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Is The Chihuahua Dog Breed Declining In Popularity?

The Kennel Club is the UK’s umbrella organisation for dogs and pedigree dog breeds, and the formal body responsible for recognising and registering new pedigree puppies of every recognised breed each year. As a result of this, the Kennel Club records and monitors broad breed-specific information for every single dog breed that they recognise too, which can be used to compare the popularity of different dog breeds to each other. 

Historical data within each individual breed can also be used to spot trends and changes in registration numbers that indicate if a breed is rising or falling in popularity over time as well, and sometimes, this information can be very telling.

For instance, the Chihuahua is the third most popular dog breed in the UK, and these tiny little dogs can make for amazing pets for the right owners, as well as having the advantage of fitting into even the smallest of homes.

However, the Chihuahua is also brachycephalic, which means having a flatter-than-normal face which can in turn come accompanied by a number of health implications, and the very high, domed head of dogs of the breed too can result in hereditary health problems in dogs that inherit it.

The Kennel Club has been in the spotlight a lot in recent years regarding what they do to protect the health of pedigree dog breeds, and is often accused of not doing enough to penalize breeders who produce dogs with conformation exaggerations; and also of failing to take sufficient steps to educate puppy buyers about the realities of choosing dogs of this type.

As a result, the Kennel Club has taken a number of steps to rectify these issues, and recently announced that this appears to have paid off for some breeds like the Chihuahua, as based on their first half-year stats for this year (2019) compared to last, it would appear that the number of pups of the breed registered with the Kennel Club is falling. This in turn may indicate that demand for and so, the popularity of the breed is falling too – but is this actually the case?

Here at Pets4Homes, we’ve compared the Kennel Club’s findings to conclusions drawn from our own datasets for the Chihuahua breed in terms of advert numbers placed here this year compared to last.

Our adverts represent dogs, puppies and entire litters offered for sale on Pets4Homes, encompassing both pedigree and non-pedigree Chihuahuas, the latter of which are numerous and not factored into the Kennel Club’s figures at all.

With this in mind, this article will attempt to answer the question “is the Chihuahua losing popularity in the UK?” And compare our findings to that of the Kennel Club. Read on to learn more.

What does the Kennel Club say about the Chihuahua’s popularity this year compared to last year?

The Kennel Club recently published data on the number of Chihuahua puppies registered with them in the first six months of 2018, compared to the same time period in the first six months of 2019. 

Here are the stats (for both the smooth and long coated Chihuahua variants combined):

  • In the first six months of 2018, a total number of 2,163 Chihuahua puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • In the first six months of 2019, a total number of 1,596 Chihuahua puppies were registered with the Kennel Club.
  • This is a difference of 567 fewer puppy registrations like for like this year than in the same period of time last year.
  • Expressed as a percentage, that is a popularity fall of over 30% between the comparable time periods in 2018 to 2019.

What do the Pets4Homes statistics say about the Chihuahua’s popularity this year compared to last year?

Our data isn’t a like-for-like comparison for the same time period and parameters as the Kennel Club, and so should be considered as a broad comparison and control dataset for their figures rather than a definitive result.

We compared the total number of adverts placed for Chihuahua dogs, puppies and whole litters for sale placed here in the twelve-month period of October 2017-September 2018, with the twelve-month period of October 2018-September 2019. This encompassed both pedigree and non-pedigree Chihuahuas for sale, and both smooth and long coated ones.

Here are our own findings:

  • The figures for the prior twelve-month period, October 2017-Septmber 2018 saw a total number of 13,694 adverts placed on Pets4Homes for Chihuahua dogs, puppies and litters for sale.
  • The same time period for this most recent twelve months, October 2018-September 2019 saw a total number of 11,689 adverts placed on Pets4Homes for Chihuahua dogs, puppies and litters for sale.
  • This is a difference of 2,005 fewer Chihuahua adverts placed here like for like in the most recent timeframe compared to the same one last year.
  • Expressed as a percentage, that is a popularity fall of almost 16% over the comparable time periods last year and this year.

Is the Chihuahua losing popularity in the UK, and by how much?

Both the Kennel Club’s Chihuahua registration figures and our own Chihuahua advert figures indicate a really steep drop off in numbers and so, popularity in the breed over a very short period of time – just one year.

This indicates with little margin for error that the breed has taken a huge hit in terms of the number of dogs bred in the last year, and so, the number of them around.

However, the percentage fall in popularity that we’ve identified from our own Pets4Homes figures and that of the Kennel Club are very divergent; our own stats indicate a popularity fall of almost 16% this year, which is itself a very significant amount. But the Kennel Club’s stats indicate a much larger drop, being over 30%; or almost a third fewer pups registered within the given time frame this year compared to last.

Our two datasets are different enough to indicate that the breed really has taken a hard hit in the last year, but the divergence between advert data (ours) and registration data (the Kennel Club’s) indicates that this hit might have been greater in registered pedigree Chihuahuas than non-pedigrees, which is the main difference between the Kennel Club’s included dogs and our own.

Why this might be – and why the Chihuahua has fallen in numbers so quickly and significantly in general – will be covered in another article.


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