Teacup dog breeds are the smallest of the small. People love them because they retain that cute puppy size their whole lives. If you have been thinking of getting one of these best teacup dog breeds, one of the adorable pups on the list may be the perfect new addition to your family.
However, there are a few things future adopters need to know about teacup dogs. Not officially, Teacup dogs are not the same as toy dog breeds, and are always smaller.
When it comes to Teacup breeds, there is a lot of controversy, too. The AKC does not classify or register Teacup dog breeds at all. Teacups are the smallest puppies from a litter of Toy breed dogs. For this reason, many say they are just the unhealthy runt of the litter.
Because Teacup dog breeds weigh less than the AKC standard for a toy breed, you can technically have any breed called a teacup. What most breeders consider to be a Teacup is a dog that weighs less than 4 pounds and stands less than 17 inches tall.
By these standards, there are only 6 true Teacup breeds. We'll now go over the traits of the true Teacup dog breeds, and learn more about the fake pseudo–Teacups as well.
The many disadvantages of Teacup dog breeds
Adopting a Teacup dog means you'll need to treat it like a baby toddler, and unfortunately, there are many disadvantages to caring for a Teacup dog breed. I recommend you review the below information and consider whether a Teacup dog breed is right for you.
Teacup puppies and even adults are very fragile. They can easily die from a fall that other dog breeds wouldn’t even blink at. They are hard to see and easy to step on. These fur-babies should not be left alone, and they should never be left unsupervised with kids.
Teacup breeds are known to suffer from a huge variety of illnesses and have higher rates of broken bones than any other breed. The smallest of the small also cannot go outside alone, as they make easy prey for owls, hawks, other dogs and “predators.”
Teacup dog breeds have tiny stomachs and tiny bladders. They can’t be healthy just being fed a couple times a day like larger breeds. These tiny pups need to be fed 4-5 small meals a day, and they need to be let out for potty breaks a couple of times every hour.
Housebreaking may often be very difficult with Teacup dog breeds. If you get one of these dogs, house training using the best puppy pee pads may be the best way to go.
For all of these reasons, it's easy to see that Teacup dog breeds are not the right fit for every owner. You should not be considering one of these dogs unless you are available to care for it virtually every minute of the day. Unless you work from home or for a dog-friendly company, these smallest dog breeds are likely too high maintenance for you.
READ THIS: 25 Best Dog Breeds for Small Apartments
Irresponsible Breeding of Teacup Dogs
Teacup dog breeds are very popular right now because they're cute and adorable, which means breeders trying to make a quick buck on this. They will breed small, sickly animals to try to get smaller animals.
We must not support these types of breeders, and be extra vigilant when it comes to adopting Teacup dog breeds from reputable breeders. It's our responsibility to ensure we are following the necessary steps to find a reputable breeder and follow the process.
Some simple things you can do to be sure the breeder is reputable include:
- Visiting the breeding facility
- Check out the mother and father dogs
- Ask lots of questions about the breeders' history and the history of the pups
- Ask for veterinary records on both parents and the pups
- Ask for references from other clients that have adopted puppies from the breeder in the past, and be sure to call them to ask if they would recommend the breeder.
If you've done the research and you still believe that one of the best teacup dog breeds is right for you, it's time to choose which one will best meet your needs.
Below in this article, I'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most popular teacup dog breeds in the world, and why you should and shouldn't adopt them.
RECOMMENDED: 13 Helpful Tips for Rescuing a Dog from a Shelter
15 Popular Teacup Dog Breeds in the World
(the real ones, and the fake ones)
6 True Teacup Dog Breeds
While Googling you can find many lists of Teacup dog breeds online, bear in mind that there are only six dog breeds that can actually be classified as Teacup dogs.
1. Teacup Chihuahua
Teacup Chihuahuas are one of the most popular Teacup dogs today. Teacup Chihuahuas are awfully cute, but they are also one of the most nervous breeds out there. They do pretty good with cats, but not with other dogs or kids.
This is the puppy purse dog. They are extremely affectionate and hate to be alone. These intelligent dogs are fairly easy to train and make great dogs for apartments, but require a lot of care and attention, which makes them a good “to go” small dog.
2. Teacup Maltese
Teacup Maltese is less common, but they make a great watch dog, because they really don’t like strangers.
However, Teacup Maltese dogs may need training to curb their excessive barking. The teacup Maltese is also known to be gentle and attentive.
They are sensitive dogs who need encouragement, not fussing. They have lots of energy and love to play. It is a great breed for households with older children.
3. Teacup Poodle
No matter the size (Teacup, Toy, Standard, Giant), the Poodle breed is well-known to be one of the smartest dog breeds that walks the earth today. They are very adaptable and do well with any type of house or household makeup.
These easy to train dogs are great for the first-time dog owners. In fact, the only drawback of Teacup Poodles is that they need frequent grooming from someone who knows what they're doing. Also, they have all of the drawbacks associated with the fact of being a small dog breed including being fragile and having many health problems common among small dogs.
4. Teacup Pomeranian
Another breed that may need anti-bark training, Teacup Pomeranian dogs are alert and curious about the world around. While they are one of the most popular teacup dog breeds, they will not hesitate to let you know when something isn’t right.
Teacup Pomeranians have less energy and playfulness than the average dog, so they will do best in a more laid-back household. As with all teacup dog breeds, it's best if these dogs are in a home with only adults and older children. They also make great purse dogs due to their calmness and are often considered one of the best breeds for women.
