Understanding Teacup Puppies

Over the centuries, dogs have been bred to fill a variety of niches, from dachshunds bred to hunt burrowing animals, to Saint Bernards bred to rescue people in snowy, mountainous terrain. As people have congregated into population-dense, restricted space areas, another type of dog, the teacup, has been developed. The teacup breed is ideal for people who want to have a pet dog but lack the space, or desire a breed that is suitable to more mobile lifestyles.

There is a lot of variety in teacup breeds, but the most distinctive quality in all of them is the diminutive size of the adult dogs, which may be as small as 3 or 4 pounds. Some teacup breeders even offer teacups for sale on their website, allowing you to browse through the different breeds, such as the tiny Maltese or the Bichon-Terrier mix known as a Yochon.

What is a Teacup?

Keep in mind that the term “teacup” does not refer to any specific breed of dog. Instead, it is a category which describes a type of dog. Many people mistakenly think that a “teacup” and a “toy” are the same thing, but they are not. “Toy” is used to describe a dog that weighs less than 15 pounds as an adult. “Teacup,” on the other hand, describes a much smaller type of dog, usually weighing between 3 and 9 pounds at full maturity. For example, a pomeranian is a breed of toy, but there are also teacup pomeranians which are even smaller. “Micro” is another word used to describe a teacup dog, since both terms are used to refer to miniature toy breeds.

When to Buy a Teacup Breed

Most people prefer to buy teacup puppies rather than grown dogs. Because puppies are still developing, it is easier for the pet to bond to its new owner. This gives you the opportunity to adapt to the miniature dog’s unique-- and still developing-- personality. Starting out with a puppy also gives you more flexibility for things such as house-training, or adapting your new pet to a mobile lifestyle.

Popular Teacup Varieties

Since “teacup” refers to a type of dog, it can be used to describe any of a number of breeds. Any dog that has been bred to produce a dog smaller than 17 inches long and less than 10 pounds at full maturity can be called a teacup. A few of the several possible breeds in this category include, but is not limited to:

  • Chihuahua 
  • Maltese 
  • Pomeranian 
  • Yochon 
  • Yorkshire

Care and Feeding

Keep in mind that a tiny dog is also an extremely fragile family member. Owners are advised to be meticulously careful with them. Even minor falls or rough handling by a small child have the potential to cause broken bones or internal injuries. Similarly, the small size means that internal organs, including the stomach, are proportionately small. Instead of filling a food bowl, vets advise offering a teacup puppy several small meals throughout the day. And even though it is a bad idea to feed any dog table scraps, the digestive system of a teacup may mean that it is unable to process even rare scraps.

For those willing to invest the time and care a teacup requires, adding one to your household can be an exhilarating experience. They are small enough to be carried with you in a well-ventilated handbag, and offer the same companionship and other benefits of larger dogs. There is also the appealing illusion of remaining a puppy throughout its lifespan.