Teacup Dogs Guide: Price, Health, Breeds, and Care

teacup dogs featured image

Are you interested in adopting a tiny teacup dog but don’t know where to start? While teacup dogs are adorable, there is plenty of information to know before adopting one, including the different breeds available, as well as their health, care, and what you can expect to spend.

While teacup dogs are fantastic companions, there are both potential problems and health risks that new teacup puppy owners will not be aware of unless they’ve thoroughly done their research. In our guide, we take you through everything you need to know about teacup dogs to start you on your journey to finding the perfect tiny companion for you.

What is a Teacup Dog?

Micro, miniature, toy, and teacup. What technically is a teacup dog, and what differentiates it from other tiny pups out there? The “teacup” dog is not, in fact, a dog breed, nor is the term registered or endorsed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or by main dog breed registries. This is an umbrella term to describe dogs that are so small in size; they can fit in a designer purse.

black cavalier dog walking on wet road

This term also applies to pocket-sized or micro dogs, with all three being unrecognized, umbrella terms.

While there are no specific measurements for what makes a “teacup” dog, the term is simply used to describe a dog that is smaller than average in size compared to what its breed is originally known for. However, a teacup dog is usually classified as being 5 pounds or less.

Teacup versions of many popular small dog breeds are often bred and include the teacup Poodle, teacup Pug, teacup Yorkie, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Shih Tzu.

How Are Teacup Dogs Bred?

You may be wondering how teacup dogs are bred in the first place. After all, a “teacup” dog is not an entirely new breed on its own but is a smaller version of a preexisting, toy-sized breed. To create teacup dogs, the reality is that breeders will pair the so-called “runts” of the litter to produce a litter of the smallest puppies possible.

Non reputable breeders may also select small dogs for breeding due to a congenital disability or other medical condition, which is not only sad but dangerous to the dog and the unborn puppies.

It is incredibly important to ask to see the health history and to receive a health certificate of the parents when choosing to adopt a teacup version of a breed, as the health risks that come with a teacup pup can often be significant.

white maltese dog sitting in grass outdoor during day time

The Most Popular Teacup Dog Breeds

If you have your sights set on a teacup breed, you’re probably wondering what breeds of teacup dogs are available? The following are the most popular breeds of teacup dogs; however, several more exist. Keep in mind, the more rare the breed, the more you are going to spend, as teacup breeds are exponentially more expensive:

  • Pomeranian
  • Chihuahua
  • Maltese
  • Pug
  • Poodle
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Cavalier
  • Pekingese
  • Maltipoo
  • Pomsky
  • French Bulldog
  • Morkie
  • Russian Toy
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Japanese Chin

Teacup Dog Size

As mentioned, due to the fact that the term “teacup” is not a term registered or endorsed by the AKC or by main dog breed registries, there is no official standard when it comes to teacup size. However, the AKC does acknowledge that most dogs that are considered to be teacup weigh between 2 to 5 pounds and will measure a maximum of 17 inches by the time they reach adulthood.

Dogs larger than this “threshold” may or may not be recognized as a teacup dog. Interestingly enough, toy breeds are classified as any dogs that weigh less than 15 pounds, technically making them part of the toy classification as well.

happy pomeranian dog walking in grass outdoor

What Affects the Price of a Teacup Puppy?

Teacup puppies are arguably the most expensive dogs out there that you can buy, with the “designer” aspect of these dogs creating a hefty price tag to anyone who wishes to adopt one.

Teacup puppies come in at an average of $3,000 – $5,000; however, certain breeds are known to cost upwards of $10,000. There are three many factors that can (and will) affect teacup puppy prices.

Bloodline

Purebred dogs are usually significantly more expensive than a dog who is a mixed breed. Expect to see a much heftier price tag on a purebred teacup puppy, especially one that comes from a well known, healthy, purebred bloodline.

Breeder

There are two main reasons a breeder may charge more for a teacup puppy. The first reason is that they are a reputable breeder, who only wants the best for their puppies. They likely spend a good amount of money on food and health testing, investing lots of money and care into the puppies and their parents themselves.

Generally, spending more means that you can trust that your puppy has been well taken care of and that the breeder is not trying to rip you off. However, a breeder may be trying to do just that with an inflated asking price for a teacup puppy.

They know that teacup puppies are high in demand and want to take advantage of this as much as possible, regardless of how they care for their pups. Make sure to do your research on breeders before adopting a puppy and always ask to see the health certificates of the parents.

Health

If you see a teacup puppy at a low price, you may be tempted to take advantage of this, unaware of the potential health issues that may be a cause of this suspiciously low cost. However, the vast majority of the time, low teacup puppies prices are because the breeders have been inbreeding runts or dogs with known health issues that result in their small size.

