The Teacup Chihuahua: Answering Your Questions About the Smallest Dog in the World

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

Can Teacup Chihuahuas or Chis really fit in a cup? Are they real or a myth?

If you’ve always wanted a dog that fits in the palm of your hand, you might want to consider the Teacup Chihuahua. But there’s more to this delightful, affectionate little dog than its size.

We created this article to answer the questions you may have about the mysterious Teacup Chi.

Is a Teacup Chihuahua a new breed?

They are not a distinct breed nor a new type of Chihuahua – but of course, they’re real. These Chihuahuas are also called mini, micro, pocket, toy, and tiny Chihuahuas.

Whatever they’re called, these miniature canines are simply Chihuahuas that are usually the smallest dogs in the litter.

two cute teacup chihuahua puppies

But why does the word ‘teacup’ have a negative reputation when it comes to dogs?

Chihuahuas usually have a litter size of two to five puppies, and people called the smaller or weaker puppies of the litter the ‘runts.’

Breeders found a way to make money out of selling these runts, which are likely to remain puppy-sized throughout their life. They started intentionally breeding and relabelling them as ‘teacup’ dogs.

The Chihuahua Club of America (CCA) and the Kennel Club condemn using size-specific labels for Chis since it misleads buyers into thinking Chihuahuas with these tags are worth more.

Do all Teacup Chihuahuas fit in a cup?

teacup chihuahua fits inside a cup
Source: @teacuppuppies / Pinterest

These Chihuahuas get their ‘teacup’ moniker because they fit in cups or mugs during puppyhood.

Most of these Chis will outgrow a cup when they get older, but you can count on them to be smaller than an average Chihuahua.

Since Micro Chis are not an official breed, there is no standard size or appearance for these dogs.

Most full grown Teacup Chihuahuas weigh less than 4 pounds (2 kg), as regular-sized Chis typically don’t exceed 6 pounds (3 kg).

Their full-grown height is at the lower range of a Chihuahua’s average height – around 6 inches (15 centimeters) or less. That’s half the length of a ruler!

Pocket Chihuahuas are the same size as regular Chihuahua puppies, and they will remain puppy-sized until adulthood. After six months, Mini Chis are at their full-grown size and will become adults after their first birthday.

If you prefer a small dog, this Chihuahua is perfect for you. Its tiny build makes it a great pet even for apartments and other limited spaces.

The world’s smallest dog

In 2013, The Guinness World Records gave the recognition of ‘smallest living dog’ to Milly, a female Chihuahua who is only 3.8 inches (9.65 cm) tall.

When Milly was born, her weight was less than an ounce (0.028 kg), and she could fit in a teaspoon! We should call her a Teaspoon Chihuahua instead.

What does a Teacup Chihuahua look like?

Simply put, Teacup Chis look like much smaller versions of the Chihuahua. They also have two types of head or skull shape: Apple Head or Deer Head.

The Apple head variety has a round head with eyes closer to the nose. On the other hand, Deer head Pocket Chis have a longer face similar to that of a fawn’s, with more space between the eyes.

No matter their head shape, these dogs’ dark eyes are round and set above a short and pointy muzzle. On top of their head are large and erect ears, which could turn floppy when relaxed.

Deer-head Teacup Chihuahua lying down with its head on the floor
Source: @lifeofleiathechi / IG

Micro Chihuahuas can also have two coat types: smooth coat or short coat and long coat or long-haired.

Their coats are either solid-colored, marked, or splashed. These dogs usually sport a white, cream, grey, tan, brown, red, chocolate, and black coat. Some can come out blue or lavender, depending on their parents’ recessive genes.

Teacup Chihuahuas can also have brindle markings, with different-colored streaks, spots, or stripe defined on the coat. Others have sable fur, which is different-colored on the tip of the hair.

What makes a Teacup Chihuahua a great pet?

If you like Chis, then there’s no need to doubt their Micro counterparts. These smaller dogs have traits similar to their larger counterparts.

