Height: 4-6 in
Weight: 2-4 lbs
Life Span: 12-20 yrs
Coloring: Nearly any color pattern and combination is accepted; merle colorations will cause a dog to be disqualified from registration due to health problems associated with the merle genes
Area of Origin: Mexico
Similar Breeds: Chinese Crested Dog, Brussels Griffin, Teacup Maltese, Toy Poodle
History and Origin:
The Teacup Chihuahua is a relatively recent variation of the Chihuahua, bred specifically to be much smaller than its parent breed. The Chihuahua is a descendent of a now-extinct Mexican breed known as the Techichi, which appeared on pottery and wall paintings by the Toltecs, Mayans, and Aztecs as from the ninth century. While its exact purpose is still unknown, archaeological evidence suggests that the Techichi perhaps served a religious purpose to the Toltecs; paintings of a dog similar in stature to the Techichi have been found in a tomb dating to 300 BC. Hernán Cortés, the Spanish explorer who took down the Aztec empire, noted in sixteenth century writings that the Aztecs used the dogs as a source of meat. The breed only appeared in Europe and North America during the nineteenth century, and a recent interest in Teacup breeds has promoted the breeding of the Teacup Chihuahua. Not a separate breed, the Teacup is merely an extremely small Chihuahua, found in litters with its full-sized brothers and sisters.
Personality and Temperament:
Despite its tiny size, even the Teacup Chihuahua can house an extremely charismatic personality. It is an energetic and self-assured little dog that, due to its size, is frequently babied by its owner. This can result in Small Dog Syndrome, causing the dog to express a dominant temperament. Even though the Teacup Chihuahua can literally be placed in a pocket, it is important to remember that it is, nevertheless, still a dog, and should be treated as one. A delightful companion, its small size makes it ill-suited for children, as it can easily be injured. Despite its size, the Teacup Chihuahua is ideal for an owner who understands dog behavior to prevent dominant tendencies, and as such may not be best-suited for a first-time dog owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Teacup Chihuahua enjoys daily walks, and would much rather be on its own feet than carried around. Due to its fragility, much care must be taken to ensure it is not injured by people or other dogs. Its tiny stature make the Teacup Chihuahua an ideal dog for apartment living. It is intelligent and can learn quite quickly, and needs gentle, yet firm, leadership from its owner to solidify its position in the family.
A low to moderate shedder, the Teacup Chihuahua can have either a smooth or long coat. Brushing a few times a week will promote skin health and remove dead hair, and the long-haired variety sheds out its undercoat during the spring and fall. More vigorous brushing to help it eliminate dead fur is ideal during these times. Minimize bathing to prevent the skin from drying out and becoming damaged.
As it is not a separate breed from the Chihuahua, the Teacup Chihuahua is not largely influenced by other breeds. The Chihuahua that was first imported to Europe was larger than it is today, likely due to breeding with the Chinese Crested Dog. As a toy dog, the Teacup Chihuahua shares similar qualities with other toy breeds such as the Brussels Griffin, Teacup Maltese, or Teacup Poodle.
Interesting Facts about the Chihuahua:
1. Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus, mentions the small dog in a letter to the King of Spain in the sixteenth century.
2. The Chihuahua is a spokesperson and mascot for the fast food chain, Taco Bell, and interest in breeding Teacup Chihuahuas is partially attributed to the publicity that the breed has gotten through this venture.
3. In addition to being present in ancient Toltec tombs, the Chihuahua may also have had religious significance to the Aztecs, as remains have been found in the Pyramids of Cholula, the religious center of the Aztec world.