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The Myth of the “Teacup”

The Chihuahua is a Chihuahua

The official A.K.C. Breed Standard describes the Chihuahua as a small dog that comes in two varieties or coat types. The difference in the coat type (the Long Coat or the Smooth Coat) is the only official description used to identify a difference within this breed. The standard does not categorize the Chihuahua by size.

For the purpose of showing and record keeping, the American Kennel Club includes the Chihuahua (along with 18 other breeds) in the Toy Group. Therefore, irrespective of their weight or physical stature, all Chihuahuas registered with the A.K.C. are considered to be a toy breed of dog.

As with all living things, there will be a size variance between individual dogs within this breed. Look within the human family – brothers and sisters will differ in height and weight, as well as other physical attributes. They are described as humans, male or female, and there is seldom if ever a need to break the description down further. The same holds true in regard to the Chihuahua, they are Chihuahuas – Long Coat/Smooth Coat, Male/Female.

Unfortunately, the additional adjectives used to describe the size difference and physical appearances are many, and have been misused for so long they now seem legitimate.  Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard – are just a few of the many tags and labels that have been attached to this breed over the years.  Reputable breeders are concerned that these terms may be used to entice perspective buyers into thinking that puppies described in this way are of greater monetary value.  They are not, and the use of these terms is incorrect and misleading.

Occasionally, within a litter, there may be a puppy that is unusually small.  That puppy is a small Chihuahua and any other breakdown in description is not correct.  To attach any of these additional labels to a particular pup is to misrepresent that animal as something that is rare or exceptional and causes a great deal of confusion among those fanciers who are looking for a Chihuahua.

The Chihuahua Club of America does not endorse or condone the use of any of these terms and would caution the perspective puppy buyer not to be misled by them.

We recognize that many Chihuahua fanciers do want the very small puppy.  While they are adorable and can be perfectly healthy, the buyer should be cautioned as to the extra care that may be required with regard to their general health and well-being.

Places to Avoid 

PUPPY MILLS. We've all heard about these places, animals neglected, filthy, deplorable conditions,  Some people go ahead and buy from them because they say they feel sorry for the puppy, but remember, if you buy you are adding to the problem and helping keep these people stay in business!!  If they were not making money they would either stop breeding dogs or clean up their act.  If everyone who came across these places refused to buy there, it would not be long before they did not exist.

PET STORES.  Most of these puppies come from puppy mills, trucked in, usually from another state.  The stores do not check out the places they buy from.  They have no idea of the conditions these puppies were raised in.  I have seen some of the worst specimens at pet stores.  No responsible breeder would sell their pups this way.  Also the prices are grossly inflated to make up for the high mortality rate.

BACKYARD BREEDERS.  They call themselves "breeders", but about the only thing they know about breeding is to put two dogs of each sex together.  They know little or nothing about genetics or heredity.  They do not breed to produce quality, healthy pups, they breed because the male down the street is handy.

Some might say, "but it's cheaper"...trust me you get what you pay for.  A good breeder puts a lot of time, effort and money in their pups, to assure you will have a happy, healthy pet, and will be there for you if by chance there is an unforeseen problem.  Yes, a pup from a good breeder will cost more.  A Cadillac costs more than a Honda.  If someone's only concern is price, they should go to the local Humane Society.  If you want a pet that's socialized, healthy, well bred & guaranteed, go to a reputable breeder.

Avoid any breeder who uses no name registrations, APRI, CKC (continental kennel club), NKC, ACA, APA, ADBA, APR, WKC, NAPDR, IKC, SKC, UKC (universal kennel club).  These are unregulated registries and there are basically no restrictions for registering dogs.  They have no system of kennel inspections.  If a breeder is using a registry other than AKC there must be a reason, such as AKC's DNA requirements, rules for record keeping or they have had their privileges suspended by AKC.  It is against AKC policy for breeders to charge more for AKC registration papers.  If the breeder is doing this, run!

Do not buy from a breeder claiming to have "show quality" puppies but they do not show.  They have no idea what they are breeding or what a show quality puppy should look like.  Breeders cannot decipher show quality in a puppy under 4 months of age and not at all if they are not actively exhibiting.  You can look up a breeder's dog by putting the AKC registered name in a search engine such as google.  You can verify a dog's Championship status by looking it up on the AKC's web site.  (www.akc.org)  Show catalogs and results are available online.  Ask the breeder for proof that they show.  Real International Championships are only available through FCI.

Do not buy from a breeder online if they do not have their name on their web site.  How proud can they be of their dogs? What are they hiding? Avoid any breeder who will not let you come to their home or will not give you their home address.

Do not buy from a breeder who uses any of these terms to describe their dogs: teacup, rare color, miniature, designer lines, or tiny toys.  Chihuahuas are one breed.  There is no such thing as a teacup, tiny toy, toy, or standard Chihuahua. These are descriptive terms that are used by unknowledgeable or deceitful breeders.

Do not put down a deposit on an unborn puppy or a puppy under 8 weeks old.  Be wary of breeders that allow Chihuahua puppies to leave before 12 weeks of age.

Do not buy from a breeder that only shows partial pedigrees, if that is important to you, ask to see the whole pedigree, preferably at least 4 generations.  Otherwise know that they are promoting their puppies off the work and showing done by legitimate breeder/exhibitors, something they have no knowledge of and yet they use it to sell dogs. A champion in the 3rd or 4th generation is no guarantee of quality.

Responsible Breeders

A Reputable & Responsible Breeder:

1.  Is proud of their dogs and their facilities and will be happy to show you the parents and where the puppies are raised.  Beware of anyone who brings out one pup at a time from behind closed doors or won't show you the parents, if they act like they have something to hide, THEY DO!

2.  Guarantees the health of their puppies against genetic defects for refund or replacement, and does not have a problem putting it in writing.  Beware of anyone who only guarantees their pups for a few days....(you take it to the vet in 3 - 5 days, if it dies on the 6 - 9 day that's your problem.)  This is NOT a responsible breeder.

3.  Has their dogs best interest at heart, they will tell you if they think a breed is not right for you, not try to high pressure you into buying.  They are more concerned about what the pup thinks of you than what you think of the pup.

4.  Is knowledgeable and encourages questions before AND after purchase.  The more you know the better you can care for the puppy.

5.  Is always trying to improve, their line, their facilities, everything for the dogs that depend on and put their trust in them.

6.  A responsible breeder may or may not show their dogs.  That makes them no better or worse, no more or less knowledgeable, no more or less caring.  There are good and bad breeders everywhere.  Everyone who shows is not a reputable breeder, just like everyone who chooses not to show is not a bad breeder or puppy mill.  No one should ever make such generalizations.

Don't be taken in by such terms as Teacup, Pocket Size, Designer Lines, etc., this is just a sales gimmick, there is NO classification for these terms.  I have raised Toy Breed Dogs for over 15 years, I've seen and produced some really tiny dogs, but I have never seen a grown one that would fit in a teacup.  I have seen some 12-15 pound dogs that were sold as pups as "Teacup".  All small dogs are in the Toy Breed classification, some are smaller, they are still toys.  Ask about weight grown, size of parents, and other pups produced by the same parents.  A reputable breeder will know what their dogs produce and will be honest about size.

Go to the AKC's site & check their standard for the breed your interested in, then you'll know what to look for.

The most important thing you can do is research.  A responsible breeder has a good reputation, ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, people who have had a good or bad experience will talk about it.
Do not be afraid to ask the Breeder for references.

The puppy you buy will be a member of your family for many years,
it should be a GREAT experience for you both.

A puppy is for Life not just for Christmas!

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