Teacup Yorkies are an even smaller version of the already small Yorkshire Terrier. They have all the typical Yorkie features, like their breathtaking, glossy coat and regal attitude, all in under four pounds.
The standard Yorkie is already a tiny toy breed, so you’d wonder why or even how someone would want an even tinier version. Well, some teacups exist naturally as the tiniest in a normal-sized litter, while others are intentionally bred.
Down-sizing a toy breed like the Yorkie comes with a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to health problems. In this article, we review Teacup Yorkies: A Complete Owner’s Guide to give you everything you need to know about their health, maintenance, and temperament.
Teacup Yorkie Highlights
A Teacup Yorkie is a term for an exceptionally small Yorkshire Terrier. These tiny canines are specifically bred to be much smaller than the average Yorkie, usually weighing between 2 to 4 pounds when fully grown. Teacup Yorkies have all the characteristics of their larger counterparts, including their long, silky coat, and perky ears.
Despite their small size, they possess a lively and confident personality, often displaying a playful and affectionate nature. It’s important to note that the Teacup Yorkie label is not an officially recognized breed, but rather a description of their miniature size.
History & Origins of Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies are old-time terriers developed in the 1800s in England in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancaster. They were working dogs long before their popularity as lap dogs among people of class.
It’s believed that weavers from Scotland brought their Terriers as part of the breed’s initial stock. These scotch dogs (dogs from Scotland) were mixed with a Paisley Terrier for the long beautiful coats. Some suggest that Maltese were also added to the breed later on.
The dogs were employed in mines and textiles as ratters to exterminate vermin. Their elegant looks soon saw them on the laps of proper English ladies of Victorian times. They were formally recognized by AKC in 1886 and have remained popular since.
So, How Did a Teacup Yorkie Emerge?
Teacup Yorkshire Terriers are very new dogs, believed to have come about in the US in the 1990s and early 2000s when teacup, mico, or pocket dogs became popular. This is when other teacup varieties of toy dogs, like teacup Pomsky, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Havanese and Min Pins, were created.
Breeding such teacup dogs occurs by either:
- Breeding runts or the smallest dogs in the litter
- Introducing dwarfism
- Crossbreeding with smaller dogs
Breeding runts may pass down health issues since these dogs are typically the least healthy in the litter. Introducing dwarfism also brings about issues like pituitary problems and should be avoided. A study supports this claim by showing links to congenital hypothyroidism disorders and dwarfism genes.
Crossbreeding is also challenging because other breeds are rarely smaller than 7 to 8 inches (typical Yorkie height)
Your best bet at finding a teacup Yorkshire is to find an ethical breeder with a normal-sized dog and select the smallest one. This doesn’t promise the dog will grow smaller than usual, but it’s the most ethical route.
What are the Physical Features of a Yorkshire Terrier?
Teacup Yorkies have the signature show-stopping blue and golden tan coats like typical Yorkies. Their hair can be as tall as they are if allowed to grow out, giving them gorgeous floor-length coats, much like Maltese.
They are a small but sturdy and proportioned dog with a trotting gait that emanates confidence. They have perky pointy ears that fall into the category of v-shaped ears. Their tail sits slightly higher than their glossy, floor-length coats.
They do not shed much. And most Yorkies are tan with a steel-blue (gray) body (saddle). A purebred teacup Yorkshire Terrier is never one solid color. The AKC breed standard allows Yorkies to be:
- Blue and tan,
- Blue and gold,
- Black and tan,
- Black and gold.
However, some Teacup Yorkies come in other colors such as:
- Parti-Colored: Blue, White, and Tan (the rarest variety)
- Chocolate and tan or
How big does a full grown Teacup Yorkie get?
A full-grown teacup Yorkie only stands 5 to 7 inches ( 12 to 17 cm) and weighs a mere 1 to 4 pounds (0.4 to 1.8 kg). They are unbelievably tiny and fragile so always walk them in a safe dog harness to avoid damaging their throats with a collar. Also puppy proof your home as they are very vulnerable to injury.
General Care and Maintenance for a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier
- Hypoallergenic: Yes
- Shedding: Mild
- Exercise: 30 minutes or a romp around the garden
- Temperament: Tenacious, loving, bossy, alert, brave
- Training: Moderately easy to train because they’re smart
Micro Yorkies are lively whose only limitation is their small size. They can tire out with a hearty zoomie or romp in the garden, but a short daily walk is also crucial. Without enough playtime and activity they can be prone to separation anxiety, excessive barking, or even territorial behavior.
The teacup Yorkie needs about 10 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise like a daily walk. It’s best never to neglect a small dog’s physical needs just because they’re small. Remember to use a quality harness to protect their fragile throats and necks from collapse.
Teacup Yorkies do well in small spaces like apartments with their owners. They are very vulnerable to heat and cold and should never live outside.
Teacup varieties need veterinary assistance when creating a meal plan. This is because of the increased risk of liver shunts and bladder stones that require less protein intake (18% max). Your vet will consider all your dog’s health issues and create an elaborate diet plan.
Generally, they do best with a balanced diet with animal protein as the majority and vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They need very little food (⅓ to ½ cup per day) to thrive. Some people even talk about feeding their Teacups raw diets (BARF), although you must talk to your vet first.
Miniature Yorkies must have their food broken down into several portions throughout the day (3 to 4 mealtimes)). The increased feeding frequency is because of their risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) from having such tiny bodies and fast metabolisms.
