The description, “teacup puppies”, is a brilliant marketing term made up by unscrupulous backyard breeders. If you’ve ever thought about buying any breed of teacup dogs, stop and take a deep breath before going any farther. Avoid heartbreak and medical expenses by knowing what you’re getting into before you buy a teacup puppy. Pups can come with an expensive hidden financial, health and emotional cost unethical breeders won’t tell you about.
Puppy mills have been around for a long time. Irresponsible breeders advertising teacup puppies for sale have no qualms about selling you an unhealthy puppy that has little chance of reaching it’s first birthday. Most teacup puppies are born in puppy mills bred by unethical breeders who know there’s a demand for the teeny dogs. These people have no problem charging $2,000 up to $10,000 for an unhealthy puppy who can face a lifetime of health problems, many of which can be life threatening and costly for you in vet bills.
What are teacup puppies? A true teacup puppy is rare and weighs in at 1-3 lbs. as an adult. Small enough to fit in a teacup, they come with a high price tag because of their rarity and a demand for these little dogs. These tiny pups require round the clock care and attention from a responsible breeder for the first couple of weeks up to a month after they’re born. Teacup puppies weighs 2-4 ounces at birth and are very fragile.
Extremely small dogs have always been around, but like other dog breeds seen in movies or with a celebrity, a demand goes out for the dog and irresponsible breeders are happy to supply an unwary public with unhealthy dogs. The standard weight for dogs belonging to the Toy group, according to the American Kennel Club, range in weight from 3-7 lbs..
Teacup puppies are not AKC recognized. These small dogs are not among the 21 dog breeds that make up the Toy group recognized by the AKC as a legitimate breed. Teacup versions of the Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, etc., have been created to entice and draw in potential customers. A breeder who claims their pups are registered and they have papers is lying to you.
Know where your teacup puppy came from. People who run puppy mills know teacup puppies are in demand. They don’t care about the welfare of the dog or the person buying the pup. Their only interest is how much they can sell the puppy for. Not wanting to pass up an easy buck, these people are breeding runts of litters with other runts in hopes of getting smaller puppies and selling them as teacup puppies.
Another way to get smaller puppies is to breed the mother at the beginning of her heat cycle and at the end. This heartless practice insures smaller pups, but at a price for the puppies who were conceived later in the heat cycle. Pups who were conceived first begin the birthing process when they’re mature and ready to be born. Puppies who were conceived last are also born, but premature, making them smaller than their litter mates and more at risk for health problems. An unsuspecting buyer sees the premature pups and assumes they are teacups and that’s what an unethical breeder is counting on buyers doing.
Some backyard breeders intentionally breed dogs to get two bigger adults. A larger female will usually have larger litters with smaller puppies, but that doesn’t guarantee the pups will be pocket size, teeny or teacup puppies.
Dangers and Health problems of teacup dogs. Because they’re so tiny, these dogs have fragile bones that can easily break. It’s easy to step or sit on one. A responsible owner needs to supervise teacup dogs 24/7. Their small size alone creates constant danger from things falling on them to other pets in the home. Many will have congenital and genetic health concerns. Respiratory problems, heart problems, digestive problems, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), problems with the trachea collapsing or a permanent soft spot on their head caused by the cranial bone not completely forming. Dislocation of the knees, water accumulating on the brain, blindness, seizures, deformities, Leg-Calve Perthes disease (a degenerative disease of the hip joint) portosystemic shunts (an abnormal vessel also called a liver shunt. The dog’s circulatory system bypasses the liver which is where the blood is cleaned). Their internal organs can be underdeveloped and their small mouth size has trouble accommodating all of their adult teeth which can lead to dental problems. Teacup dogs use up a lot of energy and calories just trying to keep their body temperature normal and can become malnourished even though they’re well fed. A simple bout of diarrhea can leave them dehydrated which can be life threatening.
Buyer beware of breeders who guarantee their teacup puppies will be tiny. No caring and responsible breeder will make that promise because a dog’s adult size can’t be determined when they’re still a pup. Size depends on genetics and you can get an idea of how big a puppy will be by looking at their parents and grandparents and knowing what the breed standard is for a specific breed.
If you’re considering a teacup puppy, know who you’re buying from. Find responsible breeders who know what they’re doing and cares about the welfare of the dog. Make sure you are actually buying a teacup puppy and not one that’s premature. Puppy mills will continue to operate as long as we continue buying from them or pet shops. Educate yourself and demand answers to your questions. Any breeder who refuses to answer your questions or allow you to see their kennel or parents of the pups are not responsible breeders.
When bred by a responsible breeder, teacup puppies have a chance of living a normal life free of health problems. But even they can’t promise your puppy will be completely healthy.
The Teacup Puppy Phenomenon, Bark Rescue
The “Teacup Myth”, doublecreekkennel.com
The Truth About Teacups, thebombpoms.com