5. Teacup Yorkie
Right there with the Chihuahuas, Teacup Yorkie is another super popular dog breed. The Yorkie is a brave and confident dog with a lot of personality. They are very loving and adaptable, except when it comes to kids and other animals. Teacup Yorkies don’t like them.
They can live in almost any situation – the city, the country, in apartments, and with no yard. Yorkshire Terriers are an active breed that needs lots of play and exercise. They will need training to reduce barking as well, therefore, a dog owner that is willing to dedicate themselves to this pet is usually the best fit.
6. Teacup Shih Tzu
Finally, the last true Teacup dog breed is the Teacup Shih Tzu. If you want a little dog that can wear bows in his hair, then this breed is for you. The Teacup Shih Tzu has a long, beautiful coat that can be styled in many fashions. They're one of the cutest dogs alive, which is why they often get adopted.
These dogs usually have low energy levels and a low desire to bark. This makes them great for apartments. These little pups are also very good with kids and other pets as well, which is very unlike most Teacup dog breeds on this list.
Honorable Mentions – The “Mini” Breeds
The below Mini dog breeds are often listed alongside Teacup dogs, but they aren't real Teacups according to the AKC's classification. Yet, they're also smaller than Toy breeds.
1. Miniature Dachshund
Miniature Dachshunds are small pups that are bold and brave despite their small stature. They have lots of energy and love to play, and when fed appropriate Dachshund dog food are very healthy. However, this breed doesn’t usually do well around kids or other pets.
Miniature Dachshunds are shy dogs and make excellent watch dogs. Because of their long backs, they should not live where they will have to do a lot stair climbing, and are generally susceptible to many illnesses.
2. Teacup Beagle
The Teacup Beagle breed is great with kids and other pets. As a close relative to standard Beagles – one of the best hunting dogs – Teacup Beagles still have hunting instincts and will need to be trained not to bark and not to chase other furry animals. Pups from this breed are active and playful.
All Beagles in general need lots of attention or they can become destructive. Although these small stubborn dogs are hard to train at times, they remain one of the most popular teacup dog breeds due to their winning personality, cute looks and positive demeanor. If exercised and fed proper Beagle dog food, they can also live a long time.
3. Teacup Boston Terrier
With short hair and low shedding, the Teacup Boston Terrier is one of the lowest maintenance breeds there is and even Boston Terrier dog food costs less. The larger versions can tolerate temperature changes well, but the smaller ones will need a steady, mild climate.
Teacup Boston Terriers are sturdy little dogs and like to play a lot. They do well in houses with kids and other pets. However, remember that as one of the teacup dog breeds they are more fragile than traditional small breeds, and even though they look sturdy, they can actually be harmed without trying too hard.
4. Miniature Labrador
Not many people are aware of the Miniature Labrador because they're larger than standard miniature breeds. Labs are hunting dogs that are very rowdy and rambunctious. Since this “mini” breed is still pretty big, they are not as fragile. Miniature Labradors are easy to train, too.
Just like their close relative, the standard Labrador Retriever, this lovable breed is a favorite with the outdoors family. These dogs tolerate hot and cold weather well and need lots of exercise. Technically, they are not made for apartment living, but you'll see many dog owners adopting them anyway.
5. Miniature Schnauzer
This isn’t a needy breed. Miniature Schnauzers tolerate being alone very well. They also tolerate hot and cold weather better than most other miniature dog breeds on this list. These are good dogs for busy owners.
However, their independence leads to them being one of the most stubborn dogs. This means they need a strong and experienced dog trainer. Miniature Schnauzers also have lots of energy and will need walks and complex dog toys to keep them from being destructive. Just like most other Miniature dog breeds and small dogs in general, they have a longer lifespan.
6. Teacup Brussels Griffon
Teacup Brussels Griffon is a well-rounded, and easy to train dog which could be perfect for most dog owners. They get along well with kids and other dogs. Teacup Brussels are a clever, happy breed in general.
All teacup dog breeds should be supervised almost constantly, but this is one of the needier breeds. They don’t like being left alone at all. If left alone, it will lead to problem behaviors like whining and chewing.
7. Teacup Pekingese
Known as “the princess” dog small dog breeds, Teacup Pekingese live up to that stereotype in a way. The best thing about this breed is that they are not known to be destructive, but Teacup Pekingese do not like sharing the house with kids or other animals.
They eat very little, and require very little exercise. This makes them great for apartment living. These little fur-babies are known to be a little aloof and stubborn and will need an experienced trainer, as well as an owner who can give them enough attention.
RELATED: 30 Breeds That Are Good House Dogs
8. Teacup Fox Terrier
The Teacup Fox Terrier has a calmer personality than the standard variation of the breed, especially when it comes to Teacup dog breeds. These little dynamites are active and agile, and they need a lot of exercise on a regular basis.
This breed is like all of the best teacup dog breeds on the list – they can easily get severe injuries and are very fragile. Foxies are lovable with adults, but they don’t like kids and other pets, and prefer to be the only dog in the house.
9. Miniature Collie
Arguably one of the most beautiful Teacup dog breeds, Miniature Collies are social, intelligent dogs that are easy to train. They are agile and athletic, making them perfect for the active family. These dogs are lovable and will do fine with kids and other pets.
Miniature Collies do have long coats that shed, so make sure you are up to the maintenance. They need regular brushing and trims to keep out mats and tangles. Miniature Collies do not bark excessively and are not destructive, and they're also known as one of the most expensive dog breeds to adopt and care for.