Blame it fashion-forward celebrities if you like, but the trend of super small dogs is a booming one and has been for a good decade now.
It’s easy to see why. Dogs are already adorable, but when they become pocket sized and portable, they’re almost impossible to resist.
But like all things that seem wonderful off the bat, there’s usually a catch. Not everything about teacup puppies is what it seems, and it’s important for potential teacup dog owners to be prepared for some of the consequences that come with owning a pint-sized pooch.
There are lots of pint-sized pooches to choose from these days, which attributes to the teacup dog trend. Most small dog breeds, in fact, can be found in the teacup variety.
We are sure you have heard of a number of teacup breeds like the teacup Poodles, teacup Maltese, teacup Pomeranian, and more.
But today, we are here to talk about a specific teacup breed who is, perhaps, one of the most popular teacup breeds of all.
That’s right! We are talking about the Teacup Yorkie!
If you considering bringing the Teacup Yorkie into your home and family but aren’t quite sure if this little lap dog is right for you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading because we have all the info you need to make an informed decision on the Teacup Yorkie.
Let’s get started.
What Is A Teacup Yorkie?
Teacup Yorkies are Yorkies who weigh five pounds or less.
The Teacup Yorkshire Terrier is a purebred Yorkshire Terrier, but smaller. The term “teacup” is used to explain an unofficial size guide, falling just under the toy size, which regular Yorkies belong to.
It’s important to note that the American Kennel Club, or AKC, as well as many other official breed organizations, do not recognize “teacup” as being an actual size standard.
So, what is the teacup size? Most breeders and teacup breeders agree that teacup dogs are smaller versions of their standard sized counterparts and weigh five pounds or less when full grown.
In the case of the Yorkshire Terrier, who weighs on average between four and seven pounds, a teacup version is typically a mere two to three pounds. Now that’s small.
Of course, there’s nothing more adorable than toting around a palm-sized pup and there is nothing more fun than hearing admirers ohh and aww over your sweet, wee fur baby.
We would be lying if we didn’t admit that there are advantages to having small dogs. For one thing, bathroom accidents and messes are easier to clean. Smaller dogs are less expensive to care for as far as routine maintenance goes. Food is less expensive, grooming is less expensive, and travel is much easier.
But do the pros of owning a Teacup Yorkie outweigh the cons? And what about health problems, temperament, training, and more? Also, what’s the deal with the teacup dog controversy?
Don’t worry. We have the answers you’re looking for below.
Why Breeding “Teacup” Dogs Is Considered Controversial
Not everyone agrees that smaller is better.
Some dog lovers like their dogs as big as possible while others prefer their pups to fit inside the palm of their hand, and thanks to a number of American celebrities carrying pint-sized pooches around in totes, smaller seems to be all the rage these days.
However, not everyone agrees that smaller is better, including many veterinarians. This is because when it comes to dogs and their health, size does matter.
That’s why breeding teacup dogs has been an ongoing controversial trend amongst dog enthusiasts, veterinarians, and breeders around the globe.
What many novice dog lovers aren’t aware of is how teacup dogs like the teacup Yorkshire Terrier come to be.
You see, Teacup Yorkies and their teacup counterparts are typically bred on purpose for their small size. Most of the time, breeders will breed runts of litters to create extra small, pocket sized dogs who are under the normal size for their already small breed standard.
Unfortunately, many smaller puppies, or runts, as they are often called, are small and underweight due to health problems or birth defects. Continuing to breed these dogs and pass on these unhealthy genes is considered unethical, especially to veterinarians who see these teacup dogs daily and are faced with treating them.
This is because, along with being notorious for serious health problems, teacup dogs are also more difficult to medically treat due to their incredibly small size.
Furthermore, Teacup Yorkies are more prone to injury due to rough handling, accidental falls, or even minor spats with other pets.
But just because your Teacup Yorkie is a Teacup Yorkie, his personality is sure to be full size, which may get him into trouble from time to time.
Let’s learn more about the sweet yet fiesty Yorkshire Terrier.
Let’s Learn More About The Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers may be small, but they have huge personalities!
Whether they are teacup sized or toy sized, Yorkshire Terriers are famous for their big personalities.
