The teacup dog used to reserved for the Hollywood elite, but in recent years these fashionable little designer dogs have exploded in popularity with pet parents the world over keen to get their hands on one of these pint-sized cuties.
Their small stature makes them some of the best dogs for apartment living and they also tend to be super-affectionate, making them ideal for anyone who wants a snuggly and cuddly companion.
Owning a teacup dog has a host of benefits because their small size means you can take them pretty much anywhere and the fact that they don't eat anywhere near as much as their larger canine brothers and sisters will allow you to splurge on high quality dog food without it breaking the bank.
But being the pet parent of a teacup dog isn't without it's challenges, so before we give you our roundup of the cutest teacup dog breeds, let's take a closer look at what you need to be aware of before you welcome one of these sweet bundles of fluff into your family.
What is a teacup dog?
A teacup dog is one that's been specially bred to be so tiny you could fit it in a, yip, you guessed it...teacup! These designer dogs take already popular breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, and shrink them down to make them pocket sized pets.
While there's no denying that they look absolutely adorable, these breeds are at greater risk of a variety of health issues, so it's worth doing some thorough research before you decide to add one to your family.
To create teacup dogs, breeders pair up the runts of every litter to create the smallest dog possible and because this form of breeding is unnatural, teacup dogs are at a greater risk of the following conditions:
- Heart defects
- Collapsing trachea
- Respiratory problems
- Digestive problems
- Sliding kneecaps
- Dental issues
Their small size means you also need to stay vigilant when your pet is mixing with other animals or humans, especially children, as these are delicate dogs that are easily injured.
Many teacup dog breeds also have trouble regulating their body temperature and can struggle in cold weather, so it's important they're always dressed warmly when being taken outside in the winter.
While there's a lot to consider before choosing to become a pet parent to a teacup dog, they have huge hearts and so much love to give that make them the most joyous companions. Just be sure to do your homework and choose a reputable breeder to ensure you're getting the healthiest dog possible.
PetsRadar's guide to teacup dog breeds
1. Teacup Shih Tzu
A tiny dog with the heart of a lion, the teacup Shih Tzu is cute, undemanding, and loves to cuddle, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking for a constant companion.
Standing at around six inches (17.7cms) tall and weighing in at under seven pounds (3kgs), they’re at least a quarter the size and weight of a standard Shih Tzu, and yet they’re surprisingly robust.
Intelligent little creatures, the teacup Shih Tzu is a joy to train and loves learning new tricks. Although obedient and willing, they do have a stubborn streak if they’re not exposed to training from an early age.
Their short legs mean they won’t be accompanying you on a run or hike any time soon, but they love taking gentle walks and are especially fond of a good game of fetch.
2. Teacup Pomeranian
Active, playful, and sweet-tempered, the teacup Pomeranian usually weighs between three to seven pounds (1.3kgs - 3.1kgs) and can live to up to 15 years.
Highly extroverted, they make great family dogs but their loyalty to their humans can make them feisty, so be prepared for some barking if they come into contact with strangers.
Teacup Poms are incredibly affectionate, so expect them to seek out your lap regularly for cuddles and their extreme levels of intelligence coupled with their fun personalities make them easy to train.
3. Pocket Beagle
With warm eyes that reflect their beautiful personalities and a contagious love of life, the pint-sized version of the standard Beagle tip the scales anywhere between seven and 15 pounds (3.1kgs - 6.8kgs) and will grow to around 12 inches (30cms).
Friendly and affectionate with pretty much everyone they come into contact with, they form tight bonds with their humans and because of that, they can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety.
They still have the hunting gene of their bigger brothers and sisters and they can get into mischief when bored, so early training is key to preventing unwanted howling and chewing of furniture.
These active pups love to run, walk and play, so a couple of 30-minute walks each day is ideal. They’re low maintenance when it comes to grooming, with a good weekly brush being all that’s needed.
4. Teacup Maltipoo
What do you get when a Poodle and a Maltese couple up? The adorable Maltipoo! The teacup version is ideal for first-time pet parents as they’re quick learners which makes them a breeze to train and they’re also incredibly loving and affectionate, so expect plenty of cuddles.
