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Teacup Chihuahua Facts

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facts about teacup chihuahuas


Are you considering adopting a teacup Chihuahua? Before you do, there are some things that you need to know.

We’ll break down the myths around this classification of Chihuahua so that you can weigh all of the pros and cons before you buy.

Chihuahua owners love all things small, and no dog is smaller than a teacup Chihuahua. These special dogs often look like puppies their entire lives.

Some teacup Chihuahuas may never grow larger than the palm of your hand.

But unfortunately, teacup Chihuahuas come at a price. They suffer more health problems than standard Chihuahuas. They also have shorter lifespans.

Check out our main post that showcases all our chihuahua facts articles!

teacup chihuahua peeking out on plaid couch


“Teacup” is not an official breed or type of Chihuahua. Breeders use the term to describe any tiny Chihuahua. It is a catch-all phrase used to describe any Chihuahua that is smaller than average.

You may also hear a breeder call a teacup Chihuahua, a miniature chihuahua, tiny toy, or pocket size.

When a Chihuahua dog has puppies, she normally has a runt in the litter. Runts are smaller than their brothers and sisters; they may never look fully grown.

A miniature chihuahua is also more prone to health issues when compared to their bigger siblings, so the chihuahua lifespan may vary between types.

Teacup Chihuahuas are usually runts from their litter. Sometimes, teacup Chihuahuas are the result of breeding two runts together. Breeders coined the term “teacup” to make runts more appealing to buyers.

The Chihuahua Club of America condemns “teacup” as a misnomer. They find the term misleading, and they worry that it could trick unsuspecting buyers into spending more money than necessary.

Let’s take a closer look at some teacup chihuahua facts and other information to help you decide if this kind of chihuahua breed puppy would make a good addition to your family.

3 teacup chihuahuas in cups


Some teacup Chihuahuas may actually fit inside a teacup. Others may not. Because “teacup” isn’t a recognized classification of Chihuahua, its definition is up to the breeder or owner.

Some teacup Chihuahuas indeed look like puppies for their entire lives.

Chihuahuas are full-grown by eight months to a year old. If your Teacup Chi is a tiny dog on its birthday, it won’t be getting any bigger.

You can generally expect an adult teacup Chihuahua to weigh less than four pounds. They may never grow taller than six inches in height.

Height and weight benchmarks are subjective, though, so you may meet a teacup Chihuahua that doesn’t fit this description.

fawn tea cup chihuahua in coffee cup


Teacup Chihuahuas are prone to many health issues for such a tiny dog. In fact, their miniature size is exactly what predisposes them to so many health problems.

Standard Chihuahuas are at risk for several health conditions because of their small stature. Their tiny frames are delicate and easily injured.

When you breed two runts together to make a teacup Chihuahua, you multiply the number of potential health risks.

Bone fractures are common in teacup Chihuahuas. Teacup dogs of all breeds have increased rates of heart disease. Tiny bladders and tiny tummies predispose teacups to incontinence and hypoglycemia.

Other health problems that teacup Chihuahuas face include:

tan and black long hair teacup chihuahua in green flower cup


Standard Chihuahuas have an average lifespan of twelve to twenty years. Some Chihuahuas may live to be over 20 years old.

Unfortunately, the smaller the Chihuahua, the more likely it will have a shorter lifespan than average. Their tiny frames aren’t made to support long lives.

If your teacup Chihuahua is the result of two runts, its lifespan may be even shorter.

The Chihuahua Club of America warns that teacup Chihuahuas may need extra care to live long, healthy lives. Their health issues should be kept in check with regular vet visits.

teacup chihuahua laying on back


A teacup chihuahua can be either a short hair or long hair dog. Even though these chihuahuas are much smaller in size compared to other small dog breeds, they are still full of the same confidence and energy as larger chihuahua dogs that are full-sized.

Guinness World Records gave the title of smallest living dog to a female chihuahua back in 2013. She was only 3.8 inches tall and weighed less than an ounce at birth. Instead of fitting into a teacup, she actually fit into a teaspoon! So, she was often labeled, teaspoon chihuahua.


The decision to adopt a teacup Chihuahua pup is yours alone to make. Everyone wishes their dog could stay a puppy forever, and teacup Chihuahua owners get to live that dream.

However, teacup Chihuahuas come at a price. Health issues can stack up quickly.

That said, any teacup Chihuahua owner would tell you that they love their fur-baby with all of their heart. If you own a teacup Chihuahua, you know how special he or she is to you.

Even though teacup Chihuahuas require extra care, they make excellent pets for devoted, responsible owners.

Still on the fence about getting your own teacup chihuahua? Let’s break down a few reasons below to help you decide.