These spirited little purebreds hail from humble working origins and were once used to run around mills and hunt rodents. Eventually, their small size and joyful temperaments won over English nobles and these dogs soon became more valued for their stunning, hair-like coats and winning dispositions.
Known for centuries as elegant lap dogs to nobles and commoners alike, Yorkshire Terriers have long been a favorite for dog lovers everywhere who want a small companion dog that not only loves to cuddle, but also loves to play.
Average Temperament – Intelligent, Affectionate, Scrappy, Courageous, Spirited, Adventurous
Normal Weight – 4 – 7 Pounds
Teacup Weight – 2 – 3 Pounds
Normal Lifespan – 11 – 15 Years
Teacup Lifespan – 7 – 9 Years
Normal Health Concerns – Bronchitis, portosystemic shunt, cataracts, keratitis sicca, sensitive stomach, and dental issues.
Teacup Health Concerns – Bronchitis, portosystemic shunt, cataracts, keratitis sicca, sensitive stomach, dental issues, hypoglycemia, heart defects, collapsing trachea, respiratory issues, seizures, digestive issues, blindness, and liver shunt.
Hypoallergenic – Yes
Coat Coloring – Blue & Tan, Black & Tan, Black & Gold, Blue & Gold
Pros And Cons Of Owning A Teacup Yorkie
Teacup Yorkies are sweet and intelligent, but they come with a number of health issues.
Teacup Yorkies carry all the loveable traits that their standard sized toy Yorkie counterparts carry, only it’s all packed into a much smaller package.
And while this may seem ideal to some dog lovers who love their dogs itty bitty, owning Teacup Yorkie puppies does come with its fair share of potential problems.
Let’s take a look at some pros and cons to owning Teacup Yorkie puppies.
- Teacup Yorkies are easy to travel with due to their small size
- They are hypoallergenic
- They make spirited companions
- Yorkies need only moderate exercise
- They are spunky and outgoing
- Yorkshire Terriers make excellent therapy dogs
- They are eager to please and entertaining to watch
- Teacup Yorkies have many serious health issues due to their small size
- Yorkies in general can be stubborn and somewhat difficult to train
- Yorkies can be jealous of other household pets
- They can be more prone to serious injury due to their small size
- Grooming can be high-maintenance if their coats are left to grow long
- They have been known to snap and nip if handled too roughly
- They can be territorial
- Yorkies are vocal dogs who like to bark
- Teacup Yorkies have a shorter lifespan than standard sized Yorkies
So, what’s the verdict? How do you weigh the above pros and cons?
The truth is, weighing the pros and cons of owning a Teacup Yorkie dog breed will depend on your personal lifestyle and what you are looking for out of your four-legged companion.
If you are still on the fence about whether the Teacup Yorkie is right for you, don’t worry. Let’s talk more about the Teacup Yorkie and see if we can’t help you decide.
Teacup Yorkie Temperament – Does The Teacup Yorkie Make A Good Family Dog?
Teacup Yorkies can make good family dogs, but they may not tolerate young children.
Like the standard Yorkshire Terrier, the Teacup Yorkie can be a very good family dog for families with older, more respectful and gentle children.
They are fun-loving dogs who, when well-socialized and trained, make excellent companions for older families.
However, potential owners should consider their family and lifestyle before commiting to a Teacup Yorkie and remember that it’s important to make sure your environment is right for a dog as small as a Teacup Yorkie is.
Teacup Yorkshire Terriers weigh only between two and three pounds. So while they can make for good family dogs, we would personally not recommend them for families with very small children who may not realize the consequences of handling such a small dog a little too roughly.
Yorkies are already fragile dogs, but Teacup Yorkies are even more at risk of breaking bones if dropped or played with too roughly.
The ideal home type for a Teacup Yorkie would be a home with older, more respectful children, seniors, or couples or singles looking for a companion who loves to cuddle and play.
Teacup Yorkies are small, so they are adaptable little dogs who will thrive in most home environments whether they are small apartments, studios, or large homes.
Keep in mind that Yorkshire Terriers in general like to snooze under covers and in cozy places so owners should be careful when sitting down on the couch or getting into their beds.
And while the Teacup Yorkie may enjoy other doggy playmates and like making new friends, he can be a jealous pup and be territorial of his home, his belongings, and his family.
