The Teacup Bichon Frise is a miniature version of the normal Bichon Frise. An adorable ball of fluff with a huge personality, it can weigh four pounds or less when full grown. This miniature Bichon can make an excellent companion; however, some concerns do come with the breed.
A sensitive Velcro dog that will shadow your every move, the Teacup Bichon Frise will wiggle into your heart with its large black eyes, button nose, and silky, cotton-like white fur.
If its tiny physique and soft gaze are already pulling on your heartstrings, and you are considering adding one to your household, read on to make sure it is the right choice for you.
The Origins and History of the Teacup Bichon Frise
The AKC does not recognize the Teacup Bichon Frise, as it is a relatively new trend for specialty breeders to breed to greater physical extremes than its predecessors. As such, there is not much actual history on the Teacup; however, its parent breed, the Bichon, is an ancient dog with a proud lineage.
The Bichon arose from Spain's water dogs, specifically the poodle types, but was bred into a variety of lapdogs by the French.
These can be divided into four separate types: the Bichon Frise, the Havanese, the Maltese, and the Bolognese. Of course, the first of these is the kind miniaturized further to create our adorable teacup variety.
But how do they breed teacup dogs?
There are three main ways of creating a smaller version of an existing breed: breeding runts, crossing with a smaller breed, or introducing the dwarfism gene.
Breeding runts can be problematic, as this sometimes means inbreeding or line-breeding with the smallest puppies of every litter. Often this results in the increased risk of hereditary diseases.
Furthermore, breeding 'down' using only the smallest dogs can take several generations to obtain the breeder's preferred diminutive size.
In some cases, 'dwarf' versions of the breed are used instead to jumpstart the process. Abnormalities in the pituitary gland usually cause dwarfism, and intentionally breeding this defect to create a suddenly smaller dog is controversial to say the least.
The healthiest method of creating a smaller version of the breed is to mix it with smaller dogs. In this case, Teacup Bichon Frise subsets have emerged as so-called 'hybrids' or 'designer dogs.'
Three of the most common of these mixes are:
The Schichon is a cross between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise. They stand between 9 and 12 inches high and weigh between 11 and 15 pounds.
They come in various colors, including silver, cream, black, brown, or white, and any combination of these.
Devoted and attached, the Schichon is a sensitive little dog that needs to be close to its owner and should not be left alone for long periods. While highly intelligent, their Shih Tzu blood may give them a penchant for stubbornness.
This gorgeous mix between the Maltese and the Bichon Frise will melt the hardest of hearts with its round black eyes and silky white hair. A happy-go-lucky little fellow created from two closely related Bichon breeds, the Maltichon is known to be loving, lively, and playful.
They stand at 8 to 11 inches high and weigh a mere 9 to 13 pounds.
Bred for companionship, these dogs are generally intelligent, curious, and extroverted. They love people and are known for being delightful and devoted pets.
The Bichon Poodle mix
Also known as the Poochon, Bichpoo, and Bichon Poo, the Bichon Poodle is a mix between the Poodle and the Bichon Frise. The Poodle parent means these are low shedders and possibly less allergenic than other dogs.
A little larger than the other Teacup Bichon Frise mixes, this pup weighs in at 6 to 17 pounds and stands 9 to 15 inches high.
They usually come in solid colors, the most common of which are apricot, cream, or tan. They can also be a combination of these, or more rarely, black or grey.
Highly social and intelligent, with strikingly adorable good looks, this a fantastic companion dog for many.
What are the physical features of a Teacup Bichon Frise?
Depending on which method was used to create the teacup version of the Bichon Frise, the height, weight, and appearance can vary.
If a dwarf gene was introduced into the line, or the dogs were deliberately bred smaller over successive generations, a teacup may weigh no more than 4 lbs. This is considerably smaller than the original Bichon Frise, which stands at 9.5 to 11 inches and typically weighs between 12 and 18 pounds.
However, the mixed breeds mentioned above are generally only a little smaller than the traditional Bichon Frise; usually no more than 15 pounds in weight and 17 inches high at the most.
Color too depends on how the teacup version was created. In most cases, these dogs have curly white fur and deep dark eyes, with a lively, happy expression.
Where the Bichon Frise is mixed with other breeds, one can see a more significant color variation, ranging from light creams and browns to greys and blacks, with some being bi or even tri-color.
Their curly coats are medium to long, requiring frequent brushing and trimming. They are minimal shedders, and while not completely hypoallergenic dog exists, the Teacup Bichon Frise might be a good choice for those who suffer from dog allergies.
General care of a Teacup Bichon Frise
Because of their size, the Teacup Bichon Frise can be considered a low to medium energy dog with minimal exercise requirements.
The Teacup Bichon is undoubtedly not an outside dog. Bred to be ideal companions, they are most at home on the couch next to their owner, preferably curled up on their lap. Their size allows them to live comfortably in even small apartments.
However, care should be taken to be aware of high furniture or stairs, as falls can easily injure dogs this size. Likewise, bigger dogs or children can also accidentally hurt creatures this small.
