Tiny Chihuahuas are a very special breed of dog. The Chihuahua originated in ancient times, now carefully bred in the USA since before 1929. The Chihuahua size originally written by AKC was meant to stay 2-4 pounds, but American breeders tend towards a larger dog size for breeding & showing and pet purposes. In the UK the Chihuahua breed remains the size 2-4 pounds.
In other popular small dogs, there are size classifications. With the Chihuahua hailed as the world’s smallest breed, this was not yet possible. As a diminutive breed, often called “the king of the toys”, the Chihuahua is especially close to it’s owner and with a longer than normal life span, and the fact they are primarily indoor pets, Chihuahuas tend to become a true family member. The tinier ones tend to be more fragile and breakable. As if royalty, they have an exceptionally quiet demeanor. The term “teacup” is affectionately used by many American owners of the small version sized Chihuahuas.
The issue of Chihuahua size, and hence the term “teacup” has become much of an argument due to the fact American Chihuahua breeders raised the size in their AKC standard to the 4-6 pound range. Of course breeding larger Chihuahuas can even make them bigger than six pounds. Some of the size differential was possibly due to the interbreeding with other toy breeds to acquire the colors, markings and coat variations we see in our Chihuahuas today.
The showing breeders tend to argue “there is no such thing as a Teacup Chihuahua”. A favorite expression coined that dogs aren’t dishes, reveals some of the deviant marketing techniques of a few breeders of the larger show specimens, but aren’t they? I’ll get into symantics later….However the Chihuahua size range is so relatively vast among the dogs within the breed and since paperwork doesn’t define the size, many dogs called a Chihuahua are just not that small, even show Chihuahuas.
If you take a 2 pound Chihuahua dog and place a pet quality type Chihuahua dog that might weigh as well as up to twelve pounds or more, you just do not have the same breed before you, yet both dogs could have easily had AKC paperwork in place. Some Chihuahua exhibitors showed a few Chihuahuas that exceeded six pounds, often excused,after the dog show judge “pulls the scales on them”, but sometimes with the right handler and judge they finished their chihuahuas’s championships,only making the size issue that much more ingrained as a problem, specific for the Chihuahua breed.
And having a “show breeder’s” Chihuahua puppy does not clearly define the size that the mature Chihuahua dog will grow to. Many show breeders of Chihuahuas have used large females, up to 14 pounds, to
make their Chihuahua champion breeding stock. Why is this so? Because the Chihuahua seems to reduce in size with the following generations depending on how it is bred. Therefore you can have a large Chihuahua that is actually over 6 pounds in many of the akc chihuahua pedigrees.
This is the true problem with breed. Although it is possible, it is very difficult to go back wards in size, in Chihuahuas. A smaller female Chihuahua can have grave consequences if bred to a Chihuahua male with a large size. Simply having any registries paperwork in place does guarantee a breedable pair of dogs in the Chihuahua. Until the registries give sizes as they do colors in Chihuahuas pedigrees, there will always be this problem in the Chihuahua breed.
The Chihuahua Club of America has published a “teacup statement ” in the recent decade, which has been gladly manipulated for marketing by breeders of large Chihuahuas. Many of these breeders, with less than five years of breeding experience, no bloodlines experience, other than what they purchased from someone, and not giving credit where credit is due to those Chihuahua breeders who actually know the “whole truth” about Chihuahua terminology…. Does one really need to create a negative statement or web page to stop other’s terminology, creating Internet FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about any one who uses a term to describe size?
Why would anyone need a marketing term anyway, adorable Chihuahuas, even the larger ones, sell themselves? Seems to me that people have just gotten desperate to attack whoever gets in the way of them selling or giving away their large Chihuahuas? Isn’t it about time we all got honest, instead of manipulative and hateful, about Chihuahua size with the public?
It’s about time someone took the lead to discuss the other side of the coin and represent the thousands of people who have had tiny Chihuahuas,and loved them dearly, enough to the point they chose a common household word that described how delicate and precious they really are. Yes, they are definitely like fine china, and fine china is breakable. As far as semantics go, a dish or a doll was a woman in the fifties. Was a woman an actual dish? Was a complimentary term that I recall… I personally do not accept negative definitions of any sort in regards to describing the Chihuahua. Be ashamed! The Chihuahua is known as the smallest dog in the world!
Now back to how the Chihuahua is bred, as it pertains to size.
