The Teacup Chihuahua: An American Myth

History of the Chihuahua

The Chihuahua was first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904, having been discovered in the Chihuahua state, in Mexico, bordering Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahuas are said have to come from the ancient Techichi dogs of the Toltec civilization near Mexico City. When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, they raised the status of the Chihuahua to a sacred icon of the upper class, which gave it religious meaning.

There are many different stories about where the Chihuahua dog originated from. Some versions claim that the first Chihuahuas immigrated across the Bering Strait land bridge. Others believe Chihuahuas were brought by Spanish settlers who were establishing trade routes with China. Yet another version is that the dog originated on the island of Malta, as evinced by European paintings depicting a dog that that is strikingly similar to the Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas are quite small, and have ‘apple’ or ‘dear’ heads with short pointed noses. They also have disproportionately large pointed ears and huge, glossy eyes. They tend to be ‘clannish’ and prefer the company of fellow Chihuahuas over that of other dogs. As well, they are usually loyal to one person, and consequently, extremely protective of him or her, to the point of aggression.

What is a Teacup Chihuahua?

“Teacup” is the term given to some Chihuahuas who are a bit smaller than the average sized Chihuahua. Chihuahuas’ weights range from 2 to 6 pounds and those at the lower end of the spectrum tend to get labeled as ’teacup’. However, the American Kennel Club does not recognize the “Teacup Chihuahua’ as an official type of Chihuahua and they support the controversial claim that this is merely a marketing strategy used by breeders who want to raise the demand for their Chihuahuas by making them seem to be rarer or more special than other Chihuahuas. According to the American Kennel Club there are two main types of Chihuahuas – long haired and short haired.

The so called Teacup Chihuahua has been creating waves in America, ever since stars such as Paris Hilton have appeared in the tabloids, brandishing these cute little toy dogs.  It now appears that every other young, impressionable American girl wants a ‘Teacup Chihuahua. Due to this sudden craze, breeders have capitalized on the fact that marketing a Chihuahua as a ‘Teacup Chihuahua’ makes it more attractive to buyers, who are then willing to pay more for it. Thus, breeders will sell the smallest pups of a litter as Teacup Chihuahuas in order to earn a bigger profit. Some breeders will even take the dangerous and extreme route of breeding smaller Chihuahuas simply to get a Teacup Chihuahua. This is extremely dangerous, as firstly, very small Chihuahuas will have great pain and difficulty bearing puppies, possibly to the extent that it is fatal to them. Secondly, the so called ‘Teacup Chihuahua’ will most definitely have genetic defects, respiratory problems, digestive problems, and an extremely fragile skeleton.

Consumers that see ‘Teacup Chihuahuas’ as something rare and special, are not doing these dogs a favor. Instead, they are giving rise to the breeding of thousands of Chihuahuas whose health is compromised. It is far better, if you are a true dog lover, to adopt an abandoned Chihuahua from a shelter and give it a good home, than purchase a ‘Teacup Chihuahua’ at great cost, only to abandon it later due to the exorbitant veterinary fees you will be sure to incur.


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