Teacup dogs are pocket sized versions of many dog breeds we know and love. They are usually bred from already small breed dogs, especially those in the Toy category. Teacups are bred to be smaller, easier alternatives to a full sized dog.
These tiny size pups achieved popularity among movie stars and pop singers. Many celebrity fans also fell in love and wanted one of their own.
Unfortunately, these dogs have earned a reputation as cute fashion accessories. Many forget that Teacup pups need the same training and socialization as any other dog.
These dogs may look cute, but such a small body leads to very big health risks. They are at increased risk of heart disease, joint problems, and other special needs. For owners who are ready to make the commitment, here are 15 of the best.
- What Are Teacup Dogs?
- Best Teacup Dog Breeds
- Health and Controversy
What Are Teacup Dogs?
Toy and teacup dog breeds are very similar. However, there is a slight difference between these two terms. Toy breeds are any small dog that weighs less than fifteen pounds. Teacup dogs weigh between two and six pounds. They must also be less than 17 inches tall when fully grown.
For the most part, a dog that could fit in a cereal bowl is likely a Teacup. As puppies they are so small they can fit in a teacup!
“Micro-sized dog” is another term that means the same.
Size may be the deciding factor between teacup and toy breeds. But, you can also look at the health of your dog. If your dog experiences many health-related issues (e.g. hypoglycemia and bone fragility), it is likely your puppy is in the teacup category.
Teacup Breeds Ranked by Size
|Teacup French Bulldog||6|
|Pocket Shih Tzu||8|
Best Teacup Dog Breeds
1. Teacup Poodle
A Teacup Poodle is even smaller than a Toy Poodle. These little balls of fluff are less than 10 inches tall and weigh in at only five pounds.
Every day is a big adventure for these tiny dogs! Poodles are one of the most popular Teacup breeds. When Teacup dogs are mentioned, a pocket sized Poodle is what usually comes to mind.
These fun sized dogs are bred by pairing two runts of a Toy Poodle litter together, or by selecting for a specific gene that causes canine dwarfism.
The Poodle is one of the most intelligent dog breeds around, and its pocket variety is no different. They also have the same loyal and hardworking temperament that Poodles are well known for. Pocket Poodles can solve a maze, do puzzles, and even learn tricks.
While they might look like teddy bears, they do not make the best pets for children. Their bones are very delicate, so rough handling can be dangerous.
2. Micro Chihuahua
A Chihuahua is already one of the world’s smallest dog breeds, but the Teacup is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. While a standard sized Chihuahua will weigh about six pounds, micro Chihuahuas top off at four pounds.
Chihuahuas are known for being bossy and brash, and this variety is no different.
These pups have very loud voices for their small size! If you live in an apartment, it may be best to warn your next door neighbors.
A micro Chihuahua is quite high strung, making them a poor choice for a home with children. They also do not get along with dogs bigger than they are. It is best as the only pet in the house.
Singles and newlywed couples can make a great new family for this dog.
3. Mini Maltese
Mini Maltese dogs stand at under seven inches tall, and will weigh a maximum of five pounds. This is a smaller version of the elegant Maltese dog breed that was recently featured in our hypoallergenic dog list.
In spite of its small size, it is one of the most fun dogs you will meet. Mini Maltese are sweet natured and very smart dogs. You will be surprised at how much they will learn from you.
A Mini Maltese is a great choice for a kid’s first puppy. They are less delicate than other pocket sized dogs, and get along well with children of any age. Their gentle nature makes them great for seniors as well. They are not very energetic and will prefer to spend most of their day cuddling with you.
Owners of all skill levels and backgrounds can be a friend to a mini Maltese.
However, any owner must be willing to regularly groom their beautiful white fur. A bow on top of the head is one of the most popular looks for Maltese dogs of all sizes.
4. Russian Toy
Most miniature dogs must be selectively bred down to size, but, the Russian Toy is born that way! This breed is similar to a Chihuahua, but from a very different part of the world.
The Russian Toy dog can grow up to 11 inches tall, but most weigh just six pounds.
Many breeders selectively breed for smaller sizes to create a more pocket sized dog.
Russian Toy dogs are extremely playful, and keep their puppy-like energy and personality throughout adult life. This makes it the perfect four legged playmate for children.
Many pocket breeds have health problems and shorter lifespans, but the Russian Toy can live for over 15 years. It is one of the healthier options for a teacup dog.
5. Mini Pug
Mini Pugs are usually dwarf sized Pugs. In some cases, however, they can also be a mix between a Pug and a Chihuahua. They look exactly like a standard Pug, but in a smaller size.
