This updated guide covers everything you need to know about teacup yorkies.
Tiny dogs have large personalities, and the hugely adorable Teacup Yorkie is no exception!
Due to their small size and wonderful personality, It is no surprise that Teacup Yorkies are among the most popular dog breeds in America. They’re just too adorable!
But with adorability comes responsibility, you need to know how to take care of this breed so that your mini Yorkies live a long, happy, and healthy life.
Teacup Yorkie 101 (Video)
Let’s start with a brief history of the breed…
The Origins of Teacup Yorkie
The first thing you need to know about Teacup Yorkies is that they are actually Yorkshire Terriers but smaller. The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize it as a breed of its own.
While the Yorkshire Terriers have been around since the nineteenth century, Teacup Yorkies made an appearance somewhere around the 1990s. That was the decade that saw many celebrities and supermodels going for the miniature pet trend.
However, miniature Yorkies weren’t exactly rare before that. Some Yorkies are naturally small while others are bred that way. A breeding practice known as ‘Miniaturization’ is why you see the Teacup Yorkies of today.
Miniaturization of Yorkshire Terrier
Before we move on, it is important to note that the Yorkies aren’t the only one to have a ‘teacup’ variation. Miniaturization is quite common in other toy breeds such as Pomeranians, Chihuahua, and the Maltese. Their compact size makes them hugely popular because their size makes them seem to be in perpetual puppyhood.
However, it is worth noting none of the teacup breeds is officially recognized by AKC despite their popularity.
Now let’s find out just how small a Teacup Yorkie will stay.
Size and Appearance: A Pup in a Cup
Is a Teacup Yorkie small enough to fit a teacup?
Yes, it is actually small enough to fit your palm. Google and you will find heart melting photos of people holding these babies in hand or in a Starbucks cup.
Let’s not forget that the parent breed, Yorkshire Terrier, is a toy breed itself. This means a regular Yorkie will not grow beyond 8 to 9 inches and should ideally weight under 6 to 7 pounds.
Now, since Teacup Yorkie isn’t a recognized breed, there is no official size specification. Any Yorkie that is supposed to stay smaller than a regular Yorkie is a Teacup Yorkie.
If we really get down to the numbers, your terrier is a teacup if it doesn’t grow beyond 6 inches and weighs under 4 pounds. They are probably never going to grow bigger than a can of soda.
That said, it is worth noting that many breeders will sell a Yorkshire terrier pup as a Teacup Terrier. You may realize it only after it grows beyond the teacup size. That is why it is highly important to find a good breeder. We will cover tips to find a reliable breeder later in our guide.
As for the rest of the appearance, it is similar to the regular Yorkshire Terriers. Smaller heads, shorter legs, standing V-shaped ears, and a silky coat.
The coat is silky and usually has varying shades of brown, black, grey, and gold. A bit of silver and blue isn’t uncommon either. The coat can get too long, and while it looks gorgeous and glamourous, it is best to get it trimmed in summer. More on grooming in a while.
Just like we said: Yorkies but smaller.
Now, let see if they behave like the Yorkies as well.
Personality & Behavior
Speaking of personality, Teacup Yorkies have a lot of it.
Contrary to how they seem like, these mini terriers aren’t just for the show; they make for an amazing companion and may also turn out to be vigilant guard dogs. Teacup Yorkies get a lot from their parent breed. They are playful, lively, and loving. Let’s take a look at a few important aspects of their personality:
Traits to Love
Loving and Demanding
Teacup Yorkies are loving animals and they can become very attached to their human. Their tiny hearts are so full of affection and love that they are highly prone to separation anxiety. Try not to leave them alone for too long. Good thing they are easy to carry around.
Sprightly and Energetic
Since terriers were originally bred to catch rodents and small animals, these little babies won’t shy away from a chase. The sight of any other smaller animal will trigger their hunting instincts. However, they aren’t generally aggressive or hyperactive.
