We love our tiny dogs, that much is true. And when it comes to purse-sized pups, the smaller the better. This is great news for the Chihuahua, who is naturally born small as a button. And recently, a new type of Chihuahua has hit the market, with breeders toting “teacup Chihuahuas” for sale at top dollar.
But for a dog that already doesn’t exceed six pounds, is “teacup” a term you should really be looking for in the breed? And if you do have your heart set on a Teacup Chihuahua, what are a few things you should know about this dog before investing?
That’s what we’re here to help you find out. Join us today as we take a closer look at the Teacup Chihuahua, the controversies behind breeding pint-sized pups, and how you can raise the happiest, healthiest dog possible.
The Teacup Chihuahua – A Breed Overview
A Teacup Chihuahua is a smaller version of the purebred Chihuahua.
Size: Under 3 Pounds
Lifespan: 14 – 16 Years
Health Issues: Patellar luxation, cranial soft spots, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, bone fragility, bone development issues, cleft palate, hypoglycemia, collapsed trachea, dental disease, syringomyelia, Progressive disease, fungal infections, demodectic mange, and allergies.
Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Bossy, Funny, Independant
Breed Clubs: No major breed clubs accept or endorse the breeding and selling of smaller than average dog breeds like the Teacup Chihuahua.
1. The Teacup Chihuahua Is Not A True Size Variation Of Chihuahua
Teacup Chihuahuas are not an accepted size variation of Chihuahuas.
If you scanned the above breed overview of the Teacup Chihuahua, then you may have already gathered that this dog is not truly a size variation of Chihuahua at all. In fact, average sized Chihuahuas are already considered the world’s smallest dog, with most of these dogs not exceeding six pounds at their largest.
While there are breeds that come in a few different size varieties like the Poodle, the American Eskimo, and the Dachshund, the Chihuahua is not one such canine.
That said, there are no size minimums when it comes to the Chihuahua. Still, most experts do discourage breeders from purposefully breeding dogs smaller than they are supposed to be.
In the Teacup Chihuahua’s case, these dogs are generally described as being smaller than three pounds once full grown.
2. You Should Avoid Going Through Breeders Promoting The Selling Of Teacup Chihuahua Puppies
Breeders promoting teacup chihuahuas may not be responsibly breeding and selling, so be careful.
Since Chihuahuas are already notoriously small, they can be prone to a number of serious health issues related to their size. Breeding dogs who are supposed to be even smaller than average can lead to even more complications that can be both devastating and costly to potential owners.
In order to purposefully breed Teacup Chihuahuas, breeders would need to seek out smaller than average sized Chihuahua dogs and breed them in the hopes of producing smaller puppies. Unfortunately, since smaller Chihuahuas can be more prone to serious health issues, breeding two smaller than average Chihuahuas increases the risk to their litters.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid going through breeders or sellers who are promoting their Chihuahua puppies as Teacup Chihuahuas.
That said, we should note that it is possible for Chihuahuas to be born into litters of otherwise healthy and average-sized puppies. If you understand the risks associated with smaller than normal sized Chihuahua dogs and you still feel you want one, you can always look for a breeder and request the smallest puppy of the litter.
To ensure you go through reputable sources, remember that certified Chihuahua breeders will be able to provide you with certificates of health proving their puppies have been screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
Responsible breeders will also not promote or sell “Teacup Chihuahuas” at a higher price and will be upfront about the potential health issues of buying smaller than average puppies.
3. Teacup Chihuahua Dogs Have a List Of Health Issues You Should Be Aware Of
Due to their size, the teacup chihuahua may be more susceptible to serious health issues.
Are you considering a Teacup Chihuahua? If so, it’s vital you also consider the potential health issues that come along with owning such a small breed.
Remember, on average, full-grown Chihuahuas are still considered the smallest dog breed in the world, and they typically don’t grow to weigh over six pounds. Even average size Chihuahua dogs can be prone to a number of health issues, including:
- Luxating Patella
- Tracheal Collapse
- Dental Disease
- Respiratory Issues
- Heart Disease
- Spinal Injuries
- Bladder and Kidney Stones
For Teacup Chihuahuas, some of the above health issues can be even more prevalent and severe, with added health concerns owners should be aware of. These issues include but are not limited to:
- Bone Fragility
- Bladder Issues
- Cranial Soft Spots
- Patellar Luxation
- Cleft Palate
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
- And Neurological Problems Including Syringomyelia and Spina Bifida
Smaller dogs like the Teacup Chihuahua can also be more sensitive to certain weather, and will often need to wear doggy sweaters when it is extra cold outside. You should also keep an eye on them if the weather is particularly warm, and ensure they are always provided cool, fresh drinking water, shade, and a safe space to cool down or warm up inside your home.
