Small dogs can be incredibly cute. So cute that they are hard to resist. Unfortunately, unscrupulous breeders are capitalising on this fact by offering what have become known as teacup puppies.
What is a Teacup Puppy?
Teacup puppies are small dogs which have been selectively bred to be even smaller - small enough to sit in a teacup. They look adorable but unfortunately these tiny dogs often have terrible health issues. Nonetheless demand for the tiniest dogs is high and is likely to get higher in the lead up to Christmas.
The dogs can cost up to £4, 000 but often come from horrible puppy farms which use very questionable methods to produce such small dogs. Puppies are deliberately bred from the smallest dog in the litter or are taken from their mothers when they are too young to stunt their growth which means that they miss out on vital nutrients in their mothers' milk.
Teacup Dog Breeds
The most common teacup breeds that you will see for sale are chihuahuas, Maltese, Pomeranian, poodles and Yorkshire terriers. Their tiny bones are vulnerable to stress fractures and vets are reporting seeing small dogs which are suffering from a variety of rare conditions. Severe respiratory problems are common as are dislocated knees. Many of the little puppies are so incapacitated that they can't exercise properly. One little Chihuahua was discovered to have part of its brain missing.
Teacup puppies are an unpleasant trend. The dogs are being treated like fashion accessories or toys and are ideal for creating appealing posts for Facebook and Instagram. If you buy one of these dogs, then you are fuelling a very unfortunate industry. Many of the puppies die quickly from their deformities and so they suffer terribly and cause a great deal of heartache for their owners.
If you suspect that a dog is abnormally small and could have been bred deliberately to be so small, then don't buy it. Never purchase a puppy which is less than eight weeks old and always insist on seeing it with the mother. Don't buy dogs from people that offer to meet you somewhere or to deliver the dog to your home. If you do see the dog that is supposed to be the mother check for signs that the dog has recently given birth like enlarged mammary glands. Many breeders will try to pass off dogs as mothers when they are nothing of the sort.
You should also ask to see certificates of vaccination and disease screening together with any microchip records. Spend plenty of time interacting with the puppy that you are considering buying and look for signs of illness such as runny eyes or fatigue. If you suspect foul play then report the matter to the RSPCA immediately.
Most small breeds are quite cute enough when they are their normal size. Selective breeding simply produces tiny puppies with a whole lot of problems. This is terrible for the dogs and will prove distressing for you. Teacup puppies should be avoided at all costs.