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Teacup Dog Takeover

By Colleen Williams
published: June 29, 2016 - updated: September 2, 2022 • 3 min. read

Key Takeaways

  • The American Kennel Club does not recognize “teacup” as a standard breed denominator
  • Teacup dogs are between two and five pounds.
  • Pomeranians, chihuahuas, and poodles can be teacup dogs.
  • Teacup dogs often have huge personalities.
  • It is important to be very gentle with teacup dogs.

Let’s be honest—tiny usually means cute. And if it’s a puppy too? Forget it! Teacup pups are what Instagram was made for—and they’re great for dog lovers who can only have a small breed for a variety of reasons (their residence is small, they want to be able to take their dog anywhere, etc.).

Teacup dogs are not actually a ‘breed’ per se, and the AKC does not recognize ‘teacup’ as a standard breed denominator. A canine that weighs 7-14 lbs. as an adult can be classified as a small breed dog, whereas dogs classified as teacup are generally 2-5 lbs. in weight at full adulthood, and under 17 inches in length. Toy breeds actually refer to all dogs under 15 lbs., so this could include teacup as well as smaller breed dogs. For example, there are Chihuahuas that are a toy breed, then a teacup Chihuahua which is an even smaller dog.

Some of the most popular teacup dogs:

Pomeranian - teacup size


Originally, Pomeranians weighed as much as 30 pounds and functioned as working dogs, but over centuries, they’ve been bred much smaller. Their sweet, gregarious personalities go quite well with their puffy look. The teacup-sized Pom can weigh as little as 2 pounds.

Yorkshire terrier - teacup size

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are no slouch. They will take any foe to task, despite their small size. Teacup Yorkshires can weigh as little as 2 pounds.

Teacup chihuahua


Chihuahuas were already tiny to begin with, so a teacup is a pretty fragile puppy. Their personalities are much bigger than their little selves, so you’ve been warned. Teacup Chihuahuas can be as small as 4 pounds.

Teacup poodle


Teacup poodles come in all the breed’s standard fur tones: black, white, apricot, blue, silver, cream, golden. The teacup poodle is 9 inches or smaller, and under 6 pounds in weight. They’re smart, loyal, and very proud.

Teacup maltese


The teacup Maltese weighs in at an average of 3 pounds and is a gentle, sweet dog. The silky, graceful, long white fur is their trademark, and it’s recommended that this lapdog gets some exercise, no matter how tiny he or she may be.

Tiny ≠ Easy

Small, But Mighty: Owners may notice their tiny dog has quite a huge personality; one that can overrun the place if left to their own devices. Without proper discipline, teacup and small breed dogs can develop aggressive behavior and, dare we say, an ‘attitude problem.’ Just because they’re pocket-sized doesn’t mean they don’t need to be socialized properly and trained.

Easy Does It: Owners note that the smaller the pup, the gentler you have to be (and the less you have to feed it). Teacup dogs are sometimes frail as puppies, so it’s best to keep them out of public spaces until their first round of vaccinations. If you take note of their predisposition to health conditions, these fragile little pups can grow up to be strong adults, often living to 12 years. Purchase puppy insurance early, so any accidents related to their diminutive size will be covered.

Know the Source: Buying a dog from an irresponsible breeder leads to health complications and contributes to an industry that is not kind to animals.

With small size comes large medical bills, so getting a pet insurance quote should be the first item on every pet parent’s new puppy checklist. While pet insurance can help cut costs, you must be enrolled before a medical condition is diagnosed in order to receive coverage for it. 

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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