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The Ultimate Mini/Teacup Terrier Guide

A Mini/Teacup terrier is the smaller version of the pure Yorkshire terrier. The tiny dog was bred to be one of the world’s smallest dogs and he makes for a perfect human companion.

Toy dog breeds have become popular recently, and it’s easy to see why. They’re easy to care for, take less space and have  but fun personalities too. 

If you’re considering getting a tiny toy dog, then the Teacup terrier is an excellent option. Mini terriers are small, fluffy, cute, and sociable. However, there are some things to consider before getting such a small dog. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the Mini/Teacup terrier—from history and origins to temperament and common health issues. 


The Yorkshire terrier breed originated in the country of Yorkshire in England during the 18th century. Some historians believe the Yorkshire terrier was a result of Scottish weavers breeding different terrier breeds together. 

The Yorkshire terrier was first bred as a working dog. Due to his tiny size, he could get into small cracks and corners of textile mils to hunt rodents and mice. 

That said, the Teacup terrier came around the 1990s. Even though it’s not known who was the first breeder of the tiny Yorkie, the dog was bred for the sole purpose of developing a smaller breed of the Yorkshire terrier. 

After that, the tiny dog gained the attention of wealthy English ladies and became so popular among them as a lap dog.

At that time, the trend of breeding designer dogs took off. Many purebred dogs were bred specifically to create tiny dog breeds. These dogs include Chihuahuas, Poodles, and Yorkshire terriers.


Teacup terriers look just like the standard Yorkshire terrier, but smaller. They’re thick and compact dogs with tiny faces, black noses, and dark eyes.

Mini Yorkies also have a small round skull and a short muzzle. Their ears are V-shaped and upright. Teacup terriers have a thick double coat; a wiry undercoat, and a shiny silky overcoat as well. 

Even though Yorkshire terriers have around 18 possible coat colors, Teacup Yorkies only inherit a few color combinations. These colors include blue and gold, black and gold, black and tan, or blue and tan.

If your pup inherits any other coat colors, he might not be purebred. Moreover, this could be a sign of a genetic abnormality that may be accompanied by other health conditions. 

Weight and Size

As the name suggests, Teacup terriers are too small to the point that pups can fit into Teacups. 

Tiny Yorkies weigh only 1 to 4 pounds and stand 5-7 inches tall when they’re full-grown. Anything larger than 4 pounds is considered a standard Yorkshire.


Standard Yorkshire Terries have a lifespan of 13 to 16 years. However, Teacup terriers have a shorter lifespan of only 7 to 9 years. 

Why? Because such small breeds are more prone to various health conditions and traumatic injuries. 

Breeding Methods

You might wonder how breeders intentionally produce these tiny dogs. Since Teacup terriers don’t always occur naturally, breeders breed two undersized Yorkshire terriers to create the small Teacup terrier.

Unfortunately, this breeding method is dangerous for the mother and pups. That’s because it’s unlikely for the mother to be able to carry more than two puppies at a time. Moreover, these breeding methods sometimes involve unethical practices, such as starvation and inbreeding. 

Therefore, if you want to get a Teacup terrier, we recommend you find a reputable breeder, local shelters, or breed rescues.


Don’t let these tiny cute pups fool you. Despite their minute size, Teacup terriers have large personalities. They’re also affectionate, social, and love being the center of attention.

Even though they usually bond with one family member, they’re friendly to other people and dogs. 

Furthermore, these dogs tend to suffer from isolation anxiety. That’s why you need to avoid leaving them home alone for more than a few hours. Leaving these dogs alone for a long time can result in destructive behavior as they feel anxious and fearful. 

You’ll be surprised by how destructive these small dogs can act. That’s why it would be best to have someone check on them if you’re planning to leave them alone for some time. They don’t care who they spend time with, they just need company.

Moreover, Teacup terriers suffer from small dog syndrome, which means they act like they own the street when you take them for a walk. They bark at strangers and chase larger cats and dogs. That said, socializing them from a young age should help prevent such frustrating behavior. 

Even though mini terriers are tiny, they’re famous for being too loud. You can try your best to limit the loud barking, but unfortunately, you can’t stop them from barking altogether.


Teacup terriers are relatively easy to train compared to other Yorkies. They’re fast learners, and love to learn new tricks. However, they have a short attention span. That’s why the training sessions should be short. 

Here are some tips on training your Teacup terrier:

  1. Early Socialization

These dogs can become territorial, anxious, and aggressive if they’re not properly socialized. Therefore, you should start socializing with your pup from a young age. Introduce him to strangers and other dogs and let him interact with them under your supervision.

Puppy classes come in handy for this breed as it’s a good place to let him interact with other pets. However, it’s pretty challenging to socialize Teacup terriers. Why? Because these dogs are tiny and fragile, making them prone to injuries and traumas while interacting with other dogs.

Early socialization is also important if you have children or other pets at home. Although mini terriers love to spend time with their owners, they don’t always get along with children. 

That’s because children don’t understand how to hold and interact with these tiny dogs. As a result, your kid might accidentally hurt the pup. The dog may also attack if he feels threatened by improper handling.