Here are some reasons why you’ll love having a Pocket Chi at home.

Royal and loyal

With their goofy side and their renowned diva personality, these Mini Chis love to be the center of attention. However, that won’t stop them from being affectionate towards you.

After being in the limelight, this bundle of feistiness will snuggle up to you. Teacup Chihuahuas are loyal pets and are easily attached to their owners. They want to create a bond, most often with their favorite person.

Loud and proud

Similar to regular ones, the Pocket Chihuahuas are lively and excitable dogs. With their confidence, their tiny size won’t stop them from barking at everything.

You will often hear them yapping whenever they feel excited or threatened, or when they want to catch your attention.

To curb this potentially annoying habit, make sure to train your Toy Chihuahua early on (or face the wrath of your neighbors).

This funny meme couldn’t be truer for this dog:

teacup chihuahua meme on barking and yapping
Source: @teacupdogdaily / Pinterest

Tiny and mighty

Despite being miniature versions of the smallest dog in the world, Micro Chihuahuas are courageous and will protect you.

Their alertness and protectiveness, plus the constant barking, will warn you of any danger or threat. The Mini Chi definitely fits the stereotype of ‘big dog in a small body’.

What are the differences between a Teacup Chihuahua and a standard Chihuahua?

We’ve discussed how a Pocket Chihuahua is similar to Chihuahuas when it comes to appearance and temperament. Now let me tell you about the differences between the two.

Because these dogs are more sensitive than their standard-sized counterparts, Tiny Chihuahuas are not ideal for all types of families.

Toy Chis typically have shorter tempers and may have more aggression issues, which spell bad news for young kids and other pets in the household.

Taking care of a Teacup Chihuahua also requires more time and effort. You’ll have extra responsibilities, mostly due to this dog’s extraordinary size.

For instance, small breeds have enough health problems on their own, and miniaturized versions of tiny dogs may be at a higher risk of health issues.

Is the Teacup Chihuahua more prone to health conditions?

Breeding two runts will produce an even smaller dog – and a weaker one.

Even if Teacup Chihuahuas have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, their common health problems and the effects of their breeding process worsen their situation. These dogs will require special care and more trips to see the veterinarian.

Micro Chihuahuas are susceptible to these health issues:

  • Congenital and respiratory problems like hydrocephalus, chronic bronchitis, and collapsed trachea
  • Diabetes and hypoglycemia
  • Heart diseases such as pulmonic stenosis
  • Urolithiasis
  • Liver shunt
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Molera or cranial soft spot
  • Eye diseases such as corneal eye disease
  • Joint problems like patellar luxation, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, and rheumatism

Miniature Chihuahuas are also prone to bone fractures due to fragile bones and skin problems such as allergies. Their small mouths make them vulnerable to a variety dental issues, including impacted teeth.

Worried about your Pocket Chihuahua’s watery eyes? Medically known as epiphora or overproduction of tears, it’s usually a symptom of another condition. Best to take your Chi to the vet to treat the underlying cause.

You should also take your Chi to the vet if it has diarrhea or is wheezing. With dogs that are this small, you can never be too careful.

They’re sensitive to cold weather.

teacup chihuahua with eyes closed wearing a pink sweater and white skirt
Source: @buzzfeed / Pinterest

If you’re wondering why your Micro Chihuahua is shaking, a simple reason is that they are cold.

These Chihuahuas are more sensitive to low temperatures.

You’ll need to buy clothes and blankets so they won’t suffer in the winter.

Turn on the heater even if it means your electricity bill will higher. You may end up spending more if your Chi suffers from the complications of hypothermia.

If you’re going to dress your Chi – make it fashionable! You can buy them a vest, sweater or jacket, jumper, dresses, and even shoes. After all, you don’t want those sensitive paws to get dirty and cold.

Is it difficult to take care of a Teacup Chi?

