out with me as much as I can. Do papillons have any issues like that? Our golden was greatly socialized and gets along with everyone of every age, very tolerable and loving but I understand this is typical golden attitude.

I have never owned a small dog before, so would love some tips on how to avoid aggression and train them correctly.

Thank you!
 

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Do you want a lapdog, or an energetic dog? Most chis I know do go on walks and even hikes, but they don't tend to be quite as energetic as papillons, which are known as the border collies of the toy dog world. I also don't know many papillons who like to be dressed up or carried around... they want to walk. Chis are a bit smaller and don't need quite as much exercise (although I firmly believe that all dogs need walks -- on the ground, not carried).

I do not agree that chihuahuas are prone to aggression. I think that many people just don't socialize them well, and brush off bad behavior instead of working to change it, just because they're small. Fear aggression is usually the issue, and you can get that with chis or paps. Just make sure you introduce your pup to a lot of people and dogs so that it's confident and happy in new situations. This free, online training textbook (table of contents down the left side) is excellent.

What do you love about both breeds? If you let us know specifically what you love about them, we'll be able to help more with suggesting one over the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply! I didn't know that papillons were so energetic. Not a huge issue, though.

I LOVE the look of papillons, they are SO cute.. their ears, tails, faces, they're just adorable. I love how they are all graceful when they do things and seem to be so friendly.

I also love the look of chihuahuas, but I only like the long haired ones. I have never been a short haired dog person, and I love brushing my golden. :) I find the long haired chihuahuas so cute as well, sadly I have not been able to meet many in real life. I love the white/golden looking and tri-coloured chihuahuas, do you know their official names?
 

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lol my 2 paps, r just as happy to lounge on the couch, or to go naners at the park chasing ball. I do think that paps, overall, do have much more agreeable personalities.
 

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I have read that Chihuahuas are hard to scoialize and are often aggressive, is this true? How can I avoid that?
As always, it will depend somewhat on the individual dog. The main thing is putting the dog in controlled situations where they'll have a chance to socialize with a variety of dogs and humans. Chi's will sometimes be fear aggressive but you can work with them where they won't act out without reason and will give plenty of warning signs that they're frightened.

Our Chi puppy would originally growl and posture at other dogs and people. By taking her to the small dog park, PetSmart and other dog locations she's gotten over this. If things got to be too much for her, we would move away until she relaxed. She'll still be nervous about larger dogs but she won't act aggressive. She's still working on people though. People wearing sunglasses freak her out and we're still working on smaller kids since she doesn't encounter them that often.

While you can dress up a Chi, you do have to remember that they're a dog, not a dress up doll. You have to train them to accept outfits just like anything else you want to teach them.

chloe dressed up.jpg

Trainability will also vary by individual dog. Our Chi pup, who's 8 months old now, has been remarkably easy to train, as easy as the border collie I had many years ago. However, I've seen other people struggle with stubborn Chi's for years.

If you're used to an old Golden, a Chi pup will surprise you with their energy. They'll likely be a little bullet darting about the house between you and whatever mischief they can get into. They'll probably settle down as they get older and better trained but will still be quite active until old age catches up with them.
 

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I've never had a chi but have had friends with chis, especially in college when I lived in an apartment. I've lived with 7 papillons and know hundreds (literally). So I don't have a feel for chis the same way I do paps but here's my 2 cents.

Chihuahuas are descended from terriers and are described as 'terrier-like' in personality. Papillons are descended from toy spaniels. Papillons in my experience not terrier-like at all and much less prone to go scrap with other dogs. I think of papillons as a softer breed. We had a picnic once and the chi there would really just go seek out the other dogs and start picking at them. My dogs are very much 'avoid the problem' kinds of dogs. This chi belonged to a friend and we did playdates (he was a LH and looked like Summer's mini-me). He got along fine with a lot of dogs but some would just bring out the bully in him.

Papillons tend to be considered the most trainable and most intelligent toy dog breed. I think it's hard to really generalize but my dogs are very driven and easy to train. I train agility with them and they are always the dog that picks it up first in the class.

Drive and energy... chis can be energetic but I have never met a chi that comes close to having the energy that a higher energy papillon has. My friends with chis in their apartments could be a LOT more lax about their dogs' exercise than I ever could. Especially when Mia was young, I was outside at least 2 hours a day. Their young chis could go walk to the mailbox and be fine and non-destructive and mine would still be chewing things up after a 2 hour park trip off leash. She's 3 now and a lot more well rounded but still a pretty demanding and intense dog in her own way. My two were also a lot more agile/fast than the chis they'd play with.

But just remember there is a reason that you see papillons doing so well in agility and even making the world agility team- they can have a LOT of energy and drive. Mia is pretty closely related to some top agility papillons and it shows. She's a lot of dog for a 7 lb dog and really needs something to do every day. The good news is I have a fun dog that's up for anything and would play ball till she passed out (I love that). But she's also had her moments. Energy level varies. Rose is very very laid back and always has been. She'd be fine lying on a pillow all day, I think. Beau and Summer are pretty hyper but not really too destructive or demanding. They are MUCH happier with a long walk. But they're also both 8 years old... Bernard is very chill and calm but my sister also walks him daily and takes him to the lake every weekend to hike. I have seen a lot of people complain though because they were expecting a very calm lapdog and then ended up with something a lot more hyper.

As far as dressing up, Rose hates it. Beau thinks it's funny. Summer tolerates it. Mia acts like it's killing her. Bernard seems indifferent (but he always does).