  1. Avoid Holding Your Dog All the Time

Teacup terriers are cute and cuddly. You’ll always be tempted to carry them around. However, it’s not recommended that you spend much time holding your dog. 

That’s because they might become more territorial and less sociable. They’re also curious dogs who love to explore their surroundings. If you’re always holding them, they won’t be able to do that. 

  1. Use Positive Reinforcement

Training with positive reinforcement is the best way to train Teacup terriers. It’s always better to avoid punishment at all costs. Instead, reward your pup with treats when he behaves well or learns a new command, and never scold him when he makes mistakes.

  1. Be Consistent 

Consistency is vital for dog training, and training a Teacup terrier is no exception. These pups have short attention spans, making it difficult to focus on training instead of playing and running around. 

For that reason, you need to limit your training sessions to only 15 minutes and stay away from anything that might distract your pup during training.

Furthermore, because of their small size, Teacup terriers have small bladders. It won’t be a surprise that they might need potty breaks during training sessions. You should also be ready for indoor accidents, so leave some pee pads around the house to soak up the mess.

Like many small dogs, Teacup Yorkies have a ton of energy despite their small size. That’s why you need to provide them with plenty of physical and mental stimulation. You can do this by providing them with exercises and long walks.


Teacup terriers are famous for their unique silky coat that grows like human hair. This is why they require special grooming.

  1. Coat Trimming

Cutting your dog’s hair is essential; not only to prevent matting and knotting but also to give your pup a unique style. As such, you should trim your Teacup Yorkie’s coat every 5 to 7 weeks. 

Start with little trims on their body to make the fur around 1 to 1.5 inches long. It doesn’t need to be this exact measure, you can always leave the hair a bit longer if you like the scrappy look. 

Moreover, you need to be extra careful when trimming your dog’s facial hair. It would be best to use special scissors made for dog grooming. These scissors prevent any accidents from happening.

  1. Bathing

Even though his hair is similar to human hair, you shouldn’t bathe your Teacup terrier too much. That’s to avoid stripping your dog’s skin of natural oils. 

Bathing your pup once every two to four weeks is more than enough. Baths are also important after trimming, to ensure you remove all the hair and debris from the coat. 

  1. Brushing

Mini terriers have special hypoallergenic fur. For that reason, some types of brushes may be better than others. 

For example, if your dog has a silky coat, a soft bristle brush would be perfect to get rid of debris and dead hair. In case your dog has a wire coat, a pin brush might be more effective as these coats tend to be thick and textured.

You should brush your Teacup terrier once a week. However, between 6 and 18 months old, your dog’s coat changes from fur to silk. During this period, your dog becomes prone to tangling and matting. Accordingly, you might need to brush him every day.

It’s also worth noting that cleaning your dog’s face while bathing might be difficult. That’s why it would be best to clean his face with a warm cloth after the bath. While cleaning, inspect your dog’s face for any debris, extra eyelashes, or signs of tear stains in his eyes.

Health Problems

It’s no surprise that caring for small dog breeds is much easier than for large or medium-sized ones. However, toy dog breeds share some health issues due to their small size and fragile nature. 

The Teacup terrier is no different. This dog is unnaturally small, and some are born with congenital health defects. Let’s take a closer look at the most common health issues in the Teacup terrier.

  1. Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is common among toy dog breeds. Due to their small size, these tiny pups are vulnerable to hypoglycemia as they have more brain mass per body weight. That means they need more glucose than other breeds to maintain brain function. 

To prevent this, ensure you feed your dog frequently and consistently on a fixed schedule. 

  1. Heart Defects

Because of how these tiny dogs are bred, sometimes they’re born with congenital heart problems. These problems include murmurs, heart failure, and heart rhythm abnormalities. 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to detect something like this. Only a qualified veterinarian can diagnose such problems through proper examination. 

  1. Collapsing Trachea

Another common issue in toy dog breeds is collapsing trachea. The condition occurs when the cartilage holding the airways open stretches out over time. 

If you notice that your dog is coughing, having trouble breathing, or retching, you should take him to the vet for examination.

  1. Dental Diseases

Due to their small jaws, Teacup terriers are at risk of developing dental problems. That’s why you should brush your dog’s teeth daily to avoid plaque buildup.

  1. Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

The condition occurs when the femur bone deteriorates, causing pain and discomfort in the hip joint. The disease is common in many toy breeds, and it’s believed that it’s usually inherited genetically. 

If you notice your dog is limping or having trouble climbing stairs, you should take him to the vet.

To Wrap Up

A Mini/Teacup terrier is a result of breeding two small-sized Yorkshire terriers. These tiny furry guys are perfect for apartment living and adapt well to small-sized spaces. They’re also sociable and love to spend time with their owners. 

On the flip side, they require much effort and time to keep them healthy and happy. That’s because they need to be socialized as they tend to show aggression to strangers and other pets.

Furthermore, they’re energetic and love to play and explore their surroundings. So you’ll need to give them enough time for training and exercise.

Finally, they’re much like other toy breeds, meaning, they’re prone to several health conditions. That’s why you need to take them for regular checkups to ensure they’re healthy.