Their size shouldn’t be the sole factor in you choosing to take a Pocket Chihuahua home. Caring for this tiny dog can be a little more complicated than you expect.

Here are tips on how to take care of your Toy Chihuahua:

Grooming your Teacup Chihuahua

Micro Chihuahuas are light shedders, especially the smooth-coat variety. They shed twice a year, during fall and even more in the spring. If you’re looking for a small, hypoallergenic dog – start looking for a different breed.

Brush their coat twice a month to keep their hair shiny and healthy. If you have long-haired Teacup Chihuahua, you need to brush them once a week.

If they still shed a lot, increase the frequency of your brushing sessions.

You need to bathe smooth-coat Tiny Chihuahuas once a week; for the long-haired ones, you will have to add one more bath to your weekly schedule.

teacup chihuahua taking a bath soap on its head

Both regular and Micro Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems due to their small mouths. You have to brush their teeth often to reduce the risk of oral disease and keep those teeth clean and pearly-white.

With their adorable looks, you won’t be able to resist carrying your Tiny Chi around in your arms. Make the experience more comfortable by trimming your dog’s nails when needed.

You’ll know your Chi’s due for a nail clipping if you can hear his nails scratching against the floor.

What to feed your Teacup Chihuahua

Due to being at risk of multiple health problems, the Mini Chihuahua should be fed premium-quality kibble.

Make sure to feed your Pocket Chihuahua dog food for small breeds; these types of kibble will meet your dog’s special nutritional needs and will come at a smaller size for easier chewing.

Give your tiny Chi a quarter-cup to a half-cup of dog food per day. Avoid feeding him more than this amount and limit his carb intake to prevent obesity.

Feed your growing Teacup Chihuahua puppy around 50 calories per pound of body weight and reduce the amount to 40 calories per pound of body weight for adults.

DO NOT let them ingest any chocolate, not even a chip. With the Pocket Chihuahua’s size, even a small piece of chocolate will be deadly.

The Teacup Chihuahua’s exercise needs

Similar to standard Chis, Toy Chihuahuas don’t need much exercise. Make sure your Chi gets 20 to 30 minutes of activity to keep him physically and mentally stimulated.

Regular exercise will also keep your dog from becoming overweight.

Make time for short walks or playtime so your pet can release his pent-up energy.

Teacup Chihuahua walking in the sun, one leg raised

These happy dogs love playing in the sun, but they’ll have just as much fun playing indoor games like treasure hunts.

Unfortunately, the low to moderate energy levels of the Teacup Chihuahua doesn’t mean it will be easier to train them.

How to train Teacup Chihuahuas

Teacup Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs who learn fast – your problem will be getting through their stubborn nature.

Your best strategy is to establish yourself as the loving alpha of the pack. Teacup Chihuahuas need firm leadership, but they also don’t respond well to punishments.

Instead, reward your Chihuahua with praise or treats when he follows your commands. Positive reinforcement will definitely help good behavior stick.

It will be even harder to train strong-willed dogs when they’re older, so start training your Mini Chihuahua while he’s young. Basic commands, house training, and socialization should be included in this dog’s daily training routine.

Since they’re indoor dogs, potty-training should be a priority. These Chis have smaller bladders and will need to relieve themselves more often.

“Focus on me.”

Chis can be great pets, but not for families with young children (toddlers and preschool-age kids).

Mini Chihuahuas get jealous when other people or dogs approach their favorite person.

These dogs tend to be snappy, and they might direct this behavior at overly curious kids.

They can be also aggressive towards other pets and dogs. It’s necessary to train them early as puppies so this behavior can be corrected.

Remember to be firm when training your dog how to behave around strangers. Avoid spoiling your Chi so it doesn’t develop small dog syndrome.

Are there any famous Teacup Chihuahuas?

Being a diva themselves, it’s no wonder they are the go-to dog of Divas. Besides Milly, there are other famous Teacup Chihuahuas.

