The Term “TeaCup” has become so popular.
The moment you say “TeaCup” when referring to the Yorkshire Terrier, everyone is in an uproar. Many breeders will shout “There is no such thing”, or “That’s a slang term”. I also frequently get asked about their health. Let’s break it down.
FAQ About the Teacup Yorkie
Are they healthy?
There are many different kinds of health issues. Some are congenital, which means present at birth and has nothing to do with the parents passing it on. Some are hereditary which means they did inherit the health issue from either one or both of the parents. When shopping for a Yorkie, more of us love those tiny Teacup Yorkies. We also pay more for those tiny ones. Unfortunately, there are many people who decide to start breeding because they think they can make a lot of money, and if their only purpose is to make money, of course, they want to breed the tiny ones because they cost more. This is where the problem begins.
Breeders who only care about money are drawn to breeding TeaCup Yorkies.
Breeders that are breeding only for size, and don’t care about potential health issues coming from the parents. They find two tiny parents, buy them, and breed them, without any thought to evaluating their health. I believe that’s where these tiny babies get the bad rap for being unhealthy.
Genetically tiny, or tiny because of a health issue?
Stunted growth in a puppy can also be a sign of a health issue. As a breeder who breeds really tiny Yorkies – I understand that when I am looking at a specific puppy – I need to understand the genetics behind what I see. I ask myself, does the puppy exhibit any other symptoms of a health issue that would cause the puppy to be small? For example – Hydrocephalus.
Breeders who want tiny and healthy can weed out bad genetics, the same as any size of Yorkie.
The other side of this is that if you can breed a healthy standard size Yorkie, you can breed a healthy smaller TeaCup Yorkie. Puppies don’t have a hereditary heart defect because of the size of their body, They got it from a parent. Congenital defects can happen to any size dog. My vet told me that when you have 1 cell that divides 1 trillion times to make up a 5 oz puppy at birth. Sometimes things go wrong. The cellular copy machine breaks and messes up, causing a deformity. If the deformity is in a major organ, it can be a life-threatening congenital defect, that better breeding could never have fixed.
The smaller the Yorkie the more fragile they are. There is more potential for them to develop hypoglycemia.
So that being said, please understand, the smaller the mammal, the more difficult time they have regulating, body heat, and blood sugars. This means that if you do decide to purchase an extremely tiny TeaCup Yorkie, you will need to be more careful about making sure they eat 3 times a day. Yorkies are very social and they are picky eaters, and they don’t have a lot of fat. That’s a perfect storm for a 5 lb Yorkie to have a hypoglycemic episode, and can be quickly fatal in a 2.5 lb Yorkie. Be prepared to be committed to paying close attention to your puppy.
FAQ About the Teacup Yorkie
2. what does teacup mean?
This is one of those situations where everyone has an opinion and usually will get in a heated discussion. Sometimes people call me and ask if I have any Teacup Yorkies available. Then I ask them, what size are you looking for full-grown. There is no set size for a teacup because it was made up. Some people say less than 5 lbs is a teacup Yorkie. Some breeders say less than 4 lbs is a teacup. And really who is right?
The breed standard for the Yorkshire Terrier is set and written up by the breed club. Every purebred breed with AKC has a breed club, and AKC shows that standard on their website, with a link to the breed club. So the Yorkshire Terrier breed club is the YTCA, also known as the Yorkshire Terrier Club Of America. Here is a link to the standard if you are interested in seeing that. http://www.theyorkshireterrierclubofamerica.org/about-yorkies
The term TeaCup Yorkie is frequently used by breeders as a buzzword for marketing to make more money.
It can be frustrating because some breeders who do have a nice tiny and perfectly healthy little Yorkie, want to be able to express to their clients that this puppy is tiny, and therefore may cost more, or may require someone who has already had the experience of owning a Yorkshire Terrier. I personally will use the term, even though other breeders claim that only a backyard breeder would use that term. I am always honest and tell people right off that everyone has a different opinion about the size of a “TEACUP YORKIE”, and give them my best guess of each individual puppy’s full-grown weight, and of course, the extra caution when buying a tiny Yorkie, that they do require their human constantly. Now that you have some information on both sides of that “fence”, you can make up your own opinion.