© Working Dog Chihuahuas by Midwest, 2007
The Story of a Teacup Chihuahua
Even though 'teacups' don't exist, this is our 2# Chihuahua's story
America's Smallest Emergency Medical Response Dog
Dual trained for Cardiac (scent) and PTSD (task) in English & Russian
**I would like to start this by saying there is no such thing as a teacup Chihuahua. I can say that until I am blue in the face and will still get emails asking for them and people calling our Rajesh one. For that reason, we have titled the page as we did in order to educate more people. A Chihuahua can be 2-7 lbs per breed standard and many can get larger than that.**
This is our story. We have a 7 year old, 2 lb, 5.3 ounce (37 ounce) Chihuahua long coat adult named Rajesh. Rajesh was bred, born and raised here at Midwest Chihuahuas. He is certainly special and yes, adorably tiny, but they are major downsides to owning a Chihuahua of this weight class. This page is being written to give others a REAL idea of the pro's and con's of owning one of this size. Perhaps with better education people will better understand what they are asking for when requesting "the tiniest puppy possible".
First, let's go over some of the background on Rajesh. He was born weighing in at 2.65 ounces which meant (following the Chihuahua Growth and Weight Chart on this site) that he should have been roughly 3 lbs at maturity. Generally we say that one pound either side of the chart prediction is very normal. For example the 2-4 lb range would have been completely acceptable for Rajesh based on birthweight. Rajesh followed along the 3 lb growth curve until his weigh in at 6 weeks, zero days when he weighed in at 15.15 ounces. Then his growth continued at an even pace, but slowed considerably. As stated in other places on our site, we feed Dr. Gary's Best Breed foods (American Made & GMO free) and swear by them!
Our first real EMERGENCY with Rajesh was when he was six months old. Rajesh had a sudden onset hypoglycemic episode. His level was 41! Keep in mind it should have been over 100. This was AFTER Karo syrup, nutrical, a heating blanket and all we could do to get him to be more responsive. Rajesh was almost 1.7 lbs at the time. He was emergency admitted to our local emergency clinic in critical condition. He remained two days on IV (which was almost impossible to start at his size) and near constant monitoring. He was released, better, with his level at over 100. Not only was this TERRIFYING and EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE it was also completely a shock. He had eaten on schedule for days and was nearly 90 minutes late only on his meal when this occurred. TINY DOGS MEAN YOU MUST BE VIGLIANT FOR LIFE.
**TINY 'TEACUP' CHIHUAHUAS DO NOT OUTGROW THEIR RISK FOR HYPOGLYCEMIC EPISODES.**
Keep in mind, a five pound Chihuahua will almost NEVER have hypoglycemia problems and most Chihuahuas who chart in the 4-6 lb range rarely are at risk for hypoglycemia past 12 weeks of age verses a LIFETIME of vigilance on a so-called teacup!
Rajesh also suffered from a sudden onset hypoglycemic episode when he was just over a year old. We were home, noticed the lethargy right away and reset his system with Karo syrup, Nutrical, warmth and monitoring and he very quickly bounced back. In this instance he had NO missed or delayed meals. Also, we have found that mating (breeding) takes quite the toll on our tiny, tiny, man. Now, when mating, Rajesh is immediately given Nutrical while still hooked to the female and he is fed a wet diet immediately after separation as the amount of calories and energy he burns puts him at risk. This is yet another example of how difficult it can be to be an owner to a tiny Chihuahua.
*Update - Rajesh at 4 years and nearly 2 months old (01-08-2014); Rajesh suffered a hypoglycemic episode after being 34 minutes late on his feeding schedule and after vigorous play. Karo Syrup, rapid massage, heat and a yummy mashed ham meal and he recovered without medical intervention. Rajesh's weight at the time of the event was just over 2 lbs. This is part of what makes owning a tiny dog very complicated. He was feet away from me on the couch and I got to him fast. Thank God.
PROS AND CONS OF OWNING A TINY CHIHUAHUA
The only real Pro's I can come up with on owning a tiny Chihuahua are the ones I hear all the time. They are Tiny = Cute, they are attention getters, they are the ultimate in portability and can go with me anywhere. Wrong on all counts. I will go over each pro here and break down the real truth of the matter:
People think you can take a tiny Chihuahua anywhere!
The only dogs that can go anywhere are service/therapy/assistance certified animals who have undergone extensive training and handling. IN AMERICA, the Americans with Disabilities Act states they can accompany a person with needs in public places WITH CERTIFICATION.
Rajesh can ONLY go all over with us because he has been HEAVILY trained, has passed multiple obedience and training classes, has passed the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen test (see the CGC page on this website), passed evaluation and training and certification in PTSD and is trained in scent detection to assist me full time as a Cardiac Medical Alert Working Service dog and is now recognized as a service animal. Otherwise, even though he is tiny he could not accompany me (a person with a serious cardiac issue and post traumatic stress disorder) in public places.
TINY EQUALS CUTE
Everyone's opinion of what is "cute" is different. I have seen 2-3 lb Chihuhauas that are tall, skinny, deerheaded and to me, poor examples of the breed. I do not consider them generally cute, but their counterparts, short cobby 5-6 lb Chihuahuas with nice appleheads and structure usually are.
Many tiny Chihuahuas at 8 weeks of age being sold as "teacups" often have been underfed and/or improperly weaned to delay growth. Chihuahuas main growth spurt is in the 12 to 16 week range of age so your tiny pup will often nearly double in size by 16 weeks. When you get them, no matter what the "breeder" says, they are not almost full grown. Chihuahuas grow until they are 18 months old.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Color, composition, and coat length are many reasons families pick certain dogs or puppies. These are better reasons than size. ALL Chihuahuas are small, it is just part of the breed.
They are attention getters
But ask yourself, do you want to be stopped every FIVE FEET when taking your dog and family to the outdoor flea market to answer questions? Do you want to constantly tell people about your dog? This is NOT a pro....trust me, it gets old REAL fast. I don't mind answering questions about my Chihuahuas but sometimes you just want family time and with a tiny Chihuahua in public with you, it is hard to come by.
OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT - OTHER CONCERNS
Your Chihuahua can easily have more trouble when tiny. Please understand all of this and think it though before making the decision to add a tiny Chihuahua to your lifestyle. Rajesh is wonderful but I am home FULL TIME and he wouldn't be alive if I wasn't. I can't take a vacation, night out or anything without thinking first about his safety. We can't stay the night at a friends house.....it is a personal choice and it is a long life for the Chihuahua so PLEASE think carefully!
Questions on Rajesh or tiny Chihuahuas are ALWAYS welcome by us!
Emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org & facebeook.com/rajesh.duffer