Turns out, it was more of the latter.
As a chihuahua mummy and pet boutique owner myself I would be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t guilty of finding small animals cute, and quite honestly, completely spoiling my own with unnecessary (often handmade) and very expensive accessories.
I even set up a small business pandering to the needs to animals lovers like myself, but even to me, ITV’s portrayal of the animals in this show was more than a little bit irresponsible and unnecessary.
Search Twitter (#SuperTinyAnimals) and you’ll see a range of comments ranging from “OMG I want a micropig!” to “This is so cruel. What the hell have they done to that poor dog!?”
ITV showed £3000 dog bowls and £10,000 dogs, but these weren’t any old, overpriced dogs. Oh no! The star of the show was a little black dog called Wally weighing in at just 1lb.
1lb! That’s like a block of butter! ITV claimed that the petshop based in America (surprise, surprise!) were a reputable and responsible company because they did not buy their animals from puppy farms. Erm, round of applause for you NOT buying your dogs from illegal breeders. They also claimed that there was nothing medically wrong with this dog being the size that it was because “it only has a little bit of water on the brain. Not enough to be a serious case.”
WHAT!? That’s like saying, oh you’ve only got a little bit of cancer from smoking, but you’re still alive so you probably shouldn’t worry about it. Oh and don’t give up the fags because it probably wasn’t their fault that you got that little bit of cancer in the first place.
Being a chihuahua owner and lover of the breed for as long as I can remember, I am well aware of the medical issues that come with over breeding and “downsizing” of the breed. Dogs who are bred to be that small can develop water on the brain, collapsed trachea, spinal and joint abnormalities and often have a very short lifespan.
I have 2 fairly small chihuahuas myself, Bambi, the smallest being 3-4lb (we did not get her due to her size, she was the last of her litter left and we simply fell in love with her when we saw her!) and I would never dream about breeding her, especially as the males used for breeding tend to be smaller than the females. Even if I wanted to I would have absolutely no idea where to find a 2lb dog! Maybe I should ask ITV?
“Chihuahua breeders often use terms like Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard to describe puppies. These terms are not recognized by the breed standards and are considered marketing gimmicks to inflate the value of puppies.”
The programme was even boasting about how small of a horse they had found. That poor horse had dwarfism and lots of other medical issues which even the owners admitted, would probably result in having to put him to sleep quite early on in his life.
This is not something that should be encouraged. Animals are lives, they have souls and personalities and they understand emotions just like we do (and sometimes better than we do!) I’m just worried that with this programme there’s going to be an increase (again) in the rates of breeding tiny animals that will eaither die of illness or end up in shelters when they outgrow their teacups.
There is already an increase in the numbers of chihuahuas being brought into animal shelters. Presumably because owners get bored of them and trade them in for the latest “it dog” (that’s a pug by the way!)
So if you are looking to get a small dog, please make sure they you check out your local animal shelters first, and if you do want a pedigree make sure you buy from a credited and repuitable breeder.
More info on Chihuahuas in particular can be found at http://www.the-british-chihuahua-club.org.uk