Information You Should Know About Teacup Dogs

A teacup Chihuahua.

Over the past ten years, teacup dogs, also known as micro-dogs, have gained popularity thanks to famous teacup pup parents and social media platforms (looking at you, Instagram!). Teacup dogs appear to be everywhere, from the handbags of various celebrities to some of the cutest films on the internet.

There's no denying that these tiny doggies are absolutely adorable, but do teacup dogs actually stay that small? Do they make good pets? And, perhaps most importantly, are they healthy?

Doing your homework is crucial if you're thinking about bringing a teacup dog into the family since there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about them, especially in regards to their health. A well-informed choice can be the difference between bringing a healthy dog into the family and one that isn't.

Read on to learn more about teacup dogs, and why they might not be the best pet for your family.

When Is a Dog Considered "Teacup" Size?

Before we dive into the details, it's important to understand the characteristics that actually define a "teacup" dog.

While there isn't just one type that may be bred to be a teacup dog—a variety of breeds, including Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Maltese—there is a weight range that can make a dog fit the description. Teacup dogs can weigh as little as two pounds and grow to be no more than 17 inches. Additionally, "toy" breeds are defined as any canine species weighing less than 15 pounds, which includes teacup dogs.

How Are "Teacup" Dogs Bred?

The methods breeders utilize to make such little canines are the subject of much debate. It's hard to hear, but many of these methods can be seriously harmful to the wellbeing and health of the dogs. Breeders that are dishonest or immoral may employ strategies like:

  • Inbreeding runts with other runts in the hopes of producing an entire litter of smaller-than-average dogs. Inbreeding can increase the risk of inheriting a genetic disorder, like blindness or epilepsy.
  • Stunting the growth of their puppies by malnourishing them, which can result in failure to thrive, as well as serious issues with the skeletal, digestive, and nervous systems.

What's more, an unethical breeder may simply market normal-sized, smaller breeds as "teacup."

Before introducing any dog into your house, it is crucial to conduct research. Make careful to choose a reputable, ethical breeder, or think about from your neighborhood animal shelter. Teacup dogs are not only incredibly expensive, but bringing a sick pet into the family can have negative effects on your family, other pets, and the dog as well.

Is It Even Possible to Find an Ethical Teacup Breeder?

The quick response? Finding a teacup dog breeder who is ethical is doable; the operative word here is "had." An ethical breeder may occasionally have a litter with puppies that are smaller than typical but still be able to offer a health assurance. Although it might be uncommon, this is the most moral approach to locate a teacup. You cannot be confident that pups purchased from a pet store weren't produced unethically since it is difficult to determine where they came from.

If you're having a hard time locating an ethical teacup dog, you might want to consider toy dog breeds, which are smaller dogs, but a healthier size and weight for their standard.

Common Health Issues

While different dog breeds have distinct health problems, all kinds of dogs are prone to heart disease, diabetes, and visual problems like cataracts. However, due to their little stature, teacups frequently encounter health problems. Among the common issues with teacups are:

  • Hypoglycemia: This extreme drop in blood sugar can result in symptoms like shivering, weakness, and seizures.
  • Unhealthy weight: Smaller dogs have faster metabolisms, which in turn requires more frequent feedings. Frequent feedings paired with little or no exercise can result in unhealthy weight.
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE): According to some studies, smaller dogs are more likely to develop hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. The exact cause of HGE is unknown, but it's often characterized by bloody diarrhea or vomit, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
  • Bone fragility: Teacup dogs' bones are smaller and frailer than the bones of a larger dog, making them susceptible to breaks or fractures.

Teacup dogs are also more prone to being stepped on, sat on, or dropped simply because they're so tiny. If you have young children, a teacup dog might not be the right choice for you.

It's important to note that not every teacup dog will experience these health issues, but potential teacup pup parents should be well aware of the risks.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to teacup dogs, research (and maybe even a little bit of patience) is key. It is possible to have a happy, healthy teacup dog with the right amount of research.

CITATION

"Yordy J, Kraus C, Hayward JJ, et al. Body Size, Inbreeding, and Lifespan in Domestic DogsConserv Genet. 2020;21(1):137-148. doi:10.1007/s10592-019-01240-x", "Idowu O, Heading K. Hypoglycemia in Dogs: Causes, Management, and DiagnosisCan Vet J. 2018;59(6):642-649.", "Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome in Dogs. Merck Veterinary Manual.", "Farrell LL, Schoenebeck JJ, Wiener P, Clements DN, Summers KM. The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease. Canine Genet Epidemiol. 2015;2:3. doi:10.1186/s40575-015-0014-9" ;

LEAVE A COMMENT