Tea cup dog

What is a teacup dog?

  • Teacup dogs are bred from the smallest of the litter
  • The most recognisable of the teacup dogs are from the toy dog group, such as Yorkshire terriers
  • Puppies may have an increased risk of suffering serious health problems

A teacup dog has been bred to be as small as possible, with most weighing in at 5lbs or under.

The most recognisable of the teacup dogs are from the toy dog group such as teacup pugs and Yorkshire terriers, although other breeds, such as beagles, have also been bred in the miniature size.


How are teacup dogs bred?

To breed a teacup dog the breeder will pair the smallest of the litter to make the smallest dog possible.

Often the runts of the litter are small because of birth defects or will have other medical conditions which make them smaller and unsuitable to breed from.


Are there any health risks with teacup dogs?

The puppies born of the smallest of the litter, known as a teacup dog, may have an increased risk of suffering from serious health problems including:

  • hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • breathing problems
  • heart disease
  • sliding kneecaps which can lead to arthritis
  • liver shunts – abnormal blood vessels that bypass the liver leading to problems including poor growth and seizures
  • hydrocephalus – a brain deformity also known as water on the brain. This condition can cause seizures and blindness due to a build-up of fluid inside a dog’s skull which then puts pressure on their brain.

Owners looking to buy a teacup dog should carry out careful research and bear in mind that with the increase in health risks, these dogs can come with a hefty vet bill.

— Page last updated 12/09/2019

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