Regardless of their health issues and tiny size, even Teacup Chihuahuas have been known to be relatively long-lived when properly cared for and when obtained through a reputable source. In fact, many Teacup Chihuahuas have been known to live between 12 and 15 years, with some living as long as 20 years under the right conditions.
Still, your Teacup Chihuahua’s lifespan should fall in line with his quality of life, so it’s important to ensure that all of his years are spent as happy and healthy as possible.
To ensure your Teacup Chihuahua is living his best life, try and ensure he is properly exercised, fed, trained, socialized and groomed.
4. There Are Two Versions of The Teacup Chihuahua Dog
The deer head chihuahua, pictured above, is named so for his resemblance to a newborn deer.
Did you know there are two different types of Chihuahua and that only one of those types are accepted by most major breed associations? That’s right, these two types include the Apple Head Chihuahua and the Deer Head Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua pictured above is known as the Deer Head Chihuahua, and this is one of the more common types of chihuahua seen. However, this is not the most widely accepted for show and by most major breed clubs.
In fact, the Deer Head Chihuahua, named for his resemblance to a young deer, does not meet the breed standard, according to the American Kennel Club.
The Apple Head Chihuahua, on the other hand, does. The Apple Head Chihuahua has a more rounded forehead, wider eyes and a more protruding skull that is shaped like – you guessed it – an apple.
But that doesn’t mean you should count either of these Chihuahua types out. One of the most famous Chihuahuas in America was a Deer Head Chihuahua named Gidget, who spent several years starring in Taco Bell commercials throughout the United States. Other Apple-Head and Deer Head Chihuahuas found a name for themselves in Hollywood including a combination of types that starred in movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Legally Blonde.
Along with coming in both a Deer Head and Apple Head variety, Teacup Chihuahua dogs are also available in different coat types. You can find Chihuahuas in multiple colors and with smooth, short coats or long, wavy coats.
5. Teacup Chihuahuas Are Great Apartment Dogs But They Can Be Difficult To Housetrain
Due to their very small size, teacup chihuahuas do well in small apartments.
Thanks to their small size, Teacup Chihuahuas make for wonderful apartment dogs. They require very little routine exercise and can often have their exercise needs met indoors.
However, there are pros and cons to owning a Teacup Chihuahua in an apartment. If not properly trained and socialized, Teacup Chihuahuas can become yappy and destructive. They are also notoriously difficult to house train, as their small size makes it difficult for owners to find accidents and clean them up.
Like all dogs, when a Teacup Chihuahua smells urine inside, he will continue to go to the bathroom inside.
Luckily, there is a remedy for this that seems to work quite well. Teacup Chihuahuas can be easily trained to go to the bathroom on potty pads.
Hartz Home Protection Potty Pads
One of our favorite brands of potty pads for small breed dogs is Hartz. These pads are odor eliminating and have a lavender scent people will love. They are also highly absorbent, and are made with gel that keeps the potty from leaking off the edges of the pad.
With a Teacup Chihuahua, you will likely be able to use one pad multiple times before you need to throw it out and replace it with a fresh one, making this an affordable option for house training and accident reduction.
To train your Teacup Chihuahua to do his business on a potty pad, we suggest buying training pads that are specially scented to encourage your dog to use them.
We also suggest not allowing your Teacup Chihuahua to have free reign of the house until you trust that he is trained to use his pad or to go potty outside. During training, it’s a good idea to invest in a puppy playpen, baby gate or crate where your Teacup Chihuahua can spend time when you are unable to keep an eye on him.
We should also note that, due to their very small size, Teacup Chihuahuas should not be left outside alone on their own. They can easily escape through small spaces and may even be seen as prey by larger predators.
6. The Teacup Chihuahua Will Often Have One Favorite Person In The Home, and May Not Tolerate Children
Since they are so small, teacup chihuahuas can be more easily prone to serious injury.
If you’re looking for a family dog that will enjoy playing with kiddos and other pets, don’t look for a Teacup Chihuahua. Chihuahuas in general tend to gravitate towards one specific person, and it’s not uncommon for them to be a one-person dog.
Not only that, but Teacup Chihuahuas are incredibly small and more susceptible to serious injury. For this reason amongst others, they also don’t seem to tolerate youngsters very well.
In fact, some studies have suggested that Chihuahuas are some of the most aggressive breeds, though this is often overlooked due to their minute size and their inability to cause serious damage.