The general rule this author was told as a very young breeder, was “out-cross for vigor, in-breed for size”. Being that for the most part, the Chihuahua breed is a naturally healthy breed of dog, inbreeding close is not necessarily a great idea. Therefore a smarter way to breed a Chihuahua dog is to line breed the dog’s bloodlines. This means you will need to be very watchful of the traits you want to strengthen, particularly by examining the grand parents and great grand parents of the pair that is being bred.
Many Chihuahua show breeders have had an advantage, at this point, viewing some of these relatives at dogs shows. That doesn’t mean that all the Chihuahua dogs in the show ring actually produced live puppies within the tiny size, either. Many Chihuahua show dogs had many bigger Chihuahua ancestors.
But many more breeders breed the Chihuahua blindly, in reference to size and heritage. Some breeders do not bother to obtain a pedigree on their breeding dogs. A good Chihuahua breeder will always know the pedigree of their dog before attempting to breed it. Having the pedigree doesn’t replace actual knowledge of the size ranges of the dogs in it.
Another problem related to size is that growth rate is variable among Chihuahuas. Even though the breeder can “chart out the weight ” of the Chihuahua puppy, as estimated weight at maturity, this never is a guarantee. The Chihuahua can grow in size, up to two years old, as is true of all breeds of dogs. This growth rate variability can also be seen in size at the prebirth stage of life, another factor making Chihuahua breeding difficult. It has been the author’s personal opinion that there is no way to predict size on a Chihuahua with so much variability in genes, unless one carefully line breeds the dogs with every ounce of knowledge they can acquire of the size,for even up to seven generations.
As a breeder of nine generations from my own Anika’s Chihuahua Bloodlines, respectfully, I view the Chihuahua size dilemma as pervasive and dangerous when choosing an Chihuahua out-cross bloodline to mingle with my own Chihuahuas for breeding purposes. The size problem has resulted in Chihuahua breed acquiring the reputation of being a c-section breed. Consistency and line breeding for size is the only way to prevent the problems we know related to Chihuahua size.
And over my course of years in the Chihuahua breed, I must admit, I have made mistakes in out-crosses, and also had many successes. Truly the term teacup must have relevance when discusses the American bred Chihuahua, because to this author, when you have a continuum of size range from 2 pounds to 14 pounds, (and they are out there in the breeding world),it’s like looking at a dog that is seven times bigger than the smaller dog. Just not fair to have both Chihuahuas in one size range. For me, Iat Anika-Chihuahuas, we chose to limit our Chihuahua bitches for breeding tt between four to six pounds, line breed and the resulting pups which go over six pounds, are never sold for breeding of any sort, are never bred, and are never shown.
Here’s what this author did to control size. Taking three of four Chihuahuas related to top winning Chihuahua lines, related by a common grand sire of great grand sire, my Chihuahuas were line bred. In the begining, there were at least four different sets of bloodlines to combine. The progeny were carefully crossed, with size in mind, to a few respected breeders. Then these dogs were as well line bred. I have been lucky for the most part. During my third generation of Anika’s chihuahuas, I noticed a few additional c-sections. Many resulting extra small Chihuahua females were never bred or shown, but placed as pets.
There were a few large dogs. Usually in a litter of four puppies, there would be one or two perfect in size range and color and conformation. Consistently using a small male Chihuahua stud does help some, but remember you need to know your Chihuahua’s heritage, first and foremost, in great detail, especially the sizes. Breeding Chihuahuas is a little like grandma baking a pie, grandma just knew how, she had done it so often. But size is a great concern in the American Chihuahua , fondly called “teacup” by many Chihuahua owners, who have the luck to acquire a tiny beauty. Size can disqualify or even be deadly to live pups….Size is a concern for every breeder who wishes to stay within the Chihuahua Standard.
Anika’s Chihuahuas Bloodlines has advise to the brand new breeder, study, study study. Do not fall prey to viscious gossip and use ignorance as bliss. Always learn all you can from the Chihuahua breeders that went before you and your Chihuahuas. large puppies can come from small parents, so you must know the heritage of size in your breeds, to reach the goal, live puppies, great dogs free of birth defects, hopefully Chihuahua show dogs within a good range of size and many more generations of your Chihuahua bloodlines for the future and those who will carry the torch for this wonderful, tiny and priceless breed of dog, the Chihuahua, none other can compare to. Carry on Chihuahua breeders.
We need the size to stay small but functional, not the easiest job, it must balance with breed-ability without compromising the Chihuahua breed. Denigrating the smallest size by telling the public what terms they might use is a frivolous attempt to control a market which was bolstered by the TACO BELL COMMERCIAL”S enhanced Chihuahua breed popularity in the 80’s and 90’s.