Teacup Chihuahuas – Separating The Facts From The Fiction

Whether you currently own a Chihuahua or are thinking of owning one, you've probably heard people refer to some of them as "teacups" or similar names. Typically, owners and breeders may refer to their ultra-small Chihuahuas using terms such as these. This can undoubtedly be confusing giving the fact that the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognizes two varieties - the smooth and long-coat. So, what's the deal with names like teacup? Keep reading and we'll dive a little deeper into this subject, revealing the truth behind the teacup Chihuahua.

Teacup Chihuahua

Teacup Chihuahua in a Cup

If you previously thought a teacup Chihuahua was a certain breed, you aren't alone. There's a growing misconception regarding this terminology that confuses most of the general public. Since the term is used so frequently and by so many people, it's almost taken a life of its own, spreading like wildfire. As a result, people looking to add a new Chihuahua to their family may ask breeders or pet stores if they have any of the "teacup" breed. Instead of correcting them, the breeder will go along with the charade and try to complete a sale.

Confusing Names Used To Describe Chihuahuas

As a result of the poor information that's been floating around, numerous improper names are being used to describe Chihuahuas. This may not seem like a big issue, but it creates an ethical grey area for breeders and sellers who know the truth about Chihuahuas. For instance, if a potential customer comes to a breeder asking them for a teacup Chihuahua, the breeder may respond by saying she has them, but only for a price greater than the non-teacups. Basically, terms such as these can be used to mark up the price on Chihuahuas; therefore, making it more profitable for the breeders.

Here are some of the most common unofficial names used to describe Chihuahuas:

  • Teacup
  • Toy (ALL Chihuahuas are considered a Toy breed)
  • Tiny
  • Mini
  • Miniature
  • Pocket-sized
  • Micro
Brown Teacup Chihuahua

Brown Teacup Chihuahua

Teacup Chihuahuas - The Facts

While we don't know who the first person was to describe a Chihuahua as a teacup, the term picked up popularity and spread throughout the early 90s. It's important to note, however, that no major canine association has ever used the term to describe or otherwise categorize Chihuahuas. Either one or more owners likely referred to their unusually small Chihuahuas as teacups, thus starting the craze that's still going on today. When people hear the word teacup, they immediately assume it's a certain breed of Chihuahua, but unfortunately it's just some term that many people use to describe them.

The only people who benefit from confusing terms like teacup, toy and micro are the Chihuahua breeders. Now don't get me wrong - there are some breeders who will explain to the customer that teacups are just a term and not an officially recognized breed. Others, however, will use the public's ignorance as a tool to sell their small Chihuahuas at a higher price. For instance, someone sees or hears about a tiny teacup Chihuahua through and friend, so they scan through the newspapers in search of one. Because teacup Chihuahuas aren't an official breed, chances are they will have a hard time finding one. However, they may stumble upon a breeder offering them for a higher price than your typical Chihuahuas. The customer will likely agree to the price simply because they can't find these teacup Chihuahuas elsewhere.

The term "teacup Chihuahua" has been used so much that's almost become an unofficial way of referring to small Chihuahuas. When a breeder or pet shop refers to their Chihuahuas as teacups, they are either doing it to try and get more money for them, or they are just as confused about the terminology as everyone else. In any case, it's the breeder's responsibility to label their Chihuahuas correctly and not deceive their customers in any way, shape or form.

Teacup Chihuahua Puppy

Teacup Chihuahua Puppy

What You Should Know About Owning a Teacup Chihuahua

Because of the increased demand for so-called teacup Chihuahuas in recent years, breeders and pet shops are encouraged to try and breed their Chihuahuas to be as small as possible simply because they can make more money off them. The problem in doing so, however, is that small Chihuahuas are more susceptible to health problems such as hypoglycemia, diabetes, patellar luxation, heart disease, bone fractures, joint problems, etc. Does that mean you shouldn't get a teacup Chihuahua? It's really a personal choice that only you can make, but I would advise against purchasing one from breeders because of the fact that it encourages them to continue breeding them this size.