Still, Chihuahua teeth are sharp and they can draw blood or cause a painful and scary bite, which can be traumatizing to a small child. Furthermore, a Chihuahua who does bite or become aggressive is often stressed, which isn’t good for the dog either.
If you do have children in the home and want to invest in a Chihuahua, we recommend waiting until your children are older and able to understand how to respectfully and gently interact with the family dog.
We also suggest monitoring children around your Teacup Chihuahua and teaching them how to safely pick up and put down their tiny companion.
Avoid leaving very small children or more playful, rambunctious pets alone with a Teacup Chihuahua. Remember, while small, Chihuahuas pack a big personality and may not realize how fragile they are. It is not uncommon for Teacup Chihuahuas to engage in play or activities that could cause them to become injured.
7. Teacup Chihuahua Dogs Are Very Easy To Groom
Grooming a small chihuahua is simple thanks to their small size.
Although Teacup Chihuahuas are not considered hypoallergenic, they are also not very heavy shedders. Of course, their shedding can vary depending on the time of year and the type of coat your particular Teacup Chihuahua has.
Long-haired Teacup Chihuahuas require a bit more grooming maintenance than short hair Chihuahuas, as their coats are more prone to matting and tangles.
Still, regardless of their hair length or type, a Teacup Chihuahua should be brushed at least once a week to remove loose hair and keep their skin and coat healthy. They will also need their ears routinely checked and cleaned to keep them free of debris and buildup that could cause ear infections and their nails should be trimmed often to keep them from growing too long and breaking.
Like all dogs, the Teacup Chihuahua requires occasional bathing. However, it’s important not to overabathe a Teacup Chihuahua as this can lead to an increase in skin issues, shedding and dry spots.
Bathing should be done just once every few weeks unless your Teacup Chihuahua gets into something particularly nasty and needs to be washed.
When washing your Teacup Chihuahua, be sure to use warm water and a dog-safe shampoo and conditioner that is designed for dogs with sensitive skin and dogs who can be prone to skin allergies.
We also suggest paying special attention to your Teacup Chihuahua’s teeth. Like many small breeds, Teacup Chihuahuas can be prone to dental disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other seriou issues.
To prevent this, keep up with routine dental care and invest in a dog safe toothbrush and toothpaste that you feel comfortable using every day.
8. Though Small, The Teacup Chihuahua Needs Routine Exercise
Teacup Chihuahuas enjoy being outside and going on walks, though their exercise needs can be met in other ways.
One of the reasons Teacup Chihuahuas are such excellent companions for older seniors and retirees is that their exercise needs can be met in a variety of ways. While Teacup Chihuahuas will enjoy being outside and having free playtime, sniff time and walk time, they can also be routinely exercised indoors.
Cholegift Soft Mesh Small Dog Harness
Since the Teacup Chihuahua can be more susceptible to tracheal collapse due to his small size, it’s very dangerous to walk him on a collar and leash alone. We recommend investing in a small dog harness that reduces pulling and doesn’t put pressure on your dog’s sensitive throat.
The above dog harness by Cholegift is made for small dogs like the Teacup Chihuahua and is designed to fit snugly and comfortably, making walking safer and more fun for everyone.
For most Teacup Chihuahuas, routine exercise will include 30 minutes of activity a day. This activity can include a brisk walk or slow stroll, or even a game of fetch indoors. Teacup Chihuahuas can also have their exercise needs met simply by following you around the house throughout the day, though it is important they get out now and then.
Remember, when you do let your Teacup Chihuahua outside, be sure you are there to monitor him to ensure he is safe.
9. Teacup Chihuahua Dogs Need Early Training and Socialization To Grow Up Happy and Healthy
Chihuahuas can grow up to be bossy and temperamental, especially without proper socialization.
Since the Chihuahua breed has been found to be one of the more aggressive dogs in the canine kingdom, it goes without saying that training and socialization are going to be incredibly important.
However, before you label the Teacup Chihuahua as a miniature devil dog, remember that there are varying factors that go along with this dog’s overall temperament. As a small dog, the Teacup Chihuahua only has so much he can do to protect himself. He is also much more fragile than many other dog breeds, and thus has a biological and instinctual drive to keep himself safe.
With that noted, even the most well-trained and socialized Chihuahua can be prone to growling, nipping and fear-based aggressive tendencies if put in particularly scary situations.
You can help mold what your Teacup Chihuahua perceives as “scary”, and this is where socialization comes in. Properly socializing your Chihuahua will include introducing him to as many new positive experiences as possible at an early age.