ETA: You need to think of what you love OTHER than the look of papillons/chihuahuas/pomeranians.
 

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You've mentioned that you like the looks of both breeds, but what sort of personality are you looking for? Energy level?

I've never owned a Chihuahua but I've met quite a few that I would certainly not describe as aggressive. I think that being small dogs means that more things can seem scary/threatening to Chihuahas/Papillons. Mumble, for instance, is nervous about small children, about 6 and under (but he's getting much, much better) which I think is understandable because they move kind of funny and they're really loud. If one charges up to him screaming he will try to retreat and if that's not possible he might growl/air snap. But we've been working on this, and if a strange kid wants to meet him I ask them to kneel down and let him come to them. And he's been making more and more friends. So "aggression" can largely be fixed/prevented with training, is basically what I'm saying.

Mumble is sort of mid-range for energy level, I guess. I make sure he gets 1-1.5 hours of good exercise every day. Meaning running and jumping outside. And we will have more indoor play sessions throughout the day. He's not destructive, but even with the exercise I give him I don't think I've ever seen him truly tired. He'll take a break, but will be ready to play again in a couple minutes.

I've never dressed Mumble up but I get the feeling that he would tolerate it, but look super depressed the whole time.

You said that breeders are too far away to visit, but what about emails/phone calls? A good breeder will want to get to know you anyway before selling you a puppy, so I would start contacting them immediately.
 

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Yeah I re-read my post and it sometimes sounds worse than it is. I do think if you get a papillon you need to prepare to exercise and train it. Training and exercising goes a long ways for any dog and a lot of people severely neglect both in toy sized dogs.

If you treat your papillon like you would a bigger dog- walk it every day, take it to obedience class, etc, they're delightful dogs with huge personalities and tons of affection. But any dog takes work and socialization to be a well rounded animal.

If you do get a papillon, talk to a breeder specifically about the energy level you want. They vary quite a bit.

Here's my family's current papillons.


chazsignew by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr
 

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I do not agree that chihuahuas are prone to aggression. I think that many people just don't socialize them well, and brush off bad behavior instead of working to change it, just because they're small. Fear aggression is usually the issue, and you can get that with chis or paps. Just make sure you introduce your pup to a lot of people and dogs so that it's confident and happy in new situations.

This, basically.

A big part of the problem with the reputation chihuahuas have is because it's born from the mass amount of chihuahua owners who treat their dogs like porcelain baby dolls instead of dogs. They may be tiny, but they are dogs none the less. They need training, socialization, and boundaries, just like any other dog.
Chihuahuas can be nervous, around small children, too loud noises, too large or rambunctious dogs. It's really about know your dog's limits and not pushing it past them. Forcing a dog into situations can make things worse. On the other hand, exposing them to a variety of things from the very start can be very beneficial.
My chihuahua does very well around children, loud noises, large dogs, hyper dogs, cats, older people, anything really. He has never bitten anybody to the extent of my knowledge and isn't "yappy" like many chihuahuas are (many chihuahuas meaning those who never get exercise, have no training, and are coddled beyond belief.)

~~
I'm going to add on the clothes part. Troubles H A T E S clothes. He rolls until they come off, and then he firmly kills 'em dead. However, I know other chihuahuas that would pee their pants for the chance to wear clothes. That's really a dog-to-dog thing.
 

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I also think Chis are being very poorly affected by their popularity. Most of the Chis you see are produced by back yard breeders and puppy mills. Those people are in it for the money and don't care about the temperament/health of the dogs they are producing, so they're producing mass quantities of nervous, aggressive dogs.

Be very careful whom you buy your puppy from. The nearest breeder is rarely the best breeder.
 

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ETA: You need to think of what you love OTHER than the look of papillons/chihuahuas/pomeranians.
This is what I was getting at, yeah. :) The three breeds are all adorable, but while they're similar in some ways, they have some big differences! It's really important to do a lot of research into any breed you're considering and find out if their typical temperament and activity level mesh with yours. Some people say that looks shouldn't matter at all, but I disagree with that. I think that if you're going to be looking at a dog for 15 years, you should choose one you like looking at... but looks should not matter most. No one should ever get a dog simply based on how cute it is. I'm glad you started this thread, bumblebec, to educate yourself more on the other stuff. :)

I definitely think you need to meet more dogs of each breed. Most good breeders won't sell you a dog without having met you first, so you're probably going to have to take a trip to visit a breeder or two before you buy, anyway. Are there any dog shows in your area? They can be a great place to meet multiple breeders and multiple examples of each breed in just one day. I have gained a new appreciation for a lot of breeds after interacting with them at shows.
 

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Everyone gave good advice just wanted to add I think every puppy is different and how you treat him/her from day 1 can determine the kind of dog he/she will grow up to be...

Benji wears clothes without a problem... He had no choice.... When I got him he was sooooo tiny I had to put a shirt on him to make the harness fit and even then he could slip out of it! And I was to weary of putting the leash on his collar with his size... He's still tiny (barely 3 lbs) and although the harness fits a lot better I still have a shirt on him when its not too hot.

He is very energetic but he adores curling up next to me, being held/carried and walking all the same. Sometimes he cries for me to pick him up if I'm moving around too much and he is sick of walking behind me being my shadow...

So I think you can get what your looking for in a papillon and that if you tell your breeder the kind of dog your looking for they will be able to pick out a good puppy for you!
 
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