If you decide to own an unusually small Chihuahua, be sure you're willing to invest your time, energy and money into keeping them healthy. This means you'll have to take them to the vet for regular checkups to ensure nothing is seriously wrong, as well as treat any current conditions they are experiencing. It's all too common for people to make the decision to own a small Chihuahua without realizing just how much extra work goes into caring for them.

Something else that you'll need to be aware of with small Chihuahuas is that they are more likely to suffer from fractures and broken bones than normal-sized Chihuahuas. If you accidentally roll over on them in the bed, sit on them while they are laying on the couch (trust me, this happens) or even pick them up the wrong way, they may experience a bone fracture. Be extremely gentle and carefully around your new Chihuahua to prevent such catastrophes from happening. In addition, you'll need to keep larger pet dogs and cats away from your Chihuahua, as they may accidentally cause injury to your Chihuahua as well.

Hopefully this article will give you a better understanding on what teacup Chihuahuas are and what goes into owning one. Personally, I think small Chihuahuas are just as loving, affectionate and fun as normal-sized ones. However, they do require a bit more care and maintenance, so take this into account if you are thinking of owning a new Chihuahua.

Video of Cooper The Teacup Chihuahua

Here's a video I found on YouTube of an teacup Chihuahua named Cooper. This adorable black and white Chihuahua is full of spunk and ready to pounce at anything coming his way. Too cute!



77 Responses to “Teacup Chihuahuas – Separating The Facts From The Fiction”

  1. John says:

    I have a beautiful little 7 year old teacup. She also makes a noise almost like an old coffee pot she definitely has breathing problem and teeth problems as her mouth is to small to Chew most bones and dental sticks. She also has to get her butt popped quite a bit.

  2. Michelle says:

    I had a Chihuahua/pom choo choo that passed away two weeks ago my daughter bought me a (teacup) Chihuahua who is eight weeks old I hope to have as many years with peanut as I had with choo choo

  3. MIKE says:


  4. sarah peoples says:

    I have a teacup I have had her for a few years but she has started to make this weird noise and my mom doesn’t want to take her to the vet I don’t know what to do plz help me

    • Catriona says:

      Is it like a snorting noise. If so I think it’s completely normal. All of ours had it. Suppose to be in the breed.

    • Sallie Vinson says:

      Please take her. I had one she was only 2 3/4 lbs. My Angel had heart problems and she would get fluid build up on her lungs and heart. I lost her August 5, 2017. I am heart broken. She was like a child to me. She was on heart meds and fluid meds.

      • Teresa says:

        Wow just a few days ago? Lost mine almost 2 weeks ago. She was not yet five. Heart failure due to infection if heartworm before ever getting her. My pain is unreal. Literally feels like I have list a human kid. Just an innocent happy loving dog who was running in the grass moments before fainting. She woke up. But weak and passed from heart failure. My heart hurts

    • Pamela Bacon says:

      We took ours to the Vet and was told that Teacups are prone to having a collapsed trachia. It can be serious! We were told to calm her down, which we were already doing and if she passed out or had seizures to bring her in right away.

  5. Shirley Sadler says:

    I am getting a teacup tomorrow she told me to give her sugar every once in a while for Pixie almost died due to sugar getting low… said she is not a diabetic

  6. Dana Wetherell says:

    I would like to buy a teacup chihuahua.
    Please help me in my quest.


  7. Melinda smith says:

    I just rescued a little teacup Chihuahua who’s full of personality. I already rescued another dog, and they play well together. I just don’t know how much to feed the little one and how often.

    • Becky says:

      Very small meals 6 to 7 hrs apart 3x a day. Raw dog food product is healthy but they should also have chews to keep their teeth and gums healthy too.

  8. Chihuawhatwhat says:

    They are called teacups because of the craze of taking photos of them in teacups to show how small they are. So now people refer to them as teacup dogs or Chihuahuas.

    Thus spake doggiethustra.

  9. rockinroller says:

    We had a teacup Chihuahua “forced” on us in 2002 when as a puppy she was handed over to us from our son and then-fiance, having decided that a 2 month old puppy was
    not practical to have as they both pursued their educational paths in college.

