Aug 7 2012
Small dogs are cute – really cute! Heck Even dogs with physically deformities are cute. But does their “cuteness” warrant the life long health problems that promoting their breeding will certainly result in?
There are plenty of great reasons to want a small dog! Toy breeds often live longer than their larger cousins, they eat less, they are suitable for smaller homes, they have great personalities! But a Toy dog is different than a teacup! Teacups are a myth, the word is used to describe a genetic anomaly that has resulted in a dog much smaller than breed standard. It is a word, coined by breeders, to dupe uninformed people into spending hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars on a dog that will not be healthy, and often is just a premature pup.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a small dog, I love them! But how small is too small? Where do you draw the line between wanting a small dog that is a healthy, happy companion, and wanting a dog that is as small as possible? Does size really matter so much that you would risk your dog’s health just so you can have the tiniest dog on the block?
The smallest breeds of dogs, many of which are generally under 10 lbs, fall into the category of toy breeds. The smallest breed of dog, as many already know, is the Chihuahua. A healthy, breed standard chihuahua generally weighs somewhere in between 4 and 6 lbs. There are plenty of choices close to this range, the Papillion, Toy Poodles, Yorkie, and all the adorable mixed breeds as well! So as you can see, there are options out there for people who want tiny dogs. So why then, are some “breeders” out there advertising what they call “teacup” puppies? Simple!! Money and greed!
It used to be that the smallest, usually weakest, puppies of the litter were called runts. Everyone loves a runt, they pull on our heartstrings, so to start teacup puppies were produced by breeding what basically amounts to runt dogs together. Now if all that resulted in where where extra small, extra cute dogs, that’s be one thing, however that’s sadly far from the truth! There are many risks involved with breeding very small dogs, even healthy toy breed dogs are a risky pregnancy, not to mention breeding smaller than standard dogs! Mothers often die in child birth, but it is a “financial risk” breeders take, because the resulting “teacup” pups bring such a high price! The high price you pay for the pup, is nothing compared to price the pups pay with their health. Common health issues in so called teacup puppies include things like: Ectrodactyly (like our Angel Bug), Trisomy (like Chewy), liver shunts, hypoglycemia (Chewy and Angel), heart problems (Chewy and Angel), open soft spots on the skull (Chewy), collapsing trachea, seizures (Chewy), respiratory problems (Chewy), digestive problems, blindness, limb deformities (Angel) and the list goes on. Many of these issues are life threatening and very expensive to treat. Teacup puppies, because they are so small and frail, are also prone to breaking bones even while preforming normal activities (such as jumping, playing, or running) that would present little to no danger to a normal puppy.
Not all teacup puppies are produced by breeding very small adult dogs. Some puppies sold as teacup puppies are merely premature puppies. Unethical breeders will sometimes lie about a puppies age in order to make it appear that the puppy will be small as an adult. Taking dogs away from their mothers too early creates all kinds of social problems, as well as health issues, later in life!
Chewy and Angle are adorable, but the sad reality is they have health problems that causes them both to suffer, that will cut their lives short, and cost thousands in vet bills. There is no such thing as a teacup puppy. The term is used by unethical breeds as a marketing ploy to stick a high price tag on what is more often than not a very unhealthy puppy. By purchasing these pups, you are creating a demand that is costing the lives of thousands of dogs a year. Do you really want a dog just because it is tiny, if it means so much suffering? There are plenty of perfectly healthy small breed dogs that need loving homes, in rescues and shelters, and even with responsible breeders (none of whom would ever think of breeding a dog that weighs under 5 pounds). Although they are called Toy breeds, they are not toys: They are living beings that need to be treated with respect, not treated as an accessory!