Doing so will not only help reduce aggressive tendencies, but it can also help reduce, bathroom acciends, and other destructive behavior brought on by anxiety.
Training your Chihuahua will also help reduce anxiety and destructive behaviors, especially when done consistently and when you use positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise.
Remember, Teacup Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs who, while stubborn, will often enjoy learning new tricks and cues and showing off for their favorite people.
10. A Teacup Chihuahua Needs A Specific Diet For Small-Breeds
Smaller dogs tend to have a higher metabolism than larger breeds, meaning they need specific diets.
The Teacup Chihuahua, while small, can be prone to obesity. This can be a serious problem for smaller dogs who are already susceptible to bone fragility, spinal issues and heart disease, and this makes it that much more important that your Teacup Chihuahua eats the right diet.
Smaller dogs like the Teacup Chihuahua tend to have higher metabolisms than large breed dogs, so they do best on a dog food that is specified for their size and weight. You can find breed specific dog food, or you can simply look for a dog food specified for toy or teacup sized dogs.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Small Dog Breed
Wellness Complete is a dog food brand we know and trust because it is made with all natural ingredients and free of fillers and additives. We especially like the above dog food for small dogs like the Teacup Chihuahua because it is high in protein and carbs that your dog will need in order to thrive.
The above dog food also helps promote healthy skin and coat, as well as brain development. Best of all, it reduces skin issues that are caused by food allergies.
The other most common types of dog food owners choose to feed their Teacup Chihuahuas include wet dog food, dry dog food and raw dog food. Some owners also opt to make their own dog food at home, though it is important to ensure you are not leaving anything out that your Chihuahua needs in order to thrive.
There are pros and cons to the different types of dog foods available, but it’s difficult to say which is best for your unique dog.
If you’re not sure which kind of dog food would be best for your Teacup Chihuahua, you can always speak with your veterinarian.
11. Teacup Chihuahua Dogs May Not Get Along With Other Pets
While they can get along well with other pets when they are raised with them, it’s also not uncommon for chihuahuas to prefer being the only dog in the home.
Chihuahuas can get along well with other dogs when raised with them. However, there are many cases where Teacup Chihuahuas prefer to be the only dog in the home. They can have a tendency to be territorial and bossy with other dogs, so it’s important to monitor them and work to nip problematic behaviors in the bud.
If you do plan on raising multiple Teacup Chihuahuas or a Teacup Chihuahua in a multi-dog household, it’s a good idea to work early with your dogs on reducing resource guarding and ensuring you do not allow larger, more playful dogs to play too rough with your Teacup Chihuahua.
12. The Teacup Chihuahua Is More Independent Than You Might Think
Chihuahuas do love their family, but they also enjoy alone time.
As a breed, the Chihuahua is the national dog of Mexico. In their early years, they were believed to be prized companions of the Aztec. However, after the conquest of Cortez, the Chihuahuas almost found themselves extinct.
Historians believe that these tiny canines used their wit and charm to survive in rural villages in the Jungle, which could be the very reason Chihuahua dogs of today are as scrappy, resilient and plucky as they are.
These attributes make them more low-maintenance dogs and wonderful companions for busier dog-lovers or for those who are not as active.
Chihuahuas are often fine with being left to their own devices, and are masters at keeping themselves entertained. Of course, that’s not to say that they don’t need your time and attention.
Teacup Chihuahuas are highly affectionate and will enjoy snuggling, playtime and being the apple of your eye.
Is The Teacup Chihuahua Right For You? Here’s How To Decide
Before deciding if the teacup chihuahua is right for you, it’s best to analyze your lifestyle.
The Teacup Chihuahua isn’t a size variation that’s truly available when it comes to the Chihuahua breed, and this is something to keep in mind when you’re deciding if you want one of these tiny pups.
Remember, getting dogs that are smaller than they should be could lead to a higher risk of potential and costly health issues down the road.
However, it is possible to find Teacup Chihuahuas through reputable breeders, though these puppies will usually just be considered the smaller puppies in the litter.
Instead of looking deliberately for a Teacup Chihuahua, experts recommend you look for a reputable source like a qualified breeder or shelter to provide you with a healthy Chihuahua puppy or rescue dog.
It’s also important to ensure your lifestyle is conducive to raising a happy and healthy Chihuahua, and to ensure you have time to commit to training, exercise and socialization for this unique and intelligent breed.
So, what do you think about the Teacup Chihuahua now that you know more about him? Do you think this breed is right for you? Leave us your thoughts on this clever canine in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.