Home / Dogs / Dog Breeds / Here

Teacup Chihuahua 101: Everything You Need To Know About These Tiny Pups

Dog Breeds, Dogs

Last Updated - May 23, 2023

Small, adorable, and endlessly entertaining, teacup Chihuahuas are the pocket-sized pooches that have taken the world by storm. These miniature marvels may be small in size, but they pack a punch when it comes to personality and charm. Whether you're looking for a loyal lap dog, a lively companion for daily adventures, or simply a new furry friend to brighten up your day, miniature Chihuahuas are the perfect choice for those seeking a tiny but mighty canine companion.

Join us as we explore everything you need to know about these pint-sized pups, from their history and temperament to their unique care requirements and more, so you can learn if this dog breed is right for you.


Apartment Living

How easily a dog deals with living in an apartment. Despite the dog's size, you should also consider energy level, calmness, and friendliness.

Being Alone

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to panic and separation anxiety when left alone. When left alone, they can become very destructive, bark, whine, chew and cause mayhem. These breeds do best in a home with a family member around during the day, can go to work with their owner, or recommend attending doggy day care if the owner is not home during the day.

Sensitivity Level

Low sensitivity dogs are easygoing, tolerant, and resilient. They can handle a noisy and chaotic household, a loud or assertive owner, and tolerate an inconsistent or variable routine.

Tolerate Cold Climate

Short coat and little to no coat breeds are vulnerable to cold climates. These breeds will have a low cold tolerance and need to live inside in a cool climate and should have a jacket or sweater on for chilly walks.

Tolerate Warm Climate

Breeds with a thick and double coat are vulnerable to overheating. Breeds with a short nose and flat face are also vulnerable as they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If these breeds of dog live in a warm and humid environment, you will need to be extra cautious about taking them outdoor in the heat.


Cat Friendly

Friendliness towards cats and humans is very different. Some breeds are gentle and accept cats readily as part of the family. Some breeds will chase, fight, or rough play with a cat and cause severe injury. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Dog Friendly

Friendliness towards other dogs. Some dogs may try to dominate other dogs and attack and fight, while others would rather play. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Family Friendly

How affectionate a breed is likely to be with family members or other people he knows well. Some breeds are independent, some breeds can be aloof with everyone but their owner, while others treat everyone they know like it's their best friend.
Breed, however, isn't the only factor affecting affection levels. Proper socialization and training can improve the situation.

Kid Friendly

Kid-friendly dogs should be gentle with children, be more tolerant of screaming and running children as well as other children's behavior.

Openness To Strangers

How welcoming a breed is likely to be towards strangers. Some dogs will greet a stranger with wagging tails, while others are shy, reserved, cautious, or aggressive. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation. 

Health And Grooming

Coat Grooming Frequency

Amount of bathing, brushing, trimming, and professional grooming needs. Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have for this type of care when looking at the grooming effort needed. All breeds require regular nail trimming.

Drooling Level

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm or wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine. But if you are a neat freak, dogs that are drool prone may not be the right choice for you.

General Health

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. However, this doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases, and it just means that they're at an increased risk.
If you're adopting or rescuing a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
If you are purchasing from a breeder, be sure to do your research. Purchase from a reputable breeder and ask for the parent's health records to understand what potential health issue your pup may have.

Shedding Level

Amount and frequency of dog hair shedding.

If you are getting a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. 


Easy To Train

Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt, an action, and a reward (such as treats, appraise, or toys). Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.


Dogs bred for jobs requiring decision-making, intelligence, and concentration, need to exercise their brains. Such as, dogs bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they can become destructive and exhibit behaviors such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Potential To Mouthiness

Common in most breeds during the puppy stage. Mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need the training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy squeaky toys, as well as a good chew on a toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive

Dogs who were bred to hunt have an inborn desire to chase--and sometimes kill. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, or rabbits, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small animals. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase. But you'll probably have difficulty getting their attention when birds fly by.

Bark Or Howl Tendencies

Some breeds are more vocal than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. While some breeds will bark at every passing bird, some may use other sounds to express themselves.

Physical And Mental Needs

Energy Level

The amount of physical and mental stimulation a breed needs. High-energy breeds are ready to go and eager for their next adventure. Low-energy breeds are like couch potatoes - they're happy to lay around and sleep.

Exercise Needs

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Mental Stimulation

How much mental stimulation a breed needs to stay happy and healthy. Purpose-bred dogs can have jobs that require decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, or other qualities. Without the brain exercise they need, they can be destructive and have unwanted behavior issues.


A dog's inclination to be protective of his family members, home, yard, or even car.