    14 years later, “Daisy” is still being cared for (primarily by my wife, having that unique characteristic of feeling responsible for everything she’s been given). The dog was birthed in a dog mill somewhere down South when purchased by our son, and she definitely shows signs of that: skittish, unfriendly, not engaging with any humans, snarls at the sight of anyone, etc. In addition she appears somewhat deformed, as the arch of her back is curved. She’s lost some teeth in the past couple of years and eats primarily soft foods, etc. Basically her home is in our bathtub, in a dog bed/cushion, and is let out 3-4 times daily to do her business. We’ve reached retirement and want to travel, however traveling with her would not be practical. We should have made the decision (I should have forced the decision!) to give her to someone who’d be more interested in having a dog like that years ago, but it’s become almost imperative at this point. My wife would be heartbroken if we turned her over to a rescue facility, and I am not even sure if they’d take her, based on her age, teeth, etc.

    Just a long shot after Google-ing this site, but would anyone out there in the Detroit area be interested?

    • Deanna says:

      Has daisy found a home?

    • Deanna says:

      I really want this dog to get help. Living in a bathtub is no way to live. Would you consider hiring a trainer to help with temperament? If not, I’ll take her from you and get her the help she needs. Please contact me. deannapena7@sbcglobal.net.

    • Teresa says:

      I will take daisy!! Seriously I am the type to find happiness in caring for those who are unique as you have described. I am retired but in fifties so hope to be here a bit. I would love to care for her or any teacup. I know the breed is cruelly bred and they have hard lives. But I loved mine like a child

    • Stephanie says:

      That’s a sad story! Especially that the poor dog spends its life in the bathtub??!!! That’s cruelty!!! Any rescue team will take her!! Look some up on google!! Some even come from out of state to rescue dogs in bad situations! Please get ahold of a rescue group… they foster out to good homes and will keep senior’s too! Good luck and seek a rescue group please!!!!!

    • Beatrice Johnson says:

      If she’s not spay yet. Please please have that done before rehoming her. Many people want them to breed.Breeding that small is dangerous . Please check vet references.

    • Carly says:

      Has your girl found a home ?

  10. Evelyn says:

    I own a 2.1 pound teacup does anyone know where I can get clothes harness assesories even a very small doggie stroller

  11. Sammie says:

    I have 5 chis. My oldest is a handicapped he has a tumor in his brain and his intestion is around his spine. He wasn’t suppose to live past 1 yr. I spoil them badly if I am going to live my life to the fullest why take that from an animals that have feelings too. I have only paid for one and he was 20. And I think that was for them to get drugs that is sad. He was abused. I have never told anyone that my chis or as everyone around me says my kids tea cup or any other name besides my kids. I have never gone to a breeder because I feel that if you can show a dog love and compasion then you deserve to have that dog. I love my babies and I hope everyone does the same because they didn’t ask you to be there home and security you did. So love your animals because they love you.

  12. mandy says:

    I have just got a tiny chihuahua my two chi babies died one from puppy mill loads of liver probs my other darling salmonella poisoning something he ate at park I was devastated need a baby so looked for weeks saw this bub our Lay;a and she was born the day Gizzy one of my chis died she kept coming up being distraught thought was a sign so hope my baby will be ok I tried to get a chi rescue all over Australia for ages NONE hmmmmmmmmm so I brought her for $1850 she is 13 weeks old and weighs 700 grams she ius full of life and so darn cute had her last pup shots today cant pick her up yelps must be sore .

  13. Tay says:

    What shots do i have to have for my mini. I’m don’t wanna be taken advantage of ad they already cost a bundle

  14. Jennifer says:

    My little fella (Bud) was born on Halloween day of 2015. He is so full of energy and so fun to be around. All of my friends and family enjoy coming over and playing with him. He is completely rotten and believes he is my child and not my dog. If he wakes up and I’m not in bed he will go to the door and bark until I answer him and then he will go back to bed. He weighs a little over 4 lbs and his best friend weighs about 100lbs (my uncles mixed breed dog). I was lucky to get Bud for free. A friend of my mom’s had 1 pup left and just wanted to give him to a good home. Bud doesn’t seem to be having any health problems and the girls at my vets office adore him. The only problem I have is that I can’t seem to potty train him. He loves going outside, but will do his business wherever he is when he feels the need to go. Any suggestions?