Teacup Yorkies may also tend to bond more closely with one person in the family and prefer that person over others.
Like all puppies, the Teacup Yorkie should be socialized at an early age to help him grow up into a happy, well rounded adult dog.
This means taking him out and introducing him as often as possible to new experiences and doing your best to ensure that new experiences are positive and fun for him.
Also, bear in mind that this little dog has a big bark and likes to use his voice. He will be a great watch dog and alert you to all sorts of suspicions, whether the suspicion is a leaf blowing across the lawn at midnight or the neighbor’s cat who keeps peering in through the window around lunchtime.
Luckily, all this barking is matched by an adorable appearance, so it’s tough to ever get too cross with the tiny Teacup Yorkie.
See for yourself!
What Does The Teacup Yorkie Look Like?
Teacup Yorkies look just how they sound – adorable!
Teacup Yorkies look pretty much exactly how you would expect for them to look – adorable! They come in a few different coat colors and color combinations, including:
Blue & Tan
Black & Tan
Black & Gold
Blue & Gold
As puppies, Teacup Yorkies typically have black coats with some brown markings around their ears, paws, and muzzles.
As they age, their black hair will often turn into a silvery blue. Sometimes, however, their black hair stays black.
The Yorkshire Terrier has big, brown eyes and is famous for his hypoallergenic coat, which is often compared to human hair.
His coat is silky and wavy, and can be prone to matting or tangles if allowed to grow long. Many Yorkies participate in dog shows due to their intelligent nature and eager-to-please disposition, and their coats are often worn long to the floor and brushed out silky smooth for such events.
However, most day-to-day Yorkie owners opt to keep their Yorkie coat cut short in a puppy cut to keep from having to deal with all the grooming maintenance, but we’ll cover that down below.
Yorkie’s also have erect, pointed ears and their tails will sometimes be docked, although the practice of docking tails is becoming less and less common. Naturally, your Yorkshire Terrier’s tail will stand up and curve over his back.
Sounds cute, right? But just how long will this cutie stick around for? Let’s talk about the Teacup Yorkie’s lifespan.
What Is A Teacup Yorkie’s Average Lifespan?
The Teacup Yorkie is prone to a number of health problems which could affect his lifespan.
On average, the standard sized Yorkie lives between 11 and 15 years, which is a relatively long life for a dog.
However, the Teacup Yorkie is prone to a number of health issues his standard sized counterpart may not face, which does have an impact on his lifespan.
According to most experts, Teacup Yorkshire Terriers have an average lifespan of only 7 – 9 years.
This is due to a number of reasons, but most likely his shorter lifespan is attributed to his shorter life expectancy. As we’ve now covered, Teacup Yorkies are prone to several serious health issues and are more at risk of passing away earlier due to injury or illness.
Let’s talk more about the Teacup Yorkie’s Health issues.
Let’s Talk More About the Teacup Yorkie’s Health Issues
Teacup Yorkies may be adorable, but they are prone to a lot of health issues.
While it’s easy to see why you’d fall in love with a Teacup Yorkie, it’s also important to note that you may wind up heartbroken in the long run.
These sweet little pups tend to face a number of serious health issues and can suffer throughout their lives due to poor breeding standards and birth defects.
In general, Yorkshire Terriers are already prone to several genetic health issues like
- Portosystemic shunt
- Keratitis sicca
- Sensitive stomach
- And dental issues
However, Teacup Yorkies list of health issues is even longer. Many Teacup Yorkies are prone to suffering from health issues such as
- Heart defects
- Collapsing trachea
- Respiratory issues
- Digestive issues
- And liver shunt.
Because they are so small, Teacup Yorkies can also have a more difficult time keeping themselves warm in colder environments and will need to be watched and cared for carefully in extreme weather as well as dressed appropriately for the conditions.
Teacup Yorkies are obviously not meant to be outside dogs and should be kept under your watchful eye when out and about outside.
Before committing yourself to caring for a Teacup Yorkie, remember that you may be taking on a dog with special needs when it comes to health issues, which could wind up costing you both emotionally and financially in the long run.