Watchdog Ability

A breed's tendency to alert you that strangers are around. These breeds are more likely to react to any potential threat, whether it's the mailman or a squirrel outside the window.


Teacup chihuahua dog is also referred to as miniature chihuahua, mini toy chihuahua, a tiny chihuahua, teacup chi, or pocket size, are all ways to describe this mini chihuahua breed. Standard and teacup chihuahuas have the same history and origin, with the only difference being their size. Chihuahuas have strong ties to the Mayans from Central America and are descendants of the Techichi breed, becoming their own around the 9th century. The Techichi breed was originally believed to be guardians of the afterlife by the Mayans.

The breed evolved and became the dog we know today around the year 1850 and was officially named the "Chihuahua" after the Mexican state of the same name. These dogs were introduced to the United States around the year 1884. Today, chihuahuas are referred to as "teacup" because of their size, as they are selectively bred by the smallest of litters.

Teacup chihuahua is actually not recognized as their own breed by the American Kennel Club as they are grouped in with purebred chihuahua.


Teacup chihuahuas are also often called "micro" chihuahuas because of their astonishingly small size. Among other teacup dog breeds, like the Yorkie, Maltese, and poodle, teacup chihuahuas are typically the smallest.

Teacup chihuahua puppies are usually born at a weight of 2.5 to 5.5oz. Like most breeds, teacup chihuahuas aren't fully grown until about ten months of age. Even so, when fully grown, this breed usually stands at the height of 6 inches and weighs about three pounds. Some teacups can grow to be just slightly smaller than a standard chihuahua, but most are significantly smaller.


The personality of teacup chihuahuas is so large that it makes up for their small size. They are extremely loyal and often considered lap dogs because they like to be close to their owners and love attention from their owners. Teacup chihuahuas tend to become very dependent on their owners and often have separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Luckily, because they are small, it makes it easier to travel, alleviating the issue of potential separation anxiety. 

Teacup chihuahuas, like standard, can also become feisty in certain situations when they feel threatened or sometimes around strangers. They are actually considered one of the more aggressive breeds due to their defensive tendencies. With the right socialization and training at a young age, this reaction can be tamed. For these reasons, owning a teacup chihuahua is recommended for advanced dog owners or someone with experience.


Because of their potential for aggression, this breed is not always the best fit for a home with small children or an owner that is not home often. These tiny teacup chihuahua dogs can be good with children in certain circumstances, typically not with very young children or if the dog has not been socialized or trained. When approached too quickly or enthusiastically, these dogs will usually bark and often nip, which could cause injury to a child.

Depending on their personality and previous socialization, these dogs can also be reactive to other dogs and pets in the home. Characteristically, the sassiness of these dogs doesn't always allow them to get along with other animals, especially large-breed dogs. Oftentimes, though, they generally get along with other smaller breed dogs.

Brown Teacup Chihuahua

Image Source: Unsplash

Diet/ Nutritional needs 

Like all dogs, teacup chihuahuas are omnivores and should eat a healthy, nutritionally-dense diet. A balanced diet for these dogs can be as simple as a mix of dry and wet dog food or even just dry kibble. Because they are so small, these dogs really only need to eat about a ½ cup of food per day, which can be split over two meals.

For specific diet recommendations, contact your veterinarian.

Activity/ Exercise needs

Even though these dogs are small, they have a large personalities and are fairly active. Teacup chihuahuas should be mentally and physically stimulated on a daily basis to remain healthy. Their feistiness will come out when playing with toys, and they may become hyper and destructive to their toys. As an energetic breed, these dogs should exercise frequently, but because they are so small, it is important not to over-exercise them on excessive walks. About 20 minutes of exercise per day should be plenty of them. Be aware of outdoor temperatures when on walks, and dress them in a coat if it is cold outside.

Appearance/ Colors

Teacup chihuahuas can be any of the same colors as standard chihuahuas. These colors include cream, tan, gold, chocolate, merle, white, black, and silver. Their features, such as large pointed ears, large heads, and bulging eyes, also match those of the standard-bred chihuahua.

Grooming needs

These dogs can have either long or short coats. Short-haired chihuahuas are more common, but long-haired teacup chihuahuas are possible and have longer, straighter, wiry hair. Depending on the coat type, their grooming needs require low to average maintenance. Shedding may also be common for both long and short coats. Frequent brushing is especially important in long-haired dogs to prevent any matting or tangling.


Because these are small dogs, they can adapt to any type of living, from a small apartment to a large home. As long as they can be near you throughout the day, they don't need too much of their own space. Even when staying active, as long as they have toys to play with, they don't require an excessive amount of space to be active and play. Barking may be persistent with these dogs, so it is a factor to consider when deciding if they are a good fit for you, especially if you live in an apartment or condo. 

