How Much Does a Teacup Chihuahua Cost?


How Much Does a Teacup Chihuahua Cost?

Are you considering adding a Teacup Chihuahua to your family? These small dogs are adorable, loyal, amusing, and affectionate. Historically, owning one of these dogs was a status symbol of the elite.

The cost of this breed varies and is dependent on a few different factors. Generally, these dogs will cost less than regular Chihuahuas.

So how much is a Teacup Chi? You can find Teacup Chihuahua puppies online anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Today, we’ll look at the reasons behind the costs of owning these tiny pups.

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How much is a Teacup Chihuahua?

Classified ads offer Teacup Chihuahua puppies usually between $500 and $2000. Registered breeders are a little more expensive, offering puppies between $1500 and $5000. This can seem expensive, but registered breeders are always the best option for ensuring that you receive a healthy puppy. If you’re looking to adopt your puppy, rescues can offer adoption fees for as low as $300. This would include your puppy’s first set of vaccinations, deworming, and spaying or neutering.

teacup chihuahua with hat on

Getting a puppy from Craigslist

Craigslist is full of people offering Teacup Chihuahua puppies for sale. After all, anyone can sell anything there. It can be very tempting to purchase your puppy through this site because the price is usually low. You can expect to find puppies between $500 and $2000 in a classified ad. This is usually always cheaper than a reputable breeder, who can charge closer to $5000 per pup. There are many reasons for that high price tag, however.

When someone is offering puppies on Craigslist, it’s usually a person whose pet dogs mated and the resulting litter was accidental. An easy way to sell these puppies is to list them on Craigslist, make some money, and get rid of them. Responsible breeders don’t often turn to Craigslist to help them sell their puppies.

A puppy from Craigslist often means you’re buying that pup’s inherited health problems. Since the parents of this litter likely weren’t genetically-tested, that means all health conditions they had could be passed on to the puppies. That cheap price for the puppy could mean high vet bills down the road. Craigslist puppies often don’t receive their first vaccinations or deworming, either. This means a trip to the vet is in order right after you bring your puppy home, as intestinal parasites can be difficult to treat once they’re given the chance to multiply. Infections and illnesses, such as Parvo, upper respiratory infections, and eye infections can easily overtake a litter of puppies and if the person selling the pups isn’t responsible, your puppy can come home very sick. Buyer beware when it comes to purchasing any animal through Craigslist.

teacup chihuahua in hands

Getting a puppy from a rescue

Rescues charge different adoption fees for their dogs, with smaller puppies typically having a higher fee. This fee isn’t paid for you to purchase the puppy. The fee is paid because you’re paying the rescue back for the vetting it provided, plus a little extra for them to help other animals in need. 

When you adopt a Teacup Chihuahua, you can expect to pay between $300-$500. Puppies can come into rescue very sick, and this rescue will provide all veterinary care to help them get and stay healthy. It’s not uncommon for a rescue to spend thousands of dollars to treat a sick puppy, only to adopt that same puppy out for $300. Therefore, most rescues rely on donations to help them recoup costs.

If your puppy came into rescue healthy, then the veterinarian will provide an exam, vaccinations, deworming, and a spay/neuter surgery. The cost of this is charged to the rescue who then charges you, the adopter, a fee that helps cover this cost and goes towards vetting other animals in the future. If your Teacup Chihuahua is too small to spay or neuter yet, you will receive a voucher to bring your puppy in to have this done once it reaches the proper weight.

Dogs in rescues are often not purebred, but mixes. Instead of getting a full-blooded Teacup Chihuahua, you may end up with a Pomchi, Chiweenie or similar cross. Of course, these dogs will be wonderful companions as well – but you should be aware of this possibility if you are set on getting a purebred Teacup Chi,

Getting a puppy from a breeder

While a Teacup Chihuahua is not recognized as a registered breed by the AKC, reputable breeders still exist and offer these dogs at a higher cost than rescues or classified ads. A Chihuahua is considered a “Teacup” when, at a year old, it is less than seventeen inches high and weighs less than four pounds. To achieve this, the smallest dogs from litters of Chihuahuas are bred to ensure that the resulting puppies stay the proper Teacup size.

Puppies purchased from reputable breeders will always be the most expensive option because the breeder puts time, money, and effort into the results. Before breeding, health tests are performed on the dog parents to ensure they won’t be passing along any debilitating health issues to their litters. The puppies are examined by a veterinarian and all health concerns are addressed. The puppies also receive their first vaccinations and deworming. You can expect to pay between $1500 and $5000 for a Teacup Chihuahua from a responsible breeder.

Costs of health tests

Before breeding, Teacup Chihuahuas should always be tested for the following:

  •  Heart murmurs. Common in small dogs, heart murmurs are detected through a stethoscope by a veterinarian. There are different levels of a murmur’s severity, and if the level is too high, the dog should not be used for breeding. This assessment can be done in a veterinarian’s office in a typical exam, costing anywhere from $50-$150.
  • Ophthalmic diseases. Only a certified veterinary ophthalmologist can complete this exam, and the price is typically between $50-$75 per dog. This test also must be completed yearly on any actively breeding dogs.
  • Patella luxation, or sliding of the kneecap. This is common in small dogs and will sometimes force them to limp or carry their back legs as they walk. If the issue becomes bad enough, it could require surgery to fix. The cost of this exam can run between $50-$150 in a veterinary office visit.
  • Hip dysplasia. This occurs when the hip of the dog is partially or completely dislocated. Hip dysplasia can be determined through x-rays, which can cost anywhere from $200-$400.
teacup chihuahua posing

Annual costs of owning a Teacup Chihuahua

In addition to the price of the puppy, there are other expenses you can expect when you welcome this dog into your home. Costs of owning a Teacup Chihuahua can add up quickly when you factor in the dog’s supplies and need for yearly medical checkups and vaccinations.

