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10 Things You Need To Know About Teacup Chihuahuas

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Teacup chihuahuas are known for their small size and often look like puppies their whole life! Considering adopting a dog? Read these 10 things you should know about teacup chihuahuas.

Chihuahua in a teacup - facts about teacup chihuahuas text

Teacup Chihuahuas: Fact Vs Fiction

We’ll break down the myths around this classification of Chihuahua so that you can weigh all of the pros and cons before you find a teacup chihuahua for sale.

Chihuahua owners love all things small, and no dog is smaller than a teacup chihuahua. They are sometimes referred to as micro chihuahuas or mini chihuahuas!

These special dogs often look like puppies their entire lives, and some teacup chihuahuas may never grow larger than the palm of your hand.

Teacup chihuahuas do unfortunately suffer more health problems than standard chihuahuas due to their size. They also have shorter lifespans.

teacup chihuahua peeking out on plaid couch

What Is a Teacup Chihuahua?

“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 mini chihuahua that is smaller than average.

You may also hear a breeder call a teacup chihuahua, a miniature chihuahua, mini toy 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 its bigger siblings, so the chihuahua lifespan may vary between types.

Teacup chihuahua puppies are usually runts from their litter. Sometimes, teacup puppies are the result of breeding two runts together. Teacup chihuahua 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

How Big Do Teacup Chihuahuas Get?

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 full grown teacup chihuahuas indeed look like miniature chihuahuas for their entire lives. Chihuahuas are full-grown by eight months to a year old. If your 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.

Are They Prone To Health Issues?

They 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 chis 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, 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 they face include:

fawn tea cup chihuahua in coffee cup

How Long Do Teacup Chihuahuas Live?

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

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

If the chi is the result of two runts, the teacup chihuahua lifespan could be even shorter.

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

Characteristics of a Mini Chihuahua

A teacup chihuahua can have either short or long hair. Even though these dogs 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 surprisingly fit into a teaspoon! She was often labeled “teaspoon chihuahua”.

tan and black long hair teacup chihuahua in green flower cup

Should You Adopt a Teacup Chihuahua?

The decision to adopt a 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, they do come at a price. Health issues can stack up quickly.

That said, any 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 a teacup chihuahua? Let’s break down a few reasons below to help you decide.

They Are a Royal And Loyal Dog Breed

They have unique personalities and run the gamut between quirky and energetic to goofy and diva-like.

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.

Loud But Proud Dog Breed

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.

teacup chihuahua laying on back with tongue sticking out

Chihuahuas Are Courageous And Protective

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.

What Is The Difference Between a Teacup Chihuahua And a Standard Chihuahua?

A teacup 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.

If you’re interested in more chihuahua facts, check out our main post that showcases them all!
Be sure to also check out these adorable sweaters that will fit tiny chihuahuas.

Jacqui

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.

Tammy

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.

Cathy

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Yes you have been very lucky Jacqui!

Lisa

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.

Cathy

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!

Shelly

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.

Cathy

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.

Cathy

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.

Charlene

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.

Cathy

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.