So small that as a puppy, they can fit inside a teacup, the aptly named Teacup Yorkie is actually a smaller version of a Yorkshire Terrier. Teacup Yorkies are bred to be more than half the size of a standard Yorkshire Terrier. One look at their tiny faces and you may be smitten.
While their adorable miniature appearance is popular with dog lovers, these little wonders come with controversy, as they have multiple health issues and require plenty of attentive care.
If you’re thinking of buying a Teacup Yorkie, be sure to read on as we discuss the challenges of owning such a tiny dog.
Teacup Yorkies are often referred to as Miniature or Toy Yorkshire Terriers. However, they are not recognized as a separate breed, even though their smaller size falls well below the range of a standard Yorkshire Terrier.
While you won’t be able to parade your Teacup Yorkie as a show dog, their features will match their purebred parents. They have a steel-blue and tan coat that’s non-shedding and excellent for anyone allergic to pet dander. Yorkies have a well-proportioned body, alert dark eyes, black noses, and a high head carriage.
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How Small Are Teacup Yorkies?
Teacup Yorkies weigh between two to four pounds and stand no higher than five to six inches tall. By comparison, standard Yorkshire Terriers are listed by the American Kennel Club as weighing around seven pounds.
Why Do We Find Teacup Yorkies Irresistible?
While Teacup Yorkies resemble their larger parents, their smaller size lets them retain that puppy look throughout their lifetime. Biologically, we’re wired to respond to baby-like characteristics with an impulse to love and to protect. Basically, resisting that puppy face is futile.
When you further add our human nature to find any type of miniaturization captivating and magical, the adoration of these tiny pups amplifies. Plus, smaller dogs take up less space, can sit on your lap, and are easily portable.
What Causes Teacup Yorkies to Be So Small?
Creating a diminutive-sized dog requires breeding only the smallest puppies from a standard Yorkshire Terrier litter. Here’s where much of the controversy comes into play. In most cases, the smallest puppy, or the “runt,” will be the least healthy of the litter. By breeding two weak dogs, genetically speaking, you improve the odds that the next litter will receive their lesser traits. Such overbreeding practices create a perfect storm for a multitude of health issues.
Personality and Temperament
These portable pups may be small enough to carry in your purse or a small bag, but their big personalities indicate that they’re not aware of their size.
Active and adventurous, Teacup Yorkies can be a handful, both figuratively and literally. They love getting your attention, finding trouble, and hunting. They also let their voices be heard with frequent barking.
Teacup Yorkies, particularly as puppies, can panic easily — it’s frightening to be so small in an over-sized world! Teacup Yorkies also tend to suffer from psychological issues, including high anxiety.
Special Care and Training
If you’re planning to buy a Teacup Yorkie, you’ll need to seriously consider the risks and challenges that come with owning a miniaturized dog. It’s especially important to note that these fragile pups aren’t well suited for young children.
Teacup Yorkies have fragile bones. What may create a yelp in a larger dog may cause severe or life-threatening injury to a Teacup Yorkie. Any number of dangers abound with such a small dog. You’ll need to prevent your Teacup Yorkie from haplessly wandering underfoot and falling from heights. Even the simple act of jumping up or down can cause harm.
Unfortunately, the controversial breeding practices involved in creating such a small dog allow for greater opportunities for health issues, defects, and diseases. While standard Yorkshire Terriers can live 11 to 15 years, the life expectancy of a Teacup Yorkie is much less at seven to nine years.
Common health problems with Teacup Yorkies include heart, bladder, and liver functioning issues. Their smaller skulls are more prone to fractures and may impact the brain, causing psychological concerns. Finally, low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can induce a fatal seizure.
Extra Special Care
Teacup Yorkies require an owner who’s willing to pay close attention to their needs on a daily basis. You’ll need to constantly monitor their energy level, willingness to play, and eating and drinking habits, as well as watch for regular urination and bowel movements.
Between their tiny stomachs and the threat of low blood sugar, you’ll need to feed your Teacup Yorkie frequently. Be sure to purchase food that has a formula for smaller breed dogs.
With such a small bladder, your Teacup Yorkie may be difficult to house train, as the need to urinate occurs at a quicker rate. With consistency, determination, and patience, it is possible to potty train them, however.
Make sure your Teacup Yorkie has a low bed that they can climb in and out of with little effort. Although your Teacup Yorkie may want to jump, their weakened skeletal system may not be strong enough to endure the impact.
Buying a Puppy
With high demand for these adorable looking dogs comes high price tags. You can expect to pay upward of $2,000 for a Teacup Yorkie puppy. Considering the additional and potentially higher vet bills, be sure to consult your budget before purchasing one.
Beyond the price, it may be difficult to find a reputable breeder. Greed often becomes more important than the health and welfare of the puppies. Purchasing from such a breeder often results in supporting inhumane practices, including malnutrition.
You may want to consider buying a Teacup Yorkie from a rescue shelter. This type of purchase does not add to the demand for smaller and smaller dogs. At present, there’s no standard for how miniature dogs can be bred.
Teacup Yorkies have every bit of the big personality and feisty, fun nature of a standard Yorkshire Terrier, only in a smaller package. While these miniature versions may win your heart with their everlasting puppy faces, be aware that the life expectancy of Teacup Yorkies is considerably less than that of a standard Yorkshire Terrier.
Also, make sure you’re ready to supply constant care to these fragile pups. Accidents and sickness are a real possibility. Consider whether your lifestyle, family, and everyday activities match the unique needs of a Teacup Yorkie. You’ll need to be an extra diligent and an especially conscientious dog parent.
Money-focused breeders and questionable breeding practices help fuel controversy over the ethics of owning such a dog. Be prepared that you may encounter people willing to share their unsolicited opinion about the possibly inhumane demand for miniature size dogs.
You’ll certainly have your hands full in every manner of speaking with a Teacup Yorkie!
Featured Image Credit: Pxhere
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.