Teacup Chihuahua Dog Breed Guide: How Big Does it Grow?

Last Updated on June, 2024

Tiny toy dogs are getting increasingly popular in the present. Amongst these types, Teacup Chihuahuas take significant popularity; we know they’re very cute little dogs!

So, if you’re planning to own one, you’re in the right place — this review covers everything a potential teacup chihuahua parent should know. 

Or, you might be able to decide whether or not you can take care of a teacup chihuahua.

Whichever the reason it was, be sure to read through carefully.

Quick Summary

Teacup Chihuahuas are a small and popular breed, originating from Mexico in the 1850s and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.

Teacup Chihuahuas are smaller than standard Chihuahuas, weighing between 4-6 lbs and standing under 6 inches in height. They come in a variety of colors and have either long or short coats.

Teacup Chihuahuas are active, playful, and easily bonded with their owners, making them good family dogs. However, they can be louder and more defensive against strangers. They require delicate care and may not be suited for families with very young children.

History and Origins of Teacup Chihuahuas

Teacup Chihuahua sitting on a human's hand

The first fact you need to know is that the teacup breed’s history is the same as that of the chihuahuas because teacup chihuahuas are only a derivation of standard-sized chihuahuas.

So, where do chihuahuas originate from?

It was in Mexico in the 1850s when the modern chihuahuas appeared. That’s why they’re named after a Mexican state. 

By the mid-1880s, the breed slowly came into the US. This was since Mexican merchants were selling chihuahuas to border tourists. The US tourists simply brought them back home.

That’s how they came to the US.

But their history goes further to the era of the Mayans. The chihuahuas are deduced to be derived from the miniature mute dog type Techichi with Toltec people. The Techichi was believed to be the afterlife’s protectors.

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Some other historians disagree with the pure Techichi descent. They believe the chihuahua is a result of the crossing of the Chinese Crested (a small hairless dog) and the Techichi.

After hundreds of years, Chihuahuas are very popular and have transformed the breed into a teacup variety.

Now that you know the history, let’s take a wider look at the teacup chihuahua breed.

Overview of Teacup Chihuahuas

Background of Teacup Chihuahuas

The first fact you need to know is that there’s no pure breed named teacup chihuahuas.

They belong to the regular chihuahua breed, which was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904. 

Breeders and dog parents use the term teacup chihuahua to distinguish them from other regular chihuahuas. The term teacup chihuahua means smaller chihuahuas — simple as that.

They’re similar to toy Australian shepherds in that way since toy Aussies are also not considered a separate breed. 

Teacup Chihuahua standing on the bed

Teacup chihuahuas are also called mini chihuahuas, pocket-sized chihuahuas, micro chihuahuas, tiny chihuahuas, miniature chihuahuas, and even toy chihuahuas — they’re the same type.

But it’s safe to say that chihuahuas are indeed the smallest dog type in the world.

So, that’s a bit of their background. We’ll discuss their breeding process next.

Breeding Process of the Teacup Chihuahuas

Let us remember that teacup chihuahuas are the same as miniature chihuahuas.

So, how are the teacup chihuahuas bred? It’s almost always by breeding two teacup chihuahuas. 

But breeders don’t stop there. They will go down in size, and that’ll produce even smaller teacup chihuahuas. 

But there’s a catch. 

Down the breeding lane, the size of the tea cup chihuahua will be smaller.

Teacup Chihuahua standing on the ground

But choosing pairs of the runt of the litter will birth weaker puppies.

The solution is choosing a runt and a relatively bigger chihuahua, but not a standard chihuahua. 

Next, let’s discuss the physical characteristics and appearance of teacup chihuahuas.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance of Teacup Chihuahuas 

The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize teacup chihuahuas as a separate breed. 

However, according to the chihuahua club of America, the highest permissible weight limit for chihuahuas is 6 lbs. But they usually weigh between 4-6 lbs in general.