The standard Pug can weigh up to 20 pounds, a Teacup will weigh less than five pounds.
Pugs make very gentle and loving family pets. A smaller sized Pug is a good choice for someone who is looking for their first dog, or who does not have the space or energy for a full sized one.
Bear in mind that they like to relax more than they like to play, and so they may not be very appealing to young children. They make great pets for elderly and sedentary owners.
A mini Pug may be adorable, but it is not the healthiest dog breed. Their smaller size exacerbates the breathing problems that the breed is well known for. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a very common health issue with them.
6. Teacup Pomeranian
The adorable, fluffy Pomeranian is even cuter in a Teacup size. Teacup Pomeranians look just like the pom poms that their name brings to mind. A Teacup Pom looks more like a ball of fluff than a dog.
They are one of the smallest teacup dog breeds, weighing in at only two or three pounds.
Their size does not hold them back from being bold, confident, and even a little sassy. Unfortunately, this means that it has a tendency to yap. Nuisance barking is one of the major challenges of caring for one. Joint disorders and other health problems are next on the list.
Teacup Pomeranians may look like a toy, but they are much too delicate for children to handle. They must also be socialized regularly to prevent problem behaviors and nuisance barking.
7. Teacup Yorkie
Yorkshire Terriers are one of the most beloved Terrier breeds, and it is easy to see why! Their endearing furry faces and regal personalities are just begging to be spoiled and loved.
Teacup Yorkies reach a maximum of four pounds, while regular sizes grow up to seven pounds.
Yorkies are the favorite dog of city folk and celebrities. They crave a pampered lifestyle full of attention and love at all hours of the day.
These dogs are very opinionated, which can give way to bossiness. As Terriers, they are naturally very alert and watchful dogs. They do not get along very well with other pets, especially if they are Teacup sized.
While your little Yorkie might enjoy being carried, it is important that you give them plenty of time to use their legs. Neglecting to walk them will cause their muscles to weaken.
8. Pocket Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu dogs had their start as the esteemed palace pets of Chinese royalty. These regal little dogs expect the royal treatment even today. It is very tempting to spoil them, but that does not mean you should give in!
It is very important to keep them well socialized too, no matter if they are only eight pounds. They are known for being yappy, and they can be distrustful of strangers.
A standard Shih Tzu looks like a small lion, but a pocket Shih Tzu looks like a little cotton ball.
Keeping these little cotton balls neat and clean can be quite a chore. You will need special grooming combs that can work with long fur without injuring such a delicate pup.
9. Teacup Bichon
A Teacup sized Bichon Frise is created by selectively breeding runts from standard sized litters. Sometimes breeders use a Teacup Poodle to create a Teacup Bichon Poodle.
The Bichon Frise is a white dog that looks like Santa Claus. When bred in the Teacup size, they look more like snowballs! The mini Bichon is easy to mistake for a Christmas decoration. However, you should be aware of the brain behind those cute eyes.
This is an intelligent dog breed that needs plenty of mental stimulation. Finding ways to keep your dog amused throughout the day is part of the fun of having one.
Bichons have a clownish and comical personality that can capture anyone’s heart.
They are usually calm and quiet, but can learn to turn tricks that will keep you entertained for hours! This makes them great for both old and young owners.
10. Teacup Havanese
The Havanese is the only dog breed that comes from Cuba. They are known for their long, shaggy fur. A Teacup Havanese’s fur is more curly than shaggy, and will need plenty of grooming to keep it in good shape.
A Teacup Havanese is one that is shorter than the breed’s eight inch minimum.
Their Teacup size is small and manageable enough for new owners with small living spaces. They are extremely adaptable to just about any new environment, so apartment dwellers looking for a playful pooch should consider a pocket Havanese.
This dog is known for being a furry comedian! They love to learn new tricks, and are just playful enough to keep you amused without tiring you out.
A Pomsky is a Pomeranian Husky mix that looks just like a small, fluffy Husky. You might not expect a Husky breed to come in a pocket size, but it is possible for the Pomsky.
If you have ever wanted a Husky you carry in your arms, this pup is it.
The Husky’s big personality on such a tiny frame can be very fun. But, both the Husky and the Pomeranian are known for being bold, overconfident, and more than a little stubborn. Pomskies are anxious, high maintenance dogs that do not like to spend very much time alone.
Many Teacup breeds are bred with novice owners in mind, but a mini Pomsky is best left to those with more experience.
