Teacup animals, or more specifically (at least for this blog post) teacup puppies, is a terrible business. First, the teacup-term should be defined: dogs weighing from 2 to 4 pounds (and sometimes less) regardless of breed are considered a teacup dog. Teacup is not a breed – it is a size, which contrary to for example terriers, that are “toy” sized, does not come naturally. These miniature dogs are extremely inbred, and the only reason there is a high demand for them is their cuteness and smallness. What many people don’t consider is how they are being made and how difficult it will to take care of them. Apparently most of these puppies are being made in puppy mills, so there is no way for the owner to see or get to know the parents of the puppy – thus not being able to evaluate whether or not the puppy they buy will grow up healthy. And in most cases these puppies cannot live past a couple of years; actually most of the blog posts I read around from people having owned or (owning one at the moment) said their puppy suffered from one or more serious condition and either died within weeks of being bought or months. So now, why is this?
Only some puppies out of a litter will be sold as a teacup dog – that you pay anything from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands – and that can be due to several things but the most usual is 1) genetics and 2) the time the puppies were conceived. Let me explain further; in order to get tiny puppies you need tiny dogs; and if these dogs are related this, as with any other animal, can cause serious conditions to the litter – miniature size being one of them. And then you breed the smallest puppies with eachother to get smaller ones, etc. However there is also another simple but very unethical way of getting these cuties: female dogs can have several eggs fertilized during their 72-hour heat cycle. This means that if more than one “pregnancy” occurs at the same time the labor will start when the first puppies are ready to be born; alas forcing premature puppies out before they are ready. These two ways of breeding teacup dogs and other animals, causes numerous problems for the puppy like extremely fragile bone structure (teacup dogs should never be on a couch or chair as their bones will break if they jump down), open fontanels (soft spots on the cranial bone), hypoglycemia, etc. So please, if you ever consider getting one, or your friends or family, think twice and maybe look at the dog shelter – then you are supporting a good cause and saying no to unethical breeding and treatment of animals for our own pleasure.
Please take a look at Ramen Noodle, the “teacup” poodle with only two legs, for a good example of how fragile these dogs are. In his case his legs broke off separate times, but it was the same cause – fragile bone structure. He is adorable though.