Difference between teacup & toy chihuahuas

Updated February 21, 2017

While the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Chihuahua Club of America do not distinguish between toy and teacup Chihuahuas, many breeders do. For this reason, it's important for you as a prospective Chihuahua puppy buyer to know the differences between the two titles as well as the general traits for all Chihuahuas so that you can make sure you are purchasing a dog with a temperament that is suited for your lifestyle and personality.


The AKC believes that Chihuahuas originate from the fennec fox, a small animal with big eyes and large ears. In the past, Chihuahuas were used in religious ceremonies and as pets for the upper class. Markings made before 1530 in Chichen Itza ruins on the Yucat√°n Peninsula depict dogs which look like Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas got their name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the earliest examples of the dog were found.


The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the Chihuahua as a breed within its toy group classification in 1904. To fit within the classification, the dog must not weigh more than six pounds. All chihuahuas are considered companion dogs. The AKC makes no distinction between a toy and teacup Chihuahua.

General Traits

Chihuahuas are alert and have temperaments resembling those of terriers. They are generally intelligent, confident and self-reliant. They are good dogs for city dwellers, as they need little exercise and require little grooming. They can have either long or short hair. Chihuahuas come in a variety of colours including black, black and tan, chocolate, fawn, fawn and white, black and red and gold. A Chihuahua's markings may be solid, spotted or even such that the dog appears to be wearing a mask.

Distinguishing Features

Teacup Chihuahuas differ from toy Chihuahuas only in that they are smaller than an average-size Chihuahua. Other than that, there is no real difference between the two. Both are Chihuahuas. Breeders typically qualify teacups as weighing five pounds or less and not exceeding nine inches in height. Because teacups are generally bred from the runt of a normal-sized Chihuahua litter, they may experience more health problems than toy Chihuahuas. Common health problems affecting teacup Chihuahuas are bladder stones, heart disease, tracheal disease and arthritis. The Chihuahua Club of America warns against paying significantly more for a teacup Chihuahua just because it is smaller. Therefore, it is wise to try to find a breeder who will sell you a teacup Chihuahua for the same price as a toy Chihuahua.

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