Buyer Beware

How to Spot Frauds and Irreputable, Irresponsible, and Unethical Breeders on the Net
Author: Robin Colley

The purpose of this page is to help educate potential Chihuahua owners about some of the frauds, scams, and mis-information on the internet. This page was written towards chihuahuas in general, but applies to most toy breeds. Although much of the information on this page can be applicable for other breeds of dogs, it was not intended for such. It is up to the reader to interpret and decide how to use this information.

There is much more that we wish to add and elaborate on when time allows. We caution everyone to do their homework before buying an animal. A pet is a life long commitment and not something to be done on impulse. Do your research and be well informed. A well bred, healthy Chihuahua's life span on average is 10-20 years so choose a breeder wisely. You will be in contact with them for many years to come.

This web page was recently referenced (with permission) by an author for an article for the new Chihuahua magazine; "Chihuahuas", of The Popular Dog Series, published by Dog Fancy Volume 8, Second Edition, (this magazine has a tan cover, the old version of this magazine that may still be in stores has a green cover). This is a wonderful magazine and we highly recommend it, we have enjoyed it greatly. It has tons of helpful information for the new Chihuahua buyer. This edition should be available in most major pet stores, or you can order it online from the publisher at

I was also consulted for a chihuahua book by the same author, Joan Hustace Walker. This book, Everything Chihuahuas came out earlier this year and is available at a bookstore near you. This book is also highly recommended reading for the new chihuahua owner.

It has also recently been brought to my attention that several kennels have "borrowed" my buyer beware page, selectively removed the pieces that pointed themselves as irreputable, and proceeded to post it on their own web sites as their own work. This is a direct infringement on my copyrights and was not done with my permission. This page, as well as any segment or portion of it is ©ROBIN COLLEY and not to be reproduced, PERIOD! "Borrowing" is *still* copyright infringement.

Let this be a warning for buyers to be aware:

  • NEVER buy a puppy from a pet shop or puppy mill. Pet shops buy their dogs from puppy mills. Puppy mills massively produce pet puppies with no regard to the care of their dogs or their dogs health, or the homes their dog go into.

  • NEVER buy a puppy from a back yard breeder. A back yard breeder is someone with a dog that sees cash and decides to breed their girl with the dog up the street. These people do it for profit and are not educated as to the breed they are dealing with or strive to improve the breed in any way. These people have no clue as to genetic defects or the true lineage of their animals. They just mate Taco with Gordita to cash in on a breed fad.

  • NEVER buy a puppy from a flea market or a road-side vendor. These people depend on you to impulse buy an animal. It is impossible to tell the conditions these animals have been raised in or the parents they have came from. Flea market vendors may not even be the breeder and may not be able to tell you the information you need to know about the pets. Also, these animals are exposed to many diseases while in such a public facility, which could lead to costly vet bills and possible heartbreak down the road. Being in such a chaotic environment is very stressful on any animal and it is not advisable to expose a puppy to this much stress.

  • NEVER buy a puppy without visiting the environment it is coming from and personally meet with the breeder and the parents of the puppy you have chosen.

  • NEVER buy a puppy from someone who will only meet you in a parking lot or somewhere other then the environment of which the animal was raised. What good is a guarantee if your not able to find the breeder again? The breeder may not even give you correct information as to how to contact them again in the future. This is why it's best to take a little extra time and go visit the breeders' home, meet the breeder in person.

  • NEVER EVER buy a puppy from someone who claims to be a "reputable breeder" who is willing to ship the dog without first meeting you. If someone is willing to put their puppies in a home with anyone who has the right amount of money then they are NOT reputable. This should be a red flag. Shipping is too strenuous on these little dogs and not everyone is the perfect home for a chihuahua. The breeder needs to meet with you and you need to meet with him/her to make sure that you are the right home for a chihuahua puppy and for you to make sure this is the right breeder to get your puppy from. How are you to know if the animal that you were sent photos of is really the animal you would get if it was shipped? (see our " protect your photos" page for more information about frauds and see the below bullet for more information on deception as well.) There are quite a few breeders now that offer the ability to order a puppy online without ever speaking to the breeder. Just fill in an application and send some money and your puppy will be on it's way. This is not good for you and not good for the puppy either, as you know nothing about the animal or the breeder. Such ease of ordering without care for the puppies future home should be taken as a red flag. My best suggestion is just not to ship a puppy to you like an order from a catalog. Take some time and effort and go meet the breeder, in their home, it is well worth the extra effort.

