Owning one of the smallest dogs around may appear like an appealing idea, but extra small dogs may lead to extra big troubles. A plethora of health problems and other drawbacks are possible with this type of dog. While extremely cute, a teacup Yorkie ultimately may not be everyone's "cup of tea."
If you believe a teacup Yorkie is a specific type of breed, think again. Teacup Yorkies simply are unusually small specimens of Yorkshire terriers. If you plan to show your teacup Yorkie in any American Kennel Club organized events, understand that you will not be able to do so because this dog's size does not adhere to the breed standard. Despite the fact that teacup Yorkies derive from purebred parents, they are not recognized officially by the American Kennel Club. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, on the other hand, precludes the use of the term "teacup" by its members for ethical reasons.
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While the Yorkshire terrier standard calls for a small dog weighing between 4 and 7 pounds, teacup Yorkies obviously weigh significantly less. Expect a teacup Yorkie to weigh anywhere between 2 and 4 pounds. At this size, puppies literally may fit into a "teacup," but will outgrow it as they age. As much as a teacup puppy may steal your heart and soul because of their tiny appearance, keep in mind that the saying "the best things come in small packages" doesn't always hold true.
The biggest drawback of owning a teacup Yorkie is the potential for health problems. Birth defects, anesthesia complications, teething problems and hypoglycemia are just a few of the many problems your teacup Yorkie may encounter. While your beloved pooch may fill up your heart and home quickly with loads of love, he also may empty your wallet and wipe out your savings quickly, courtesy of some hefty vet bills.
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You literally need to watch your step if you decide to open your heart and home to a teacup Yorkie. Tripping over and stepping on such a tiny dog may cause serious injuries and even death. This type of dog also may become injured easily by falling off of furniture or being attacked by larger dogs that would like to eat your pooch for breakfast. Being so tiny, these dogs also may be injured easily by children. Make it a good habit to look behind you when you are about to sit down; your teacup may be squashed easily!
Due to their small size, teacup puppies are unable to store fat in the same way as a larger dog and they also are prone to low levels of glucose in their blood. This translates into stricter feeding schedules. Depending on individual needs, expect to feed your teacup puppy every two to four hours, explains Krista Cantrell, in the book "Tao of Puppies: How to Raise a Good Dog Without Really Trying."
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Equipped with a tiny, pea-sized bladder, your teacup Yorkie may leave tiny drops of urine in your home that often go undetected. A small bladder also will translate into more trips outdoors; something to keep into consideration during those freezing winter months. Some teacup Yorkies also may be prone to bladder and bowel control problems when they are fully mature despite being potty trained, explains Sharda Baker, an author and breeder of Yorkshire terriers.
Because teacup Yorkies are just smaller versions of regularly sized Yorkshire terrier, breeders should not be asking higher prices for them. Actually, since this breed is not up to the breed standard, teacup puppies should cost considerably less. Because responsible breeders do not breed purposely for the "teacup" trait, you also maywant to steer clear of any breeders who purposely breed teacups, and sell them without a health guarantee and spay and neuter contract.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.