One of the most unethical, and cruelest, trends in the pet industry, is the creation of “teacup” puppies.
For some reason people are not happy with the sizes dogs already come in, and do not want to settle for pets that are normally small anyhow, these folks insist on getting the smallest of all pups, the ones marketed as “teacups”.
No reputable breeder would intentionally breed, or market, “teacup” dogs. They either continue to stunt runts, through poor feeding, or intentionally stunt healthy pups through poor breeding or poor nutrition. To this end some breeders even tell the new owners to feed smaller amounts of food than the pup should have, as a way to keep it petite.
To make matters worse the people who are often looking for “teacup” puppys often want them to be cheap or free. Of course there are usually no such thing as free pets. All pets come with expenses, and it is highly unlikely any one is going to risk loss of a profit and give away, or sell cheap, a pup they can market at a ridiculous price.
People looking for cheap, or free, pets need to look at their financial situation. If a person cannot afford a pet, can they afford on-going care, and emergency care for the pet? Can they afford to get the pet vaccinated, wormed, and spayed or neutered? Chances are these people are only thinking of the here and now, not realizing dogs are lifetime commitments. If they haven’t managed to save up money to purchase a dog it is likely they are not going to manage the care over a long period of time.
Some of the dog breeds occasionally marketed under the gimmicky term of “teacup” include Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Rat Terriers, all dog breeds which are pretty small already. Seeing the word in any advertising, or on a website used to market pups, should be a red flag, a warning sign that the breeder is unethical and will stop at nothing to make money. They are not breeding with the intention of producing quality dogs. The are breeding with the intention of selling a gimmick.
Owning a dog that might qualify for the Guinness Book of Records smallest dog is not a title of honor, its a mark of shame. It shows no respect to the welfare of the animal in question. The need to own an abnormally stunted pet is a sign of vanity or mental issues. There are stuffed toys or hamsters available to fill those market needs.
There are NO breed registries that recognize the “teacup” as a size group. Dog clubs frown on people who pursue this avenue of breeding anything other than correctly sized dogs for the breed.
Puppies marketed as “Teacups” tend to have many health problems as a result of being poorly bred. They are usually sold at a higher price tag because of being “cute” but will generally have more costly health care associated with them too. Poor overall health means shorter lifespans and ones riddled with problems.
Keep in mind when buying from an unethical breeder – they seldom have the pups checked for health concerns, and if found they seldom disclose this information to a prospective new owner for fear of risking a sale.
Top Problems commonly found in Teacup Dogs:
- Heart deformities and other complications (often not living more than a few months).
- Digestive system deformities and digestion complications (again contributing to a shorter lifespan).
- The pups may be born with liver deformities, known as shunts.
- If they are allowed to breed (even with a stunted male) the females often have an impossible time delivering due to her abnormal stunted size. Teacup dogs often need c-sections.
- They are prone to hypoglycemia, and need smaller feedings more often.
- Their soft spot on their skull may not harden correctly, thus putting them at risk for injury.
- When they get sick it is more difficult for them to recover.
- They are more at high risk for broken bones and fractures.
- They often have an increase in dental problems, and resulting teeth loss.
- An increase in rates of epilepsy.
- They can be easily hurt through regular handling, by other pets, or by children.
- The dogs and pups are more prone to dehydration.
- They are more sensitive to weather conditions, particularly cold weather.
Additionally any dog bred purely for being small is prone to other health problems simply because any importance of breeding for quality has been disregarded. Nobody who breeds for genetic quality would breed such a small animal.
If you have ever considered getting a “Teacup” dog, please think again. You are certainly rewarding unethical breeding and may be taking home a future of expense and sorrow.