Breeding for Teacups is Breeding for Greed.

Someone on a list I subscribe to put up a link to a teacup puppy operation.  This person commented on how cute the puppies were and everyone else oohed and aahed.

In a move that could get me kicked off this list, I wrote the following:

“The puppy is absolutely adorable, but will be extremely fragile and prone to high vet bills. Chis of that size usually do not last past a couple of years old, and  have a lot of vet bills, that is if the pup is under 4 pounds at adulthood. Let’s hope she makes it to at least  the 4 pound level by adulthood.

That is just too extreme in size. I can give you a lot of links to support what I am saying and it has also been my personal experience. I can tell you what is going on in that kennel.

And it reminds me of a sad story of greed gone wild. And how many breeding dogs you need to produce adequate numbers of teacup puppies.

I know a woman who bred for teacup Chis, Yorkies and Poms and various crosses of the three. She sold them for $2,000 and up. She lived just up the street from me. She eventually got her operation shut down by the authorities and faced charges in court for her unhealthy breeding practices, and selling sickly dogs to people and hoarding because she had so many dogs. All her breeding dogs were removed in a scandal that hit the newspapers, and the the dogs were sent to humane societies all over the country. In the end, they did not send her to jail and considered her to be a hoarder. She was only allowed to keep a couple of her Chis- after they had been fixed.

I saw her recently at a store and we chatted quite a bit. She was so happy I would talk dog with her at all as she has been shunned by all dog people since then. She virtually told me that she knew the pups were unhealthy and short lived, but  people want them.  AND, she could get more money for a teacup sized pup.  She had to keep literally hundreds of dogs in order to get a enough salable teacups, to make a handsome living, which she did. The ones around 4 pounds still need caesarians to deliver, so she ran up a huge vet bill, until they cut her off. But slighter larger dogs often have a runt, so….

She was breeding for runts, and the ones that were not runts were harder to sell, because the local newspaper will not allow more than two puppy sales a year from one telephone number. At the end, before she got busted, she was using throwaway phones to get around it, but still had hundreds of oversized Chis at her kennel. In fact, she had accumulated 883 dogs by the time the county busted her for many other reasons besides hoarding. She was not strictly a hoarder, though that became her defense, but she just could not sell the normal and oversized size dogs as fast. And she needed many breeding animals to get a few runts. Her web page, ‘Tucson Teacups’ was taken over by the Humane Society, and they left a page that said it was shut down.

I bought a normal size Chihuahua from her (thru the classified ads) 10 years before her operation was shut down. My Chi, a deer type, turned out to weigh 10 pounds. I asked her about the teacups and she said a lot of them grew to be 4-5 pounds after all. And if someone complained, she just said it was impossible to guarantee the pups would grow up to be less than 4 pounds.

I think that is what the company in the link could be doing, too.

The fact is, teacups can’t be bred. They often don’t even make it to breeding age. They have to breed 4-5 pound dogs and look for runts. Because Chis can throw pups larger than themselves or smaller than themselves, there is ALWAYS a second operation to sell the bigger ones off the teacup website.



Sometimes people deliberately withhold nutrition from the teenies to try to force them to remain small until they are sold. Then when the new owners start actually feeding the poor little guys the way puppies are supposed to be fed, the puppies grow to a more normal size and the new owners are surprised. You can bet the breeders aren’t surprised, though.


Kate Williams

Thanks for you comment. Of course I think doing that is extremely dangerous, too. The teeny ones are quite hypoglycemic, so underfeeding them would have to be an art to accomplish it without killing them


Kate Williams

I think a reason that big Chihuahuas are often found in pounds is that the dog grew too big for the owner’s taste. And perhaps they were misled as to the probable size as adults.



My first dog was a Chihuahua, a hairless runt of the litter. The breeder gave her to my father with the warning that she may not live long. She lived for 15 years and grew to be over 10 pounds of happy mutant dog. She was part of everything about my childhood.


Kate Williams

Hi Jan, thanks for commenting!
I know that sometimes happens! And yours grew to the perfect size!!! I think 10 pounds is perfect. At least, over 8. But usually a 2oz newborn will be well under 5 lbs. That is one of the reasons people get upset that their “teacup” grows larger then 4-5 lbs and often are so disappointed, they don’t keep the dog.

There are too many of these “poor man’s Chihuahuas” in the shelters, still, so I am trying a one person campaign to teach people what they have in these wonderful 10 pound dogs. You have dogs that live long and healthy, unlike the real runts, the teacups.


Post Your Comment Here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * logo