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The persisent myth of the Teacup Chihuahua

One of the most pervasive Chihuahua myths is the existence of the "teacup" Chihuahua.

So let us be very clear about this - there are only two types of Chihuahua, long and smooth coat.

There is no separate classification for the mythical 'Teacup Chihuahua'. It is not a separate breed or variety. Just as there is no "apple head" or "deer head" variety, TEACUP is a marketing term coined by unscrupulous puppy farmers to make their runts seem more valuable than their regular pups.

Will a normal Chihuahua pup fit in a teacup? Of course, they will. As puppies. They are the smallest dog in the world, Take the image below, for example. Two cute Chi pups in a teacup, right? Actually, the pups are probably only 4-5 weeks old (they'd still only weight 400-600 gms at this point) and they are sitting in a hulking great soup mug (we have one just like it at home). So the myth persists and the camera really does lie. And that's assuming the shot wasn't simply Photoshopped into existence!

But the unwitting buyer who failed to do their research, or got suckered in by a cute photo and an even cuter name, sees this and without realising it, buys into a whole world of heartbreak and veterinary expense.

Puppies can be born smaller than average for any number of reasons, including - but by no means limited to - disability, growth hormone deficiency, a liver shunt, hydrocephalus, heart problems, reduced nutrients in the womb, gestation position and genetics.

These medical reasons for an unusually small pup can often severely shorten its life span. A scrupulous breeder would advise a potential owner of the problems ahead if they decide to take on this burden, or not sell the pup at all.

The other problem, which we have seen so many times, is that an expensive, rare "teacup" Chihuahua is just a regular old Chihuahua. As backyard breeders and puppy farmers prefer larger dogs who are more likely to whelp naturally (God forbid they'd cut into their bottom line by having to pay for a C-section), this adorable teacup puppy might grow into a 5 kg monster-pup. It might be healthy as a horse, but it's amost the size of one, too!

Sadly, there is an industry that has grown up around the idea of "teacups" and not just in the Chihuahua breed. There are thousands of websites out there, offering hints on their care and maintenance and how to acquire them.

A Chihuahua, according to the breed standard, should be between 2-3kg. Surely that is small enough without trying to damage the health of the breed by encouraging the idea than they should be even smaller and then adding a cute marketing name on top of it to drive sales?


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