In 1923, the American Kennel Organization sorted all dog breeds into five basic categories: Sporting Dogs (including hounds), Working Dogs, Toy Breeds, Terriers and Non-sporting Dogs. The Chihuahua is classified as a ToyDog.
Toy dog are often called lap dogs are essentially smaller or miniature versions of larger breeds. They were originally bred to be the companions of royalty in the Orient and in Europe. Of course sometimes they were also bred to be sacrifices or meals. Most toy dogs are less than a foot tall and weigh less than twelve pounds, perfect for settling in a lap.
Unfortunately, their tiny size does not mean a tiny temperament. Many toy dogs can be as savage or tough as their larger counterparts. In fact this noble, yet stupid bravery is very characteristic of most toy dogs. When it comes to the inbreeding of dominant or aggressive traits, in this case, size does not matter.
Toy dogs relate best to adults as they find the swift and unpredictable movements of children to be very irritating. They also tend to only be loyal to one person, thus demonstrating characteristics of aggression, territorialism and possessiveness. Toy dogs are also more likely to suffer from separation anxiety than other breeds. These typical behavioral problems and how to deal with them are discussed in later chapters of this book.
The fact that toy dogs are small doesn’t mean that they prefer small spaces. In fact, many are so active, almost hyperactive, that they need even more exercise than a larger dog.
. The terms “teacup” or (“tea cup”) and “tiny toy,” have increasingly come to be used to describe smaller adult dogs and especially Chihuahuas. Any kennel club, however, does not use the terms, officially. Since the terms are unofficial, there is Chihuahua that can be described as a “teacup.”
Many professional breeders argue that the whole concept of the “teacup” is nothing more than a marketing tactic to charge high prices for dogs that are frequently runts or that may have health problems due to dwarfing.
For instance, Chihuahuas that are exceedingly small, particularly those that are two pounds or less fully grown, often have shortened life spans and require special care. If you are dealing with someone who is trying to sell you a teacup dog ask him or her how the dog deserved that name.
The AKC says a chi chi can be up to 6 pounds. Over 6 pounds is undesirable as a show dog (but probably just as desirable to have as a pet.)
Along with “mini” and “tiny toy”, “teacup” is sometimes used to describe runts or unhealthy dogs. Always remember that these and other terms are not officially used by any kennel club or reputable breeder. Some teacups may have shortened life spans and other health problems due to extreme dwarfing.