That’s why toy chihuahuas are considered to be under 4 pounds.

Standard chihuahuas are typically between 6-10 inches in height. That makes teacup chihuahua size to be shorter than 6 inches. 

a human holding Teacup Chihuahua

But remember, Toy chihuahuas are only recognized among breeders and owners. 

There are two variations of chihuahuas appearance-wise,

  1. Long-haired long coats
  2. Smooth short-haired coats

It’s not a chihuahua if the dog has broken down or cropped ears according to the Chihuahua Club of America standards.

The smooth coats will have a signature soft texture with a glossy look. The coat will be well over the body and minimal on the head and the fringed ears. 

The long coats aren’t that different in terms of texture and look. But they can be either flat or slightly wavy.

You’ll also notice markings on their bodies. These can be stripes, streaks, or spots on the fur itself.

The neck will be slightly arched, gracefully sloping into a lean shoulder. With round barrel-shaped ribs, teacup chihuahuas feature a moderately long furry tail.

Teacup chihuahuas have a unique head shape too. There are two variations: apple head and deer head. The deer head has a longer face compared to the apple head, typically with dark and round eyes.

Essentially, teacup dogs are the smallest version of chihuahuas we know.

Personality of Teacup Chihuahua Puppies and Adults

It’s not only the appearance that’s similar to that of standard chihuahuas but also the personality. 

You’ll find most teacup chihuahuas to be very active and playful with you as they get comfortable around you.

They absolutely love all the attention and affection. So if you’re not able to spend time with them often, teacup dogs can develop separation anxiety.

Their activeness and playfulness have no bounds. That’s why they’re noisy; teacup puppies are louder than standard puppies.

a human holding Teacup Chihuahua puppy

It’s almost as if their little body cannot contain all the happiness. 

This hyperactivity of these tiny dogs makes them defensive against strangers. They’ll bark continuously until the feeling of threat is resolved. But this is a personality barrier that pet parents should fix during their puppyhood.

The reason is a small size and how it makes them feel scared. Combine that with the overwhelming feeling of strange people, and you get an aggressive tiny dog. Not that they can harm you, but it’s harmful to them.

So, the solution is introducing them to new dogs and people as puppies and implementing ideal training.

We will discuss if they make family dogs a little bit later. Stick around, and keep reading.

Available Colors 

Unlike many other breeds, this dog breed comes in multiple colors. That gives the freedom of choice to prospective dog parents. 

See if you can choose a favorite color at once.

  • Fawn (light brown)
  • Fawn and white
  • Sable fawn
  • Black
  • Black and white
  • Black and tan
  • Dark brown and white 
  • Black and white with tan 
  • Lavender 
  • Lilac
  • White
Black and white Teacup Chihuahua in the cup

Color and pattern distribution is not even in the chihuahua dog breed.

Only the pro breeders know how to get the perfectly colored teacup chihuahua of your choice. 

But that’s not the same for two colors; lavender or Lilac. These are two rare colors. But that’s not as rare as white. Pure white teacup chihuahuas are very rare and very expensive.

Are Teacup Chihuahuas Family-friendly Dogs: Temperament

Teacup Chihuahua sitting on the bed

The modern family is very diverse; two mothers, two fathers, or even two people with no kids are still a family. The problem is how teacup chihuahuas behave in the family background.

As mentioned earlier, yes, they’ve hyperactive and defensive against strangers. 

But this is a personality trait with almost all the smaller breeds. These traits are more intense as if these toy dogs have the same character traits as typical chihuahuas.

But guess what? Teacup chihuahuas get extremely bonded with family members. When they’re bought or adopted from animal shelters, the lower the age is, the easier to bond with them. 

A family that seeks a quiet and calm atmosphere shouldn’t get a teacup chihuahua. They’re active and loud and probably will be running around a lot. If you don’t like it, you should reconsider.

