About 20 of some 50 dogs up for adoption at the Sacramento SPCA are Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes.

While Chihuahuas are undesirable to some, and the little dogs with the big personalities might not be for everyone, they are not without their fair share of canine charm.

One reason for the large proportion of Chihuahuas in shelters is simply their popularity.Because there are more Chihuahuas out there, more end up at the shelter, said Nicole Cacy, rescue coordinator.

Like any dogs, Chihuahuas can suffer from behavior problems, and owners of small dogs are less likely to spend time training them, as it does not seem as crucial as it is with bigger dogs, whose size tends to magnify the consequences of behavior problems.

However, seven Chihuahuas encountered at the SPCA shelter Friday proved to be affectionate, well-mannered and all-around adorable.

Belinda stood out. The 15-year-old almost seemed to have too much energy. As people passed in front of her kennel she barked and bounced up and down three feet in the air like a dog a quarter of her age. But once out of the kennel, she walked nicely on the leash and accepted treats very daintily.

Due to their small size, Chihuahuas may tend to be nervous about unpredictable situations, so a number of their profiles recommend homes without young children, but otherwise they adapt nicely to multi-pet households, said Dawn Foster, director of marketing and communication at the Sacramento SPCA.

Cacy said she heard somewhere that there are two kinds of people: those who like small dogs, and those who don't know they like small dogs yet.

The Sacramento SPCA is the perfect place to test out that theory.