Teacup Maltese: Facts, Size, Breed Info & More

The Maltese is one of the most popular dogs in America. These royal dogs are loved for their long silky fur, glowing personality and small size. Not only are they cute and fluffy, but they are also very playful and zesty.

A Maltese itself is a small dog that is great for people who live in apartments.

But did you know there is actually an even smaller version of this breed?!

A Teacup Maltese is a shrunken version of this charming white dog. You get everything people already love about the breed, but in a more portable size. Because this pup is so tiny you can carry it with you just about anywhere.

White and charming like a royal prince, this adorable pup is impossible to resist. Keep reading to learn about this teacup dog…

Breed Quick Facts
HeightUnder 7 inches
Weight3 to 4.5 lbs
CoatFlat, long and silky
SheddingVery low shedding, hypoallergenic
TemperamentPlayful, friendly, gentle, affectionate, eager and lively
Family FriendlyYes
BarkingCan be yappy
TrainingEasily trainable
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Price$500 to $3,500

Meet The Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese

A Teacup Maltese is the miniature version of the Maltese.

The standard Maltese is usually between 7-9 inches tall, but a Teacup is even smaller than this. A Teacup Maltese is less than 7 inches and does not weigh more than 4 pounds.

Though the Teacup isn’t an official size variation, unlike other teacup dogs, they are registrable with the American Kennel Association and are registered as a toy Maltese. They are a purebred dog that is simply smaller in size.

The advantage is that they will be much lighter and easier to carry.

Wherever you go they will always be glad to be by your side and will always show you love and affection. They are bred to be a great lapdog. This makes them great for people who are always on the move or elders who need a lightweight companion.

Their small size is not their only advantage, but also their ability to adapt to any circumstance. Whether you live a hectic life or stay at home all day, they will be happy to be by your side.

A Teacup Maltese is a very affectionate and sociable dog. They love to be the center of attention, and no matter where you go they will want to become friends with anyone they meet.

For families this breed makes a great dog because of their gentleness and playfulness.

They are also a great choice for first time owners because of their need to please and eager response to training.

If you are thinking of adopting one the great news is that they are also low-shedding. Since they shed very little, the teacup Maltese is considered a hypoallergenic dog. They are also a great option for people with allergies.


The Maltese is actually an ancient breed that has existed since as far back as 1500 B.C. They come from the island of Malta which is 60 miles south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.

Maltese dogs used to be bigger and were the lapdogs of aristocrats.

People from all over who traveled to the island for trading were enchanted by their silky white coats and took them back to their own countries.

It was the Chinese who began crossing the breed to produce a miniature Maltese. They then sent back their mini version of the Maltese to Europe. Eventually they arrived in New York in 1877 where they were presented as the “Maltese Lion Dog”.

The Teacup Maltese descends from these dogs.

Breeders in the US began to make Teacup dogs popular by breeding the smallest puppies of the litter. Now Teacup Maltese puppies have been bred for over 20 years. They came from the desire for tiny dogs that are cute and easy to carry.

How Big Do Teacup Maltese Get?

There is no official size variety for a Maltese.

All Maltese dogs should be under 7 pounds and 7-9 inches tall, as they are considered Toy dogs. Breeders designate a dog as “Teacup” when it weighs 4 pounds or less when fully grown.

A full grown teacup Maltese is usually 3.5-4 pounds and about 6 inches tall.

When first born a Teacup puppy only weighs ~4 ounces. These puppies are very tiny and fragile, so special care is needed for them. Families with small children should be cautious and always supervise playtime as they are very fragile.

They grow quickly and by about 6 months of age they should be reaching their adult weight. The following growth chart gives you an idea of what to expect each month:

1 month11-15 ounces
2 months19-24 ounces
3 months26-33 ounces
4 months34-44 ounces
5 months41-52 ounces
6 months45-58 ounces

Sometimes you might hear people calling a Teacup Maltese a Toy Maltese, Micro Teacup Maltese, Mini Maltese, or Miniature Maltese. Breeders might use any of these names to try to get your attention, but all of them mean the same tiny dog.


Teacup Maltese puppy

The cost of Teacup Maltese puppies can range anywhere from $500 to $3,500 depending on the breeder and where you buy one from.

On average you can expect to pay $1,500 to $2,000 for a healthy Teacup Maltese pup.

