If a Yorkshire Terrier is just too much dog for you, there’s good news. You can get a smaller version of the breed – one so tiny that it not only can ride in a purse, but could probably get lost in one. The Teacup Yorkie, also known as a Miniature or Toy Yorkshire Terrier, weighs in at four pounds or less, making it one of the most precious and portable pooches around.
Technically, the Teacup Yorkie isn’t an actual breed. It’s just a Yorkie that’s smaller than the breed specification due to chance or (increasingly) breeding. Still, because there’s so much interest in these little dogs, they definitely warrant their own discussion.
Being little doesn’t seem to damage the self-esteem of these dogs. Like other terriers, they don’t seem to realize that they’re smaller than other dogs (or perhaps they do, and compensate for it with an extra-large personality). Like standard Yorkshire Terriers, these micro pups are active and adventurous. They love attention from their owners, but have their own priorities as well – hunting vermin, barking, and generally getting into trouble. In other words, they can be a handful (literally).
Health Problems & Life Expectancy
Sadly, Teacup Yorkies generally don’t live as long as their larger counterparts. They suffer from a lot of the same digestive problems as standard Yorkshires, as well as some of the hazards particular to micro breeds. In particular, they tend to suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and may require special treatment and extra feeding.
Also, these mini pups are so fragile that serious injuries are a real possibility even during normal everyday activities. Anyone who’s ever owned a terrier or other small dog knows how easily they can get underfoot. An accident that might cause a sturdier dog to yelp could easily send a Teacup to the emergency vet.
Teacup Yorkie Poos
The Yorkshire/Poodle cross known as the Yorkie Poo is one of the most sought after designer breeds in the world. It should be no surprise then that there are a lot of people lining up to get themselves a Teacup Yorkie Poo. By being both miniature and hybrid, they tick two very hot trends in dog breeding.
But it’s not just about being trendy. Thanks to the Poodle side of the combo, these little dogs do not shed and therefore are hypoallergenic. Mixing breeds probably results in an overall healthier dog (though if health is your main concern, you should buy a standard-sized dog).
Owning a Miniature Yorkshire Terrier
Teacups are adorable and easy to handle. They’re active by nature and can usually get exercise in even the smallest of apartments. That said, there are some cons to bringing home a Mini Yorkshire puppy.
Kids. Getting a tiny terrier for your young children might seem like a cute idea, but in fact it’s a very very bad one. Like all breakable objects, these fragile pups should be kept away from anyone who isn’t capable of being very careful.
Feeding. Due to these dog’s delicate nature, you may have to take extra care when feeding them. That could include seeking out premium dog food or, if the dog is hypoglycemic, feeding him or her three or more times per day.
Shady Breeders. Teacup Yorkshires have gotten to be a big craze, and that’s attracted the attention of a lot of breeders – some good, some bad. The downside of buying from a bad breeder is not just that you support irresponsible (and possibly inhumane) practices, but possibly winding up with a dog with serious genetic defects.
Still have your heart set on a Teacup puppy? The price of these dogs is typically $150 and up. Before spending money on a puppy, consider adopting a Yorkie. There are many fine Yorkshire Terrier rescue operations around the country. Even if you can’t find the Teacup variety, you may be able to locate a small adult dog that fits the bill.