Tinkerbell Hilton

The baby of Paris Hilton, Tinkerbell was also famous and even had a role on a television show. Tinkerbell came from Greece, reportedly costing $4,000.

Tinkerbell lived a happy life of 14 years.

Tinkerbell Hilton the Teacup Chihuahua in Paris Hilton's arms
Source: @tinkerbell_hilton / IG

Bruiser Woods

Who could forget the famous Bruiser Woods, the baby of Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) from the Legally Blonde movie series? Bruiser was fashionable in every scene of the two movies!

Bruiser lived a movie star’s life for 18 years.

Elle Woods' teacup chihuahua named Bruiser
Source: @goodteawithsam / IG

Why does a tiny dog come at a high price?

At first, these Chihuahuas were undesirable because people considered them ‘runts.’ After they got the ‘teacup’ label, the demand grew, which resulted in the rise of their price.

You can buy a Teacup Chihuahua for $1,200 to $5,000 each depending on the breeder. If you find a breeder selling a Micro Chihuahua for under $300, they’re probably trying to scam you.

The cost drops to around $800 when you adopt, but that’s still more than what you would pay for tog get a regular Chihuahua.

Other expenses to consider when you’re thinking of getting a Tiny Chihuahua include customized accessories. Because of these dogs’ size, you might need to get a custom-made collar, harness, bed, and carrier.

Finding reputable Teacup Chi breeders

To be safe, visit the breeder to learn more about the puppy you want to take home. This way, you’ll get to meet the pup first and learn about his personality.

Ask questions about the parents and health history of the Teacup Chihuahua you have your eye on. Responsible breeders should be able to provide all the information you need.

Be careful not to purchase from unethical breeders who care about more about the money than the puppy.

These breeders deny Chihuahua puppies essential nutrition, sell them before they are eight weeks old, or intentionally breed at a period when the mother’s cycle will make the puppies premature.

To help you avoid these breeders, we’ve compiled a list of trustworthy sources of Teacup Chihuahuas.

  • TeaCups, Puppies, and Boutique has been breeding Teacup Chihuahuas in South Florida since 1999.
  • Teacup Puppies Store is a breeder located in South Florida that’s sold several puppies to celebrities. They have a showroom where you could go check out their puppies for sale.
  • Boutique Teacup Puppies is an online retailer based in Texas. They have been breeding Teacup Chis since 2012 and source their puppies from South Korea and Mexico.
  • Debs Chihuahua Teacups is a home breeder specializing in apple head Chihuahuas.

teacup chihuahua in a purse

Adopting or rescuing a Teacup Chihuahua

If you don’t mind taking in an older dog, why not adopt a Teacup Chi instead?

People tend to abandon these dogs because of the overall cost and time needed for their proper care.

Some websites such as Texas Chihuahua Rescue has Pocket Chihuahuas in need of a loving home.

You may also find Teacup Chihuahuas for adoption or rehoming here:

  • Local dogs and puppies for adoption/re-homing near me (Mississippi)
  • Justice Rescue (Pennsylvania)
  • Tobies Small Dog Rescue (California)

Check shelters or rescue organizations in your area. They might have a Micro Chihuahua that’s just waiting for a loving owner.

Another advantage of choosing to adopt an adult Toy Chihuahua is that you get the chance to take home a dog that’s already trained. This saves you a considerable amount of time and effort.

So, have you made your decision on the Teacup Chihuahua?

Want a Tiny Chihuahua? You’ll be taking home a fun and loyal pooch can adjust well to a variety of lifestyles.

Despite their size, these dogs are brave and highly protective, and they’ll use their bark to alert you of potential threats.

Mini Chis also have a long lifespan, but they’re prone to a wide variety of health issues.

Because they need a bit of extra care, these small dogs need devoted owners who are ready for long-term responsibility.

Let us know what you think about this pint-sized pooch. Share your stories of owning or getting a Teacup Chihuahua in the comments section below.


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