A puppy bred by high profile breeders who registers their dogs with the American Kennel Club will have a higher price tag. These puppies are not likely to be “show dogs”, as they are bred to be a small lapdog, but they will come from a line of dogs with good pedigrees.

If you are looking into getting a Teacup Maltese, but cannot afford to pay for a puppy, then consider getting one from a rescue or shelter.

Unfortunately many Teacup Maltese end up in shelters because people at first might not understand what it takes to take care of a tiny dog.

Most of the time the dogs that end up in rescues are adults, but these dogs are in need of a home just as much as puppies. You can check out the American Maltese Association Rescue to see if they have any dogs for adoption in your area. Adoption fees for these dogs can range from $300 to $600.


Beware of backyard breeders or puppy mills when you are searching for a teacup dog. These breeders sell their puppies at a very low price, without concern for the puppy’s health or socialization.

These kinds of breeders take the smallest dogs of the litter and breed them together to make a toy Maltese. Many times these puppies have stunted growth, health issues and are not registered with papers.

It is important that you properly research a Teacup Maltese breeder because of the controversy associated with teacup dog breeds. You need to make sure you are getting a puppy that is of good health, behavior and has been bred ethically.

A good place to start your search can be at the American Maltese Association’s breeder list.

These breeders will often call their puppies a miniature Maltese.

A reputable breeder will let you see the puppy, have it registered with papers and offer you a health guarantee. Teacup Maltese puppies should be bright, alert and happy to see you.

If you find yourself with a puppy that seems too small, quiet or unnerved, these might be signs that you are not buying from a good breeder and they have not been socialized.

A reputable breeder will genetically test the parents to make sure that they do not have any hidden genes that the puppies could inherit and cause them health problems. They are also concerned for the puppies’ well-being and will not breed the runts of the litter.

These breeders will take the necessary steps to make sure that their puppies are in good health. They do not specifically select for small size since this can cause many health problems. Rather most times a reputable breeder gets a tiny pup by natural variation in size.


The defining feature of the Teacup Maltese is their long, silky white coat.

You won’t find a Teacup Maltese in any other color but white. You can only get a white teacup Maltese. Sometimes a puppy might have a bit of tan or lemon on their ears, but the perfect coat should be pure white.

If you leave their coat untrimmed, their hair can be floor-length and flows beautifully.

The coat hair can also be trimmed in multiple ways to give them different looks. A common haircut is the bob cut where the hair is trimmed short on the body, and the hair on the ears and face is left long. Instead of long hair, these pups will have short and fluffy hair with a human style bob haircut around the face.

Other features that make up this cute pup are their flopped ears, dark round eyes and black button nose.

Their muzzle is medium in length and tapered. It should never be squashed to the face like a French Bulldog.


The Teacup Maltese is a low shedding dog which makes them great for people with allergies. Unfortunately their long and silky hair will require lots of grooming. Their coat can easily become tangled or matted if not brushed every day.

Maltese dogs are loved for their long silky hair, but there are plenty of hairstyles where the hair is cut short so they are easier to maintain and will need less brushing.

Every few months you should take your pup to a professional groomer to get their hair trimmed and have it looking its best. They should also have regular baths to prevent their white hair from yellowing to a bit of a tan or lemon shade.


A Teacup Maltese is full of life and energy. He will want to play all the time with you. You might often find him bouncing around in joy trying to get your attention or the kids’.

This tiny pup might be small as a teacup, but his size doesn’t define his personality.

Thanks to his small size, even if he does seem like an energetic dog, he will tire out quickly so he is never overwhelming with his energy. If you love going on long hikes he might not last very long, but will be happy to stay with you at home if you live a quiet life.

The Teacup Maltese is incredibly sociable and attached to his owner. He just wants all of the attention because he often thinks of himself as royal, just like the old Maltese Lion Dogs from Malta.

He will never want to ignore any person or be left alone.

He will never dare scare anyone away because then he wouldn’t get any attention.

However, because of his need for attention he is prone to separation anxiety. If he feels abandoned or gets bored he will start barking and making a ruckus. Proper training and socialization can help with preventing this.

A Teacup Maltese was made to be a lapdog so you won’t have to worry about him chasing anything as he has no prey drive. He is also non-aggressive and will get along well with any other dogs or pets. His need to be friendly with everyone also means that he doesn’t make a great guard dog.


