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Teacup Shih Tzu: Everything You Need To Know

Adorable, affectionate, playful, friendly, and loyal are only a few of the traits that make up the lovable Teacup Shih Tzu. But above all, it’s one of the most precious little dogs you’ll ever set eyes on!

This cute pooch belongs to one of the most popular canine breeds in the world, and being a tiny package loaded with charm is certainly one of the reasons.

Shih Tzu pups come in various sizes, but we’re focusing on the teacup version in this article.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the Teacup Shih Tzu to help you know more about this dog breed and decide if it’s the right pup for you.

Keep reading to learn everything related to this sweet, royal canine from its looks, personality, and common health issues to its life span, care tips, and cost.

Teacup Shih Tzu History

The AKC (American Kennel Club) officially recognized the Shih Tzu as a breed in 1969. But did you know that its history goes back many centuries before that?

Shih Tzu dogs are woven into Chinese royal heritage. The breed was originally developed by imperial breeders in the Chinese emperor’s palace.

The Shih Tzu breed also had a folk story surrounding it where a Tibetan god had a Shih Tzu dog that transformed into a lion whenever he gave the order. This explains the name Shih Tzu which translates into “small lion”.

The Shih Tzu breed remained hidden in the Chinese palace for many centuries. It finally became known to the outside world in the 1930s when Beijing breeders noticed the small furry companions. 

Currently, the Shih Tzu is one of the most beloved breeds around the globe. It holds the 22nd spot out of 284 in the 2021 AKC popularity rankings.

The Teacup Shih Tzu isn’t recognized as a separate breed. It simply refers to Shih Tzu dogs that ended up on the smaller side of the spectrum.

Teacup Shih Tzus aren’t crossbred, which means they come from pure Shih Tzu parents, and no other teacup dogs are involved.

Breeders take the runts of the litter (the smallest puppies) and cross them time after time to end up with the tiniest possible Shih Tzus.

Teacup Shih Tzu Interesting Facts

  • The Teacup Shih Tzu is also known as the Mini Shih Tzu, Toy Shih Tzu, or Imperial Shih Tzu.
  • Shih Tzus are also known as chrysanthemum-faced dogs because the hair that grows on their heads and the front is thick and has a rounded pattern similar to the flower.
  • Since their name translates into “lion”, which is tied to the Deity in Buddhism, courts were the breeding grounds for Shih Tzu dogs.
  • The majority of the Ming Dynasty had the Shih Tzu as a house pet.
  • Many people often confuse Shih Tzu dogs with Shiatsu massage; a type of Japanese therapeutic bodywork.

Teacup Shih Tzu Size

The standard Shih Tzu is already a small-sized pup, which plays a big role in its status as a popular lap dog.

The teacup version is even tinier, you can literally fit it into a bone china teacup!

To put things into better perspective, have a look at the dimensions of the standard Shih Tzu.

Both the adult male and female Shih Tzu stand at an average height of 9 to 10.5 inches and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds.

Regular Shih Tzu puppies (about 2 months of age) stand at an average height of 2 to 4 inches and weigh between 1.5 to 3.75 pounds.

Based on these measurements, standard-sized Shih Tzus fall under the category of toy dogs.

So, what about the Teacup Shih Tzu?

The Teacup Shih Tzu stands at an average height between 5 to 6 inches and weighs a maximum of 7 pounds.

By comparison, you can tell that the teacup version is nearly 3 inches shorter than the standard Shih Tzu dimensions as assigned by the AKC.

Teacup Shih Tzu Appearance

Teacup Shih Tzus are cute as a button. They have all the petite features of the standard Shih Tzu, only in a more compact package!


Teacups Shih Tzu pups sport round, wide heads with a baby doll face.

Under their hair on their bushy heads, they possess dark and doe-like eyes. Their tiny noses are button/pig-like and upturned.

Teacup Shih Tzu dogs have squared muzzles (mostly black) that are short and wide. Their ears are relatively large and flabby with lots of hair covering them.

These dogs may be teeny, but they’re quite sturdy and stocky. Their chests are broad and their legs are muscular despite being short.

Their feet are also small and well-padded whereas their tails are heavily plumed. This means that the tail turns up over the back, resulting in the Shih Tzu’s signature arrogant carriage look.


When it comes to their fur, Teacup Shih Tzus are once again similar to the standard Shih Tzu breed.

They carry thick and fluffy double-layer coats with straight and long hair that easily reaches the floor if left untrimmed.

Teacup Shih Tzus can be black, white, silver, liver, red, brindle, gold, or any of these hues accompanied by white patches.

Whether it’s solid, 2-shade, or 3-shade colors, all colors and combinations are possible in teacup pups. The rarest coat pattern is solid, while 2-shade and 3-shade coats are very common.

The most seen color combo is a predominantly white coat sprinkled with black or silver patches.

There’s a lower chance of encountering a primarily silver or black coat with white markings. A red coat with dark spotting on the muzzle and around the eyes is also less common.

Teacup Shih Tzu Personality

Just like its standard-size counterpart, the temperament of a Teacup Shih Tzu is extremely pleasant. This cute little pup is gentle, affectionate, outgoing, friendly, loyal, and smart.

It gets along with just about everyone thanks to its social tendencies toward other people and animals. The cheerful and fun personality of Teacup Shih Tzus will keep you endlessly entertained.