The other important factor is that teacup chihuahuas tend to beone-owner dogs. They’ll move along with other family members, but they always tend to bond better with one person. So, if it sounds appealing, you’re signing up for a delight.

They’re also very delicate dogs. Such a small dog deserves equally delicate dog owners who can provide a home with the least physical risks.

Finally, this breed is easily frightened and chooses fight over flight as a defense mechanism. That’s why they might scare kids who want to play around with teacup chihuahuas, as they’re very small.

But to summarize, yes, they are good family dogs as long as the environment is in their favor. That environment’s foundation is fun-loving dog parents who can give all the attention in the world to their pets.

They feel the safest when they are the only child of the family.

Ultimate How-to Guide to Take Good Care of Your Teacup Chihuahuas

Is it hard to take care of teacup chihuahuas? Absolutely no. All you need to know is what to do, and what to expect. That might be why you’re here for.

There are four key areas of maintaining a teacup chihuahua; grooming, feeding, exercising, and vet visiting. Training teacup chihuahuas is a separate topic; we’ve also covered that. 

So, let’s start with how to groom teacup chihuahuas.

How to Groom Teacup Chihuahuas?

If you remember, teacup chihuahuas come in short or long coated, and the common characteristic is the glossy shininess. Brushing is essential to maintain that.

For short-coated dogs, brushing once every two weeks is enough. But weekly brushing for long-coated teacup chihuahuas is the recommendation. 

Teacup chihuahuas shed lightly. But increasing brushing frequency is the solution if you’re noticing continuous shedding. Nonetheless, remember that it is shed twice annually in the spring and during fall.

What about bathing? Long-coated teacup chihuahuas need at least one bath per week; two bathing sessions are recommendable. Smooth and short-coated dogs can go with weekly bathes.

Nails and teeth are the most ignored body parts in all dogs. For teacup chihuahuas, that mistake is not tolerable.

Practically, brushing their teeth every day might not be easy, although that’s the best way. If not, brushing their teeth thrice a week should suffice.

You don’t have to trim nails daily, of course, but keep an eye on and trim their nails regularly. That helps these adorable creatures to move more freely and enjoy life with you.

For the applicable situations, be sure to steer clear of intense chemicals. Teacup chihuahuas are very sensitive, and you don’t want to trigger a chain of unhealthy events.

How to Feed Teacup Chihuahuas?

Remember that teacup chihuahuas weigh less than 4 or 5 pounds.

Their quantitative food requirement is as low as 1/4 to 1/2 cups a day. A cup would be 8 ounces if you didn’t know already.

This is to fulfill the 150-200 daily calorie requirement.

But overfeeding is NOT recommended as that can accelerate their obesity, which can complicate their health.

Here’s the answer to the question “what should I feed my teacup chihuahua?” that you may ask yourself.

dog Food and Treats

The primary focus must be proteins and fats of the highest quality. Meat types such as lamb and chicken are filled with the purest form of proteins.

If you want vegetables, chickpeas, mung beans, green peas, wild rice, and even Brussels sprouts will be adequate. 

Needless to say, it’s your responsibility to make them edible and appealing to your teacup chihuahua. That’s why there are renowned dog food brands — but steer clear of the cheap and low-quality brands for sure.

The following important question is, “what foods shouldn’t I feed my teacup chihuahuas?

The sensitivity of teacup chihuahuas applies to their food choice as well. That makes them very different from toy breeds, such as Australian Shepherds.

Nonetheless, be sure NOT to feed chocolates, almonds, or chewing gum under any condition, as that can be fatal.

On the flip side, you also need to consider their teeth’s sensitivity. As they’re more prone to decay, it’s better to stay away from repetitive feeding of sweet foods with high sugar and carbohydrate content.

That’s about feeding your teacup chihuahua. Let’s talk about how to exercise your teacup chihuahuas.

How to Exercise Teacup Chihuahuas?

There are some toy-sized species that need a decent amount of exercise. But this breed doesn’t need that much exercise. But let’s see how you should do it.