  15. Marleene salley says:

    I’ve raised Chihuahuas all my life 30+ years and short-haired Chihuahuas are just COLD. We have our three Chihuahuas on electric blankets. An electric throw on the couch with a cover where she sleeps when we’re home and at nice, we turn our furnace down low and then turn our queen size electric blanket on high where our Chihuahuas sleep.
    If you treat them with love, caring, etc., they’ll return their love. When they bite, it’s because you’ve hit them. I take warm water and squirt them when they bark or try biting. All my Chihuahuas turned out to be lovers and cry so loud if we’re out only for an hour. Love them!!!

    • Carol mathews says:

      I am a disabled 58 year female who would love to take in a tiny chihuahuas I have no children to hurt the puppy I am on a fixed income but would give it all the love I could the little on would be treated with lots of love . Thank you for your time.
      Carol Mathews

      • Barbara Sanchez says:

        I also am looking for a Teacup chihuahua puppie. I have no clue where to find one to care for n love. I’m also disabled n lonely would love a puppy. If u find one pls let me know ok maybe we can help each other find one. Thanks.

    • Jack says:

      Great info for a puppy on biting!!!! Never tried water on my other 2 because I probably didn’t know any better and 1 of them does nip once in a while when somebody leaves the house!!!!!
      Any and all tid-bits welcomed—my new little girl turns nine weeks tomorrow and she weighs 14 ops. Does that sound about right for a “tiny” chi?

      Thanks again,

    • jessie says:

      How long do Teacup Chihuahuas tend to live?

    • Jack says:

      Hello Marleene—-I ran across your reply here and your experience with breeding Chi’s. I found a family female and the folks that had her told me the daddy dog (male) was really small.

      Well, here I am almost 6 months old and she is 1lb 12ozs!!!!!!

      Do you think she has more growing to do or are we about to the end of the growing stage?

      Any help would be great!!!!!! and thanks in advance.

      Jack (jflajole@gmail.com)

  16. Louise says:

    “Teacup” chihuahuas are just very tiny chihuahuas who weigh 3 pounds or less. If they weigh anymore than three pounds they can not be designated as a “teacup”.
    Of course “teacups” are not a breed onto themselves. They are just tiny chihuahuas.
    Many people mistakenly label their chihuahuas that are over three pounds aa “teacups”, not knowing the weight requirement needed to fit into this “category”.

  17. Arthur says:

    My neighbour has one and leaves it outside all the time this can’t be good for the animal

  18. Arthur says:

    Can you please help my neighbour has one and leaves it outside all the time this can’t be good for the animal

    • Deborah Suggs says:

      Arthur, if this is happening wth your neighbors dog please call your local animal shelter or authorities.

    • Rebecca says:

      did you get an answer? I have the same problem. He’s in a cage almost 24/7 unless he’s out running around. arg.

  19. Christy says:

    I got a “teacup” two years ago. He had certain issues with his teeth, legs and than this past week it was his brain. He started walking in circles and couldn’t focus. We thought it was a ear infection and vet gave me meds for the weekend. To no avail he didn’t improve. We had to put our sweet baby down yesterday. I’m telling this story because I was told his genetics is what the result of it. Please be careful of breeding people and inbreeding. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel the emptiness that I feel.

    • Pamela Cain says:

      So sorry to here about your baby, I know what that’s like when I was 21 I had a teacup full grown she weight 11.5 oz she lived 13 yrs and developed breast cancer other than that she was healthy, my Manchester was 16 when he died cancer of the sinus cavity . I have a toy now she’s 7 and in good health, my vet told me that with the Chihuahua cancer is a common issue!

  20. cathy katkus says:

    I agree with the information about the “tea cup” chihuahua. I have a small long haired chi 3lbs 7oz. She 13 years old and very cute. Because she is show quality and a former show dog, most people do not think she is a chi. Also because of her size people want to know if she is a “tea cup” chi. I always say there is no such thing, and if a breeder says they have “tea cup” chis, that should be a clue not to go with that breeder. As they are unethical. The breed standard is a range up to 6lbs,with 2-4 lbs being average range. The smaller the dog the more the health concerns. Please read about the chi standard and stay away from any “breeder” who uses the term “tea cup”. I would also say do not buy from a breeder who doesn’t show their dogs. Breeding should be to improve the breed. As one judge put it “why do we do this it is for the love of the and improve the breed” Therefore it is a must for a breeder to show.

