Teacup dog breeds are, as you might guess by the name, the smallest breeds of dogs. Small enough to fit in a teacup! Or very nearly. They remain the size of puppies for their whole lives, making them easy to keep as pets in a small property or in a city where there isn’t a lot of space. Although there is no official classification for what constitutes a Teacup dog, it’s generally accepted that Teacup dogs weight less than 4 pounds and are less than 17 inches tall when fully grown. At birth, they fit into a teacup.
Because Teacup dogs are so small, they need to be treated carefully for their whole lives. They tend to be rather fragile and can be seriously hurt from a fall that would not usually phase another dog. Due to their tiny size, they are often not seen and can be accidentally stepped on easily. It’s also possibly that if you live in the countryside, they may become prey to hawk, owls, foxes or large cats so they shouldn’t be let outside alone. Generally, they should never be left unsupervised, especially with young children.
As you would imagine, a tiny dog has tiny organs. This means that its stomach will not be able to hold all of the nutrients that it needs to survive in one or two meals like most dogs. You’ll need to feed your Teacup dog multiple times throughout the day and what goes in, must also come out through tiny bladders and bowels, so you Teacup dog will also need to be taken outside multiple times a day.
Teacup Dog Breeds
Only 6 breeds of dog fall under the category of Teacup dog, based on the criteria mentioned above. The are:
- Teacup chihuahua
- Teacup maltese
- Teacup poodle
- Teacup pomeranian
- Teacup yorkie
- Teacup Shih Tzu
Other breeds that are considered Teacup dogs, but don’t fit this criteria are:
- Teacup beagle
- Miniature dachshund
- Teacup Boston terrier
- Miniature labrador
- Miniature schnauzer
- Teacup Brussels griffon
- Teacup pekingese
- Teacup fox terrier
- Miniature collie-shetland sheepdog
Quite often these dogs are inbred, taking the runts of the litter and breeding them together to create a smaller litter and then repeating this process. The smallest dogs in a litter are generally the weakest ones and this inbreeding will result in poor genes being passed down the generations.
Because of this, these breeds tend to be more sickly than others. Some animal rights activists are against this kind of forced inbreeding so you have to make an informed, moral decision when buying one of these breeds. You should also consider the extra trips to the vet you’ll probably have to make.
Cutest Teacup Dog Breeds
While cuteness can be a matter of opinion, there are certain Teacup dogs that are definitely more popular when it comes to getting pets. These often tend to be the smallest and/or the fluffies of breeds.
The Teacup chihuahua is probably the most well known and most popular Teacup dog. You often seen them in handbags and they’ve become known as the “purse dog”. This is a rather nervous breed that won’t do well with other, larger dogs, but is very affectionate and intelligent. It’s easy to train and learns quickly so just needs a few minutes training each day, but doesn’t like to be left alone.
Despite their tiny size, the chihuahua can turn rather aggressive in response to strangers, usually to mask its fear of new people or animals. For this reason, you need to keep it close by when you take it out as it can often start fights with larger dogs that it can’t possibly win. This overprotective behaviour should not be encouraged at home as it will make it difficult for your chihuahua to settle when visitors come around.
Right after the Teacup chihuahua, is the Teacup yorkie. It’s loving and loyal and full of personality and confidence and will want to follow you everywhere you go. They have separation issues and get anxious if left alone too long However, it doesn’t do well with children or other animals. The Teacup yorkie is great for any environment, whether you live in a small city apartment or out in the countryside. This breed is full of energy and requires lots of play and exercise, but tend to bark quite a bit. This can be trained out of it and training with praise is the best method as this breed is always eager to please its human. Improper training can result in naughty behaviour like chewing, being destructive and even biting.
With its teddy bear ears and fluffy face, it’s almost impossible not to find the Teacup yorkie adorable. It’s long hair does require a good amount of brushing and grooming though. To keep the hair out of its eyes, it is acceptable to add bows to the Teacup yorkie’s fringe.
