What Are Teacup Dogs?

What Are Teacup Dogs?

Author WDF Staff


The idea of having a teacup dog is certainly very appealing. The first “boom” teacup dogs had was after their introduction in the reality show “The Simple Life” that showed Paris Hilton’s life. She had a teacup Chihuahua called Tinkerbell. After that, the popularity of these tiny dogs skyrocketed.

Small dogs have always played the role of the human companion. There are many different small breeds you can explore. Those dogs are small but are not “teacup small.” Before getting into teacup dog breeds, check this list of 60 small dog breeds.

Getting such a tiny dog has it’s perks, but it also comes with several problems. We will help you shine a light on these small dogs and tell you a little bit more about:

  • Definition of the teacup
  • Health
  • Ownership

Let’s dig in!

How do you define a teacup dog?

Teacup dogs are a relatively new phenomenon, and they became trendy among the wealthiest Americans. Teacup dogs are usually below six pounds and should never be more than 17 inches tall. These are the smallest of the small dogs and should be clearly distinct from toy dogs. 

Toy breeds

Toy dog breeds are known to humans for more than 12.000 years. These small dogs have been bred for different purposes, but most of them were bred to keep the company of the wealthy nobles, aristocrats, and royals. If you are unsure what breeds fall under this category, you can check the full list of toy dogs.

Are teacup dogs healthy?

When it comes to teacup dogs, there have been many controversies, especially regarding breeding practices and teacup dog breeders. The breeding method for creating such tiny dogs is questionable, to say the least.

Breeding a teacup dog

For dogs to end up being so small, it needs to have tiny parents. That can only happen if the smallest and the weakest dogs are used for breeding - the so-called “runt of the litter.” Those dogs were usually excluded from the bloodline because they fell short and weren’t up to the breed’s standard, mostly due to their smaller size.

Health concerns of teacups

There was a good reason the runt of the litter was excluded from further breeding - they were often riddled with disease, and they couldn’t survive on their own. Those exact dogs were used to breed and create teacup dog breeds, so it is not surprising that they come with plenty of health concerns and issues. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Heart disease
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Digestive problems
  • Blindness
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Liver shunts

As you can see, the list is quite long, and many things can go wrong with these dogs. One vet even said that sometimes it is nearly impossible to find their vein if the dog requires an IV.  We believe that picking a small dog breed is a lot better than getting a teacup.

Teacup breeds

Despite the health risks, teacup dog breeds became very popular. They can be found worldwide, and people don’t seem to think about what owning a teacup does for a breed as a whole, and health issues don’t concern them too much.

We decided to look for the most popular teacup breeds, and this is what we found.

1. Chihuahua

Teacup Chihuahua is the most popular of all teacups. This is already a tiny breed, and while we can see the appeal of having a dog that literally fits in a teacup, there are far too many health concerns and problems associated with them. Despite that, their popularity is on the rise, and there is no denying that they are cute.

Check out the full profile of the “standard” Chihuahua.

chihuahua teacup

2. Pomeranian

Pomeranian is a popular breed that has working roots. It might be unbelievable by looking at them, but these tiny dogs come from a long line of working German Spitz-type dogs. They are originally from the historical region of Pomerania. Badly-bred Pomeranians are prone to different health issues, and the weakest pups used to produce the teacups have the poorest health.

Interested in the smallest dogs? Check out the full Pomeranian profile.

pomeranian on bench

3. Maltese

The Maltese is a popular companion breed known for their soft, fluffy, snow-white coat that barely sheds. It is already an ideal companion dog, and lowering their size might be considered unnecessary. They are already perfect just the way they are.

If you love teacups then the Maltese might be right for you. Check the Maltese’s full profile here.

maltese in basket

4. Yorkshire Terrier

The famous Yorkie is a tiny dog breed that has the teacup version that is gaining popularity. They are so small that owners need to keep constant care about their whereabouts. This miniature version of the breed can weigh as little as three pounds, making them very difficult to help should any incidents or injuries happen.

Yorkies are one of the smallest dog breeds. Check the Yorkie full profile and see if this might be the breed for you.

yorkie puppy playing

5. Pug

The teacup Pug seems to capture the hearts of dog lovers across the US. These miniature dogs are certainly adorable, but they are often very sickly and weak. Pugs have been banned in some countries because it is a brachycephalic breed prone to breathing issues, and using the smallest and weakest dogs for breeding can have tragic consequences.

Pugs are one of the most popular companion dogs out there. Check the full Pug profile and get to know these adorable dogs.

pug puppy playing

Teacup dogs for sale

If you still think that the teacup is the ideal size for you, the next step is to find a breeder that breeds teacup dogs. It would be problematic to find a reputable breeder because most of them are against downsizing existing breeds. Different teacup dog owner communities could be able to point you in the direction of breeders that have teacup dogs for sale.

There is absolutely nothing important than getting a teacup dog that has been health tested. We cannot stress enough how crucial it is that your future dog has all the necessary guarantees and tests they can get. The alternative can be tragic, and you will most likely end up heartbroken.


Like with many designer dog breeds, the prices of teacup dogs can be astronomical. They might be the runt of the litter, but the price does not reflect that. The cheapest teacup dogs are sold for $700, but there are teacup dogs that can easily go for more than $8.000.

We would urge you to reconsider buying a teacup and opt for a healthy, small dog breed.

World Dog Finder team

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