Everything you need to know about the Teacup Chihuahua

A teacup chihuahua laying on a bed

Have you ever heard of toy dogs? I mean, you probably have, as you are a dog enthusiast. For those who don’t, though, a toy dog is an extremely small dog, that can sometimes fit in your handbag. Or, in the case of the Teacup Chihuahua, fit in your teacup.

The Chihuahua breed was first introduced to the United States of America when tourists would go visit Mexico and bring those tiny dogs back from there. They named the breed Chihuahua because of the Mexican state it came from, Chihuahua.

The Teacup Chihuahua is definitely one of the most famous dog breeds out there, since their small size (they can literally fit in a teacup) and their more than big personality are perfect for outgoing dog lovers. Since today, the Teacup Chihuahua is one of the most popular and demanded dogs in the United States (and even in the world), the prices for this overly cute pet are high, and people are doing everything they can to get their hands on one.

So, what makes this tiny creature so huge in the dog world? (see the pun I inserted there? Man, I’m proud of myself). Keep on reading, and you might find out (actually, you will find out, I really don’t know why I used the word “might”, it just sounds fancier I guess? Okay, I’ll stop my rambling and go back to the serious stuff).

Teacup Chihuahuas: The origin story

Teacup chihuahua hiding between the sheets

I’m in love!

Just like every superhero needs an original story, each dog breed deserves one as well. Teacup chihuahuas are no exception, and I owe it to them and to you to let you know a bit about their fascinating history.

So, story time:

Before the world even knew about the expression “teacup chihuahua”, there were only chihuahuas (roaming in the wild blablabla, I really want to make all of this sound epic honestly). As I’ve already stated before, they were discovered in Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua, and got registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club) at the beginning of the 20th century (in 1904 to be more exact).

The origins of the teacup chihuahua are actually quite a mystery. There are a few theories about how he came to look so tiny and cute, but only one of them is the most probable.

The first theory states that the teacup chihuahua is actually the descendant of the Techichi dog, a breed that was considered sacred by the Aztecs. The Techichi, though, was a bit bigger than the teacup chihuahua, and surprise surprise, the breed was also mute!

The story goes further, since it is believed that the Techichi was crossed with some sort of hairless oriental dog breed, which is what gave the teacup chihuahua, their descendant, his small stature, smooth coat, and, you know, a voice (we all know chihuahua are anything but silent, god that dog loves to bark).

Now, that’s when the mysterious part of the story starts: no one knows where that hairless oriental dog breed came from. Some theorize that it was brought by Spanish conquistadors and settlers when they first arrived to America. They, apparently, got them from the distant land of China, where they were trading. And, as we already know, the Chinese were famous for making everything small, from their women’s feet, to their plants and animals.

End of story time!

So, as you can see, the teacup chihuahua has quite the messy history. No one knows where that breed really came from, and it is likely to stay a mystery until someone can, for sure, find out how the beautiful and strong-willed dog came to be.

Teacup Chihuahua: The characteristics

Teacup chihuahua outside

Cuteness overload!

Now that we know more (though I really doubt it) about how the teacup chihuahua came to be, it is time to dive more into this tiny, yet strong creature and learn more about it.

General appearance

First of all, you have to know that a Chihuahua and a Teacup Chihuahua are completely different dogs. They might be the same breed, but they are more like cousins then brothers. The chihuahua is usually bigger than his teacup cousin, but their appearance is quite similar, and sometimes, you might not recognize one from the other.

Chihuahuas as well as teacup chihuahuas come in two varieties: the long-haired ones, also called Long Coats, and the short-haired ones that are Smooth (even their varieties’ names are badass). But, there isn’t a division just by coats, but also by head shape. There are “deer head” chihuahuas and “apple head” chihuahuas. Usually, the apple head ones are the most popular, because their lineage is considered “superior”.

The built of a teacup chihuahua

As you probably already know, the teacup chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world. This dog usually weighs five pounds, nothing more, which makes them extremely small and easy to carry around (which is why it is now in fashion to carry your teacup chihuahua in your designer handbag, though honestly, I think it would be more fun to carry it around in an actual teacup, and goodbye, I think I’m gonna go find myself a teacup chihuahua just to do that).

They are so tiny that their height average is nine inches, which is, as you know, smaller than a cat (especially if it’s a fat cat). But, don’t let their small stature fool you, because teacup chihuahuas have one of the strongest dog personalities out there, and god, they can be loud!