The main illnesses to look out for in your Teacup yorkie are broken paw, as it has very fragile bones, collapsed trachea and liver failure. The trachea is very fragile so you should use a harness instead of a collar when taking your Teacup yorkie for walks or to the groomers. Liver failure is a genetic predisposition for this breed so look out for seizures, awkward movements and poor muscle development as signs of this.
Another very popular breed is the Teacup pomeranians. This breed is small and fluffy and personify the definition of cute. They have small, pointed ears, lots of fluff and a little black nose. They are curious, alert dogs that love to explore the world around them. They are very vocal and may need some anti-barking training.
They’ll make sure that you’re well aware when something is out of the ordinary to them and may even start fights with larger dogs that they feel are a threat. This kind of behaviour can usually be managed by socialising them with new people and dogs when they are young.
They are pretty laid back dogs with less energy than other breeds so will do well in a calm household, ideally without other dogs or young children. However, they do still need regular walks so they can sniff and explore things. They also make great purse dogs due to their chilled out nature.
Along with the standard small dog ailments, the Teacup pomeranian has one major issue and that is that it doesn’t seem to realise when it has eaten enough. If you give this dog too much food, it will eat too much food, therefore you have to be careful with its feeding to avoid causing obesity and all the issues that go with it.
One of the cutest, yet haughtiest breeds of Teacup dogs is the Teacup pekingese. Although it’s technically not a Teacup breed, this tiny fluffball has gotten itself a reputation as the princess of miniature Teacup dogs and has the attitude to go with it. It requires a lot of attention and does not like to share that attention with others. The stubborn nature of this breed means that it needs an experienced handler to train it and someone who is able to give it the attention it needs. The Teacup pekingese doesn’t eat very much due to its small size and doesn’t require a lot of exercise so it’s ideal as an apartment pet.
Teacup Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed
Dogs that don’t shed are great for those who suffer from pet allergies or asthma. Or even just if you live somewhere that will be hard to keep clean of moulting dog hair. If you’re looking for a Teacup companion, but want one that won’t leave hair everywhere it goes then consider some of the following breeds for your companion.
Poodles in general are very intelligent dogs and the Teacup version is no different. They are easy to train and great for first time dog owners. Training goes well if you are patient and don’t shout at your poodle. Despite their good temperament, the Teacup poodle is a cautious breed and takes a while to get to know a new person. This can be overcome by socialising them from a young age to get them used to meeting new people.
They need a lot of grooming to keep all that fluff in check. Since they have hair instead of fur, which means that there will be minimal shedding, but it will need to be brushed out almost daily. They have good temperaments and are adaptable to all kinds of households so would get on well with families or houses with other pets. They are also low energy dogs and will be happy to laze around in a small apartment.
Teacup Shih Tzu
Just like regular Shih Tzu, Teacup Shih Tzu have long, flowing hair that won’t shed. It can be styled and tied up in a bow, but requires a good amount of grooming to keep it neat and tangle free. They are also calm, quiet dogs so they are ideal pets for smaller apartments as they don’t require much space to run around and they don’t make much noise.
Unlike most Teacup breeds, the Teacup Shih Tzu gets on well with others so can be a great addition to a family home. However, it has separation issues as this breed becomes very attached to its human. If you leave it alone it may well bark until you come back or show other anxiety behaviours like chewing the furniture or having accidents on the floor.
As with full sized Shih Tzu, you have to keep an eye out for allergies, skin issues, dry eyes or eye stains and breathing issues.
Teacup maltese dogs, like the Shih Tzu, have long hair instead of fur and don’t shed much at all. They also have a tendency to bark a lot and don’t do well with strangers. This makes them great watchdogs as they’ll let you know as soon as someone new comes near, though they’re to small to be guard dogs. The excessive barking can be trained to be less and they are very affectionate and loyal to their humans.
