In the last decade, celebrities have made “designer dogs” and “boutique dogs” all the rage. These dogs are always of the full-size breeds. The smaller dogs are referred to as “miniature” or “teacup” because of their much smaller size. Their popularity stems from the fact that people can carry these little dogs around in their pockets, in small purses, or tucked under their arms and snuggled close by.
One such dog breed, the teacup chihuahua breed, is a particular favorite. People love the already small chihuahua, but the even tinier teacup model is too adorable to pass up. If you are considering purchasing a teacup chihuahua puppy, there are a few things you should know about this little dog first.
The Origins of the Chihuahua Terrier
The chihuahua is a terrier breed. Originally bred in Mexico to be a mid-sized, fuller bodied dog, native tribes eventually bred the dog to be smaller, lighter, and faster to get under the thick brush of Mexican jungles when hunting. These little dogs also have a fierceness about them that was intentionally bred into them to aid in hunting game in an environment that would otherwise eat them if the dogs were too timid.
After the Spanish conquistadors came, they discovered these little dogs running everywhere in the vicinity of the city of Chihuahua, which is how the dogs got their name. For centuries thereafter, the dogs were bred and kept as pets by both the Spanish settlers and the Mexican people. The chihuahua terrier was finally accepted as an AKC breed in the very early part of the 1900’s.
Most chihuahuas of the regular size are between six and nine inches at the shoulder. A chihuahua’s head makes up another four inches and almost a fourth of its body size. The large heads with huge eyes spaced wide apart is what makes a lot of people love these little dogs. The coat can be many different colors and patterns, but the most common is a solid color mixed with white or tan/cream. The fur can be smooth and short or long like a Pekingese.
Teacups, on the other hand, are much smaller. They may not weigh more than three or four pounds, as opposed to the just under six pounds of their full-sized relatives. Teacups are not a breed unto themselves; they are merely a diminutive size of the full-sized chihuahua.
To get a teacup dog, breeders have to consistently choose the smallest dogs from each litter and keep breeding the smallest dogs to get a teacup dog. Because the ancestry is not mixed with other small dog breeds to achieve this, there is always a chance that the dogs produced in each litter will not be tiny. Instead, breeders often end up with one or more larger dogs, which should not be labeled “teacup” because the desired size was not achieved through breeding.
Typical Health Problems of the Chihuahua and Teacup Dogs
As you might imagine, these little dogs suffer a lot of sinus problems. Their enormous eyes and incredibly small snouts create for narrow sinuses and narrow, short nasal passages. They can suffer sinus infections and even allergies.
Another problem that these dogs encounter is that their bones are rather brittle. In a standard chihuahua, the dog will often have a broken foot, leg, tail, or rib bone as a result of being tripped over, stepped on, or sat on by accident. In the teacup dog, this is an even bigger danger because they are so tiny and their bones may have a congenital defect from parent dogs that may not have had the best genetics where bone formation is concerned.
Chihuahua puppies should be examined for heart defects and knee problems. If the chihuahua puppies have these defects, it is highly likely that these defects will get worse as the puppies grow, or become the cause of a very early death of your dog. You should always ask a breeder for his/her veterinarian information and ask about any defects the parents have to determine if it is a good idea to purchase a puppy with potential health risks.
Finally, it is very easy to overfeed these dogs. As you can imagine, a teacup dog can be overfed on just a cup of food a day. Following feeding guidelines such that you never feed a teacup chihuahua more than half a cup of food a day is vital to the overall health of your tiny dog. A holistic raw food diet will provide your tiny dog with everything it needs while satisfying its appetite for meat, flavor and supplemental nutrition necessary to prevent brittle bone disease, obesity and allergies or sensitivities to dog food ingredients.
A teacup dog of this breed can live to be fifteen years or so, but genetic problems can cause the chihuahua lifespan to be shorter. Some teacups may only live a few months to a few years. Others may outlive the ten- to fifteen-year life expectancy.
Watering a Little Dog
On the one hand you don’t want to give such a tiny dog a large bowl of water. On the other hand you don’t want your little dog to become dehydrated, which is easy to do when you have such a high-energy pet that runs around all day. Be sure to put about a third cup of water in a very small bowl that sits low to the floor.
It is helpful to make sure the water will not drown your little dog’s nose during a drink by making the level of the water low and flat in the bowl, but not so low that you have to refill the bowl several times a day. You should also avoid filtered water because the filters commonly used to purify water for humans are toxic in repeated exposure to tiny dogs. Chemically treated water is also out. Certified natural spring water is best because the natural mineral content is a healthy natural addition to a chihuahua’s diet.
Training a Teacup
You might think that such a tiny little dog would not need any training. However, chihuahuas can be aggressive and have been known to bite when they are untrained. A teacup dog is no less susceptible to this aggressive behavior. While it may be funny to see such a tiny dog act so ferocious, it is still undesirable for your dog to behave that way.
The purpose of training a teacup dog is to train out any aggressive tendencies and train in obedience to your commands. You do not want your little dog to run into the street after a car or other moving object and refuse to stop when you tell the dog to stop! While you may have an inclination to skip obedience training because you think you will carry your dog with you everywhere, there are still environmental dangers that require you to make your dog listen to you.
