Teacup dogs are not an individual breed. Rather, the term teacup refers to any number of small or Toy breeds that have been selectively bred to be extra-small. There aren’t any dedicated teacup breeds, per se, but specific dogs bred to be “teacup” sized.
Teacup dogs are not recognized by any major breed classification organization, so there are no precise specifications for what classifies a dog as a teacup. Dogs are usually classified as teacup when they are bred to be 2 - 5 pounds in weight at full adulthood, and under 17 inches in length.
The term “teacup” was coined because, at birth, these dogs manage to get comfortable inside a teacup. The term denotes their tiny size, and doesn’t refer to a dog’s pedigree or breed.
“Teacup” and “Toy” Refer to Different Things
The term “teacup” is sometimes confused with the term “toy,” as both of these descriptors pertain to small dog breeds, but they are not synonymous. Toy breeds refer, generally, to any dog under 15 pounds; as in all Pomeranians and Chihuahuas and so on.
Teacup breeds refer to dogs who are specifically bred to be even smaller than Toy sized dogs. So, for example, whereas all Pomeranians are considered to be Toy dogs, a Teacup Pomeranian is a term used to describe an extra-small version of this already Toy-sized breed.
Controversy Around Teacup-Sized Dogs
These cute dogs aren’t without controversy, though. Some animal activists object to the breeding practices surrounding, and possible health issues of, teacup dogs.
Inbreeding: The breeding of ever-smaller dogs can involve inbreeding. This means members of the same litter (siblings) will be bred together or bred with their parents. This might work to diminish the potential growth of the litter in terms of size, but it can also create health problems. Inbred dogs are prone to a variety of behavioral and health problems, including seizures and digestive problems.
Lifestyle: People can be drawn to teacup dogs because they’re undeniably cute, and in some cases, they’re then treated like toys or accessories, more than like living creatures. Imagine a life spent inside a purse or pocket...
Health: These tiny dogs are typically the result of breeding the smallest of the small together. As it happens, the smallest dogs are often the least healthy in their litter, which means teacup dogs are created by combining two unhealthy parents. This can, unfortunately, lead to an unhealthy pet. A teacup dog’s skeleton is very fragile, as are its organs. As such, a jump from a surface that’s even slightly too high could result in broken bones or ruptured organs.
The following are a handful of Toy sized breeds that are commonly bred to be extra-tiny teacup-sized dogs.
Originally bred as a dog of up to 30 pounds, Pomeranians were bred to be smaller and smaller over time. A breed of Slavic origins, the Pom reached popularity when a British queen ended up with a particularly small one. Since then, the Pom has become an ever smaller Toy breed, and the teacup-sized versions can weigh as little as 2 pounds.
Unlike many Toy sized breeds, the Yorkie was bred as a hunter (of rats). They stay true to their hardscrabble origins -- Yorkies rarely seem to know their own size and will sometimes stand up to much larger dogs. One of the more popular breeds to make extra-tiny, or teacup-sized, Teacup Yorkshires can weigh as little as 2 pounds.
With origins in Mexico, the Chihuahua is one of the smallest naturally occurring breeds. Before humans stepped in to create ever smaller versions of this breed, they had already naturally evolved as small creatures. Teacup Chihuahuas can be as small as 4 pounds. Despite their diminutive stature, Chihuahuas do need plenty of exercise and space to move around.
Other common Toy breeds that are popular in teacup sizes include the Maltese, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, and Papillon.
Types of Miniature Dog Breeds
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from giant and large, to medium, small, and miniature. When deciding what kind of dog to bring home for good, size is one of the most important factors to consider. Large and medium dogs require more exercise, more food, and more living space than smaller dogs, and they are also more difficult to travel with if you are an “on the go” type of person.
Miniature dogs make great pets for people with busy lifestyles, apartment dwellers, or those looking for a mobile pet that can be transported in a dog carrier or purse. If a pint-sized pooch sounds right for you, below are some popular breeds to consider.
A wonderfully balanced dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is at once intelligent, friendly, playful, and affectionate. These easily trained dogs become devoted to their owners and get along well with children and other pets. The breed ranges from 12-13 inches tall and 10-18 lbs.