About half an hour of daily exercise is enough for an adult chihuahua. If that’s the requirement for adults, 15 minutes or less every two to three days is enough for toy chihuahua puppies.

Short walks work the best for the breed. You wouldn’t want to let them play with bigger dogs or at risky places. The reason is the fragility of their bones.

Teacup Chihuahua standing on the grass

This brings up the dire need for well-supervised play times. That’s why toy chihuahuas belong with attentive and extra-caring pet parents. Not only will their separation anxiety trigger, but it also increases the risk of fatal accidents.

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Later in this reading, we will discuss the mental stimulation necessary for teacup chihuahuas. That’s another way to make your dog exercise.

Almost all of their strategies are based on fun games. That lets you and your dog be more physically active. 

Ultimately, your pet will be getting the adequate exercise they need.

Vet Visits With Teacup Chihuahuas

If you notice something wrong with your toy chihuahua, you must visit the vet — that goes without saying. But this section fulfills a bigger purpose. 

Let’s see what it is.

You must visit the vet when you buy or adopt your teacup chihuahua. This is to give that benchmark starting point reference to your vet.

It’s much better if you stick to one designated vet. That’s because this breed can get very fearful and aggressive to constant change.

a Veterinarian writing

Imagine what a vet does to a dog, and you’ll realize the need for familiarity.

The internet will ask you to visit your vet weekly, but that’s not possible. So ideally, the frequency should be once or twice a month. That’s more practical and affordable.

But remember that your vet cannot know the crucial details unless you tell them. You cannot tell them unless you know. 

These details are the daily calorie intake and burning, sleeping patterns and durations, frequency of activeness, and so on.

Modern dog activity trackers are a great solution. 

These trackers collect and store these information and you can monitor all the stats remotely and share the details with your vet with a matter of clicks. Imagine the time and money you’ll save while implementing weekly vet consultations.

The bottom line is you must keep in close contact with your vet as teacup chihuahuas can face several health complications. Even if they were healthy, it’s essential to maintain that.

What are some of the commonly known health complications that this breed faces? 

Known Health Complications of Teacup Chihuahuas

Teacup Chihuahuas on the chair

Teacup chihuahuas live more than a decade when you take good care of them. Knowing oncoming health complications to resolve them on time is essential to prolong their lifespan.

These are some of the known health complications to expect.

Bone and Joint Complications

It’s not a secret that teacup chihuahuas have weak bones. It’s a default issue that comes from the point of breeding itself. However, it gets complicated with joint problems. 

One Luxating patella, or patellar luxation, is one of the most common joint complications found in this breed. It’s the dislocation of the knee. 

You shouldn’t overfeed calcium-enriched food as this is a genetic feature. What you can do is be careful. Teacup chihuahua puppies could die if you drop them because of this. (1)

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar, in simple terms. 

The main cause of the issue is the lack of sugar intake. This condition is common in smaller breeds and hence applies to teacup chihuahua dogs.

The second reason is overexercising. Lack of fat reserves to control glucose levels increases the hypoglycemia risk.

Remember that this breed should eat about four to six meals daily to meet its nutritional requirement. It’s common to see small dogs like this breed have seizures due to a lack of glucose in their blood. 

If that happens, wait until the seizure stops, and rub some fruit juice or honey in your dog’s gums. (2)

Maintaining a balanced diet is the key to helping them to be healthy dogs.

Tracheal Collapse

The disease name itself is self-explanatory; the trachea of your dog collapsed which causes breathing difficulties.

What you need to know is that the root cause of the condition is still unknown. What’s discovered is that it’s a common condition amongst Teacup chihuahuas. In addition, vets believe the tracheal collapse in teacup puppies to be genetic.

The most prominent symptom is their inability to breathe comfortably for long periods. On-time treatments are essential, and qualified vets should be able to save them. (3)

Eye Diseases

Dry eyes are one of the most eye diseases that chihuahuas face, in general. 