Maltipoo’s love humans and other animals, so taking them out and about won’t be a problem, but bear in mind that because they look like teddy bears people will want to hold them, so they need to be socialized well to ensure they’re comfortable with all the attention and don’t become overwhelmed.
On average these are very small dogs that weigh around five pounds (2.2kg), some can be even smaller depending on how they’ve been bred. They have a hairy coat that’s prone to mats and snarls, so daily brushing is recommended.
5. Teacup Morkie
The Maltese does it again, this time partnering up with the Yorkshire Terrier to create the utterly adorable Morkie, a curious, independent and excitable little bundle of fur that’s highly sociable and full of sass.
Happy-go-lucky but prone to barking, the Morkie loves to play and fetch and although they get on well with other pets and people, their small size (they can be as tiny as 2lbs!) means they can be easily injured, so they do best in homes with older children and other small dogs or cats.
The second most popular designer dog breed in the world, the Morkie can live up to 18 years making them great long-term companions.
6. Teacup Chihuahua
Already the smallest dog breed in the world, the teacup Chihuahua takes being pint-sized to a whole new level. Lovers of the limelight, this breed may be highly social but they’re also loyal and will devote themselves fully to their owner.
Lively and confident, the teacup Chihuahua makes up for their small stature with bags of personality and an incredibly strong-willed nature. They love exercise but they’re sensitive to the cold, so make sure you get them kitted out in a good doggy jacket to keep them warm in the winter.
It’s important to socialize this breed from a very young age to avoid them becoming aggressive. Chihuahua’s don’t like to be poked, pestered or teased and they will use their teeth to defend themselves if they feel threatened, so they’re best suited to households without small children.
The Pomsky is a hybrid of the Pomeranian and the Siberian Husky and the result is one seriously gorgeous little dog! One of the rarer breeds, the Pomsky is outgoing, cheeky and fiercely loyal.
Pomskies inherit a high prey drive from the Siberian Husky, so they have a tendency to want to chase anything and everything regardless of their small size which means you’ll want to train them early on, especially if your family also includes feline furkids.
Spunky and intelligent, the Pomsky is a willful little dog that needs firm boundaries, but they respond beautifully to training and their delightful natures make it well worth the effort.
They have a very long lifespan, living to around 17 years of age and they’re fairly high maintenance on the grooming front, requiring around five good brushes every week to help keep their coat looking healthy.
8. Teacup Poodle
With eyes that could melt butter, the Teacup Poodle has a thick and curly coat that doesn’t shed, meaning they’re another great choice for those with allergies. Extremely loving and happy to shower it on every human being they come into contact with, this little cutie makes for a joyous companion.
They do get bored easily and they don’t do well with being separated from their people, so this is a dog that needs to be where it feels the most content - which is by your side 24/7.
Teacup Poodles don’t require a great deal of exercise, but they love short walks and they especially enjoy bursts of play, so investing in a few of the best dog toys will keep them happy.
While this teeny Poodle can’t get enough of people, they don’t have the same level of patience as standard sized Poodle’s, so they’re not a good choice for homes with young children as their small size can leave them feeling insecure and intimidated.
9. Teacup Maltese
Hugely popular, the teacup Maltese tips the scales at a dainty 4lbs (1.8kgs) but don’t let their small size fool you, this energetic bundle of fluff has a huge heart and an even bigger personality that makes them a ray of sunshine to be around.
Although they get on well with other humans and animals, their small size can lead them to feel nervous, especially around bigger dogs, so you may find they feel more comfortable being held in your arms where they feel safe.
Their coat is hypoallergenic, making them ideal for allergy sufferers, and while they look like they wouldn’t be all that active, the teacup Maltese loves to play, although two short walks each day is enough for them on the exercise front. They are extremely eager-to-please too, so training them will be a piece of cake.
10. Teacup Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin has a silky coat and an almost aristocratic look that makes them appear seriously regal and their graceful, amusing, and loving natures only add to their charm.
They look like they’d be a high-maintenance breed and yet surprisingly, they’re not, requiring only weekly brushing to keep them looking their best. Their energy levels will keep you on your toes though as this is an active little canine that enjoys going for walks and exploring.
A great lapdog and highly adaptable, this breed will thrive in just about any environment and they’re very responsive to their owners making them easy to engage with.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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