There is a lot of controversy about teacup dogs, but there are also many fans of the different teacup breeds. They are prone to extra health conditions because of their tiny stature and build, and this is something that can be both costly and very sad, so this really is something to think about. With that being said, by sticking with a reputable breeder who specializes in teacup pups, you can be sure that you are going to get the healthiest teacup pup possible.
The teacup Yorkie is also a hypoallergenic pup, which makes him a great choice for families with allergies! Ultimately, the teacup Yorkie is just a Yorkshire Terrier who has been miniaturized, and as such, it is also important to also check out our article about the Yorkshire Terrier breed in general.
There is, however, additional specific teacup information that all prospective owners should know about, so this article is going to take a closer look at the tiny Yorkshire teacup!
Miniaturization has long been a fascination of humans and it has often been viewed as a somewhat magical concept. The Borrowers, for example, is a famous fantasy novel about a tiny family who lives alongside humans, and there are countless folklore stories across the world about fairies and other tiny mythical creatures. So one day, humans decided to extend this miniature magic to one of our favorite animals, the domestic dog.
Veterinarians claim that the fascination of the teacup dog rose when Paris Hilton introduced us to Tinkerbell, her teacup Chihuahua, in the early 2000s. Ever since then other breeds have been miniaturized, including the Yorkie.
It is unknown when the teacup Yorkie was first created, but he is one of the smallest alongside the teacup Chihuahua and the teacup Pomeranian. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the smallest dog known to man was believed to be a teacup Yorkie, who measured 2.8 inches tall, and 3.75 inches long, and was no bigger than a human fist.
In 2019 the Yorkshire Terrier is ranked, by the American Kennel Club as the 10th most popular dog breed in America. While the teacup Yorkie is undoubtedly much rarer, the Yorkshire Terrier is a popular family pet with an adorable temperament, and the teacup version is no different. Yorkshire Terriers, both normal and tiny, are adored by doggy lovers across the world, and with social media accounts such as ‘yorkie corner’ it is easy to see why they are so popular!
The term ‘teacup dog’ is used to describe dogs that could actually fit in a teacup! No official kennel club recognizes the term ‘teacup,’ and as such there are no real regulations to their size, but unofficially they all weigh between 1 and 4 pounds. Many breeders will argue that these Yorkies aren’t actually Yorkies at all, but Yorkies that have been mixed with other extremely small breed parents.
They are teeny weeny tiny dogs who, while are so cute, do come with their own unique problems which will be discussed below. There is a lot of controversy surrounding these guys, and as such, in addition to all the ‘awwws’ and excited squeals from passersby, you should also be prepared to receive a bit of criticism. Many protesters of teacup breeds believe that it is selfish to create a pup just to look a certain way, with complete disregard for his multitude of health problems.
However, if you are adamant that you want a teacup Yorkie in your life, then the single most important thing is to find a reputable and ethical breeder who will ensure that the teacup pups are as healthy as caninely possible.
Just like most small canines, the teacup Yorkie has a huge and feisty personality, and there is never a dull moment with this lil’ pupper around. He is funny, dopey, silly, and clumsy, and has boundless energy, and after all his jumping and bouncing around in the house this guy does not need much exercise.
He also craves human attention and loves nothing more than to be curled up on his master’s lap being stroked and cuddled. He hates to be left alone for any amount of time, and with him being small enough to pop in your handbag, he believes that there really is no excuse to leave him at all.
Despite having a small voice box, his howl and whines can pack quite a punch. So, if you think that you will have to leave him alone for long periods of time then you should consider getting a less needy dog breed, but if you can provide him with the companionship that he deserves then this neediness is quite the lovable trait.
Most people have seen the Wizard of Oz, and Toto, who played Dorothy’s canine sidekick, was a black Yorkshire Terrier who stole the limelight. It is rumored that this guy was so much fun and provided the film crew with hours of entertainment, that the film producers paid him more than the munchkin actors! So, if you welcome the teacup Yorkie into your life, you can rest assured that he will grace you with awesome amusement and endless love.
Size & Appearance
While there are no official breed standards for any teacup dog, the unofficial standard for the teacup Yorkie is approximately 2 to 4 pounds in weight, and he will measure between 4 and 5 inches tall, from paw to shoulder, so they really can fit in a teacup! The standard Yorkshire Terrier is part of the Toy Group, and so this little guy could be the toy dog’s toy!