The good news is that you can work to combat any potential health issues in your Teacup Yorkie by maintaining routine veterinary checkups, ensuring your Teacup Yorkie is on a healthy, small-breed diet, maintaining a good exercise routine, and practicing proper grooming techniques as well as using the proper grooming tools for the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
And speaking of grooming a Teacup Yorkie, let’s learn more about that famous, silky coat of his.
How Do You Groom A Teacup Yorkie?
The Yorkshire Terrier’s silky coat can be high maintenance if grown out.
One of the things Yorkshire Terriers are most famous for is their gorgeous hair. Long, silky, wavy and soft, Yorkie hair is often compared to human hair for it’s amazing texture.
If left to grow out, Yorkie hair can grow all the way to floor length. However, in that case, the Yorkie will need to be brushed daily and his hair should be put up in a hair tie at his forehead to keep long strands out of his eyes.
Because long hair on a Yorkie can take quite a lot to maintain, many Yorkie owners opt to cut their Yorkie’s hair short in what is known as a puppy cut.
This haircut is much easier to maintain and is super cute to boot! Still, even with a puppy cut, your Teacup Yorkie should be brushed at least twice a week and bathed at least once a week with a high quality dog shampoo that won’t strip his skin of the natural oils it produces that help to keep that lovely hair healthy.
Like many small dogs, Yorkshire Terriers and Teacup Yorkies are prone to dental issues and many senior Yorkies end up having their teeth removed to keep them from becoming sick.
To help combat oral issues, we suggest brushing your Yorkie’s teeth with a doggy toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste at least twice a week.
You may also opt to take your Yorkie in for routine teeth cleaning by a professional.
What Are The Training And Exercise Requirements For A Teacup Yorkshire Terrier?
Yorkies may be small, but they still need exercise!
The tiny Teacup Yorkie may not need as much exercise as his larger canine counterparts, but this is still an active, athletic little pup who will want to go on daily walks and adventures.
A brisk, half-hour walk every day will help keep your Teacup Yorkie healthy and happy, but be sure to always walk your Teacup Yorkie on a harness that is safe for his small size and won’t press on his fragile trachea, as Teacup Yorkies can be prone to tracheal collapse.
Because they are so small, Teacup Yorkies can also get adequate exercise through daily play. They love to chase and run around after toys, so a good game of fetch inside or in the backyard will also help keep them in ship shape and mentally sound.
When it comes to training, Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent dogs, so your Teacup Yorkie will need lots of mental stimulation and will enjoy learning new tricks and playing with puzzle toys.
And while the Teacup Yorkie is an intelligent dog, he can be stubborn and hard headed. He will need lots of training and positive reinforcement using treats and praise, as well as consistency.
A watchful eye will also be necessary when housetraining a Teacup Yorkie as their little potty accidents may be hard to spot. Many Teacup Yorkie owners opt to place potty pads around the home and train their Yorkie to go on them as a way to help avoid having to clean up potty accidents.
Should You Adopt Or Buy Your Teacup Yorkie? Tips On How To Find The Healthiest Teacup Yorkshire Terrier Possible
Make sure to always go through reputable sources when picking out your Teacup Yorkie puppy.
It’s always important to go through reputable sources when getting a new puppy or dog, but since Teacup Yorkies are already prone to so many health issues, it’s especially important to make sure you trust the breeder or rescue you are buying yours from.
Remember, there are breed specific rescues that specialize in Yorkshire Terriers and Teacup Yorkies, so while this is a dog in high demand, chances are you will be able to still find the dog of your dreams at a local rescue.
There are so many wonderful benefits to adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue. Along with providing a dog in need of a good, loving home, you will also be saving money as rescuing a dog from a shelter is typically a fraction of the cost of going through a breeder.
If you have your heart set on buying a Teacup Yorkie from a breeder, we urge you to do plenty of research and make sure the breeder you go through is experienced, responsible, and educated on the health implications of breeding teacup dogs.
A reputable breeder will have taken precautions to ensure their dogs are bred as healthy as possible and will be able to offer you certifications of health proving your puppy has been health screened and is good to go home with you.
So, what do you think about the Teacup Yorkie? Has this teensy pup stolen your heart or do you think you’ll stick with the standard sized Yorkies?
Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.