Friendly and Playful
A mini Yorkie takes a little bit of time to open up but once it is familiar with certain faces, it is extremely friendly. They love to play with their owner and any other person they are familiar with. However, it is a delicate breed that is not suitable in a home with kids or any other aggressive pet.
Overall, they are smart, friendly, and obedient. While generally well behaved, Teacup Yorkies do have a few quirks:
Too Picky about Food
Yes, Teacup Yorkies can be picky eaters. Most owners agree that their little Yorkies prefer tasty food over nutritious, wholesome food. Too many treats might add to the problem. Switching to a different food for any legit reason is also quite difficult. Not to mention, you might catch your Yorkie eating things that may upset their tummy – grass, for instance.
No Love for the Leash
Your little yorkie loves to be able to move freely. It is a little tough to get them to walk on a leash. They won’t necessarily walk where you want them to go and will show resistance and stubbornness. This can be a hazard for their delicate frame.
Instead of a leash, find a soft comfortable harness that won’t make them feel bound or restrained.
Lots of Licking
As a highly affectionate breed, Teacup Yorkies can take licking to the next level. Honestly, it’s a quirk most pet owners don’t mind.
Barking and Noise
Teacup Yorkies make adorable sounds and even their bark isn’t that loud. The problem is that they may be just as big a fan of their voice as you are.
Though not too loud or annoying, barking is quite a common behavior in Teacup Yorkies. This may be the only trait that can loosely be categorized as ‘bad behavior’ in these mini muffins, but it is nothing that can’t be tackled.
One of the best things about these tiny terriers is their trainability. You can control barking or any other bad behavior with proper training. That is what takes us to our next section.
Training a Teacup Terrier
Teacup Yorkies are highly affectionate and smart. They take to training willingly and are generally fond of learning and interaction.
The earlier you start training your terrier, the faster they will learn. However, don’t pressure them when you first bring them home. In fact, it is good to give them a little time to explore the new place one room at a time.
Training should be the responsibility of just one person as too many people trying to command these mini floofs may be confusing for them.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Yes, your little Yorkie are pleasers. They work hard to get owner’s approval and praises. Therefore, positive reinforcement might work better on Yorkies than it does on many other dogs. Punishment is not a good idea. These are small dogs with delicate hearts. Your anger or stern behavior might make them sad.
Shower them with praise and give them healthy treats and you would be surprised by how quickly they will learn. Punishing your little furball might actually be counterproductive as it can result in bad behavior and disobedience.
Slow and Steady Socialization
Socializing your little doggo should be a part of Teacup Yorkie’s training. Otherwise, they can become wary of new people, places and animals, and that might make them act a little aggressive.
Aggression is not the only sign. Without proper socialization training, your Yorkie might act a shy, afraid or nervous. Here are the behavioral cues to look for:
- Hiding, cowering, or trying to stay too close to you
- Trying to run away from every new thing or person around them
- Shaking, trembling, or growling as if scared
- Excessive barking and threatening other animals or people
Try not introduce them to new places, people, and animals all of a sudden. Let them familiarize themselves with one new animal or person at a time. Also, make sure they aren’t left unsupervised around young kids or animals that may attack them. They are too delicate even for a rough play with other animals.
An important part of socialization training for Teacup Yorkies is familiarizing them with different places. This should include introducing them to different types of elements from both outdoor and indoor environment:
- Surfaces such as grass, sand, carpet, hardwood, and concrete
- Noise such as that of home appliances car engine, horns, and birds
Most pet owners find potty training small dogs tougher than training large dogs. Again, start early to get your puppy trained faster. The best time to start is around 8 weeks, and your pup will be potty trained by the time its 3 months.
Here are a few more tips that can help train your pups faster:
- Designate one area for their bowel and bladder relief. You can putt a litter box in that area, but we recommend starting with a paper.
- Shift your pup to that designated area after 15 minutes of their meal. Not every pup will need to pee or poop in 15 minutes. Be patient and see if your baby takes longer. Adjust your next trip accordingly.