  • Many deceptive breeders on the internet will try to fool you with using extremely unclear or extremely dark photos on purpose. Keep in mind that dark dogs (like dark blues, deep chocolates and blacks) are very difficult to get decent clear and well lighted photos of, but a breeder should be willing to try. They should be willing to send you more then one snap of a perspective pet. Also keep in mind that the quality of the photo depends on the camera it was taken with and whether or not a zoom lens or flash were used. (We hope to build a page soon on camera tricks to be aware of and not be fooled by). Again, this is why we recommend visiting the breeder instead of having one shipped.

  • Any truly knowledgeable breeder Should have bred more then just one generation of their dogs. They should have complete knowledge of what this dog has in it's genetics and background conformation other then just a name on a piece of paper. Pictures and descriptions of dogs from the past generations are always a plus. Personal, first hand knowledge of those dogs are even better. Also be wary of any "show breeder" that is only showing dogs from other kennel's breeding's instead of puppies they have bred themselves. This is especially true of breeders that have been breeding for numerous years.

  • Be wary of a breeder that has changed their kennel name (or web site name, etc) several times in the past couple of years. Ask yourself, are they are trying to hide from someone or a group of people? Usually, once a breeder picks a kennel name, they stick with it, as it is their identity, their reputation and their name.

  • NEVER buy a puppy from a breeder who does not state their name clearly on their website. This is on the same principle as a breeder that frequently changes kennel names. A breeder is known by their reputation, and without that breeder's name there is nothing to check their reputation with. Though there are some people who are concerned about personal privacy and the internet, the breeder should at least place their full first & last name on their websites and in their initial correspondences. There is no harm in your name being online or on your personal website, since your name is available through any phone book or Google search anyway. If all you are given by the breeder or seller is a first name, consider how many people named "John" or "Amanda" are their in any given town? You likely would not hand a stranger on the street money, and this same principle should be applied to the adoption of a dog. And along the same principle, you wouldn't buy furniture from a retailer called "Furniture Store". If they do not clearly identify who they are from their website, then who are they hiding from or what are they trying to hide? If the breeder is not proud of the quality of their own dogs and reputation enough to put their name on it, then you should look elsewhere for the adoption of your new best friend.

  • NEVER buy a dog strictly on price. As we all know, price can become a limiting factor, but it should not be the deciding factor in buying a puppy. Keep in mind that price does not always mean quality. In some cases, you do get what you pay for, so choose wisely. A dog that costs $50-$150 now may save you the initial expense but will cost more in vet bills later down the road. If a dog is outrageously priced, ask yourself why? Is the animal a perfect specimen of the breed standard? Or is the breeder just looking to make a quick buck. The average price for a quality purebred Chihuahua for pet purposes is around $500-$1,500. This could vary depending on where you live and the economy in that area. Dogs in a small town will likely be priced lower then dogs in largely populated cities because the economy and general cost of living varies from place to place. Most reputable breeders will admit that they have yet to make a profit but just enjoy keeping their bloodlines alive and improving the breed. An average priced dog may be as good or better then a dog with an over inflated price if you don't intend on showing and you only want a pet, as long as the health is equal. Do your homework, interview the breeder and choose a puppy that is right for you. Don't be fooled buy a sales pitch similar to that of "I'm the best, because my prices are higher." A show quality dog may cost in the $1500-$3000 range or more, but don't be fooled, a breeder cannot tell if an animal is 100% show quality under the age of six months. If they try then they are misleading you. Many faults do not appear until a dog is grown. The breeder can give you an educated guess as to the show-ability of an animal, but it is just a guess. Some breeders try to sell "show" puppies before the age of 8 weeks old, these people are just outright lying. Many breeders will carefully use wording such as show potential or show hopeful. If a showing future is vital, choose an older animal that can be properly evaluated. Just make sure that all intent is in writing so that there is no confusion later as to the intent on either party.