His eyes are cute and button-like, always dark in color, with a matching colored button nose. He has small triangle-shaped ears that always stand erect, and owners tend to clip the hair around his eyes and face into a bow so that he can eat and drink without getting too messy. His tail is medium length, and can often curl to one side, but never up his back.
Coat & Colors
Their coat is the same as the Yorkshire Terrier, whose coat will either fall to the floor with his long and luxurious locks, or they will sport the teddy bear cut, which is shorter and tighter to his body. His hair is of medium density and is straight, but when he sports a shorter cut his coat will look tufty and slightly wavy. While his hair might look like it is enough to keep him warm, because his body is so tiny you should invest in a few teacup jumpers to keep him snug in the colder months.
His coat will take the color of either black, tan, silver, white or blue, but the most popular and recognizable color is blue and tan together. Generally, his head and legs from the elbow down will be tan, and his body will be blue. His coat will part at the base of his skull all the way down to his tail and will separate evenly.
Additionally, the teacup Yorkie is a hypoallergenic pup, which is great news for families with dog allergies.
Exercise Requirements & Living Conditions
As we said earlier, this guy is so energetic and bouncy that he tends to wear himself out in the home. Really, all this half-pint-sized pup will need is a quick walk around the block for a leg stretch and the opportunity to do his doggy business elsewhere. Two or three 5-minute walks every day will be adequate for him.
While this guy is suited to homes of all sizes, he is so small that he would be better suited to smaller homes, or even better, apartments! While he will do fine in a larger home with a large backyard, it would be quite easy to lose him. Additionally, it is advisable to never let this guy out of sight in your backyard, as birds of prey will take the opportunity to scoop him up, so never leave him unattended.
While many people think that he would make the ideal family pet for younger children, it is in fact quite the opposite. The teacup Yorkie is so tiny and fragile that even an accidental drop or squeeze could prove fatal, and younger children often misjudge this. For this reason, we do not advise that he is placed with a family with children, but only older children who are old enough to understand how to handle this delicate little creature.
Because of his small stature, and their timidity, it is advised that they are either the only pet in the household, or to be paired with another very small dog to keep them company. However, many teacup owners comment that they much prefer the company of humans rather than animals.
Firstly, it is important to understand that because of his small stature, this guy is quite timid and scares easily, and for this reason, all training and exposure should be done at his pace. Before training commences, it is important to settle him into his new environment and to establish a bond first so that he feels that he can trust you. Once he is a bit more confident, then the training should commence.
The teacup Yorkie, despite his precious looks, is surprisingly quite intelligent. They are eager to please their master, and they love a snack or three, which also makes him a quick learner. Positive reinforcement training, with plenty of verbal praise, is key with this guy. But again, due to his timidity, do not overwhelm him all at once.
It is also important to socialize him from a young age to build up his confidence with other dogs. However, it is equally important to supervise him while with other dogs to avoid him from being trampled on by larger or more energetic playmates. For this reason, we would suggest only allowing him to play with smaller dogs, for again, an accidental trample could prove fatal.
Unfortunately, the teacup Yorkie is predisposed to quite a few health problems, and it is very important to take all of this into consideration before welcoming him into your life. For this reason, this section is the largest and arguably the most important in this article.
The standard Yorkshire Terrier is prone to suffering from Patellar Luxation, which is where the kneecap becomes dislocated, and it can be very painful for the pup when walking. He is also prone to a variety of eye conditions, particularly Progressive Retinal Atrophy which can eventually lead to total blindness, and so he is required to undergo an Ophthalmologist Evaluation. So, the teacup Yorkie will be prone to these conditions also.
In addition to the standard Yorkshire Terrier health issues, the teacup Yorkie is prone to teacup-specific conditions.
He is prone to all kinds of injuries, simply because of their small frame. They can be quite bouncy in the home, and it is important that they do not jump off of sofas, beds, or even take the stairs. What might seem like a short fall for most dogs will be a humongous fall for the teacup. Broken bones and serious injuries can occur from the smallest of falls and so you must be very observant at all times. Doggy ramps can prevent the need for him to jump, so it is advised that you get a few!