- While waiting for your pup to relieve itself after the meal, observe their behavior, especially how they act right before the act. This will familiarize you with the signs so that you can take your baby to the litter whenever they need to go. Also, you won’t have to wake up for answer false alarms in the middle of the night.
The best tools you can use for training your teacup are patience, and flexibility.
Though mini Yorkies are quick learners and will respond positively, they may easily get overwhelmed. Don’t be too harsh on them. Treat them with love and patience, and the reward will be huge.
Remember that dogs are individuals, just like we are. While some personality traits are common among a breed, each dog does have an individual personality as well.
Some Yorkies may be social and outgoing while others would prefer staying home with just you and their toys. Do not force your little ones to go against their nature. Cherish their individuality.
Caring for Your Teacup Yorkie
When you bring home a pup as small as a teacup, be prepared to pamper it all the time. While it may not be temperamental, it is not a low-maintenance dog at all.
Whether it’s about choosing the right diet or picking the perfect grooming product, Teacup Yorkies need a lot of attention and care. In fact, that is where these tiny Yorkies are different from Toy Yorkies.
In this section, we will try to cover every bit of three main aspects of caring for Teacup Yorkies: diet, exercise, and grooming.
Dietary requirements for dogs change with their size. Smaller dogs need to eat more frequently than larger dogs because they can only eat tiny portions at a time.
For your little teacup, 5 to 6 meals a day is recommended. Frequent meals, no more than 3 hours apart, are important for prevention of hypoglycemia – a problem toy and teacup breeds aresusceptible to.
This means, you might have to wake up in the middle of the night to make sure your baby is well fed. This is especially important for puppies as they are much smaller and weaker.
Here is breakdown of how you should adjust their meals according to their age:
1 to 3 months: For the first three months, let your little Yorkie eat whenever they want. Yes, it is a good idea to refill their bowl just a few minutes after their meal. Both you and the babies may be unaware of their need at this point, so it’s best to let their hunger dictate their schedule.
3 to 12 months: Now this is when you can start scheduling their meals. Starts with 6 meals a day as we discussed above. This schedule will also help you potty train your pup.
Once past this age, you can tweak the schedule a bit to skip nighttime meals without comprising daily calories. Let’s see how you can count the calories for you Teacup Yorkie.
Calories and Nutrition
At three months of age, their caloric requirements are around 40 calories per pound of weight. If you have dog food for a toy or micro breed, one cup of that dog food would generally amount to how much your dog needs per day.
As for the rest of the nutrients, your tiny one needs protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, carbs aren’t good for the tiny teacups because they might cause tummy troubles.
Similarly, you should strictly avoid dog food that has a lot of fillers, artificial flavor, preservatives, or additives of any sort. These ingredients are also bad for their sensitive stomach and are generally found in low quality dog foods that lack essential nutrients.
Go for a dog food that not only has meat as the main protein source but also contains healthy greens that are full of antioxidants and healthy compound such as DHA, EPA. Such compounds are essential for healthy skin, bone, teeth, and immune system.
In short, a wholesome balanced diet is needed for the overall wellbeing of your baby. It will keep your little Yorkie healthy, happy, and active.
Speaking of active dogs, let’s move on to how much activity and exercise your Teacup Yorkie needs.
Exercise and Activities for Teacup Yorkies
Teacup Yorkies are energetic little furballs. They are almost always running and jumping around.
Another interesting fact is that their entire exercise routine can take place inside your house. The don’t require frequent romps in the park. The outdoors isn’t a safe environment for an unsupervised Yorkie. Some supervised playtime and a bit of indoor running is usually sufficient for them.
Twenty minutes of light exercise is enough for a Teacup Yorkie.
Their frame is delicate so anything strenuous can be dangerous for them. So, you will also have to make sure they aren’t jumping around too much. Even a small jump from the couch might cause an injury to their fragile frame. If you have another pet, make sure they do not indulge in any kind of rough play.
