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Miniature / Teacups

 About Teacup Yorkies

Teacups, Miniatures and Toy Yorkshire Terriers

The AKC standard for the Yorkshire Terrier used to state that the adult dog should weigh between 4 and 7 pounds (1.81 to 3.17 kg)

Now, there is not a minimum size, as the official weight standard is simply 'not exceed 7 pounds (3.17 kg)'

Before this change, breeders could produce a 2 pound puppy and it would cause quite a stir. Suddenly, the pup would be declared a 'teacup' and often would be sold for a higher price. Sadly, this was at the expense of the dog's health.

Perhaps in an effort to dissuade breeders from trying to produce ultra tiny dogs, there is now no minimum weight; but this does not mean that a Yorkshire Terrier should be smaller than expected and what is considered healthy.
teacup Yorkshire Terrier
An average, healthy sized Yorkie will be between 3 and 7 lbs. (1.36 kg and 3.17 kg). 

So, is an adult dog that is smaller than this a teacup? Information, may at first, seem conflicting. Most dog breeds which are classified in the Toy group such as the Pomeranian, Chihuahua and the Yorkshire Terrier are dogs in which the general public, the media, breeders and others will refer to Teacup varieties of the breed. Meaning, a smaller size than the expected standard.

Tiny teacup Yorkies will generally be only 1 to just under 3 pounds when fully grown. With this being said, this is not an official breed...And it is not a variation of the Yorkshire Terrier. Yet, these smaller than average dogs do exist. 
miniature Yorkie
The Breeding Program

One may wonder that if this is not an official, recognized breed, how can they exist? The answer is that the Yorkshire Terrier, of course, is an accepted and recognized breed. Some breeders purposefully produce litters of puppies with the goal being that they will be smaller than the standard. Falling below the standardized size still allows the pup to be classified and registered as a purebred. With this said, there are health concerns and we will discus this ahead.

These tiny dogs are produced by a person selecting undersized dogs, both dam and sire, for mating. Genes are not only passed down from parents. With canines, traits and characteristics are generally passed down from 5 generations back, on both sides (dam and sire). Therefore, not only are 2 dogs chosen that fall under the normal size....but bloodlines are checked to see if there are smaller than average sizes in past generations as well.

In most cases, a larger female will be paired with a male....therefore, a pairing may be of a 3 or 4 pound female with a 2 pound male. There is no guarantee as to the size of the newborns in the litter, however with genetics checked, this will most likely result smaller than standard pups.
Therefore, when breeding for this specifically, one would be able to build up a program of only tiny dogs. This is highly unethical as it can result in serious medical issues. Bone density is thin, the immune system is often not fully developed and issues in the hip and knee joints are common. 
The Use of the Term

How does one find information? By searching the web, of course. The words entered into the search box bring the desired results. For this reason, many breeders of standard size Yorkshire Terriers will put the words: toy, mini and so on, onto their that they will be found by potential buyers. Then, if one reads through, they may find that the pups are actually of healthy weight and size. One must remember that 4-7 pounds is very tiny for an adult, fully grown dog.  

There is no set guideline as to what sized dog is termed a Teacup Yorkie. Some may use this for pups that are on the smaller end of the weight standard. One breeder may call a 4 pound (1.81 kg) a teacup...and another will refer to a 2 or 3 pound (.90 or 1.36 kg) dog. 
Health Problems

A standard 3-7 pound will already  be tiny, fragile and in need of specific care such as the use of a harness instead of a collar when walking to avoid collapsed trachea. Therefore, when a puppy is only .5 lbs or an adult only reaches 2.5 pounds, this can equal a dog that has many more health issues than would occur otherwise.

One of the issues is bone structure. Bones will be more fragile. Ligaments and tendons will be tiny and prone to injury. This can lead to a higher occurrence of hip dysplasia (when the hip joint slips out of the socket), luxating patella (slipped kneecap), the above mentioned collapsed trachea....And sprained or broken bones.