  • NEVER buy a dog from a breeder who is using the term "teacup", " rare", " miniature", "standard", "Mosquito", "toy", or " just like the taco bell dog." Also never buy from someone who is 'offering' a " size guarantee" for animals under 6 months old. These are all just sellers' gimmicks to sell you a dog. These terms are just terms to fool you. Chihuahuas come in many sizes and some are however smaller then others, but if a breeder truly does have a little dog under 2 pounds then they will not place it in a pet home with an unknowledgeable or inexperienced person. The true tiniest have many health complications and a shorter life span due to the dwarfing gene and are not a good pet for the average person. A reputable breeder will place these special babies in a home they can trust and keep an eye on the animal or they will keep it themselves so that they can care for it properly. As to the other terms, they are just to mislead you. A breeder should never breed for the "taco bell dog" look, which is the total opposite of the chihuahua breed standard They should also never intentionally breed to encourage the dwarfing factor. True dwarfs have far too many health complications for the average pet owner. Just like a human, a dwarfed animal has special needs and an educated guardian. Also, these terms can be deceiving because one breeders' interpretation of tiny may not be the same as another. An example of this is that I feel a tiny Chihuahua is 2½ to 3 pounds and under at maturity while some other breeders feel that a dog under 6 or even 8 pounds is tiny. This variation in opinion could create complications and confusion, so be specific as to what you expect an adult Chihuahua's weight to be. Technically someone could call a 7 pound Chihuahua a "t-cup" and not be wrong. For that matter, someone could call a 20 pound dog a teacup and not be wrong. Be warned that a breeder cannot give you an exact weight unless the dog is already full grown past 6 to 8 months of age. Most experienced breeders can give you an educated guess using past progeny and genetics as a guide. The key to this is knowing the pedigree further back then just a generation, as a dog can look like any dog (or combinations of dogs) within 7 generations back. Also, an improper diet can vary the size of an adult animal by over feeding or under feeding. (I do not condone the practice of underfeeding Chihuahuas so that they are smaller, but some breeders do and that is why it is mentioned here.) The words "miniature," "standard," and "toy" are just words, most likely borrowed from poodles, to further confuse prospective buyers, and like "t-cups" are no more than a seller's gimmick.

  • A reputable breeder is willing to give references if asked. Referrals are not always an insight on the breeder, but they can help. Of course the breeder won't give a reference to someone who has had a bad experience with them, so take the communications with a grain of salt. Also, a breeder should be willing to give more then one reference if asked. However, a reputable breeder also will ask permission to the previous client before giving out their personal information for you to contact them. This may slow down the process of a reference but, it protects the privacy of the previous clients. Also, since impulse buying is not recommended this may help you to take your time and research the breed and breeder before making a commitment.

  • ALWAYS get everything in writing. Technically, if it's not in writing it's not completely valid. If someone is willing to give you a health guarantee they should be willing to put it in writing so that you will have something to go back on if the need be. Verbal agreements are legal and binding but, if a problem occurs it is hard to get a verbal agreement to stand up in court (since it's your words against theirs). That's why a written agreement is so important. It eliminates any hard feelings that may occur from a misunderstanding and protects all parties involved.

  • A breeder should be willing to answer questions before and after a sale. Remember that you will be dealing with this person for many years to come. If they are unwilling to answer questions now, or are extremely rude or reserved in the initial conversations, what about the future if you have a serious problem?
  • We do not disapprove of rescues, as we believe all animals deserve the right to a loving home. There are quite a few very reputable rescues doing a wonderful job. However, there are also some people that are irreputable and are selling dogs under "rescue" status. For the sake of this paragraph, we are speaking about the irreputable "rescue" organizations. Many so called "rescues" seek out pets for the purpose of reselling them, which is not in the true sense of rescue. Some "rescues" search large areas for cheap or free dogs to resell as "rescues" and some even breed them themselves. Beware of "rescues" that are claiming non profit status but are "adopting" animals at prices comparable to those of average sale prices. Also beware of those rescues that claim registered animals- if they are a rescue, their dogs are not registered. Period. Rescue dogs do NOT come with registration papers. All reputable rescues also insist on all animals being altered (spayed or neutered) before they join your family, with no exceptions. If a "rescue" places dogs that are not altered, or do not require such alteration, then you should definitely research them further and take this as a red flag. The average adoption fee will vary from town to town depending on veterinarian and other expenses but most average legitimate adoption fees are around $100 to $150. If the "adoption" fees exceed $250 then please investigate further as to their motives and actual expenses on the animal. Don't be embarrassed to ask for receipts or proof of what the rescue spent on the animals' health care, if it's a reputable facility it should be more then willing to show such proof of it's costs and should keep such information organized for such occasions. Also be aware that many rescued animals need a loving home but may also come with excess baggage and may need extra training and care. It never hurts to check with the national breed clubs or rescues to see if the rescue is legitimate.

