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What You Need to Know Before Buying a "Teacup" Puppy

Updated on September 6, 2017

Smaller = better?

If you're looking for a small dog, a toy breed, or a "teacup" puppy, you're not alone.

Many people desire a very small dog because its easier to take anywhere, it is popular in the media and stays cute looking as an adult.

However, there are some hidden dangers in buying such a small pet. Here are some things you should know before purchasing one.

Toy Verses Teacup

There's a big difference between buying a toy breed and a "teacup dog."

  • Toy breeds are recognized by the AKC, while refutable organizations frown upon describing any dog as "teacup."

  • Many breeders do not support the misleading term "teacup" because it leads the customer to believe a smaller puppy in a litter has a special quality. There is no special teacup gene.
  • Puppies are labelled this way because "teacup" is a hot term that sells.

    Shouldn't a breeder be more interested in honesty, integrity and educating the public, rather than a quick sale?

Why Should I Avoid Dogs and Puppies Labelled "Teacup?"

  • Health problems: Abnormally small puppies sometimes have health problems if they were born "prematurely" or in other words were the runt of the litter.
  • Where is your money going? You may be supporting an irresponsible breeder. Why not support a shelter or a breeder that is truly breeding for correct reasons instead?
  • The cost. "Teacup" puppies are expensive, sometimes ranging up into the thousands. For that price you could buy a puppy from a champion show dog and have a health guarantee.
  • More than size. A responsible breeder should be breeding for more than just a small sized puppy. They should breed for health, markings, and breed standards.
  • No guarantees. Just because you have a small 8 week old puppy doesn't mean you'll have a small adult.

    Just as in human terms, small infants don't necessarily grow up to be small adults, this same idea applies to dogs. Think about it: when a human child reaches puberty, they may have a growth spurt and be the tallest in their family.
  • Fragile: Handle with care! Dogs that are under five pounds are more fragile than larger dogs. This applies to all small dogs, but the smaller, the bigger the risk.

    If a small dog or puppy is accidentally stepped on or sat on, it can be killed. Jumping off a sofa can break a leg. Small dogs are also not a good fit for young children.
  • The wrong reason to buy? Encouraging owners to think of dogs as fashion accessories is irresponsible. Dogs toted around in purses is an image the media readily sells, but it isn't an accurate image.

    At the end of the day you still have to train, socialize and care for your pet. Once the newness and cuteness wears off, you may discover you didn't want to do the hard work that comes with owning a dog. Or you may discover you didn't get a breed that fit your lifestyle because you were so focused on the size.

Which breeds are commonly affected?

Some breeds are affected more than others, although consumers should be weary of any puppy being sold as a teacup.

The truth? Expect anything up to the maximum weight.

This chihuahua is beautiful because he's well bred, not because he's of the "teacup" variety.
This chihuahua is beautiful because he's well bred, not because he's of the "teacup" variety.


Nearly all chihuahuas are under 6 pounds.


Maltese are usually under 12 pounds.

Yorkshire Terrier or "Yorkie"

Most Yorkshire Terriers are typically under 7 pounds.

Shih Tzu

This breed can rarely get up to 16 pounds.


Pomeranians are usually under 7 pounds.

Toy Poodle

This breed is typically under 9 pounds.


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    • reptilia profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Violet-femme, first of all love your username.

      Second, completely agree!

      Thanks for your comment

    • violet-femme profile image

      Violet Redfield 

      6 years ago from Australia

      I hope this article prevents at least a few poor pooches from being bought and then sent to the pound for growing too large! It's so sad that dogs are purchased and then tossed aside when they outgrow the puppy cuteness.

      I'm also glad you suggested adopting a rescue dog, that's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned.


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