The cause is a lack of tear production. You can quickly notice the complication as they’ll blink excessively and produce thick, green eye discharge.

You can always try a few eye drops, but seeing a vet is better.

In addition, there are other conditions, such as Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy, Corneal Ulcer, and Lens Luxation, for which veterinarian interference is essential.

Eye of Teacup Chihuahua

Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis in dogs, especially in the teacup chihuahua breed, is similar to human bronchitis. The condition gets worse as you get accustomed to coughing. (4)

It’s common to mistake the cough for vomiting or even tracheal collapse with breathing difficulty. But if you observe closely, it won’t be difficult to notice. 

Remember, chronic bronchitis occurs when your cough lasts longer than one month. This is the same condition termed Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

So, now that you know some of the common diseases the breed is more prone to let’s move to the next section; expectable challenges.

Challenges to Expect With Teacup Dogs Like Chihuahuas (And Solutions)

A human holding Teacup Chihuahua

The first and foremost challenge is getting your chihuahua puppy accustomed to your house and family members.

Be sure to take your time being patient. Avoid shouting at them as they grow up. Let them feel your affection, and that’s the foundation of fixing everything else.

Note that the rest are in not any order.

Defensiveness towards strangers is another challenge. The solution is introducing them to new people well after you’ve established a good connection with them. That won’t make them feel overwhelmed.

Health issues are challenging with teacup chihuahuas. Bone issues are genetic, and they are generally weak. The solution for that is chihuahua-proofing your house. Along with that, stick to the diet plans recommended by the vet.

Potty training will be more challenging than it is with their dogs. These tiny puppies take their time, and you need to be patient.

Another challenge is getting a teacup chihuahua puppy to blend well with other breeds. As mentioned earlier, they are most comfortable as the only child. But if you have another breed, be attentive until a couple of months pass. 

If it’s another teacup chihuahua, they’ll get along fine.

Their hyperactivity makes them run all over the place. Since they’re not the strongest breed, it’d be better to have an eye on them constantly. But that’s impractical given how busy our lives are. These smaller dogs are hard to keep an eye on at times.

A good solution for this is getting a smart dog collar.

These smart collars work with GPS technology, and let you see your dog’s location all the time on your mobile phone. We discussed how important it is to know the current status of your dog when visiting your vet. An ideal solution was using an activity tracker.

What if there was a smart location tracker with activity tracking? There are more than one — explore iPetGuides for reviews about them.

The next and one of the most important challenges is to make them obey you. You can’t ask a dog to obey you. What you can do is train them. It’s a challenge if you don’t know what to do. The next is dedicated to resolving that question for you.

The Best Strategy to Train Chihuahua Puppies 

Teacup Chihuahua Puppy on a human's hand

Is it easy to train chihuahua puppies? Yes. But only with the right approach.

Training small dog breeds is relatively more convenient than training larger dog breeds. But that’s just because they’re small. It’s your job to use that advantage in speeding up teacup chihuahua training.

So, what’s the best strategy for training chihuahua puppies? Mental stimulation.

Dogs, in general, respond well to patterns and habits. Your dog knowing how to control the speed of their running around the house is one good example of that. So, when you train the brain, you have complete control of the dog.

There are two methods to achieve mental stimulation for your dog.

  1. Mental stimulation by forceful aggression training
  2. Mental stimulation by reward-based positive training

Your chihuahua might obey the strict dog trainer at the kennel or your house with forceful training. After all, they’re scared of the trainer’s loudness and anger. The moment he is absent, why would they listen to anyone?

What’s the point of that training if you, as the dog parent, can’t control your dog when the trainer isn’t there?

Reward-based strategy is not based on a person but on the strategy itself. 

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It doesn’t matter who rewards the dog; they know a reward is coming. The reward doesn’t have to be a treat always; it can be as simple as a head pat.

Mental stimulation training takes place through in-class training or online training.