12. Glove Beagle
The ‘pocket’ Beagle’s history goes back as far as the 13th century, when they were known as ‘glove’ Beagles. If you have fallen in love with the Beagle, but do not have the space for a full sized one, the ‘glove’ Beagle may be what you are looking for.
A Beagle may not be what comes to mind when you think of a tiny dog. However, even it can be bred for the Teacup size.
Even in this pocket size, a Beagle is a hunter first and foremost. It needs a job to stay happy!
13. Teacup Maltipoo
Maltipoos are a brilliant hybrid created by crossing a Maltese and a Poodle. The teacup variety of this mix often weighs five pounds and stands 8 to 14 inches tall.
Teacup Maltipoos are friendly and seem to love everyone they meet!
These loveable pups are content soaking up all the attention they can get. They want to meet every person, dog, or other animal they can, just make sure to keep them safe around young children. Their small size could make them susceptible to injuries around clumsy kids.
This is a great Teacup breed for first time dog owners. They are highly trainable and low maintenance. Because of their tiny size they only need 15 minutes of exercise per day.
14. Teacup French Bulldog
Teacup French Bulldogs are lovingly known as Frenchies.
There are a few methods breeders use to produce these Teacup dogs. Breeding runts or French Bulldogs with dwarfism are two common, but, unethical practices. Both of these methods often result in lasting health consequences.
The much healthier way of breeding a teacup French Bulldog is to cross a French Bulldog with Toy Poodles or Pomeranians. The result will be a tiny pup that is five or six pounds.
Even with ethical breeding, teacup Frenchies often have many health complications.
Cataracts, skin disorders, heat stroke, and hip dysplasia are just a few. The most severe is Brachycephaly which is common in French Bulldogs. When this breed is shrunken to a small size, this problem is even further exacerbated.
Teacup Frenchies have a heart of gold, but their health issues can be extreme.
15. Sleeve Pekingese
The Teacup Pekingese is often called a sleeve Pekingese. These tiny dogs existed before the teacup craze began. The smallest Pekingese were treasured by Chinese royalty and they were carried around in the sleeves of their robe, hence their nickname.
Teacup Pekingese dogs weigh three to six pounds and are extremely short at only 4-6 inches tall.
Sleeve Pekingese dogs are known for their loving personalities and laid-back nature.
Seniors love these dogs because their exercise requirements are so low.
Like all teacup breeds, they suffer from health-related issues. The two major concerns to be aware of are intervertebral disc disease and brachycephaly, just like the Teacup French Bulldog.
Health and Controversy
It is easy to be distracted by a Teacup dog’s tiny body and big, beautiful eyes. However, there are a lot of unfortunate truths about these pups.
Sadly, the way most teacup breeds are produced is not ethical. Breeders often pick the runts of their litters and inbreed them to produce the smallest puppies possible. This practice is highly detrimental as breeding runts results in even sicker and weaker pups.
Other breeders may even stunt the growth of their puppies by starving them or giving them food that is not nutritionally sufficient. Stunting growth can lead to severe skeletal, digestive, and nervous issues that will cause you lots of heartache.
Many teacup dogs are bred in puppy mills too. These breeders are not concerned with the health and well-being of their puppies, they just want to breed small dogs.
It is very rare to find an ethical breeder who has teacup puppies. These breeders do not intentionally breed for Teacups, but they may have a runt of the litter by chance.
Breeding Teacup puppies often results in very unhealthy dogs with shortened lifespans.
Hypoglycemia (i.e. low blood sugar) is a commonly seen health risk in teacup dogs. Their metabolism works much faster than most dogs, because of their small size, and this can cause their blood sugar to plummet quickly.
This means that they should not be given a lot of food at a time but also need frequent meals to meet their requirements for the day.
The feeding schedule of a teacup breed can be quite difficult.
Five small meals a day is best for Teacups. This can be very time consuming for owners and almost impossible to maintain for a working dog owner.
These dogs also have very fragile bones and are likely to fracture or break their bones from something as simple as jumping off the couch. Owners should be extremely cautious and limit strenuous exercise, roughhousing, and jumping.
Everything is more adorable in a smaller package; these dogs are no exception! It is very easy to fall in love with a dog that never grows out of its puppy size.
Smaller sized dogs are more convenient for owners that do not have much space. Some make a good fit for new owners or for a child looking for a new friend.
However, the differences between Teacups and bigger dogs should not be ignored.
Most dogs are just not meant to be so small. Many have health problems and shortened lifespans.
It takes plenty of careful planning and dedication to commit to the needs of a Teacup dog. With so many breeds to choose from, you will surely find the right dog, just be sure to research their breeder appropriately. Let us know which breed you find the cutest below.