Toy Maltese

Since the Teacup Maltese is so small they do not need a lot of kibble.

A full grown adult should eat less than a cup of kibble in a day.

They can be picky eaters, so it might take some trial and error to find a pet food that they like. Do not give a pup food that isn’t made for them. The kibble you feed should be of high quality and formulated for small breeds only.

A well-balanced diet for this dog is important to promote bone and joint health since it is so delicate.

Make sure that your Teacup Maltese eats food regularly. As a tiny dog they are prone to hypoglycemia if not properly fed on a schedule. If they don’t eat every few hours their blood glucose can drop dangerously low. This is common in other Teacup breeds like the teacup Pomeranian.


The Teacup Maltese is a very smart dog. Combining their smarts with their need to make you happy means you will have a pup that is very easy to train.

The best way to train this pup is with positive reinforcement. They are a bit of a sensitive breed, so never use harsh words or scold them. Always be encouraging and happy and reward them with a treat when they do what you want.

All they want to do is make you happy.

If he makes a mistake just ignore it and ask him to try again and reward the behavior you want. He will catch on quickly just to get what he wants.

All in all, the Teacup Maltese is very easy to train thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to make you happy. Their need to please and eager response to training makes them a great choice for first time owners.

Some have been known to be hard to housebreak because of their small bladders. So if your puppy has too many accidents around the house, it isn’t because they aren’t smart. They just can’t hold it in!

Their small bladders are another reason why it’s important to not leave your pup alone for too long.


A Teacup Maltese may be eager to play, but all they need is 20 minutes of exercise every day. This teacup dog is a true lapdog that will tire itself out in no time, even with all of their energy.

You should not expect one to go on long walks or hikes with you. After he has had his fun, he would much rather relax than keep walking so you might end up carrying him most of the way.

Be careful to never overwork your Teacup Maltese.

Their size, sweet and calm nature, and low exercise needs make them great for seniors.

They are easy to carry and take care of. They are also highly adaptable, so not only will they be content living a quiet life, but will also do well adjusting to different environments. All they need is your love and company.


Do Teacup Maltese Bark A Lot?

They are a bit on the yappy side. They are not quiet dogs and will let you know just what they are thinking. Proper socialization and training from a young age can help reduce these traits. Maltese dogs will become especially yappy if they feel like they have been abandoned or are bored. It is important that your dog never feels like you don’t give them enough attention, so that they bark less and don’t develop a barking habit.

Are They Good Family Pets?

Families will love having a Teacup Maltese due to their playfulness and gentleness. These tiny pups love spending time with their family and having fun. However, since they are so small and fragile parents need to supervise playtime. Young children can easily hurt them during play. This is why it is better for them to live with families with older children.

How Long Do Teacup Maltese Live?

The teacup Maltese lifespan is no different than a standard size when bred by a responsible breeder. They can live for 12-15 years and have a happy, healthy life. A poorly bred puppy will have a shorter lifespan and more health issues like stunted growth and lethargy. These puppies likely didn’t grow as much because they were unhealthy or had genetic abnormalities.

Do They Have Health Problems?

A Teacup Maltese is generally healthy as long as they are bred correctly. However, even a healthy puppy can still inherit some of the genetic health issues associated with the breed. These include patellar luxation, liver shunts and heart issues. Their small bones are also very fragile and can break easily if they accidentally fall or are dropped.

Final Thoughts

The Teacup Maltese is the perfect white, fluffy, mini companion.

They suit people who live in small apartments, travel a lot or need a dog that is easy to take care of. These dogs adapt well to any environment as long as they are by your side. They are incredibly sociable and quickly become attached to their owners.

A Teacup is even smaller than a standard and weighs no more than 4 pounds. When first born a Teacup puppy only weighs ~4 ounces.

These royal, white dogs love all kinds of people and are incredibly playful and gentle. Families will find these dogs an excellent choice to bring home. Parents just need to keep in mind that they are very small and delicate. Young children must be supervised during play.

The Teacup Maltese is also a good choice for people with allergies because of their hypoallergenic coat. Though they shed very little, their long and silky hair still needs regular grooming.

If you are looking for a loving, gentle companion then consider the Teacup Maltese. With their charming personality and small size you won’t regret adopting one.

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