  • NEVER buy a dog from a breeder that is actively breeding more then three breeds. It is difficult enough for a reputable breeder to be knowledgeable about everything there is to know in one breed, let alone trying to keep up with multiples. If a breeder has more then three breeds that are actively producing multiple litters of puppies from each breed, then it shows that they are only in it for the money, not the love of the animals or the breed.

  • NEVER buy a dog strictly on color, or it may lead to great disappointment. Choose a puppy first and foremost by its health, conformation, and personality. Then consider color as a bonus, not as your deciding factor in choosing a dog. Also see Merles below for more information about this specific fad color.

  • Merles. (This includes Red Merles and Blue Merles, and all of the new words to describe the same things such as chocolate merles, sable merles, silver merles, brindle merles, phantom merle, cryptic merle, and all of the other colors they've come up with this week to describe this coloration). Please do extensive research on the cons of a merle before buying into this fad. Merles have not been in Chihuahuas but just a few years (starting in the new millennium) and comes with multiple health complications. Many theorize that the Chihuahua gained the merle coloration in the beginning from a mix breed of Dachshund or Pomeranian of such color with that of a Chihuahua. Now those offspring are popping up everywhere from people jumping on the fad, most being CKC or APRI registered (most represented as being "purebred" with characteristics of questionable heritage) and are charging outrageous prices for those puppies (many over $3000). All of the original, AKC registered merles, trace back to one dog or one specific breeder. If you insist on a merle, make sure that it is AKC registered, it looks like a Chihuahua (not a dachshund-chihuahua or pomeranian-chihuahua mix breed) and the breeder gives you proof that their line is free of genetic merle related issues such as blindness and deafness by providing you written certification that the merle parents were genetically tested, as well as an extended, written health guarantee against Merle-related problems. If a breeder chooses to perpetuate the merle problems, then they should be willing to do it responsibly and properly work against the known health issues associated with this pattern. Don't be fooled by the one-sided hype from pro-merle supporters, and do your own research, and come to your own conclusions about this very controversial color. More information can be found on merles through researching breeds known to have had this color for many years like Great Danes, Australian Shepherds, Collies, Dachshund (known as Dapple in their breed), and Shetland Sheepdogs. The merle coloration is also showing up in breeds like Pomeranians, Poodles, Rat Terriers and various other toy and herding breeds (of which this coloration was not an original color to the breeds). Many rescue sites tend to have the best, real information about the subject of Merles, especially in Shelties, Australian Shepherds and Great Danes as they have been dealing with this problem for decades. There is little real information on merles in Chihuahuas mainly because of it's being so new to the breed, with the exception of the hype from pro-merle advocates. There is much controversy as to this color, most reputable breeders do not participate in this fad due to the medical complications with this coloration. Some pro-merle breeders are even claiming that the merleing found in Chihuahuas is not the same as that in other breeds, but this is their sales gimmick to promote the new fad, as merle is merle no matter the breed. There is only one exception to this, and that is Harlequin in Great Danes, but this is totally different and not a factor in the Chihuahua. Please, before jumping on the merle bandwagon, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Also, one last note, NEVER buy a merle puppy from two merle parents, as they carry an even higher likelihood of health issues and shows the ignorance of the breeder for lack of care in the health issues associated with the color.

    Merle is not a coloration that is in my bloodline, nor will it ever be in my bloodline, as there are far too many genetic problems associated with it. I have worked for many years to produce a solid, sound, and healthy Chihuahua and do not wish to back step and sacrifice my hard work and progress for the sake of a fad color, that to me, has not been proven to be a true Chihuahua. Please do note that there are forms of blindness and deafness and other lethal factors that are associated strictly to this coloration that buyers should be aware of.