That striking and silky Yorkie coat needs plenty of work to maintain. Owners who keep their Yorkie’s hair long must brush their coats at least three or four times a week to prevent knots and tangles. The upside is that these coats barely shed, so you can ease on the vacuum. You can trim their coat shorter into a puppy cut or teddy bear cut to make it easier to maintain.
You must brush their teeth at least twice a week to prevent tooth problems like decay since the Teacup Yorkshire Terrier is extremely prone to dental problems. You can alternate with mouthwash every few days for even more oral hygiene. Clippers to trim their nails and wipes for ear cleaning help prevent infection in these areas. They need a bath every month, but some people do it twice a month with a gentle dog shampoo.
Health Issues in Teacup Yorkshires
A standard Yorkie is a robust, long-living dog with minimal health issues. However, introducing teacup varieties poses unique sets of issues, particularly if runts or the dwarfism gene was used in creation.
Teacup breeds have a tendency towards liver shunts, where veins that would usually pass blood to the liver bypass it. They are also notorious for problems with collapsed tracheas, digestive difficulties, and throat defects.
Dr. Karen Tobias, a surgeon at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, studies Yorkies. She found liver shunt problems in Yorkshire Terriers increased more than 11 times in the past 20 years.
They are also prone to orthopedic issues like luxating patella (rotating kneecaps) and hip dysplasia. Additionally, they are at high risk of traumatic injury from mishandling or rough play.
These are the higher health issues your mini Yorkie is susceptible to:
Severe Health Issues
- Traumatic injury from falling or being knocked
- Liver shunts
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Collapsed trachea
- Bladder stones
- Joint problems
- Eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy
Mild to Moderate Health Issues
- Skin issues
- Digestive problems
- Dental problems
Mini Yorkshire Terrier Temperament and Intelligence
Teacup Yorkies pack giant personalities in their mini bodies. They are tenacious, feisty, energetic, intelligent, bold and affectionate dogs who can be bossy when in a mood. They love being the center of attention, fitting to their stunning looks.
Though friendly, they can be a bit wary of strangers until they open up to them. Keep in mind that while these dogs are exceptionally sweet, the Yorkshire Terrier can be aggressive when they feel threatened. They are impressively bold for their diminutive size and will alert you to unusual occurrences. They can get separation anxiety when away from loved ones.
They are intelligent but can display some terrier stubbornness during training. Developing a bond with your teacup mix and using treats will allow training sessions to go smoothly. Early training and socialization improve this miniature dog’s interaction with people and animals.
How are Mini Yorkies Around Children and Other Pets?
Teacup Yorkies are best supervised around young children as they can be aggressive about protecting their space and are known to nip. They should also never be left around children because their tiny frames make them highly fragile.
They were originally hunting dogs and can be a bit aggressive with other dogs too. It’s important not to neglect this dog’s socialization and training just because it is so tiny, if you want a healthy, well-adjusted adult dog.
Suitable Home for Teacup Yorkie
- Allergic households needing a hypoallergenic dog
- Apartment life or people living in smaller spaces
- People that want a lap dog and close companion
- Regular schedules where someone is home most of the times
- A home without young kids
- Sedentary lifestyles
The ideal home for a teacup Yorkie is perhaps a home of empty nesters looking for a new baby, or retirees who home most of the day. This is also a good choice from someone who works from home and does not want a very active dog. Because of their small size, these are not good dogs for homes with small children or bigger animals that may hurt them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is a Teacup Yorkie?
Teacup Yorkie puppies for sale typically go for $1500 to $3000. Finding a reputable breeder is vital because some unscrupulous ones throw around the term “teacup” to trick buyers. Some unethical breeders go to the revolting extent of starving their puppies for the teacup look.
How Long do Teacup Yorkies live?
A properly-bred Yorkshire Terrier will live for 12 to 15 years with good health care and nutrition. However, Teacup Yorkies may have health issues that sometimes shorten their lifespan to 5 to 8 years. Always ask for genetic tests of their parents to ascertain that you’re getting the healthiest pup possible.
Is The Teacup Yorkie Hypoallergenic?
The Teacup Yorkshire is a very low shedder, meaning they will not leave a lot of pet dander in your house. This makes them a good dog for allergy sufferers. However, no dog is completely allergenic, so if you have a pet allergy, spend some time with the dog or puppy first to determine whether you are allergic to it or not.
When does the Teacup Yorkie Stop Growing?
Teacup Yorkies typically reach their full-grown size by the age of 7 to 12 months, although their growth may vary slightly from dog to dog.
Is The Teacup Yorkie Difficult To Potty Train?
As for potty training, it can pose some challenges due to their small bladders. Teacup Yorkies have tinier bladders compared to larger breeds, which means they have a limited capacity to hold urine.
Consequently, they may need more frequent bathroom breaks. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are crucial when potty training any dog, including Teacup Yorkies. Establishing a regular schedule for bathroom breaks, rewarding them for successful elimination, and using appropriate training methods can help in the process. It’s essential to note that each dog is unique, and the time it takes for potty training can vary. Some Teacup Yorkies may grasp the concept quickly, while others may take longer.
Do teacup Yorkies Bark A Lot?
Teacup Yorkies may bark a bit, especially if they develop separation anxiety and you leave. It’s important to help them cope with being alone while they are young so that it does not become an issue when they are older. With adequate physical and mental stimulation, however, excessive barking should not be a problem.
Teacup Yorkies are extremely small dogs but with big personalities. Like other micro mixes like teacup Bichon Frises and teacup Huskies, they have more health issues like liver problems. You must be extremely careful around them because they get injured very easily.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.
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