Small dogs are prone to periodontal diseases, and teacups especially so. Not only do they struggle to lose their baby teeth, but they also struggle to fit all of the adult teeth in, and so they suffer from a lot of dental complications. It is not uncommon for teacup Yorkies to either lose or have their teeth taken out, by the time they are 10 in order to avoid the issues altogether.
Finally, possibly the most problematic, yet prevalent health issue found amongst all teacup dogs, including the Yorkie, is hypoglycemia which is, put simply, low blood sugar levels. This can be particularly dangerous because it is problematic to monitor and difficult to spot until it is too late, and it can end in violent seizures and cardiac arrest. It is prevalent in teacups dogs because they use up a lot more glucose than they can store, and this is one of the main reasons why their genetic makeup can be so problematic and often criticized.
The teacup Yorkie will eat around ½ a cup of food a day, but it is important to feed him across at least 4 different sittings in order to stabilize his sugar levels throughout the day. It is also important to buy kibble that is suited for teacup Yorkies because normal kibble would not fit in their tiny little mouths.
Teacup Yorkies are particularly known for their sensitive stomachs, so it is best to buy a high-quality kibble that is specifically for small dogs. If, once you have brought your teacup Yorkie home, you want to change their diet, then do so very gradually over time by mixing up their original food with the new food, never switch his food without gradual progression.
Dependent on the style of coat the teacup Yorkies sports will depend on how intense his grooming needs are. If he sticks with the traditional long and silky locks, then he will need daily brushing to ensure that any tangles are brushed out, and he will require thorough bathing once a week. If he favors the teddy cut, then he will only need brushing just twice a week, and this style is generally less intensive.
Because he is destined for dental trouble, the teacups teeth should be brushed every day to keep them as clean and healthy as possible. Additionally, because his nails are black and super tiny, many teacup owners say that they prefer to take him to a professional groomer to get them clipped.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
The average price of a teacup Yorkie is around $1,500, but it can reach anywhere up to $8,000.
As always, be safe and stick to reputable breeders. This is particularly important with teacups breeds as they are already predisposed to a multitude of health issues, all of which will be a lot worse if puppies are bought from untrustworthy puppy mills. While saving $1,000 dollars or less might seem like a good idea, a sick teacup is much more expensive to treat than the average dog, so without exaggeration, you will be tens of thousands of dollars better off in the long run if you work with a reputable breeder.
Again, it is important to find a reputable and ethical breeder, who will ensure that the health of the pup is of the utmost importance. Searching teacup Yorkie breeders on any online search engine will provide results, just be sure to read reviews about them. If they appear to be a good breeder, then go and meet them, ask to meet the parents and pups, and ask to see their health certificates.
Rescues & Shelters
It is very uncommon for teacup breeds to find themselves in rescue homes. However, the best place to start is to contact the members of the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, as they list several dedicated rescue centers for the Yorkshire Terrier breed, and these centers are where the teacup Yorkies are likely to be found.
As Family Pets
- The teacup Yorkie has a fun and bouncy personality.
- He is known to be a bit silly, so expect a lot of laughs with this guy around.
- He will often tire himself out playing indoors, so he will not require much walking.
- A simple leg stretch will do! For this reason, he does not need to be placed with an active family.
- The teacup Yorkie is an adorable pup, who will turn all the heads in the street.
- Expect to be stopped a lot and asked about your pup!
- Because he is so small, he requires an observant and careful owner that can look after him.
- The teacup Yorkie is so delicate that he should only be placed with a family with much older children.
- He would rather be the only pet in the household.
- If he has other pets, pair him with another smaller pup who won’t detract from his attention.
- The teacup Yorkie is hypoallergenic, so he is one of the better options for families with dog allergies.
- Because of his health issues, he can be quite costly.
- This needs to be taken into consideration before any family welcomes him into their home.
Overall, despite all of the controversy and ill health, the teacup dog craze is not something that is going to fade away. If you are certain that you want a teacup in your life, then you must ensure that you get him from a reputable breeder. While this will not eliminate the teacup problems entirely, it will ensure that he is as healthy as can be. You must also be able to spend most of the day with him, and be very switched on and observant for he is very delicate and prone to injuries.
However, if this is something that you can provide him with then he makes a wonderful companionship dog. Not only will the teacup Yorkshire Terrier keep you entertained with his spunky personality, but he is also the best partner for a lazy afternoon for tea and biscuits, but just be careful that you don’t mistake him for a bite to eat!