Puppies are cute. There is no denying it and small ones are even cuter. There is something about their delicate little bodies, fitting into the palm of your hand, and so reliant on us that pulls on your heartstrings. Perhaps this is part of the reason that so-called teacup dogs appeal to so many. These days they are big business and you can easily drop several thousand dollars just buying one, never mind in vet bills in the ensuing years.
Small dogs are certainly easier for people living in apartments and unable to give a larger dog the exercise it needs. There are many breeds that are naturally ten pounds or less including the Chihuahua, the toy poodle, and the Yorkshire terrier. Is there really a need for a dog smaller than that? Responsible breeders and national breed clubs will tell you that there is no such thing as a “teacup” dog. Animals sold as teacup dogs are really just undersized examples of their breed. Sometimes the occasional individual occurs naturally in a litter that will never reach a normal size but many times unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills are purposefully breeding undersized dogs regardless of the health consequences.
Although undersized dogs, often known as a “runt”, can grow up to be healthy individuals they frequently have health complications that come from being underdeveloped at birth or from generations of breeding undersized dogs. Common health problems in teacups include port-systemic shunts (which can lead to liver failure), collapsing tracheas, respiratory and cardiac issues. Their tiny bones are often much frailer and can easily be broken. They are not suitable to homes with young children and need to be handled with care.
Teacups are also even more susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) than their normal sized brethren. Small dogs are generally more susceptible to serious complications such as dehydration when they get diarrhea or any type of gastric upset. Extra small dogs can easily suffer fatal consequences to something that would set a regular sized puppy back for only a short time. If anything these dogs should cost less than a normal (for the breed) sized individual, not cost more.
While teacups are considered a fashion statement and can be found in the handbags of celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Scarlett Johansson, and Blake Lively, it is important to remember that dogs are living creatures not accessories like a piece of jewelry or a fashionable scarf. They need to be cared for and provided with all the same things as a normal sized dog. In many ways, teacups need even more care as they are much more fragile than bigger animals.
While it is hard to resist those adorable little faces, there is really no need for a dog smaller than two pounds, which is the low end for a normal Chihuahua. Don`t be taken in by people out to make a buck by producing extra-small individuals. It`s as much a marketing ploy as anything else.