Teacup Yorkie, like most toy and teacup breeds, is a designer breed.
This means their grooming and pampering needs are different from other dogs. In simpler words, it won’t be wrong to say that they are high maintenance pooches.
A cute little fact is that teacups love to be groomed. The more the better, but grooming at least once a month is required.
Since they have long silky coat, the grooming sessions usually revolve around their cleaning, detangling, and brushing the coat. Regular trims are important for prevention of matts and knots.
You should also get their nails clipped every month.
For long-haired dogs, regular bath are also important. Use a gentle shampoo that is suitable for long-hair coat.
You can bath your baby between grooming sessions. However, frequent baths are not good for young pups as they might catch a cold.
That said, let’s move on to other health concerns you should be aware of before you bring your little Yorkie home.
When it comes to dog’s health, size does matter to an extent. Toy and teacup breeds are fragile in every sense of the world. They are susceptible to lots of health issues. Teacup Yorkies are no exception. Some of the common health issues in this breed are as follows:
We have talked about this in our diet section. Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar levels, which generally happens due to lack of proper meal on time. One skipped meal is enough to cause Hypoglycemia in your Teacup Yorkie, and it can trigger vomiting and seizures.
Teacup Yorkies can develop heart diseases, and it is one of the most common cause of death in this breed. Take care of two things to prevent this issue: socialize them well to prevent stress and fear, choose food with heart-healthy nutrients like taurine and carnitine.
Teacup Yorkies are also susceptible to a collapsed trachea which may cause breathing issues and chronic coughing. It basically just means that they are born with a narrower trachea.
Due to their delicate frame and weaker bones, Teacup Yorkies may also develop this disease, in which the femur bone weakens and results in hip joint degeneration. This disease causes mobility issues in teacups.
Several hereditary diseases that are commonly observed in Teacup Yorkies. These include Portosystemic shunt and progressive retinal atrophy. It is important to note that most of these genetic disease propagate due to bad breeding practices. This brings us to our final topic.
And Here’s the Tea!
Due to their popularity and high demand, teacup breeds have fallen victim to unethical breeding practices of backyard breeders.
While miniaturizing isn’t itself a harmful practice, it has attracted a lot of controversies. Bad breeders, in an attempt to get the tiniest dog, will pick the tiniest parents who often tend to be the weakest of the litter. The result is too many unhealthy little puppies who may never enjoy the best life due to poor health.
That said, there are many ethical breeders who would only breed Yorkies that are naturally shorter in order to get healthy micro Yorkies.
If you want a perfectly healthy Teacup Yorkie, make sure you get pups that have spent around 9 to 12 weeks with their mother. Ask the breeder for a health certificate of both the parents and of the pup you are about to take home.
To sum it up, Teacup Yorkies are absolutely adorable but like all designer breeds, demand a lot of care and attention. They are delicate and sensitive, so you will have to be extra careful about everything from their diet to grooming.
But if you think you are ready for that commitment, you will have a wonderful companion by your side.Just make sure you get your baby Yorkie from a reliable and ethical breeder.
Are Teacup Yorkies hypoallergenic?
Yes, despite their lovely locks, Teacup Yorkies are hypoallergenic dogs. They do not shed too much and are great for people suffering from allergies.
How long do Teacup Yorkies live?
A Teacup Yorkie born of healthy parents can live a happy healthy life for up to 15 years. However, these are delicate dogs and how you care for them can greatly affect their life span.
What is the price of a Teacup Yorkie puppy?
Due to a higher demand for tinier puppies, Teacup Yorkies cost more than Yorkshire Terriers. One teacup pup from a reliable breeder may cost between $1,200 and $2,000.
Are Teacup Yorkies good family dogs?
No, Teacup Yorkies are not recommended for homes with kids or other animals. While they do not pose any threat to your child, the child or another can definite harm these delicate dogs.