They have unique personalities and run the gamut between quirky and energetic to goofy and diva-like. However, no matter what, they are usually very affectionate with their owners. They love to snuggle up and create a strong bond with their family. They are extremely loyal and grow very attached to their owner.


Just like other types of chihuahua, the teacup variety is still just as lively and as excitable despite their very tiny size. To make up for their small stature, they do tend to bark a lot and very loudly, but a little training early on can help curb this habit.


Even though they are known as a miniature version of the world’s smallest dog, teacup chihuahuas are very courageous and are great protectors. Their barking will warn you of any danger there may be, and they are very alert.


A Teacup Chi is a very small dog breed even when compared to a standard chihuahua. For this reason, they aren’t the ideal dog for every family. They are known to have much shorter tempers and may end up being more aggressive than standard chihuahuas. Their care also requires much more time and effort on the part of the owner, which includes more responsibility because of their smaller size.

Be sure to check out these adorable sweaters that will fit tiny chihuahuas.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

My mama chi had 3 babies at 3 oz each. For 2 weeks they all grew at the same rate then Bella stopped gaining weight at the same rate as her brother and sister. She is 9 years old now and weighs 3 pounds.. She is healthy, jumps on and off the furniture better than my larger chis. She skips meals when she is not hungry but will eat as much as my other chis that weigh from 5 - 8 pounds. I have been very lucky with all 6 of my fur babies.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

@Jacqui, My Baby is a chi and Feist mix and she only weighs 3.5 pounds about 7 inches tall and she has definitely been a sick baby. She is 6 years old and has been hospitalized several times 😢. I had no idea she would be this tiny when I adopted her. love her dearly but she has had some big vet bills.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

Yes you have been very lucky Jacqui!


Saturday 11th of July 2020

I have 2 Chi’s Hugo & Pedro. Both very small and very adorable. Hugo is 1.7lbs Pedro 3.4lbs. I didn’t think there was any such thing as a teacup Chi, I thought they were just the runts. My Chi’s are very healthy though, I’m thankful to say. I don’t think I would ever have another dog breed, they both go everywhere with me.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

You are very lucky Lisa that your babies are healthy being as tiny as they are. I bet they are adorable!


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

I got my teacup chihuahua from an AKC breeder and he was the sickest puppy I’ve ever had. He had dysbiosis where he had diarrhea so severe he almost died, even after fecal transplants. We pulled him through that at the cost of $ 12,000 and then the mange showed up. I have better success finding healthy chihuahuas on Craigslist for a 5 th of the price. Sometimes the saying that you get what you pay for backfires.


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Oh my gosh though, he's so cute! As much as I love how cute and tiny "teacup" chis are, I'd be afraid to have one because of all of the health problems they tend to have.

Judy Patacchia

Saturday 31st of August 2019

What do you know about "Ridgeback Chihuahuas?" My purebred Chihuahua has a ridge that stands about 1\2" and goes 1\2 way down her back. This ridge never lays down. Her father had one also. It is very unique.

Rebecca Green

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

I was A vet tech in the 80s and the vet I worked for had one come in and he says it is not a good thing for this to be on a chihuahua. Said it could mean something wrong with the spinal cord. I hope none of these sweet have nothing but Love and good health. Chihuahua's have been my breed even when I was 5 or 6. I have never been without a small/tiny dog I have 3 now less then 7 lbs. and one chihuahua mix all are pound puppies.

Vicie Hinchee

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

I have a chocolate Chi that has the ridgeback.


Saturday 31st of August 2019

It's pretty rare. I have known of only one other chi that had a ridgeback. I don't think there's any info out there about them. At least I haven't been able to find any. Pretty cool!

Bonnie Sykes

Friday 30th of August 2019

I wanted to pass on some other information about any small dog that is called a teacup size. Even though that pup is very small when it first comes home with you, it may be what's referred to as a throwback and become normal sized as an adult. Breeders may try to get smaller sized dogs with every litter, but they can't guarantee that all of the pups will stay small. So, that is something to consider when paying a higher amount of money for what is supposed to be a teacup whatever. If, as the consumer, we were to stop demanding all of these changes that are done to dogs to make them cuter, wrinklyer, or extremely shortened snouts, the breeders would have to accept the more natural state of whatever breed they are breeding.


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

These are good points but as an owner of one of these little guys that's not the most important part. They require way more care than bigger dogs. They cannot get up and down by themselves, they need to be held most of the tim, they cannot go outside by themselves or when it's cold. They are so small they cannot protect themselves even against a cat. Mine is worth 10 times the work bit if you can't devote the time you shouldn't get one. They are a lot of work and should be left alone.


Saturday 31st of August 2019

Very good points Bonnie. I have 2 French bulldog "granddogs" and I see how they struggle to breathe everyday. It seems so ludicrous to try to breed dogs to have deformities.