  • Beware of any breeder that insists on only corresponding through emails, or that advise you not to call because calls "always come at the wrong time." A breeder should be willing to help you in your time of need, not *when it's convenient for them*. Of course, you should also keep in mind a little common courtesy and not call a breeder at 3 a.m. (unless it's an emergency).
  • Beware of breeders that tell you to put sugar in your Chihuahua's drinking water. Putting sugar (or karo syrup, maple syrup, or any other sugar or sweetener) in the drinking water on a regular basis is not advised as it will alter the natural blood sugar of the dog. Any breeder selling puppies with this recommendation is doing one of several things. They either have a known problem and don't want the buyer to think that it is unusual, or they are unknowledgeable and following old wives tales. Chihuahuas (and small toy dogs) can easily overdose and no treatment should ever be given without first consulting a veterinarian. An overdose on artificial sugars can be very dangerous for a chihuahua, and sometimes lethal.

  • NEVER buy a dog from a breeder who will only give you a guarantee for a few days, weeks, or months. Any reputable breeder is willing to stand behind their dog for as long as necessary (YEARS!).

About Registrations, Registration papers, and Unreputable vs Reputable Registries

We also caution NEVER to buy from a breeder that promotes no name registrations.
These include such registries as:

    BE WARY of buying from a breeder promoting these
    Commonly used by Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders

    "Continental Kennel Club"
    *(Commonly confused, see note below)*
    "National Kennel Club"
    "Universal Kennel Club"
    *(Commonly confused, see note below)*
    "Universal Kennel Club International"
    *(Commonly confused, see note below)*
    "American Chihuahua Association"
    "American Canine Association"
    "American Pet Registry"
    "American Pet Registry, inc."
    "American Puppy Registry"
    "Dog Registry of America"
    "Champion Registry"
    "American Purebred Association"
    "World Kennel Club"
    "World Wide Kennel Club"
    "North American Purebred Dog Registration"
    "Federation of International Canines"
    *(Commonly Confused, see note below)*
    and many other up and coming no-name, unreputable registrations.

(Please remember, if someone is using these other registries, normally there is a reason they are no longer with AKC). Many breeders are going away from AKC (American Kennel Club) because AKC now requires DNA on all male dogs that produce more then 3 litters in a year or 7 or more litters in a lifetime. Also, AKC requires all records be kept accurate and up to date and that all DNA matches correctly. The AKC is very strict as to their records being up to date and accurate in an organized manner. Those breeders who do not have DNA match correctly or their paperwork or facilities are inadequate, are suspended of AKC privileges. Some breeders also are leaving AKC because of an increase in prices, which would also lead you to wonder what else are they skimping on? These no-name registries say it themselves as to why they are unreputable, and are quoted as saying "Tired of registration & documentation hassles? ... Lost or never had papers? ... Breed not recognized? ... We take the red tape out of registration... NO DNA requirements ..." What does this mean to you? it means that these registries will put papers on any dog, purebred or not.

*There are quite a few even newer no-name registries popping up every day. Some of the newest, and most confusing, consist of the ACA "American Chihuahua Association", which is nothing more than a piece of paper saying that the dog 'looks' like a Chihuahua. This is NO guarantee that it really is a Chihuahua, And is nothing more than a piece of paper, and the opinion of a few individuals for a "small fee". There are also some new ones, like "Champion" registry, Which can be very confusing as it misleads people to believe the dog is an actual AKC Champion (a dog shown in AKC shows against other purebred AKC Chihuahuas, and won enough points to earn it's championship) when it has never been shown in any AKC events.

* Please Note: there are international registries such as FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), KC (The Kennel Club), and CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) which are reputable. If you see a breeder representing these clubs, they are another countries' equivalent to the American AKC and are legitimate. Chances are that they are not located in America or they are dogs that were imported from other countries. There is also the UKC (United Kennel Club) that is also reputable in hunting breeds in America and also used for some rare breeds for those that are working their way towards AKC acceptance of the breed, but this is not a common registry for Chihuahuas to be registered with since chihuahuas are a companion breed*

Internationally recognized reputable kennel registration services, commonly used on dogs imported to the United States from another country using a reputable registry, or an established, reputable registry in the United States.

"American Kennel Club"
"United Kennel Club"
"Canadian Kennel Club"
"The Kennel Club"
"Federation Cynologique Internationale"
And several more internationally recognized breed organizations.
Please note that these registration services ARE Reputable. But they have similar named unreputable registration service companies (many with the same initials) in the other box. This is because the unreputable companies are trying to gain name recognition with a confusing, extremely similar name.


