updated March 16, 2023
Teacup Yorkie puppies should be easy to care for, right?
They’re very small and require only a little exercise. They have a bright, perky personality that you can’t help but develop a soft spot for.
Unfortunately, they can also be prone to health conditions.
Curious about teacup Yorkie puppies? You’ve come to the right place. This post details some of the most common health concerns your dog may encounter.
The Making of a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier
Teacup Yorkshire terriers, also known as Toy Yorkies or Miniature Yorkies, are bred by selecting smaller than average standard Yorkshire terriers and breeding them together.
The offspring are affectionately known as “teacup” or “miniature” dogs.
Their small size doesn’t equate to a small price, unfortunately. The price of a teacup puppy can vary depending on different factors including:
- The breeder
- Special physical characteristics
Although prices can vary, you’re looking at a price tag of around $2000 to $3000. Of course, that’s just the cost to buy the puppy.
From that point forward, you have to also consider the cost of vaccinations, supplies, toys, and surprise visits to the veterinarian, especially if your dog develops any of the health issues noted below.
Teacup yorkie puppies can live very long lives (12 – 15 years) if well cared for. However, the medical bills can add up very quickly.
11 Surprising Pitfalls of Owning a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier
The following list is meant to inform potential teacup yorkie owners of the potential pitfalls.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t get one. It’s is, however, good to do your research so that you can make an informed choice.
1. Hypoglycemia in Small Toy Breeds
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) isn’t reserved for Teacup Yorkshire terriers. It’s a fact of life for all teacup dogs due to their small size.
Toy breed puppies have relatively high metabolic needs.
Toy breeds under 3 months of age haven’t fully developed their ability to regulate blood glucose concentrations. As a result, they have a high need for glucose.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for their small bodies to succumb to stress, cold, malnutrition, and intestinal parasites.
These are all things that can trigger hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can be fatal for toy breeds if not treated promptly. Sign include:
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme fatigue
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle twitching
- Odd behavior
- Dilated pupils
Without prompt medical care, your toy breed puppy can slip into a coma.
The best way to prevent your toy breed dog from developing hypoglycemia is to ensure your puppy has the best diet for his or her breed. Speak to a veterinarian about the best food formulation for your puppy.
Toy dogs are also at risk of other common health problems including diabetes mellitus.
2. Portosystemic Shunt
Teacup Yorkshire terriers can be born with a potentially fatal liver shunt. Normally, a healthy liver is able to toxify and remove harmful substances from the blood.
When a dog has a liver shunt, the liver isn’t able to capture and process harmful substances. Instead, the blood is circulated around the liver. As a result, toxins buildup in the bloodstream.
Surgery and medical management may be necessary.
In addition, dogs with this condition usually require a specialized diet, medications, and regular monitoring of liver function.
3. Collapsing Traches in Teacup Puppies
Tracheal collapse is common in small breeds. The trachea is made of a C-shaped ring of thick cartilage. In small breed dogs or toy breeds, that cartilage may begin to weaken and collapse.
The more it collapses, the narrower the dog’s trachea becomes.
Dogs with this condition may have difficulty eating and could develop respiratory distress.
4. Skin Allergies
Teacup Yorkshire terriers can develop allergies after being exposed to chemicals, fleas, mold, pollen, and other environmental triggers.
Allergies can be difficult to treat unless the exact cause is known. Signs of skin allergies include:
- Excessive itching
- Skin irritation
- Hair loss
- Broken skin (bleeding)
5. Breathing Problems
Toy dog breeds like the teacup Yorkshire terrier can develop respiratory problems. Some of these breathing difficulties may be due to collapse trachea (see above), or reverse sneezing.
While reverse sneezing isn’t considered a serious condition, a collapsed trachea is.
6. Broken Bones
Teacup Yorkshire terriers may have a larger-than-life attitude, but their bodies are not up to the task.
Teacup dogs have to be watched carefully and can’t be left alone on furniture. If they try to jump down or fall off, they can easily break a leg.