With the appropriate training and socialization, these dogs can learn to control their feistiness and aggression. This means that they can be good family pets and adapt to having other pets in the home if necessary.


These dogs are very energetic and typically less intelligent than some other breeds, such as working dogs. This makes teacup chihuahuas more difficult to train. It is important to train your dog to allow them to be socialized in certain situations and become more independent, depending on your lifestyle. They can usually be potty trained fairly quickly and become familiar with basic demands, but their stubbornness can make it stressful to train them for more significant tasks.

Teacup Chihuahua Price

The price of these teacup dogs can vary widely depending on several factors, including the dog's age, lineage, pedigree, and location. On average, a teacup chihuahua cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Adult teacup chihuahuas are typically about half the price of puppies.

It is worth noting that it is important to do your research on reputable teacup chihuahua breeders who prioritizes the health and well-being of their tiny dogs over profit. Otherwise, you will end up with a chihuahua puppy who may be at greater risk for health issues.

Prior to getting teacup puppies from a reputable breeder, consider checking out your local shelter and rescues first. This can be cost-effective and rewarding in the result.

Teacup Chihuahua on a couch

Image Source: Unsplash

Life expectancy 

The average lifespan of a teacup is not far off from that of a standard-bred chihuahua, at 7 to 12 years. But your dog can live longer. It's important to bring your dog to your regular veterinarian at least annually for a regular exam to keep them as healthy as possible.

Potential Health Issues

Like all breeds, there are specific diseases and health issues specific to teacup chihuahuas. These include genetic diseases and other health problems such as luxating patella, hypoglycemia, heart disease, periodontal disease, and eye diseases.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation refers to misplacement and movement of the kneecaps. This is a common issue in smaller dogs that can cause lameness and pain in the hind legs. Signs that this might be happening to your dog include any limping or an abnormal walk or run similar to a skip or hop.

To prevent and manage patellar luxation in teacup Chihuahuas, it's important to provide a low-impact exercise routine, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid activities that put excessive stress on the joints. Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of joint function may be necessary for dogs with a history of joint problems or other risk factors.


Hypoglycemia is a common and potentially serious health concern in teacup Chihuahuas and other toy breeds. Also known as low blood sugar, a variety of factors, including stress, inadequate nutrition, and strenuous exercise, can cause hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia in teacup Chihuahuas can include weakness, lethargy, tremors, seizures, and even coma or death if left untreated.

Teacup Chihuahuas are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemia due to their small size and high metabolism, which means they burn through glucose (sugar) faster than larger dogs. Additionally, they have less body fat to provide energy reserves in times of stress or illness.

To prevent and manage hypoglycemia in teacup Chihuahuas, it's important to provide them with a well-balanced diet that includes high-quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. It's also important to feed them frequent, small meals throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels stable. In addition, regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of blood glucose levels may be necessary to catch and address hypoglycemia early on.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect teacup Chihuahuas, as well as many other small dog breeds. This condition can include a variety of conditions, such as mitral valve disease, patent ductus arteriosus, and dilated cardiomyopathy.

To prevent and manage heart disease in teacup Chihuahuas, it's important to establish a regular exercise routine, maintain a healthy weight, and provide a well-balanced, high-quality diet. Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of cardiac function may be necessary for dogs with a history of heart disease or other risk factors.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a common and serious dental condition that affects many dogs, including teacup Chihuahuas. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and gums, which can lead to inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss if left untreated.

Teacup Chihuahuas are particularly prone to periodontal disease due to their small size, which can result in overcrowding and misalignment of teeth. Additionally, their delicate teeth and gums are more susceptible to damage and decay.

To prevent and manage periodontal disease in teacup Chihuahuas, it's important to establish a regular dental hygiene routine. This can include daily brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste, regular dental cleanings from a veterinarian, and providing dental chews or toys that promote healthy teeth and gums.

Eye diseases

Teacup Chihuahuas are known for their big, bright eyes, but unfortunately, they are also prone to a number of eye diseases and conditions. These can include cataracts, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

To prevent and manage eye diseases in teacup Chihuahuas, it's important to establish a regular eye care routine. This can include daily cleaning of the eyes with a warm, damp cloth, regular veterinary check-ups, and prompt attention to any signs of discomfort or abnormal behavior.

The Pet Staff is proud & humbled to be reader-supported. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

About the Author

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

Get expert advice on products & services for a happy & healthy home for your pets.