How Do I Choose the Best Teacup Dog?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

There are many factors you should consider carefully when choosing a teacup dog, as it can be difficult to know which breeders you can trust and which ones are selling unhealthy puppies. Many teacup dogs are actually undersized variations of several toy dog breeds. These puppies are often premature, and they are susceptible to many health problems. If you are looking for a teacup dog, make sure that you choose one that is of average weight for its breed and that it was not bred or manipulated specifically to produce a small size. You should also choose breeds which work well with your lifestyle and temperament.

Yorkshire Terriers are popular small dogs that are known as a toy breed.
Yorkshire Terriers are popular small dogs that are known as a toy breed.

The term "teacup dog" is a slang one, and is not recognized by the American Kennel Club or any other organization. Toy dogs, which are also small in size, are recognized since these breeds are born naturally small. Breeders may "create" teacup dogs by selling premature puppies, or by breeding unusually small toy dogs in order to promote exceptionally small offspring. This is not natural or healthy, as many of these puppies have health problems. For this reason, when you are looking at breeders, make sure they have a reputation for providing healthy toy puppies.

Yorkshire terriers often are lighter than seven pounds.
Yorkshire terriers often are lighter than seven pounds.

Many toy breeds can fit inside a teacup when they are younger, and some remain very tiny even into adulthood. When this occurs naturally, the dogs are often healthy and some even have lifespans comparable to those of larger or medium sized breeds. Common toy breeds include Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians. Sometimes these may also be referred to as teacup dog breeds, but they are not true teacups as long as they are born full-term and are within the normal weight range for their breed.

When choosing any dog, it is important to research the breed you are interested in. Some require more work and attention than others, so if you have a busy lifestyle you will want to choose a pet that is more independent in nature. Certain breeds are also harder to train or more prone to aggression toward other dogs and people. Pomeranian puppies, for instance, require very hands-on training because they may develop annoying habits more easily than certain others. If you have children, it is especially important that you choose a dog that will play well with kids and one that is hearty and suitable for rough housing.

If you do choose to go with a teacup dog that is bred smaller than most toy breeds, you should be aware of several issues. You may incur larger vet bills because your dog may have serious health problems. Children should not allowed to play with teacup dogs because they are very fragile and can easily be injured or killed during rough play. Some teacup puppies require hand feeding or liquid nutrition, so you should be prepared for ongoing care of your dog. Many teacup puppies do not have long lifespans, and some even die within a few months of birth.

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Discussion Comments


@clintflint - There are quite a few breeds that have been tiny for generations and are usually perfectly healthy. And at least when you get a dog from a breeder, you know how large they are likely to get.

If you are looking for a puppy that will be a small adult, you just can't trust a dog you get from the shelter. And that's not a matter of being cruel. In fact, it's the opposite. If you don't have the space for a big dog, then you are just going to end up having to give it away again if you end up with the wrong kind.

It happens with people who buy so-called tea-cup piglets all the time. They don't realize that the full grown pig is going to eventually weigh more than they do.

If you get a proper teacup toy dog breed you won't ever have to worry about that.


@KoiwiGal - Even if they have been fed properly, they can end up with brain damage, simply because their skulls never grow big enough.

A lot of breeders are aware of these kinds of problems and will do their very best to ensure their dogs are healthy. But, honestly, there are so many small dogs that get abandoned to shelters every year that I would recommend that people go and look for one there instead of going to a breeder.

You might think a tiny dog is adorable, but even more adorable is a dog, of any size, grateful to find a new family after being dumped by the side of the road.


This industry can be really despicable. Often the way that they ensure the puppies are going to be small enough is by starving them or feeding them the wrong kind of food. And they end up with all kinds of health problems because of that.

You might think that getting a dog from a teacup dog breeder is doing the dog a favor because at least you'll treat it properly. But if you buy it from them, it will only encourage them to mistreat more puppies in the future. If you suspect someone is doing this, you should report them to your local humane society.

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    • Yorkshire Terriers are popular small dogs that are known as a toy breed.
      Yorkshire Terriers are popular small dogs that are known as a toy breed.
    • Yorkshire terriers often are lighter than seven pounds.
      Yorkshire terriers often are lighter than seven pounds.