These cute little pups can easily get underfoot which is very dangerous.
7. Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
Toy breed dogs are more vulnerable to digestive problems. The best way to avoid this is not to feed your dog from the table (no scraps or human-grade treats). Talk to a veterinarian about the best possible diet for your toy breed dog.
Keep in mind that teacup dogs (or any small breed, including puppies) are at a very high risk of dying from dehydration. If your teacup dog is vomiting and has diarrhea that won’t stop, it’s vital that you get your dog to a veterinarian ASAP.
8. Patella Luxation (Slipped Kneecap)
Toy breeds have a genetic predisposition to luxating patella, which is a problem with the knee joint. With this condition, the kneecap moves out of its normal position.
Although common in toy breeds, it can develop in any dog breed. Treatment may include surgery, physical therapy, and medication.
9. Hydrocephalus in Teacup Yorkie Puppies
Hydrocephalus is a brain deformity that is also known as “water on the brain”. Dogs with this condition may develop seizures and blindness.
This is due to the buildup of fluid inside the dog’s skull which can cause brain damage.
10. Eye Disorders
Toy Yorkshire terriers may be vulnerable to genetic conditions including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia. A reputable breeder should test their parent dogs for these conditions before breeding.
Sadly, PRA can lead to retinal degeneration and blindness in dogs. There is no cure, but dogs have a remarkable way of adapting and adjusting to life with vision problems.
Other potential eye disorders may include:
- Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
11. Legg-Perthes Disease
The exact cause of Legg-Perthes disease is unknown, although it’s thought to be a genetic condition.
According to VCA Hospitals, studies suggest that a disruption in blood flow to the hip could be the culprit. The disruption of blood flow causes bones around the hip joint to weaken and deteriorate over time.
Signs of this condition include:
- Limp on the affected leg (develops gradually)
- Loss of muscle mass in later stages of the disease
12. Heart Disease
Teacup Yorkies are at risk of developing a variety of heart conditions including:
- Valvular disease
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Mitral valve disease
13. Periodontal Disease
Any dog can develop dental disease, although it’s most common in older dogs. Regular cleaning of your dog’s teeth may help keep dental disease at bay.
Teacup puppies are adorable and perfect companions for many people. They do well in many environments and are especially well suited to apartment or condo living. Yes, they may bark a little, but early training using positive reinforcement can help with that.
Teacup dogs are easy to manage because of their small size. You can take them with you wherever you go. No need to worry about separation anxiety!
Unfortunately, the teacup Yorkshire terrier is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
It’s their small size that makes them cute.
Unfortunately, these tiny dogs are vulnerable. The best way to choose a dog is through research, talking to breeders, and speaking with pet parents who have teacup Yorkshire terriers.
Dogs born from reputable breeders may not suffer any of the health problems noted above. That said, it’s important to choose a responsible breeder, ask them lots of questions, and be prepared to give your dog a healthy, happy home for years to come.
Granson, H. (2019, September 17). Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) in Toy Breed Dogs Is a Serious Matter. Urban Animal Veterinary Hospital – Houston Heights Vet. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://urbananimalveterinary.com/event/low-blood-sugar-toy-breed-dogs-serious-matter/
RVT, CVPM, S. W. (2022, March 25). Tracheal Collapse. Today’s Veterinary Practice. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/respiratory-medicine/tracheal-collapse/
Top 12 Common Health Problems in Yorkies You Must Be Aware Of – YorkshireTerrierGuide.com. (2017, April 24). YorkshireTerrierGuide.com. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from http://yorkshireterrierguide.com/common-health-problems-yorkies/
M. (2023, January 15). Indicators of Respiratory Problems in Yorkies – Yorkie Passion. Yorkie Passion. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.yorkiepassion.com/indicators-respiratory-problems-yorkies/
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals. (n.d.). Vca. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/legg-calve-perthes-disease-in-dogs