The Chihuahua is a tiny and spirited dog with a highly affectionate nature. However, these dogs require a gentle approach when training, and they tend not to get along with children. The Chihuahua is the shortest of all the dog breeds, topping out at 6-9 inches. They generally weigh no more than 6 lbs.
The famously sausage-shaped Dachshund is loving, energetic, and smart. This breed is available in three varieties: long-haired, short-haired, and wire-haired. Their size ranges from 14-18 inches tall and 9-20 lbs.
Havanese are excellent companion dogs who grow deeply attached to their owners and behave gently with all people, including children. This happy and curious breed has silky, wavy fur and can grow to be 8.5-11.5 inches tall and 7-13 lbs.
These soft and fluffy white dogs thrive on human interaction -- they enjoy playing games with their owners and are easily trained. Observant and energetic, the Maltese grows to be 9-10 inches tall and 4-6 lbs.
Incredibly friendly, lively, and obedient, the Miniature Schnauzer makes a great watchdog and adapts easily to any environment. The Miniature Schnauzer has a height of 11-14 inches and an average weight of 11-20 lbs.
This adorable and loving breed is best known for its fluffy coat and animated personality. Highly intelligent, inquisitive, and confident, the Pomeranian makes a great show dog. These dogs grow to be 7-12 inches tall and 3-7 lbs.
The Pug is quite a character with a distinctive flattened muzzle and a playful, humorous personality. These benevolent and spunky dogs make great companions for children. This breed grows to be 10-14 inches tall and 14-18 lbs.
An active, alert, and playful dog, the Shih Tzu makes an outstanding companion pet, especially for older children and adults. The long and luxurious coat of the Shih Tzu is perhaps the breed’s most famous feature. These dogs can be up to 11 inches tall and weigh 9-16 lbs.
The silky Yorkshire Terrier (pictured above) is easy to train and makes a great protector with an aggressive attitude toward small animals and unfamiliar dogs. This charming and intelligent breed grows to be an average of 6-8 inches tall and 7 lbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What breed of dogs comes in teacup size?
There is no specific breed of dog that comes in a "teacup" size. The term "teacup" is not an official size classification for dogs and is not recognized by any major breeding organizations. It is often used to describe very small dogs, but it can be misleading as it implies a specific size that is not standardized. The size of a dog can vary greatly within a breed and can also be influenced by factors such as genetics and nutrition. Additionally, breeding dogs specifically to be small or "teacup" can lead to health problems. It is important to research a breed and consider the specific needs of a dog before making a decision to bring one home.
What is the best teacup dog to get?
It is not recommended to focus on getting a "teacup" dog, as this term is not an official size classification and can be misleading. Instead, it is important to research a breed and consider the specific needs of a dog before making a decision to bring one home. Different breeds have different characteristics and temperaments, so the best breed for you will depend on your lifestyle and the type of companion you are looking for. Some small breeds that are often considered "teacup" size include; Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Maltese, and toy Poodle.
What's the smallest teacup dog?
The Chihuahua is often considered to be one of the smallest dog breeds and is often referred to as a "teacup" size. They typically weigh between 2-6 pounds and stand around 6-10 inches tall at the shoulder.
What's the cheapest teacup dog?
The cost of a "teacup" dog can vary widely based on factors such as the breed, location, and breeder. Some small breeds that are often considered "teacup" include the Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, and the Pomeranian, which are generally less expensive than other breeds. However, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to buying a dog, the cheapest option may not always be the best choice. Puppies from backyard breeders or pet stores can often be cheaper, but they may come from unhealthy or inhumane breeding conditions and may have health or behavioral issues. It's important to buy your dog from a reputable breeder who can provide you with the necessary health and genetic information about the dog. It's also crucial to remember that owning a dog is a big responsibility, and taking proper care of a pet can be costly, time-consuming, and can be physically and emotionally demanding. So before making a decision, make sure you're ready for the commitment and have an idea of the costs associated with owning a dog, such as food, veterinary care, grooming, etc.
What is a pocket dog?
"Pocket dog" is a term that is sometimes used to describe very small dogs, similar to the term "teacup" dog. It is not an official size classification and is not recognized by any major breeding organizations. The term "Pocket dog" is often used to describe a dog that is small enough to be carried around in a pocket or purse, but it is not a standard size for any specific breed. Small breeds such as the Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Maltese, and toy Poodle are often considered pocket-size dogs.
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