They require a lot of attention and affection as they have lots of playful energy, but can get destructive if left alone too long. They can become skittish with too much harsh discipline. Encouragement is a much better way to train a Teacup maltese, though they can be quite stubborn and you may have to repeat things.
The maltese requires a considerable amount of grooming, which means daily brushing and regular clipping or trips to the groomers. This expense is something to factor in when considering a Teacup maltese as your chosen pet.
The Teacup maltese is prone to all the ailments of small dogs, such as hypoglycemia and joint issues, but it is also prone a genetic condition called Progressive Renal Atrophy, which is a degradation of the retina and leads to blindness. There is currently no treatment for this and your maltese will then need special care and attention, though it can still lead a full and active life, with a few adjustments.
Smallest Teacup Dogs Breeds
While all Teacup are small, since that’s their defining feature, some are more tiny than others. The smallest of them all are the Teacup pomeranian, weighing just 3-7 pounds. Next comes the Teacup chihuahua, which weighs just 4-6 pounds. The maltese and yorkie come joint third with weights ranging from 4-7 pounds and the poodle weighs in at 5-10 pounds.
Miniature Teacup Dog Breeds
There are some miniature dog breeds that get listed alongside Teacup dogs, but which aren’t actually Teacup breeds, based on the American Kennel Club definition of Teacup breeds, which is that they must weigh less than 4 pounds and be smaller than 17 inches. These miniature breeds are just too big to fit into this criteria, but they are also too small to be classed as Toy breeds. This leaves them in a kind of limbo and results in them being grouped in with Teacup dogs.
The miniature dachshund is as brave and bold as its full grown relatives and loves to play, but it also has a shy nature that means it doesn’t do so well with other animals or children. They have a long spine, which means they are not very well adapted for climbing or descending stairs, so this is something to think about if you’re considering getting one for your double story home. If you live in an apartment block you will most likely have to carry it up the stairs if you’re not lucky enough to have an elevator.
Miniature labradors are not so common as they are probably one of the largest miniature breeds. The require a lot of exercise so aren’t so well suited for apartment living, but make great pets for families who love the outdoors. They’re full of energy, boisterous and since they’re larger than most miniature breeds, they’re not as fragile. Labradors are traditionally hunting dogs are are pretty easy to train.
Miniature schnauzers are not the right breed for the first time dog owner. They have an independent nature, which means they are great for busy dog owners as they don’t mind being alone for a while. However, they are also stubborn and strong-willed and difficult to train. They are very intelligent ad have a tendency to become destructive when they get bored, therefore they need lots of walks and exercise and complex toys to keep them engaged.
As an opposite to the miniature schnauzer, the Teacup Brussels griffon is one of the neediest miniature dog breeds. If left alone, it will pine and even chew on things to show its distress. However, it has a good temperament to make up for its neediness and is generally clever and friendly, getting on with other dogs and children. It’s easy to train and makes a great companion.
Teacup dogs are some of the most adorable breeds you can get for pets. They are small and cuddly and look just like toys. However, despite their names, these are not toys. They are loyal and loving companions that require your time, attention and affection in return.
They are fragile and temperamental and require a lot of love and care. If you’re looking for a small, easy to maintain pet for your apartment, this is not the kind of pet for your. Their delicate nature means that they need constant looking after from a responsible dog owner.
You should also take some care when choosing the breeder that you buy your Teacup dog from. Some breeds of dog are naturally small and fall under Teacup breeds just through their physical attributes. However, as well as forced inbreeding, some breeders will sell you premature puppies or puppies that have been taken from their mother too early and try to pass them off as tiny Teacup dogs. These dogs will not be healthy and happy dogs and this kind of behaviour should not be encouraged. Taking on a dog of any kind is a huge commitments and is a way of extending your family, not your accessories. Make sure you do your research before purchasing any kind of dog and that you are committed able to give it the care it needs.