Also, NEVER buy from a breeder who has multiple registrations on their pet (such as a combination of any of the aforementioned no name registrations and/or a combination between any of these no named registrations and an AKC registration). This does NOT make a dog more valuable, more special, etc. but instead should send up red flags such as "why does the breeder feel they need to register the dog with more then one registry?". There is no need to be registered with these other registries, the dog is not more valuable or more unique but instead it just shows that the breeder didn't really know what they were doing, or that the breeder feels a threat of loosing their privileges with AKC.

*Please note that dogs in the USA that were imported would probably be duel registered with both the AKC and their original country, so this is an exception to the rule above.*

The quickest rule of registries to help remember what is and is not reputable: If it's not AKC, double check what it really is and what it really means. If in or near Canada, it should be CKC (Canadian).

In association with the above bullets, there have been many people say that papers aren't important, or some have asked " why is registration important on a pet? " Even if a puppy is being bought as a pet, if your going to pay for a puppy from a breeder, it should be registered with a reputable registry. Why? Because being registered with a reputable, closed registry (AKC) ensures that the dog is from a line of dogs that represent the breed accurately. Dogs from known, true parentage are predictable in size, conformation, temperament, and physical and psychological traits known to the breed. Dogs from open registries (like those listed in the Unreputable registries table, like ConKC and APRI) lack that predictability. Granted, there is the possibility of good and bad in both, and a line is only as honest as it's breeder, it does however present you a security that you are getting what you are paying for. Many registries (open ones, like ConKC and APRI) will accept ANY dog, with the ease of doing it all online, with minimal questions, fees, etc., with no proof that the dog is actually even close to breed standard. Buying a dog from ConKC or APRI lineage is the same as a gamble or roll of the dice, with no guarantee that the dog will even mature to look like or act like a Chihuahua. By simply filling in a form on the computer and paying a fee you are allowed to register any animal without any solid proof as to it's true paternity. AKC on the other hand, does do kennel inspections, DNA testing, and required breeders to follow a strict code of record keeping. Many breeders who have not been able to meet AKC's strict guidelines, loose their privileges and move on to the lower cost, no fuss registries like ConKC. If they're cost-cutting on the price of the registration, what else are they cost-cutting on pertaining to the animals' well being (vaccinations, health care, etc.)? Unfortuneately there are a very few bad breeders that do register their dogs with AKC, this is why it is so important to do your research and check all of the other signs to determine if the breeder you are talking to is the right breeder for you.

  • Don't be fooled by a breeder who promotes their dog's DNA numbers or says their dogs are "DNA certified." This does not mean anything other then the stud dog has bred more then 3 litters in a year or 7 or more litters in a lifetime. This does not make the puppies more valuable or more important. DNA also does not prove that a dog is purebred, it only proves that the parents are who they are claimed to be. This is not a guarantee as to a dog's pedigree. For example, DNA proves that Belle is really out of Gordita and Taco, but it cannot prove that Belle is a completely purebred Chihuahua. Currently there is not enough background information available to prove the genetics of dogs from the past, only dogs of the present. A breed is only as honest as the breeders that form it. However, we do commend the AKC for starting this database and it will eventually grow into a very useful tool to help keep future breeders honest. This is definitely a lot more than the no-name registries are doing to ensure that purebred dogs remain purebred.

  • A reputable breeder may or may not show their dogs. Just because they show does not mean they are reputable. And a breeder that does not show does not mean that they are irreputable. Showing does not make someone more or less knowledgeable, reputable, or concerned for their animals. Technically, Anyone can enter any dog into an AKC class as long as it is registered (with full AKC registration) but unless it meets standards, it will have a hard time competing to it's championship. Showing a dog was originally intended to prove the breed-ability of that animal towards the breed's written standard, but now days there are many politics involved and many times its a "who knows who" world, not which dog is best. You will also find that every judge, along with every breeder, will have a different opinion as to what is the perfect Chihuahua. Again, do your homework and choose what you feel is right for you and your family. Let a knowledgeable breeder help you in making this decision.