Teacup Shih Tzus are ideal family dogs. Both playful and protective, they love to spend time with their owners doing any and everything. Whether it’s actively running around or peacefully cozying up on your lap, this pup will be there for you!

Additionally, these compact canines are alert and intelligent. They like interacting with their owners and crave attention, so they’re not very suitable for people who are often busy or away from home 

Is a Teacup Shih Tzu Good With Kids?


Teacup Shih Tzu dogs are amazing at dealing with kids because they’re full of love toward people of all ages. Their friendly, affectionate, playful, and gentle nature make them great pets for households with children.

As much as Teacup Shih Tzus like cuddling and goofing around with little humans, you should still provide supervision to prevent children from squeezing the tiny pooch too tightly or tossing it roughly like a stuffed toy.

Remember, the small size of Teacup Shih Tzus makes them delicate and prone to physical injuries.

Is a Teacup Shih Tzu Good With Other Pets?


A Teacup Shih Tzu will get along well with other household dogs and pets as long as you provide early training, socialization, and proper introduction. They’re sweet as honey, so they’ll warm up to other animals in no time!

That said, the playful nature of the Teacup Shih Tzu and its tiny size can put it at risk of getting roughed up by larger pets. So, you should always keep an eye on your furry pooch.

Does the Teacup Shih Tzu Bark a Lot?

While a Teacup Shih Tzu can certainly bark, it doesn’t do it a lot per se. Think of its barking behavior as sort of a middle ground between a quiet pooch and a noisy pup.

Even if your Teacup Shih Tzu is a barker, you can train it to quiet down in response to a voice command.

However, you should know that this dog has a notable protective nature so it’ll use its voice to bark if someone gets too close to its home, people, and toys.

As such, this compact canine is an awesome companion and a fierce protector.

Teacup Shih Tzu Life Span

The Teacup Shih Tzu is a generally healthy and sturdy dog breed. It has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Teacup Shih Tzu Common Health Issues

The repeated breeding of runts to get Teacup Shih Tzus resulted in tiny dogs that are more prone to the breed’s health issues compared to their standard-sized counterparts.

This is because malnutrition and/or medical problems are usually the reasons behind the smaller size of runts.

Respiratory Problems

Due to having flattened faces that led to constricted airways, the Teacup Shih Tzu is susceptible to breathing disorders such as brachycephaly. In most cases, this condition requires surgery to overcome.

Eye Problems

The big, rounded eyes of Teacup Shih Tzus are adorable, but they can also get infected easily. Cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy are also examples of conditions to look out for.

Bone Problems

The compact body, short legs, and long spine are a recipe for bone and joint problems. Conditions such as intervertebral disc disease, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation could encounter your pup.

Dental Problems

Teacup Shih Tzus have small mouths. This leads to dental issues as a result of overcrowding and the fast buildup of plaque.

Teacup Shih Tzu Care

Now that you’re closely familiar with the appearance and personality of the teacup Shih Tzu, it’s time we talk about its basic care requirements.


Teacup Shih Tzus require brushing every day because of their long, luscious coats. Use a high-quality, flexible brush.

Alternatively, you can keep its coat trimmed down to a puppy cut to make brushing easier and faster.

To keep the long coat healthy, clean, and shiny, be sure to bathe your pup two times a week. For short-hair coats, a weekly bath should be enough.

Be sure to gently wipe your Teacup Shih Tzu’s eyes daily with a damp cloth. Also, tie or trim the hair on the top of its head to prevent it from getting into the dog’s eyes causing irritation and bacteria build-up.

Remember to carefully trim your Shih Tzu’s nails and clean its ears with a suitable solution at least once a month (preferably twice a month).

Since this tiny pooch is also prone to dental issues and gum infections, you also need to brush its teeth two or three times a week.


The charming and smart Teacup Shih Tzu is easy to train since it’s eager to please and likes being the center of attention.

That said, these little bundles of joy can also be stubborn and a bit naughty. They may act fussy to get you to let them have their way.

Still, Teacup Shih Tzus can be made very obedient as long as you start training as early as possible in the puppy stage.

Also, it’s crucial that you only use positive reinforcement techniques with treats and praises. Anger and sternness don’t resonate well with them.

Be consistent and firm but also gentle and patient.


The Teacup Shih Tzu requires daily exercise, but not for as long as other breeds due to its tiny size.

Around 30 minutes of physical activity throughout the day is enough to satisfy this surprisingly athletic pooch.

Outdoor activities like short walks, brief jogs, and playing chase will help keep your pet in good shape.

Teacup Shih Tzu Price

Teacup Shih Tzus are small, but that doesn’t translate to how much they can cost.

Generally, the price of a Teacup Shih Tzu puppy from a trusted breeder ranges from at least $1,000 up to $5,000 or even more.

If you opt for an adult Teacup Shih Tzu, it’ll cost less than a puppy but won’t drop below the $1,000 mark.

You can look for a Teacup Shih Tzu to adopt, but the chances of finding one are very low since most owners won’t just give them up.

Either way, you should also factor in the cost of food, treats, grooming, regular check-ups, and toys. A Teacup Shih Tzu can stack up some hefty veterinary bills over the years, so keep that in mind.