Photo: Angel and Shaya, 8 and 9 years of age. These two "siblings" were adopted out together by NZ Chihuahua Rescue after their elderly owner entered care. Both had their vaccinations bought up to date, blood-testing and dentals from the Trust. We also found out that Shaya suffered an untreated liver condition. Both dogs are now happy and healthy, living with their new family in the North Canterbury area.

We understand that there may be many reasons why you (or someone you know) can no longer care for their Chihuahua, or Chihuahua cross.  It is important for you to know that we are not here to judge your reasons and we understand it is often a very emotional process to let go, regardless of the circumstances. We are always happy to assist and guide you and your furry one through the re-homing process.

We are also happy to work privately with Breeders or Exhibitors of Chihuahuas who are looking to re-home ex-breeding or ex-showing dogs. Some of our Trustees come from dog-showing backgrounds and understand that once retired, dogs may need to be placed in a loving forever pet home.

We also happily accept dogs or puppies with special needs and there is no age limit on the Chihuahuas we accept! We have had dogs who are over ten years of age be placed in their loving forever homes.

When dogs are placed in our care we provide behavioral rehabilitation, medical treatment, de-sexing, up to date vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, micro-chipping and registration on the NZ Companion Animal Register and Council registration for each dog. Once they are fit to be adopted, we vet the potential applicants and make sure that the very best forever homes are chosen. 

Feel free to contact us for a no-obligations discussion on the process. Your details and information are kept privately within our team. Please also let us know if you do not wish for the reasons for re-homing to be advertised, or the dog's name to be changed. If you are already sure that you wish to re-home your dog, please see the below steps on how to.

* Please take a look at our "success stories" tab above for reviews on our services, stories of our rescues and others' experiences with our Rescue.


Step 1:
Please fill out the below form should you wish for assistance in finding a suitable new home for a dog. This form provides us with all of the information we require to place the dog in the best possible forever or foster home. Please be as honest as possible in terms of any medical treatments the dog may need or behavioral quirks. This does not change our commitment to assisting you! We simply need as much information as possible to be able to pair the dog with a suitable foster carer and/or address any needs they may have. P

Please email the form to us at

Step 2:

Once your form is received, our Managing Trustee will then be in contact with you to discuss and make travel arrangements.

If you wish to proceed, we can then make arrangements for pick up of the dog, or flights if necessary.


What fees are involved?
There is no fee to surrender a dog to the Trust. No matter what kind of medical care he or she requires. We do not charge former owners. If able, you are more than welcome to make a donation to the Trust at any time. We do appreciate contributions to transport costs (if out of Canterbury) and you are able to do so.

Why do you place them into foster care? Can they go directly to a home?

Here at NZCR we like to get to know the dogs, their quirks and personality traits and any issues that need to be attended to. In order to find their very best match, we get to know their personalities. This takes time so we have one of our team members  foster them and set their "adopter requirements". We also complete any medical care - de-sexing, dentals etc. while dogs are in foster so that once dogs are adopted all their health issues have been attended to. We also work on training and behavioral matters while dogs are in foster care. Our fosters are a team of Chihuahua-knowledgeable experts.  any  of our foster carers are experienced animal behaviorists and trainers.  We also have fosters who have fostered Chihuahuas internationally for  decades and are well-versed in sorting out any unsavory behaviors.  

On occasion, dogs are adopted by fosters who fall in love with them - we have had many "foster fails" as they are called.We are able to place them with people looking for a dog from the outset also, once they have been assessed by one of our team members.

Will I get updates?
We are happy to update you while the dog is in foster care and let you know once they have been adopted. However, we understand if you would prefer we did not do so also and sometimes former owners request we don't contact them and let them know. Please let us know your preference and what suits you best.

Can you keep my details and reasoning private?

Absolutely! Former owner details are not released to anyone outside of our team without consent, but we are also happy to keep the reasons for surrender confidential. Please let us know your preference.

How quick is the process?

We try to have the dog placed with our lovely foster within a couple of days of contact from the former owner. We understand many would like to get the process over with quickly. In terms of flights we usually do these Wednesdays and Saturdays (when our Trustees are available to collect from the airport)

Can I talk to someone at NZCR about rehoming - I'm not sure?

Absolutely! please email us and a Trustee will be in contact with you for a no-obligations chat about our Rescue and the process. We are happy to answer any queries you may have.

Do you take on more than one dog at a time?

Yes, we have homed siblings prior. If this is your wish, please let our Managing Trustee know who can discuss this with you.

If the dogs are great together we seek homes for them both to go to. We only separate dogs if it is best for their mental or physical well-being.

How do I get the dog(s) to the Trust?

Our Trustees and several of our experienced foster carers and our medical team are located in Canterbury. For this reason we often opt to fly dogs to us down here, logistically it is easier to be able to meet and assess the dog in person. We have also had dogs make their way to us via the pet bus prior. Both AirNZ and the PetBus are very experienced in dealing with anxious animals and rescue dogs and do all they can to ensure the trip is not only safe, but as comfortable as possible.

We often opt to fly dogs as this is a quick one hour flight in a safe crate and then the journey is over. We work with Move My Pet (pet exporters) and AirNZ who take special care of our rescue dogs. We have had great success in flying dogs to Canterbury and have done so with over 12 dogs now, all arrived safe and sound.

We understand it may be difficult to send dogs off on a plane but it is an easy process. We book the flights through Move My Pet after liaising with you as to the best date and time. Once booked, all you need to do is note the time to be at the airport, make your way to the Air NZ counter and provide the flight details. If the dog does not come with it's own crate, we will have one ready for you. Vet books can also be handed to staff who will secure them to the crate. It is very simple, stress-free and easy. Dogs are not aware they are being flown and it is a much less stressful option then having them driven as it is much quicker. We are able to organize this option via PetBus also, if this is your preference.

We understand it may be difficult to "let go" of the dog and have it move islands but we assure you, we are experienced in dealing with all types of rescue dogs and will take great care of them. We can also provide updates as noted above.

Can I see the dog when it goes to a new Adopter? Will you pass on my details?

We generally advise that former owners "step away" for a little bit and allow the dog to create a stable bond with their new owners and family. To keep seeing their old owner at this time confuses them and may hinder their ability to develop a stable, safe connection with their Adopter. We can ask Adopters to email updates and pictures though and have had many arrangements like this occur in the past. We understand a former owner's need to be certain they made the right decision and this can assist in that process.

What do I send with the dog when I surrender it?

We ask that any vet books and council rego tags are sent. Anything else that you would like to send is fine. We can supply the dog with bedding, leads, collars/harnesses etc. It does help if you let us know the food they eat so we can get similar food so as not to upset their tummy with any changes.

I am going away for a set period of time, can you foster my dog?

Sorry, we only take in dogs that have been surrendered, need assistance and/or re-homing. We have limited foster placements and need to ensure these are retained for the dogs that do not have a family or owner.

I am concerned about the welfare of a dog, what do I do?

Sorry, we are not an enforcement agency. We are only interested in taking in and assisting dogs to be re-homed.

If you have any concerns about the welfare of any animal please contact your local SPCA and Animal Control Department.