  • Just because someone claims to show does NOT always mean they are what they seem to be. Anyone can say their dogs have such and such title or breeding/pedigree but is it the truth? Below is a link to InfoDog and AKC that you can check out these supposed ribbons, points, and titles, and anyone can even pay for a pedigree or award record on any dog in question.

    The color of a ribbon has a meaning-certain colors are used in pointed AKC sanctioned shows, other colors are used for AKC sanctioned fun matches where no points are awarded (fun shows are basically a practice show, for the puppies to learn how the are supposed to act in the future, sanctioned shows). When you see a bunch of ribbons on a person's page, they may look impressive , but take the time to question what they really mean.

    A Blue ribbon means the dog took 1st place in their class in a pointed show where dogs can earn titles and points. This means the dog has won, but the class could have 1 dog, or 10, either way they will get a blue ribbon if they win. Red ribbons are second in the class and Yellow ribbons are third in the class. White ribbons are sometimes given the fourth place in the class. A Purple ribbon means the dog took Winner's dog or Winner's bitch-meaning the best male or female of the breed in that show. The winner between these two is called Best of Winners and receives a Blue and White ribbon. A Purple and White ribbon means the dog took reserve winners dog or reserve winner's bitch -- meaning the second best dog or bitch in that breed. The dog that wins Best of Opposite Sex gets a Red and White ribbon. This is the dog that took runner up in the Best of Winner's competition. A Purple and Gold ribbon means the dog took Best of Breed. Best of breed is when the dog that wins Best of Winners goes against other Champion titled dogs of the same breed. From here they go to the group competition (for Chihuahuas, this would be Toy group) and then on to the best in show competition (if they win best of group.) The Best in Show ribbon is Red, White and Blue.

    As to other conformation ribbons, Pink ribbons are for 1st place in their class (which still could be 1 or 10 dog in the class) in an AKC sanction B fun match. The Orange ribbons are Best of Breed in an AKC sanction B fun match. Ribbons of a Brown/Maroon color are for Group in an AKC sanction B fun match. Fun matches are usually held before or after an AKC pointed show and are available for anyone to enter and no points or titles are awarded.

    The best way to find out this information and more is to look it up on Infodog (or other AKC dog show superintendent's sites) or AKC.

  • Just remember, it's a buyer beware world and everyone on the Internet is not as honest as they may appear to be. Buying a puppy is a lifetime commitment and not something to do on impulse. Do your research.
    You might want to check out Cindy's page on this topic as well

If you feel that you have useful information for people researching the purchase of an animal to be aware of that we may have missed on this page, please feel free to write us and let us know. We would then research the topic and then we will then consider adding it to this page when time allows.

This was created as an educational page and is based on our own personal opinions and/or observations throughout the years and/or surfing the Internet. This page was meant to help people looking for a reputable breeder by showing them things to look out for. It is up to each individual who reads this page to decide how to use this information. This page was written with Chihuahuas in mind although it may be very accurate for other toy breed companion dogs as well. It may or may not be applicable to other breeds. It is up to the reader to decide what is appropriate and applicable to a different breed of dog. This page was not written about any person in particular nor to "point fingers." If you wish to email me about your opinions on this site, then feel free to do so. All opinions are welcome. However, please be concise as to why you have a problem with my page as well as backing up your opinion with actual proof or reasons. Please do not write me to say "I don't like your page. It's all bologna" unless you plan to explain why you feel so. Also, I am a very busy person so please don't expect a response right away, as it is not always convenient to quickly reply to emails that don't explain their viewpoints with valid arguments. I take all emails very seriously and take much time and effort in backing up my thoughts and/or opinions and would appreciate that you do the same when writing me.

The information included on this page is ©Animal Haus Kennel, c/o Robin Colley and is not to be copied, sold, edited, distributed, or reproduced in any way shape or form without express written permission from the site owner. The information included on this site is strictly the opinion of Animal Haus c/o Robin Colley. Feel free to link to our site ( or directly to this page ( if you would like, but do not post it somewhere and claim it as your own. Thank You!

It has recently been brought to my attention that several kennels have "borrowed" my buyer beware page, selectively removed the pieces that pointed themselves as irreputable, and proceeded to post it on their own web sites as their own works. This is a direct infringement on my copyrights. This page, as well as any segment you choose to steal *which is still copyright infringement*, is ©ROBIN COLLEY and not to be reproduced, PERIOD!