The teacup chihuahua’s coat

Chihuahuas and teacup chihuahuas in general come in two different types of coat: long and smooth. The long-coated teacup chihuahua generally has a soft coat which is either flat or slightly curly. Sometimes, a long-coated teacup chihuahua might look the same as a smooth-coated one, but you can see the difference at the ears, which have a fringe of hair, and the tail, which is plumed and spreads out over the small dog’s back. Long-coated teacup chihuahuas also have a ruff on the neck and feathering (which means longer hair) on the feet. The hair is also longer on the hind legs (it’s called pants, yes) and on the stomach as well (which is called a frill).

On the contrary, the smooth-coated teacup chihuahua looks slightly different. They usually have a shiny, smooth coat, which fits closer to the body than on the long-coated teacup chihuahua. They also have a ruff of longer, thicker hair on the neck, but the hair on their head and ears is thinner, and the tail is quite furry.

Teacup chihuahuas, long and smooth-coated, come in a diverse range of markings and colors. They are either solid colors, such as white, chocolate, fawn, grey, silver, and black, or they are tricolor, spotted, merle, or brindle. All in all, teacup chihuahuas come in different shades and colors, from very dark to extremely pale.

How to groom a teacup chihuahua

cute teacup chihuahua near a can

How would you not want this cutie pie?

Grooming the teacup chihuahua only takes a few minutes a week. First, you should brush your best friend weekly, and it is always better to do it using a brush with short, natural bristles for a short-haired teacup chihuahua and using a pin brush for a long-haired one[HL1] . You can also use a fine-toothed flea comb to remove your dog’s loose or dead hair.

Teacup chihuahuas usually shed small amounts of hair during the year, but your pooch might shed more during the spring and fall. If you have a long-coated teacup chihuahua, his undercoat may or may not come out in little clumps. So, if you want to keep the shedding under control, brush your teacup chihuahua’s coat regularly. If you do that, your small friend won’t need a bath more than once every month or two.

I can’t stress it enough, but you should always use a shampoo formulated for dogs so you don't dry out your teacup chihuahua’s coat and skin (for a list of the best shampoos for dogs, take a look at this article). Those dogs are very fragile animals, so they always need the best care.

And remember, always check the ears when you are grooming your Chihuahua. If you smell a foul odor or see wax, the best thing to do is to clean the inner ear with a cotton ball, using a cleanser approved by your veterinarian (always ask your vet for advice, after all, better be safe than sorry). You can discover our selection of the best ear cleaners on the market here, just so you can have an idea of the products out there.

Don’t into the depth of the ear, after all, like us humans, dogs have sensitive ears. And, if they are dry along the edge, rub a little baby or coconut oil onto them (basically, give your teacup chihuahua a little spa session, it never hurts).

You might see that your teacup chihuahua is developing tear stains beneath his eyes, and that’s completely normal (by that I mean: don’t freak out, your dog doesn’t have pinkeye or anything). What you can do is carefully wipe your small friend’s eyes in order to remove the discharge.

As for nails, you should know that a teacup chihuahua's nails grow quickly. Keep them trimmed short (unless you want to give a full on mani-pedi to your dog). It is better to introduce your teacup chihuahua to nail trimming early in his puppyhood, so it can be a less stressful the experience, not only for him, but for you as well. And if you don’t know where to start, then you can discover our selection of the best dog nail clippers around.

Like many small breeds, teacup chihuahuas and chihuahuas in general are prone to poor dental health (they just don’t care). To counter that, brush your best friend’s teeth at least two or three times a week (it would be even better if you could do it daily) to remove tar and bacteria. Do that using a special dog toothpaste, that you can find either online or in specialized stores (and if you’re more of a DIY person like I am, you can even make you own dog toothpaste). Start doing this when your puppy is young, this way, he’ll get used to it easily.

And finally, when you are grooming your dog, make sure to always check for rashes, sores, and signs of infection. Those signs are pretty easy to recognize, here are some of them: redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet as well. Remember that your dog’s ears should always smell good, and not have too much wax or gunk inside. The eyes have to be clear, with no redness or discharge. If you do this careful exam weekly, you will be able will to spot potential health problems quite early, which is always a good thing.

The temperament of the teacup chihuahua

teacup chihuahua in sheets

He might be small but he’s got a big personality, and a bigger heart.

Teacup chihuahuas, like most other toy dogs, are known for being a small breed with a big personality. But, is there more to this beautiful dog breed? Keep on reading, and you will find out!

General temperament

The teacup chihuahua is known for being a bold, confident, little terror. Or so we think. These tiny fur balls can be the sweetest pets and will give you all the love you need (and let’s be real, want), but only and only if they trust. Naturally alert and suspicious of strangers, teacup chihuahuas make excellent guard dogs, even though they’re as small as a pee, and can only do so much to scare a burglar (but they will still do their best, and we love them for that, don’t we?)

