Yorkshire terriers are one of the smallest breeds around, with an average weight of 5 to 7 pounds and an average height of 6 to 7 inches. Although these tiny but brave terriers range in size, there is no technical breed difference between a toy Yorkie and a teacup Yorkie.
Yorkie Breed Information
Yorkshire terriers, affectionately known as "Yorkies," are classified as a toy breed by the American Kennel Club, and the breed standard is no more than 7 pounds. Although small, they exhibit typical terrier traits like bravery, determination, protectiveness and hunting skills. They thrive on regular interaction with their human families and do well with moderate exercise such as daily walks. Named after Yorkshire, their English city of origin, their history includes hunting down rats.
The breed is one of the smallest around, whether or not they're referred to as a toy, teacup or any other nickname. Yorkies who weigh more than the average may be overweight or have other health problems that cause them to retain weight. Underweight Yorkies may be selectively bred, malnourished or have other health concerns that make them smaller than average.
Teacup: Different Breed or Just a Tiny Yorkie?
There is no breed-specific difference between a teacup Yorkie and a toy Yorkie. Although some Yorkie fans may give these little guys aliases like teacup, toy or micro, there is no breed distinction -- a teacup Yorkie is simply a label given to a small Yorkie. These Yorkies may be underweight due to selective breeding or health issues, or they may just be the smallest of their litter. Dogs this tiny are fragile and need special care to ensure they don't get hurt.
Concerns with Tiny Yorkies
Smaller-than-average Yorkies are prone to broken bones from falls, jumping off high furniture or rough play from children. Therefore, they're better suited in homes with older, responsible children and regular monitoring to prevent jumps and falls. Abnormally small Yorkies may also be more prone to common Yorkie health problems. These include sensitive digestive systems, poor tolerance to anesthesia and risk of knee injuries. Abnormal skull shape has also been seen in small Yorkies.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.