  21. Mirrrr says:

    So just a quick question
    Does anyone know by chance what two different types or kinds of chihuahuas are bred to make these type (teacup, micro, mini, etc.) of chihuahuas?

  22. Vanessa says:

    I got my two babies cup and olive for free from my mom when her dog had puppies (she is now fixed) I love these two with all my heart. They are fun sweet love everyone listen and are the world best cuddlers. I have no idea were I would be without these two girls. They really helped me with my depression and keep me going every day with a big smile on my face. They are famous in the neighborhood all the kids love them if I take them outside for a walk I am surrounded by at least 5-7 kids at a time. They are excellent with kids.

  23. Jon kizzee says:

    How much do these cost

    • Kitty says:

      Hi, These certain Chihuahuas cost around $500 to $600 dollars, even know I got mine from a friend for $100

    • Quantum Mechanic says:

      Just look on the buy-and-sell like kijiji or craig’s list.

      These little dogs are always available because most people end up realizing that they are 1/1000 as cool as every other dog. Shelters are full of them.

      • Louise says:

        I can only tell you my experience. I have what is considered a “teacup”. She is 2.4 pounds. She never barks, never bites and is actually polite even in the way she gently taps me with her paw when wanting to sit with me. She’s my mini shadow and quietly follows me wherever I go. Even when I take her for a walk, she doesn’t make a sound, walks right beside me and ignores the other dogs. She is extremely affectionate in a soft way. In other words, she never imposes herself or jumps on people.
        Not all “teacups” are what you believe them to be.

      • F Garnier says:

        We bought one for £3.5k!

    • Tye says:

      We lost our 2 1/2 lb baby 2 days ago.
      There are no words to describe our love for her and would pay 100 times what she cost to have her back.

    • Rachael says:

      Check with your local humane Society or shelters people give them up sometimes for very stupid reasons i just got a 6 month old from the Humane Society they gave him up because he wasn’t trained apparently some people think there supposed to be born trained i got him for 250.00 dollars and he is just the sweetest thing.

  24. Nancy says:

    I am interested in a girl preferably beige and white. Other wise black and white mostly white. Not al all interested in a black puppy

  25. Nancy says:

    Please let me know here U R located and how much R UR babies. I would be interested in a girl

  26. Katrina Wilson says:

    I got my puppy sat called it Harley Davidson.didn’t know about debic he shakes alot does this mean something wrong with him?

    • Kitty says:

      If your baby is a Chihuahua, it can be normal or it could mean many things like there scared, or nervous, so if you have other pets i’d keep them away from your dog and see if that helps or keep the dog in one place like don’t travel with the dog

    • Linda K says:

      They generally shake unless being cuddled. Mine lived to age 15. We were blessed to have him. He basically passed due to old age, peacefully in our arms at home.

  27. Hayllie says:

    I was surprised at a softball game with mu uncles chihuahua. she is 3-4 months old vet checked and vaccinated and shots. she will only grow up to 4 pounds. we are all truly in love with her. we spoil her but we do have a havenese that annoys her which we also recently got. thank you for the article but what is the lifespan for these types of chihuahua?

    • Joseph says:

      He is getting a small short haired chi about 5 months old. Joey spends all day in his fenced area while they are at work and kids are at school. They take him out at 8 am 12;30 pm and 4:30 pm and before bed, to do his business. My daughter will only give him up if we keep Joey on a routine and continue to train him. We will need help taking care of Joey properly so any advice or a site that can help inform us would be appreciated.

      We will be traveling with Joey for two days to bring him back home. Do you have any suggestions on making this trip as easy as possible on him. We will be traveling by motor boat (15 minutes), train (6 hrs) then by car (10 hrs). What should we bring??

  28. morgan says:

    i love this website the chihuahuas are beautiful

  29. labrador says:

    I can’t find pictures of her on your Facebook which Brian shaw are you? Thank you!