Vet expenses

A yearly vet exam is necessary for any pet to keep them healthy and safe. When it comes to Teacup Chihuahuas, they are already predisposed to many health conditions. Your vet should check your dog yearly for any signs of common health issues, such as:

  • Liver shunts. A liver shunt will impair your dog’s liver’s ability to flush out toxins. This can sometimes be treated, while other times there is nothing that can be done. A liver shunt treatment can cost as much as $6000.
  • Dental issues. Often, a Teacup puppy’s baby teeth will not fall out like they should, resulting in infections. The teeth will then need to be removed by a veterinarian. Dental issues can cost thousands of dollars. A typical routine dental cleaning can cost between $400-$800, with each extraction being another $500+.
  • Luxating patellas, or sliding kneecaps. When your small dog carries his back leg or limps when he walks, a luxating patella is often the culprit. If surgery is  required to fix this issue, you can expect to pay between $1500-$3000 … per knee.
  • Hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. When this occurs, it is potentially life-threatening and can cause brain damage. Treatment can include medications, which can cost $20-$100 per month. A shunt may also be inserted to treat this condition by redirecting the fluid buildup on the brain to the abdomen instead, and that cost lies anywhere between $5000-$10,000.

Other health factors affect Teacup Chihuahuas. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar is common even if the dog hasn’t eaten in just a few hours. Because the dog is so tiny, he can only eat a small amount at a time. This means the food is well digested before the next mealtime, and the dog can get very hungry between feedings. Most require small, frequent meals to ensure they don’t drop their sugar levels.

These dogs have trouble regulating their body temperature. They get very cold and need help keeping warm, which is why many small dogs wear sweaters most of the time.

Their small bones can easily break, and a fall from the couch or bed can be extremely dangerous and even fatal for this breed. Their fragility mean injuries are likely, and vet visits and emergency treatments and procedures can reach into the thousands.

Like many small dogs, Teacup Chis often fight getting their nails trimmed with a grinder or clipper. Owners might need to pay to have this done by a groomer or vet – which can quickly add up to $20-40 monthly.

teacup chihuahua chewing a bone

Food and toy costs

The tiny Teacup Chihuahua may not eat much per day. A puppy will eat about a half cup of dry food per day, split up into three meals. This amount can increase to ¾ of a cup per day, split into three meals to ensure your dog does not suffer from hypoglycemia. A high-quality dry kibble that is low in fat is recommended for Teacup Chihuahuas and a bag of this can run between $40-$80, depending on the size of the bag and brand you choose. Treats can cost around $10-20, but feed these sparingly to your pup to avoid weight gain and stomach issues.

Toys for your Teacup Chihuahua should be small, not easily destructible, and have no parts that can be chewed off and swallowed. These can range from $2-$25.


This tiny dog will require a few things that other dogs don’t. For example, a carrying case. Most dogs can be walked on a leash into a veterinarian’s office, but this can be a dangerous place for a small dog. Lots of people and other animals mean this small puppy can be stepped on, attacked, or slip the leash or harness and get lost. Traveling anywhere with this dog is always safest if he is in a carrier, and this can cost $25-$200 depending on quality and brand. Sweaters are also a necessity for a dog that is always cold. A Teacup Chihuahua needs help staying warm, and sweaters and blankets for the pup can cost between $20-$50.

Price considerations

As with any new pet addition to your family, it is important to consider the costs associated with a Teacup Chihuahua breed and decide if this dog is right for you. Much more than just the price of the puppy is necessary to ensure your dog lives a healthy and happy life. Vet bills, food, toys, emergency medical bills, and accessories for your dog are all part of providing a good life and being a responsible pet owner.

The bottom line

Owning a Teacup Chihuahua can cost thousands of dollars. The initial price of the puppy can be as low as $300 from a rescue and as high as $5000 from a private breeder. The price of a puppy will likely be lower on Craigslist, but buying a puppy through a classified ad comes with many risks. This can wind up costing you more in the long run in veterinary visits if your puppy is born with a birth defect, health problem, or illness. The private breeder is the most expensive, but also the most responsible and the best way to ensure you’re purchasing a healthy puppy.

Veterinary expenses per year can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on your dog’s overall health. Dental issues can cost thousands very easily, along with treatments for health problems that weren’t detected in the parents of your dog before he was born.

A good quality dry food for your puppy is important and can cost $40-$80. Toys and other accessories, like sweaters and blankets, can cost anywhere between $20-$100. A carrying case, which is the safest way for your pup to travel, can run anywhere from $25-$200.

The costs range considerably depending on where you purchase your puppy from, but purchasing from a reliable, responsible breeder is always the best way to ensure your investment up front won’t lead to further health complications and expenses in the future.