If you see a teacup dog being advertised as costing $500 or less, it is vitally important to ask as many questions as you can. You should always ask for the health records of the puppy and its parents, as well as shot records and breeder registration. In the case of a purebred dog, you should also ask for the parents’ pedigree certificate.

white poodle dog outdoor during day time

Teacup Puppy Prices

Looking for the average price of your favorite teacup breed, or are you looking to narrow down your search based on what you can afford? If buying from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay the following for the teacup version of these popular dog breeds:

  • Yorkshire Terrier ($4,500 to $10,000)
  • Chihuahua ($3,000 to $7,000)
  • Poodle ($5,000 to $6,800)
  • Maltese ($3,000 to $6,000)
  • Pug ($1,900 to $6,000)
  • Shih-Tzu ($3,500 to $9,000)
  • Silky Terrier ($1,800 to $5,600)
  • Japanese Chin ($1,500 to $2,500)
  • Dachshund ($6,000)
  • Pomeranian ($5,000 to $8,500)
  • Cavalier ($1,200 to $3,800)
  • Pekingese ($750 to $3,000)
  • Maltipoo ($2,500 to $5,000)
  • Pomsky ($1,000 to $3,000)
  • French Bulldog ($5,000 to $10,000)
  • Morkie ($2,800 to $4,500)
  • Russian Toy ($1,200)
  • Brussels Griffon ($2,500 to $4,000)

Are Teacup Dogs Prone to Health Issues?

Due to their tiny size alone, teacup dogs are most definitely prone to health issues, even if just in the form of accidents or traumatic events. This is exceptionally important to keep in mind when choosing to adopt a teacup dog, as you need to take into consideration whether or not you are financially prepared to care for a dog that is prone to health issues and if you have enough time to give them the extra care and attention that they need.

Teacup dogs are extremely delicate and, more or less, need to be treated like a baby their entire lives due to their tiny size. Let’s take a look at the top health concerns in teacup dogs.

Accidents and Traumatic Events

Before diving into the medical health concerns that often plague teacup dogs, it’s important to note that a simple accident could end catastrophically for a teacup dog. So much as an excited teacup pup jumping out of your arms when carrying them could fatally injure a teacup dog.

Not only this, but these tiny dogs are incredibly prone to being sat on or stepped on, which in itself could end your teacup dog’s life. It’s extremely important to keep in mind that you are dealing with an extremely fragile little creature that needs to be watched at all times.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is the medical term for critically low levels of sugar in the blood. Both toy and teacup dogs are especially prone to this condition because small dogs have more brain mass per body weight compared to larger breeds.

As a result, they need more glucose for their size to maintain proper brain function. Sadly, if a teacup dog misses a single meal, their blood sugar levels may drop dangerously low, causing seizures, shivering, and possibly even a fatal coma.

Collapsing Trachea

A collapsing trachea is a common health concern in toy to teacup-sized dogs and is a common cause of airway obstruction. The trachea, also known as the “windpipe,” is a tube made up of sturdy rings of cartilage through which air is transported to and from the lungs.

In some cases, the tracheal rings begin to collapse. As air is squeezed through, a common characteristic of a honking cough is the result. Small breed dogs appear to be more prone to the congenital abnormality in which the tracheal rings are weaker than normal, causing the collapsed trachea. This is a serious and sometimes fatal condition.

Bone Fragility

Your teacup dog’s bones are incredibly fragile, whether or not any major accident occurs. A teacup dog’s bones are much smaller and more fragile than larger dogs, making their skeletal structure prone to breaks and fractures.

Other Health Issues

Other health problems teacups may face include:

  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)
  • Heart defects
  • Liver shunts
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Dental and gum issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Patella luxation

Caring For Teacup Dogs

yorkshire terrier dog face close up

Now that you know how much commitment and dedication is involved to properly care for your teacup pup, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you’re giving them the best care possible. Read on for our tips on caring for your teacup dog:

Teacup Proof Your Home

Just as you need to babyproof your home when bringing home a new baby, you’ll need to do the same for your teacup puppy! Several factors go into “teacup proofing” your home and yard, many of which you may never have thought of.

It’s important to eliminate dangers in your home for all pets and animals in the form of toxic food, small items that may present a choking hazard, and ensuring that no poisonous plants are existing in the home. However, teacup proofing your home also means removing objects that could potentially fall or topple over onto your teacup, blocking your teacup puppy from reaching higher surfaces that could result in a fall, and blocking any small spaces that they could squeeze themselves into and get stuck.

Do Not Play Rough

Although your little teacup pup may be feisty, it’s important to play with them carefully. Teacup puppies are usually not the most ideal choice for children, as children may have a hard time grasping the concept of how delicate these little guys are, especially if they’re used to larger dogs.

Schedule Regular Grooming Sessions

While not all teacup dogs have the long, silky fur of the Yorkshire terrier, many of these breeds do have coats that require regular grooming. You must also be more careful when bathing these delicate dogs. Toy and teacup dogs are also more prone to dental issues than larger dogs, so regular dental care and tooth brushing are necessary to avoid further damage.

Take Them To The Vet Regularly

Because teacup dogs are much more susceptible to health issues than larger dogs, it’s important to schedule regular checkups for your teacup pup. Request that your veterinarian conducts a thorough examination at each visit, monitoring any changes they may see.

Should I Adopt a Teacup Dog?

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember the amount of responsibility that comes with owning a teacup dog. While the teacup industry is generally looked down upon due to the potential dangers for the dogs involved, they all deserve love just as much as any other dog. Take your budget into account when choosing to adopt a teacup dog.

If you do not have the financial means to care for a dog that requires regular vet visits and potential treatment for various health conditions, then this is not the dog for you. Make sure you do your research on reputable breeders before choosing to adopt your teacup dog, and make sure you give it plenty of care and love!

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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.