Being so tiny and so young, 8 to 16 week olds will be very susceptible to hypoglycemia. While it can happen at any age, they are more vulnerable when young and when smaller than average. 
toy sized Yorkshire Terrier
This is a rapid drop in blood sugar levels that can come on quickly and without treatment, it can be fatal. With teacups, the puppy is even more prone. Owners must keep a very close eye out for symptoms, in most cases there is little time to react. Not only is low weight a factor, but also inadequate nourishment can bring this on. In some cases, stress plays a role... Moving to a new home can be too overwhelming for some.

Yorkshire Teacup Terrier puppies will eat tiny amounts of food....If one feeds manufactured kibble there is even a greater chance of the pup not receiving enough nutrients....Fillers will pass through the body without offering any vitamins, minerals or calories. Signs of this are:
  • Marked drowsiness
  • Trouble walking normally
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Coma - in late stages 
tiny little teacup Yorkie
An owner is strongly encouraged to keep Karo syrup on can be rubbed into the puppy's gums to bring a fast absorption of sugar into the bloodstream....This should be done before bringing him or her to the closest veterinarian or animal hospital.

While there are no official records of proof, there is a general consensus that a Tea Cup Yorkies will have a shorter life span, as heart issues will develop earlier than otherwise expected.


If you already own a tiny Yorkie, you will want to take some steps to best protect him or her and do what you can to avoid possible health issues.
Temperature - Your puppy will most likely be more sensitive to temperature changes. The worst thing that can happen are quick changes from hot to cold. Take care when giving baths, use warm water and have a soft warm towel immediately ready to wrap them in. Put clothes on your Yorkie whenever the weather is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. A thick sweater, vest or hoodie will do. If the ground is cold, place shoes or booties on your tiny Yorkie as cold quickly radiates from the paws up into the body. Take care during hot months - When walking on a sunny day try to stay in the the very least take rests in the shade and offer plenty of water. (It can be helpful to bring a collapsible travel bowl).

Skin sores - Unlike with standard sized pups that have a very rounded appearance, with teacups there will not be a healthy layer of protective fat. This not only affects his or her ability to maintain and keep control of body temperature, but also this means that elbows and other areas of the body can develop sores. Hair can thin out in these areas as well. To help with this, place a soft baby blanket down on the floor on top of carpeting or tiling if he or she sleeps or rests there. Beds should be quality orthopedic foam memory mattress and not a nestling bed. Add an extra blanket for cushioning and warmth. 

Checkups - Do make sure to bring your puppy for regular checkups....Any issues that are caught early have a better prognosis. 
Even More Advice

Owning a Yorkshire Terrier = giving daily, loving care. Owning a teacup Yorkie equals giving even more important care. This section is an overview, as a caring owner needs a huge amount of information to provide proper care. We have created the YorkieInfoCenter eBook, in order to bring to you over 400 pages of much needed information. 
Show VS Pet

You will find that breeders who focus on breeding show quality Yorkies will strive to produce litters that fit the size that the AKC is looking for. Currently, the AKC seems to favor the higher end of the weight scale, 6 or 7 pounds ( 2.72 to 3.17 kg).

Those who are aiming to produce litters of puppies that will be healthy, loving family members for new owners, will generally breed to the size which is most sought after. Currently, there is a trend of people wanting dogs on the smaller end of the breed standard 4 to 5 pounds (1.81 to 2.26 kg) for pets.

Ultimately, a dog will be deemed "Pet quality" or "Show quality" not just because of their weight (one can only estimate the adult size of a puppy); but will be done so by appearance such as coloring, bite, size and set of the ears and more. Even breeders who focus only on "show dogs" will never be able to produce only those fit for the ring and table. The breed standard is very strict and only a few dogs out of thousands will win Championships. There will always be "pet quality" dogs in those litters. If one is looking for a pet and does not have plans to join the "Show World", a pet quality dog is what many are looking for. 
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