But, although the teacup chihuahua can be suspicious and aggressive, he can also be extremely sensitive, and thrives on companionship and affection, which is why this breed often bonds with only one person, their owner.

If your teacup chihuahua is not properly socialized as a puppy, expect him to be a little reserved and timid around people at first. So, make sure to properly socialize your teacup ball of fur early into puppyhood, so he can get accustomed to being around new dogs, people, sounds, and environments without freaking out too much.

The teacup chihuahua and children

Teacup chihuahuas usually love children and get along with them really well, but, since that dog breed is so tiny, it might be dangerous for it to be around very small children. Your teacup chihuahua might jump from your child’s hands and injure himself badly (sometimes needing surgery) if he’s not held properly. A lot of small children also don’t know how to behave around dogs, so, if your teacup chihuahua feels threatened, he might become aggressive, so he can defend himself.

So, if you have small children, it is better to adopt another dog breed, that is better around them. Teacup chihuahuas fit families better when they have quiet, older children who know and understand the best way to interact with a dog as tiny and fragile as the teacup chihuahua. Still, always make sure to teach your children (and the people you live with, in general) how to approach and touch a dog, be it a teacup chihuahua or any other breed, big or small. If there are small children around, always be sure to be there to supervise the interaction between them and your teacup chihuahua, so you can prevent small accidents such as biting or ear and tail pulling, from both parts.

Feeding your teacup chihuahua

teacup chihuahua in a field

The teacup chihuahua doesn’t eat a lot, but damn, he’s got a lot of energy.

Credit: ​lemonde.fr

Teacup chihuahuas might be small dogs, but you still need to feed them properly. Usually, it is recommended to feed your small best friend ¼ to ½ cups of high quality dry food (such as Whole Earth Farms), once a day.

Always make sure to feed your teacup chihuahua quality dog food, since he is quite a fragile pet, and needs the best care in the world.

Caring for your teacup chihuahua

Credit: cuteness.com

Despite being a very small dog (the smallest dog in the world, actually), the teacup chihuahua needs a lot of care, exercise, and training.

You’d be surprised at how much energy something as tiny as a teacup chihuahua can have. Your tiny best friend will spend his time endlessly chasing squirrels in the backyard or in the garden, and he is always willing to play, as long as you are too. Teacup chihuahuas also enjoy walks, and playing catch, so don’t hesitate on spending quality time with your fur baby, because he will love it, and so will you.

Teacup chihuahuas usually go until they drop, so make sure your dog doesn't tire himself out, especially on hot summer days. As much as they enjoy playing outdoors, teacup chihuahuas should never live outside. They are too fragile for that, and they aren't safe from raptors, or other larger dogs that could go into your yard and start a fight with them.

You should know that teacup chihuahuas have been bred as companions, and the best place for a companion is, of course, with you, their best friend and trusted owner.

Training your teacup chihuahua

white teacup chihuahua

If you don’t train your teacup chihuahua, he might develop small dog syndrome.

Credit: chihuahuachronicle.com​

Training a teacup chihuahua is usually a fun task and not too much of a hassle. They are smart animals, and easily understand and follow commands when trained to do so. The best thing would be to take your teacup chihuahua to a training class where he will meet many different dogs and people, which, of course, will contribute to his socialization, and help him learn manners that all dogs should know. You can also train him at home and use dog training treats to award him every time he’s a good boy.

Chihuahuas are as easy to housetrain as well, as long as you, of course, take them out frequently. If you have a puppy teacup chihuahua, you will have to take him out as soon as he wakes up in the morning, after every meal, after naps, and just before bedtime.

The teacup chihuahua’s health

The teacup chihuahua usually doesn't have any major health problems, but, like all dogs, especially small ones, he can develop health issues as he ages. Here is a list of some of the few diseases that your teacup chihuahua might suffer of.

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Patellar luxation
  • ​Heart murmur
  • ​Shivering
  • ​Open Fontanel
  • Hydrocephalus

Of course, during his life, your teacup chihuahua might not suffer from any of those, but, just in case you see something wrong with your dog, always call your vet and be sure to give him the proper care.

Conclusion

Teacup chihuahuas are a beautiful small dog breed, but they are not for everyone. The need a lot of care and attention and can also develop “small dog syndrome” if they are not properly trained. A small dog is still a big responsibility, so make sure to love him all the way, because he will.

About the Author Houda Laabadi

A dog lover!

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