We get many requests for "teacup" chihuahuas.   Usually, these requests refer to a
puppy that, as an adult, will not weigh more than 3 or 3 1/2 pounds.  Many
veterinarians describe  so-called "teacup" puppies as weighing 5 pounds or less as
adults.  Because we get so many requests, we felt the need to discuss our viewpoint
and to educate folks on these tiny critters.
Arkansas Chihuahua Puppies For Sale Chihuahua breeders
Arkansas Chihuahua Puppies For Sale Chihuahua breeders
First, it is important to understand the vast number of factors that work to determine the adult size of
Chihuahuas.  Many folks believe that size of the parents is a good indicator of what size the puppies
will be, but I have found that is not the case.  Most of our puppies do not get as big as their biggest
parent, and some don't get as big as their smaller parent.  On the other hand, we have had some
puppies that get bigger than their biggest parent, and many of them had siblings from the same litter
who stayed tiny, much smaller than the smaller parent.  We have had some of our tiniest puppies
from our biggest parents, and some of our biggest puppies from some of our smaller parents.  These
are not isolated exceptions.  They are common place occurrences.  So, genetics cannot be the only
factor that determines adult size.  Feeding routines may play a role, as may hormonal shifts,
especially during the puberty phase.  There may also be other unknowable and unpredictable
components.  Also, you should be aware that the merles typically are bigger Chihuahuas.  There are
some exceptions to that, but for the most part, it is the case.

In truth, the dogs that we widely recognize to be the ancestors of modern day Chihuahuas
were larger dogs, in the area of 10 pounds or possibly even larger than that.  The breed has
been bred down in size over many generations, and the process of breeding down is not
without its problems.  It usually does involve some inbreeding, which does increase the
possibility and severity of health issues, so it is a practice that I do not do.   The other option
is to try breeding two runts together, but there are many problems there too.  First, runts may
be runts for a reason.  They didn't grow normally, as their siblings did, which may be
indicative of a health issue that may never be diagnosed.  For example, certain types of liver
shunts can stunt growth, but may never cause the dog any other problems, so they may
remain undiagnosed.  However, if you breed two dogs with liver shunts together, it amplifies
the chances of their puppies having severe liver shunts, and the result usually isn't great for
those puppies or their owners.  Plus, those tiny females will have to have a c-section to deliver
their puppies every time, without question.  This puts the lives of the female and her puppies
in danger.  Then, even with all of this risk, the fact still remains that just because two tiny
dogs that were runts in their own litters reproduce, that is no guarantee that their puppies will
be tiny.  Genetics simply does not work that way.  Since we do not engage in either of the
unethical practices described here, most of our puppies mature in the 4 to 7 pound range, but
some may be bigger.  We do get smaller ones from time to time, but it is relatively rare and
quite by accident.  

Even more problematic is that even the breed standards are detrimental to the breed in terms
of size (and in other ways too).  When the breed standard allows for a 1 pound adult dog,
something is wrong.  To give you an idea of what this means, consider this.  A newborn
human baby born at just 1 pound would probably not survive, even with all of the medial
care available today. That is how fragile tiny living beings are.  So, that says something in
itself.  A 1-pound human has almost no chance of survival, and if it does survive, it will
definitely have some health issues, but a 1 pound dog is acceptable and expected to be
perfectly healthy?  Now, imagine how tiny a Chihuahua would have to be at birth to just be 1
pound as an adult.  The answer to that is approximately 1 ounce.  Do you think it would
survive?  The answer to that is NO, it definitely would not survive on its own, no question.  In
fact, it would not survive even with round-the-clock support.  So, doesn't that make you
wonder whether it SHOULD have been born that way?

The reason why we do not breed for the tiny size, and the reason why any tiny puppy that we might
produce will be placed very carefully is that the tinier the puppy, the less likely it will be as healthy as
the average Chihuahua.  The very tiny Chis can have a good deal of health problems as adults.
These health problems include, but are not limited to: double rows of teeth and more problems with
teeth in general, more prone to collapsing trachea, more likely to have liver shunts, more likely to
have heart murmurs or to develop them in early adulthood, more prone to hypoglycemia, more likely
to have issues with eyes, and much more easily injured.  They tend to have shorter lives, and can
have a great deal more complications from puppyhood on to adulthood because they are NOT
supposed to be that tiny.   To compound the problem, tiny dogs are VERY hard to treat, so when
they do experience illness or injury, the vet bills are typically higher.  My vet estimates that for the
same treatment, the bill for a 3 pound dog will be roughly twice that for a 10 pound dog, and in
some instances, may be even more than that.  Also, in general, tiny dogs usually require a much
greater amount of care and attention on a daily basis, and are not suitable for every home.  

Please do not buy from me if you are not comfortable getting a puppy with undetermined
adult weight.   I do my best to estimate, but that is a much more difficult task than you might
presume, and the widely used weight chart is extremely unreliable
.   I will never guarantee
adult size of any puppy, and I will NEVER tell you that a puppy will be a "teacup".  I simply
do not use the term because it is a myth.
 ALL Chihuahuas are classified as Toys, and that is
simply a term for the group of breeds to which Chihuahuas belong.  It is not a statement of
adult size.  
Here are links to several articles and videos that expound upon the trouble with "teacups"  Just click
the each title to get to the full article.

No Small Problem: The Ethics of Teacup Dogs

The Truth About Teacup Dogs

Is it Cruel To Breed Teacup Dogs?

The Serious Facts Behind Teacup Puppies