It’s the trainers who train your dogs in in-class training sessions. Naturally, that makes the trainers bond better with the dogs. Their charges are usually monthly renewing and expensive.

On the flip side, you can train your puppy with consultation with online training.

So, imagine getting an attention-and-love-craving dog to train with you — how strong would the bond be? Most of the best online dog courses are fixated on brain training. You also don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars every month.

These programs are designed to develop the intellectual capacity of the teacup chihuahua puppies stepwise

For example, they would start from the lowest stage, where the training is focussed only on keeping your dog’s attention. At the final step, you could get your teacup chihuahua to play the piano on cue.

That’s the power of brain training.

These courses use fun and exciting games like treasure hunts, the muffin game, the ball pit game, the bottle game, the shell game, and this list goes on. Your dog won’t know that they’re being trained for obedience since they’re just having fun with you.

While the mental stimulation is going on, the body will be physically stimulated too. Because unlike in forceful training, where dogs are scared to obey, your teacup puppy will be running around having fun.

In conclusion, online dog training courses are the most effective method to train your teacup chihuahuas. It’s a necessary requirement that increases their quality of life.

Price and Expenses of a Teacup Chihuahua

Teacup Chihuahua inside a human's bag

Teacup chihuahuas weren’t bred with that much difficulty to be sold at a low price. So, How much does a teacup chihuahua cost? 

Given how well-bred and the breed’s brand value, you can expect an average purchasing cost of about $500-$2000.

But don’t be surprised if you happened to find a puppy that costs over $10,000.

The cumulative expenses of maintaining a teacup chihuahua depend on two factors.

  • How healthy the puppy is at birth 
  • Their typical living conditions

The maintenance cost will be higher if the puppy is born weak and unhealthy. The typical living conditions refer to how well they are groomed, the quality of their food, the regularity of vet visits, and even how their mental condition.

On average, the annual expenses of a teacup chihuahua would be about $1000.

So, you might ask yourself, “how can I know if my teacup chihuahua is worth the price?

The first factor to consider is the dog’s lineage. What’s the point of spending ten grand if two weak teacup chihuahuas bred the dog? There can be scamming unethical breeders, so we advise choosing a responsible breeder with an excellent track record.

Who knows, maybe you can get a teacup cuppy whose parents are world-famous.

The second factor is the rarity of the color. The rarer the color gets, the higher the price gets. 

The third factor is the conditions they were bred under. This means how much the breeders had to spend for the dog’s parents. The better the care, the higher the cost would be.

These are the three key factors that influence the purchasing price. There can be others, but be sure to verify and validate the reasons.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Teacup Chihuahua

Pros

Teacup chihuahuas are very friendly dogs 
They get quickly emotionally attached to one caretaker 
They are cost-effective and easy to groom 
Their color varieties are wider than other toy breeds
They make amazing indoor dogs 
They don’t need excessive exercising 
They are easier to train
They are easy to carry around
They make good family dogs
They are great watchdogs

Cons

Teacup chihuahuas are more prone to diseases 
They tend to bond with one person and ignore the other
They are physically more fragile
They don’t get along with other breeds easily
They are generally not confident dogs

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In Conclusion

Our conclusion is that teacup chihuahuas could be that missing piece that makes you feel whole. The breed is very friendly and loyal and fits in your purse! What more could you ask for?

iPetGuides readers always want to take the best care of their pets, and that’s why we provide you with the best knowledge. We know it helps you choose the best dogs and take care of them in the best way.

Ultimately, you and we want the best for you — that’s why we recommend teacup chihuahuas.

FAQs

Yes, Teacup Chihuahuas are generally good with children and families, as they love to receive and give love and affection. However, caution should be taken when introducing them to young children.

No, teacup Chihuahuas do not always blend well with other breeds, and it is important for dog parents to be around consistently to ensure safety.

The life expectancy of teacup chihuahuas is 7-12 years, with a maximum of 18 years.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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