  30. michelle says:

    Hello My name is Michelle and this is to Briani am very much interested in getting a
    Chihuahua (toy) chihuahua that is….if you will. If you at any point in your life must get rid of her please please keep me in mind.
    I love love love love dogs. I use to just have nothing but big dogs… but since I’ve gotten my very first yorkie back in 2001 I just fell completely in love with these little animals..I also had a Chihuahua and she died on me…I was completely upset for 2 years and I have a picture of her on my bedside stand…I miss her so so very much. But I just wanted to share this with you. Thanks

  31. Jane Williams says:

    I have a rescued 12 lbs chi/jack Russell? and a sweet 5 lb fawn colored chi…I would love more!So much love! I read so much conflicting info about weight and sizes. What are typical ranges and what is typical runt sizes? I would really love a < 3 lbs one next. And Brian sounds like your chi is lucky to have found you!

  32. BRIAN says:

    i am an owner of a house i rent out in western canada. a lady and three daughters lived at my house for a few months and did a “midnight move” on me. they left behind a small beige chihuahua named chi-chi. they moved out of province and i tried to figure out what to do with this tiny animal. i called the spca and they informed me they were too full and they would have to destroy it in a week if a home was not found. being a animal lover this upset me alot, i phoned around to some friends but all were unable to take in this cute little dog. i decided to take her myself and to do what ever it takes to give this adorable dog a great life. i have owned her for almost 2 years now and me and her are now best friends. im the biggest guy in my area with the smallest dog!! everybody wants to meet her! she has many other dog friends now and many people who drop by our house just to see her. i can honestly say this small chihuahua has changed my life completely and i would recommend this type of breed to anybody. she is the best thing to happen to me. thought id share this with the world…. i love you chi-chi aka cheech if you would like to see pictures of my cheech im on facebook. add me brian shaw briscoe

    • Charlene says:

      I agree with you. Last February, our little Chi, Abigail, underwent rare open heart surgery at Cornell University Veterinary Medical Center in Ithaca, NY performed by Dr. Masami Uechi from Tokyo, Japan. Thankfully, the surgery was successful. She does not need to take any heart meds anymore either.

    • Brenda says:

      Brian, you are also a big guy with a big heart…bless you for keeping the chi.
      These lil sweeties are amazing.
      I have 2. I got my first Chi in 8/2006, then rescued my 2nd who was bought to just breed..she had a genetic defect and could not have pups. I took her at 1 1/2..she passed away 10 years later from Diabetes. But I spent 2 yrs giving her insulin 2x a day. I too am type 1 diabetic..so we took our insulin together. She saved me many times..and my heart went with her when she passed away in my arms. 9/21/16.
      I just got another chi she is very small..she is 8 weeks old..and weighs close to a pound. I still have my boy chi..Nikki who is 10 1/2 yrs. Old. The sweetest lil 10 pound chi.
      These sweeties will melt your heart..and become your best friend for life

    • Samanth says:

      I just got my 8week old baby she was free she had a brother but my Mom is keeping him miss lala she is already spoiled she sleeps under my neck at nite and during the day she has her bed and a baby blanket and toys she plays with she and I went shopping Tuesday and to my surprise it was hard to find things for her she is so small but not giving up we went to Walmart and we found several things not many she pick out a bright orange toy that has a sound maker inside when she steps on it I love my baby and anyone who can do a baby like that they don’t need pets or kids that’s me I have four dogs and two cats and one is a 15 year old Rottweiler the cats sleep with her when there out other then that they are inside along with another chihuahua I love all my babies especially the new addition miss lala she is mine baby the other are my husbands and daughter don’t mistreat Aminals they need love to

  33. Lesli says:

    I just got my baby on Saturday. He was rescued from the animal shelter (we won’t get any animals from breeders!) and I’m just in love with him!!!
    He is about 2 pounds and full of life and love!
    His name is Duncan McCloud and just lovable.
    I purchased health insurance for him and my family and I are just spoiling him soo much!!
    I’m happy I got him! He looked way too sad in the shelter!
    I’m very happy with my baby!!

  34. rosie greathead says:

    so true.glad u have put this out to the public. rosie a chihuahua breeder

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