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The Teacup Yorkie is not a separate breed; rather they are an arbitrary size category advertised by some breeders.
They are not recognized by the Kennel Clubs and, if shown in other non-Kennel Club sponsored events, compete against the same breed standard as Yorkie dogs that typically weigh between four and seven pounds, as per the standard.
Breeders offering what are called Teacup Yorkies or Micro or Minnie Yorkies are classifying these dogs as being under 4.5 pounds, some weighing even under 2 pounds. The breed standards for Yorkshire Terriers have changed little over the years so where did these tiny versions of the dogs come from?
Well, the Teacup Yorkie developed from breeding standard sized toy group Yorkshire Terriers.
In some breedings one or more of the litter would be well below the minimum weight range, and these smaller puppies became popular as novelty type dogs. The Teacup Yorkie is so named because with their small size they were, even as adults, often able to fit into a teacup.
Ethical and reputable breeders simply kept these small dogs as pet quality, neutering or spaying them to prevent them from reproducing. Quality breeders typically will not use any females in breeding programs if they have a mature weight of less than five pounds, since there is an increased likelihood of pregnancy complications and the chance of producing very small and possibly unhealthy puppies.
Subscribe now to our Free Yorkshire Terrier Newsletter report.Unfortunately some breeders saw a potential market for the very smallest of these dogs and started to attempt to breed them for smaller and smaller sizes.
In addition, bone disease and skeletal development is often abnormal in some breed lines, resulting in mobility problems and developmental problems as the puppy ages and matures.
These smaller versions of the already small Yorkshire Terriers are also at greater risk for various types of injuries.
They cannot tolerate any type of fall or jump, so keeping these dogs off furniture is important, or teaching them to wait to be picked up and lifted down is absolutely essential.
The puppies, at roughly the same size as a can of soda can easily get into smaller places than even a standard sized Yorkshire Terrier, so the house must be carefully puppy and dog proofed to prevent accidents and injury to the tiny puppy.
They are also at far greater risk of being stepped on or injured in play. These tiny dogs can easily go unnoticed, even by careful owners, often with disastrous results if the owner is rushing to answer a phone or the door.
Despite their small size, not all of them have serious health issues, however it is an important consideration that prospective owners need to keep in mind.
Housetraining these tiny dogs is also very challenging and many have bladder and bowel control problems that prevent them from being completely housetrained even when they are fully mature.
While many breeders actively breed for these tiny versions of the toy breed, there are just as many who are very much against the breeding, selling or promoting of Teacup Yorkies. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, as well as most Kennel Clubs will not register these dogs because of the health conditions and genetic factors that contribute to the development of the breed.
Before considering buying a Teacup Yorkie prospective owners need to understand that these dogs, although often several times the cost of standard sized Yorkshire Terriers, are at far greater health risk and more likely to have ongoing health problems and a much shorter life.
All the best.
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