Food & Dietary Requirements
As puppies, a teacup Bichon Frise should be fed three to four times a day. After six months, this can be reduced to twice a day.
Please consult your vet about the best diet for such a tiny breed and their specific nutritional requirements. If you choose the popular natural raw diet, make sure to do the complete research to keep your pup's meals balanced.
Grooming a Teacup Bichon Frise is one of the more high maintenance aspects of their care. Their long, curly coats require daily combing and frequent trimming and clipping. Professional groomers may be needed for the classic Bichon Frise hairstyles.
Nails should be cut regularly to avoid cracking or breaking, and the delicate hairs inside the ear canals should be plucked to avoid frequent ear infections.
Finally, a vet should recommend products to keep the teeth in good condition, and the Bichon breeds are known to develop tooth problems, especially later in life.
Fortunately, the Teacup Bichon Frise and other Bichon and Poodle related breeds are usually minimal shedders, further making them ideal as indoor or apartment companions.
Health of the Teacup Bichon Frise
While lively and playful, the Teacup Bichon Frise has minimal exercise needs because of its size. Short walks or visits to the dog park or playtime inside should suffice. This makes them adaptable to apartments and small spaces.
However, it should be remembered that such small breeds have tiny bladders, meaning that housetraining might never be fully achieved.
Severe Health Problems
Mild to Moderate Health problems
Occasional Health Problems
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Bladder infections or stones
Hip and elbow dysplasia
As with many small dogs, the Teacup Bichon Frise may suffer a dislocating kneecap; a condition called patellar luxation. While a dog may cope quite well with this condition for many years, it can strain their cruciate ligaments and later cause arthritis.
The Teacup version may also suffer from additional health concerns due to unhealthy breeding practices such as introducing the dwarf gene, which includes potential skeletal and hormonal abnormalities.
It is also susceptible to the same health concerns that sometimes plague the Bichon breeds. This may include hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing's Disease, an autoimmune condition affecting the pituitary gland.
The Bichon breeds are also susceptible to severe allergies such as atopy, a reaction to pollen, dust, or mold. This may result in itchy and inflamed skin on the belly, between the toes, or other skin folds.
Other problems to look out for include cancer, heart problems, dental issues, bladder infections and stones, and eye problems such as cataracts.
It is best to select your breeder carefully to ensure that the parents are healthy and screened for genetic disorders.
Provided the Teacup is bred using ethical breeding standards, its lifespan should approach that of the Bichon Frise, which is 12 to 15 years.
The Trainability and Temperament of a Teacup Bichon Frise
While the Teacup Bichon Frise's trainability may be altered somewhat if its parents have been bred to a less trainable breed such as the Shih Tzu, in general, they are a medium to high intelligence breed.
Therefore, they are quite easily trained if you have the time and patience to put in the work.
Generally described as happy and gentle little dogs, they are mostly loving and affectionate with people, with a particular affinity for children and their owners.
Although they are sometimes territorial, they generally get on well with other animals. Nevertheless, early socialization and discipline should always be incorporated into their upbringing.
Despite usually being friendly and merry little dogs, the Teacup version's size means that interactions with young children or bigger animals should be supervised. Care should be taken to always protect them from other, potentially aggressive dogs as well.
The best home for Teacup Bichon Frise is a quiet one, where he won't become lost because of his size.
He makes a particularly suitable companion for an older adult as he has minimal exercise requirements and would prefer to live with someone who is home most of the day.
If you don't have the space needed for a larger dog, aren't particularly active, work from home, or are retired, this may be the ideal dog for you.
They can adapt to families, but this dog is generally safer in a smaller household without too many rushing feet and playing children. Special care needs to be taken to avoid injury on account of their size.
What you can expect to pay for a Teacup Bichon Frise
If possible, this breed and its variations should be acquired from a shelter. Pet stores and unscrupulous breeders should be avoided so as not to encourage unethical breeding practices, and reputable specialty breeders should be carefully evaluated before a puppy is purchased.
As this is not an AKC registered breed, prices are hard to pinpoint and vary sharply according to the puppies' particular coat and projected size. Nevertheless, a teacup Bichon Frise is likely to pull a hefty price, with some breeders advertising upwards of $3500 a puppy.
Smaller Mixed Breeds That Are Similar To The Teacup Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise mixes mentioned above are far from the only available options. Other crosses gaining popularity recently as charming and tiny teacup mixed breeds include:
- The Morkie: a Maltese Yorkshire Terrier mix
- Shorkie: a Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier mix.
- Maltipoo: a Maltese Poodle mix
- Chorkie: a Chihuahua Yorkshire Terrier mix
- Pomchi: a Pomeranian Chihuahua mix
- Malchi: a Maltese Chihuahua mix
In short, the Teacup Bichon Frise is an adorable ball of fluff set to melt the hardest of hearts. While some of the breeding practices surrounding these dogs can be considered controversial, there is no doubt that they can make ideal companions.
If you have experience with teacup breeds, drop us a comment and let us know what you think, or share this article with other Teacup Bichon Frise admirers.
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