10 Teacup Dog Breeds for Tiny Canine Lovers

Adorable white Pomeranian puppy spitz
Dmytro Synelnychenko / Getty Images

Teacup dogs are extremely popular pets because these micro dogs look like puppies forever. It's no wonder they can fetch thousands of dollars apiece. In general, teacups are markedly smaller than their breed standard and are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Ethics come into question with these dogs since, in most cases, these dogs are the runts or weakest of their litter, and then, they are usually bred with other smaller or weaker dogs.

Tip

Teacup dogs are a hot commodity. Unscrupulous breeders know these dogs can fetch top dollar. Unethical breeders may mate runts or closely related animals or deliberately stunt a puppy’s growth through starvation. Find a reputable breeder and a good vet if you plan on getting a teacup dog.

Breed Characteristics

As the smallest dogs of their litter, teacup dogs often have health issues. Some were rejected by their mothers, and for some reason, they did not get as much nutrition while in the womb and after birth. At full size, some may only weigh 2 to 5 pounds. At such a small size, these dogs can have several health issues, including problems with skeletal and immune systems. These dogs are fragile and can easily die from a fall or are hard to see and easy to crush or step on. Also, for some breeds, their life expectancy is considerably shorter—some only live about half as long as the larger-sized variety.

Children need supervision around teacup breeds, which are prone to broken bones. Also, these little dogs need protection from predatory animals like owls and other birds of prey. These breeds may also have problems with housetraining since they have very small bladders and bowels. They will need many small meals per day to prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and frequent outdoor bathroom breaks—instead of only twice a day.

Here are 10 breeds that have teacup varieties.

  • 01 of 10

    Pomeranian

    A teacup Pomeranian smiling while sitting on grass

    @mochi_mini / Instagram

    Although today's Pomeranians have a reputation as lapdogs, they were originally bred to herd animals and pull sleds. Earlier versions of the Pomeranian breed weighed around 30 pounds. In the 1800s, they were bred to be smaller to be kept as companions rather than working dogs. Since then, they've only gotten smaller. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 7 inches

    Weight: Under 7 pounds

    Coat and Color: Fluffy double coat; colors include black, chocolate, orange, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 years (teacup); up to 16 years (toy)

  • 02 of 10

    Poodle

    A teacup poodle looking into the camera

    @chillchili / Instagram

    Known for their intelligence, athleticism, and sociability, poodles make amazing family dogs. Teacup poodles usually weigh about 4 pounds, while their standard-sized counterparts weigh 45 to 70 pounds. One convenient trait of poodles? They're low-shedders. Their curled coats don't drop much hair, which is great news for your allergies and your vacuum cleaner. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 10 inches

    Weight: Under 6 pounds

    Coat and Color: Curly, dense coat; colors include white, apricot, black, and more

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 15 years

  • 03 of 10

    Beagle

    Beagle puppy sitting in grass

    Petr Mašlaň / Getty Images

    What they lack in size, teacup beagles make up for in friendliness and energy. Most of these beagles only weigh around 15 pounds, which is relatively large for a teacup dog. They can be stubborn when it comes to obedience. But they respond well when you make training fun with treats and games.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: Under 15 inches

    Weight: Under 20 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coat; colors include black and tan, brown and white, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 04 of 10

    Maltese

    Maltese waving paw

    @cocothemaltesedog / Instagram

    Not only is the Maltese one of the world's oldest breeds—originating almost 3,000 years ago—but it also was considered royalty back in the day. The teacup variety generally weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. Because of their small size and low energy, these dogs are a good fit for people who want a cuddle buddy.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 7 inches

    Weight: Under 7 pounds

    Coat and Color: Dark, alert eyes; silky, single-layer, white coat

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years



    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Pomsky

    Pomsky on a sofa

    Sebastian Thiebaud / Getty Images

    As its name suggests, the Pomsky is the cross between a Siberian husky with a Pomeranian. Pomskies tend to vary in size depending on how much of each breed they have in them. This mix tends to have a high energy level, so be prepared for lots of walks and play.  

    Breed Overview

    Group: Not an AKC-recognized breed

    Height: Up to 10 inches (toy)

    Weight: Up to 9 pounds (toy)

    Coat and Color: Fluffy, double coat; colors include white, silver, black, and more

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

  • 06 of 10

    Yorkshire Terrier

    A teacup Yorkshire terrier sitting on a bed

    @stuntman.mikey / Instagram

    Yorkshire terriers were already popular dogs at their standard small size, so the teacup variety is a popular hit, too. These tiny dogs can weigh just 2 to 3 pounds, but they still have big-dog personalities. Yorkies tend to be vocal, protective, and confident. They're also very loyal and loving to their families.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 7 inches

    Weight: Under 7 pounds

    Coat and Color: Silky coat; colors include black and tan, blue and tan, and more

    Life Expectancy: 7 to 9 years (teacup); 13 to 16 years (toy)

  • 07 of 10

    Bichon Frise

    bichon frise

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Bichon frise roughly translates to "curly lapdog" in French. And teacup bichons definitely live up to their name. They were bred to be loving companions that some people refer to as living stuffed animals. But while bichons are quite snuggly, they do have moderate exercise needs and love to play.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: Under 10 inches

    Weight: Under 12 pounds

    Coat and Color: Dark, alert eyes; soft, dense coat; colors include white, white and apricot, and white and cream

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10

    Chihuahua

    tiny chihuahua outdoors

    Alona Rjabceva / Getty Images

    Between starring in fast food commercials and being toted around in celebrities' purses, teacup Chihuahuas have had their share of fame. But it's not all glamour for these tiny dogs. Chihuahuas need proper training and socialization, or they can become fearful and defensive around strangers. They also need regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 5 inches

    Weight: Under 6 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth or long coat; colors include black, tan, and more

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Pug

    Mini pug high-fiving person

    zhao hui / Getty Images

    Teacup pugs can be great apartment dogs. Their small stature (weighing around 3 to 7 pounds), chill demeanor, and low exercise needs make them ideal for small living spaces. Some pugs can be stubborn, but they tend to respond well to training, especially if treats are involved as a reward.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 10 inches

    Weight: Under 14 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat; colors include black and fawn

    Life Expectancy: 6 to 10 years (teacup); 13 to 15 years (toy)

  • 10 of 10

    Shih Tzu

    shih tzu puppy

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Teacup shih tzus are generally regarded as divas of the dog world. But these canines are also incredibly athletic. Underneath their long, silky hair, shih tzus have quite muscular bodies and were built for agility courses. But don't overwork them, as their flat faces make them prone to breathing issues and overheating.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: Under 9 inches

    Weight: Under 9 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, flowing coat; colors include black, blue, gold, silver, and more

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 16 years

Breeds to Avoid

Most vets and responsible breeders would tell you to avoid teacup breeds altogether. It's great if a teacup pup is lucky enough to make it to adolescence, but that does not mean the dog is out of the woods. Several breeds like teacup Yorkies, pugs, and Pomeranians have markedly shorter lifespans than their larger-sized counterparts. If you want to get a smaller dog, look at toy breeds and get a dog at the lower end of the acceptable height and weight levels. The higher risk of heartache from a premature puppy death is avoidable by steering clear of teacup breeds.