Enroll your teacup puppy in training as soon as it is feasible. It is a good idea to warn the training coach that you have a very little dog. There may be a class for tiny dogs that will keep your puppy safe from larger dogs and prevent accidental harm. A trainer/coach may also recommend private training sessions for smaller dogs so that your dog remains safe and still learns what needs to be learned.
The good news is that chihuahuas of any size are very intelligent and quick to learn. Your puppy should have no trouble learning to obey commands. He or she will also be a quick study when it comes to learning tricks, which is why so many dog trick shows use these little dogs in their acts.
Physical Grooming and Care of Teacups
Little dogs need far more attention to their paws and nails than big dogs. That is because their nails grow very fast and long nails on tiny paws can make it impossible for your chihuahua to run or walk. It can become quite painful to move, too, even when the nails don’t seem that long. Keep the nails clipped short and clip them at least once a month.
Short-haired chihuahuas rarely need much brushing, but they will shed if not fed a proper diet. Again, this is where a raw diet can make all the difference in the condition of your dog’s coat and the amount of shedding it does. Better natural nutrition keeps the coat healthy and the fur doesn’t fall out quite as often or as much.
dailyired chihuahuas will need daily brushing. Proper diet helps them too, as the fur grows fast and long and will fall out even faster with poor diet. Bald patches can occur if your long-haired chihuahua isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs from its food. Bald patches on a teacup animal look even worse, so it’s vital that your teacup is getting enough out of the small amount of food it is fed daily.
Tiny chihuahuas have very tiny and sharp teeth. It is akin to the sharp, pointy puppy teeth larger dogs have in puppyhood, except that chihuahuas have such teeth most of their lives. Still, these teeth need to be brushed daily because a chihuahua without teeth will need to be hand-fed very tiny amounts of very soft food. Preserving your dog’s health and the health of its teeth and gums starts with good oral hygiene.
A Word on Chihuahua Mix Dogs
The trouble with buying a chihuahua mix dog is that you don’t know what you are getting. The dog could be even more aggressive, territorial, or difficult to train. They are often the result of breeding a chihuahua with another small dog, such as a Shih-Tzu or pug to get bigger eyes or smaller size. Then you end up with even more health problems because you aren’t just dealing with the health problems of a chihuahua in teacup size. You have the health problems associated with the other small dog breeds in the animal’s bloodlines.
Worse yet, the other dogs may be large or medium dogs. This creates a problem with the genetic defects that chihuahuas already have, making the genetic defects more pronounced. A miniature chihuahua lifespan should not be shortened because of poor or mishap breeding. If you are going to buy a teacup dog, find a reputable chihuahua breeder that knows exactly what he/she is doing and keeps the bloodlines pure.
What is Teacup Chi? It is an abbreviation for Teacup Chihuahua
What is a teacup chihuahua size? There is no specific size that a tiny teacup is. A full-grown tiny teacup chihuahua can be 3 pounds and 6 inches tall.
Where did the teacup chihuahua come from? The Teacup was refined by the Aztecs to a much smaller and lighter size. Discovered by American explorers after surviving invasion by the Spanish conquistadors, the Chihuahua was named after the region they were first found in in the 1800′s.
What makes a teacup chihuahua a teacup? Their tiny size, as to actually fit in a teacup.
Can teacup chihuahuas or chis really fit in a cup? Yes, they actually can. Some may be a little bigger than others but they can average 3 pounds and be 6 inches tall.
Can chihuahuas be left alone? Chihuahua’s are best when they are with their people. They can be left alone for short amounts of time. They wouldn’t be the ideal dog for someone who is away from the house frequently
Why do chihuahuas sleep between your legs? Because its a warm comfortable, safe, secure place.
Do chihuahuas like to be held? Generally, they like being close to ‘their’ people but no so much by the stranger. They are large in Spirt and small in body.
How many years do chihuahuas live? The average lifespan is 12-20 years depending on the quality of care given during their life. Lifespan is also dependent upon receiving a toy breed from a reputable breeder whose standards are proven ethical for the teacup breed and teacup pup.
Why does a tiny dog come at a high price? The Smaller chihuahua breeding costs are high because of their “tinyness”. The need to be monitored very closely, hence the cost is passed on to its owner.
How can you tell what kind of toy dog or chihuahua I have? Of course, there are many different types of this dog breed; Deer Head Chihuahua, Apple Head Chihuahua, Regular Chihuahua, Teacup Chihuahua, Miniature Chihuahua, Micro Chihuahua, and the Toy Chihuahua. There is not a lot of difference in the nature of the smaller chihuahua, but more in the physical characteristics. You can research the different types by image and then see the differences.
Why does a tiny chihuahua have a shorter lifespan? Primarily because of health conditions related to their joints, hypoglycemia, and bronchitis. Although giving your teacup puppies a high-quality Salmon Oil or Omega Fish Oil greatly reduces the chance of joint problems. Providing a specie specific Raw Food Diet provides protection against hypoglycemia developed from dry kibble food. Along with great food and quality supplements, pure water in the form of highly purified and/or filtered water is of great importance. Most water from the tap is not fit for human consumption and so neither would it be for your best friend and companion, your tiny chihuahua.
How long does this breed tend to live? Of course, this will vastly differ based on the proper care given to your chihuahua dog. The proper diet supplied from the beginning of life for the teacup chihuahua puppy is a big factor. Raw food diets provide the best recipe for a strong immune system which is the foundation of health for a long life.