What Is a Teacup Maltese?

A teacup Maltese is a very small dog.
A teacup Maltese is a very small dog. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The pure white Maltese is one of the smallest dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. The lively, fearless Maltese ranges from 4 to 7 pounds at maturity. The so-called "teacup" Maltese is even tinier, not recognized by the AKC and likely not a well-bred dog as they are produced by breeding the smallest of the litters. If you purchase a "teacup," which is a marketing term to attract buyers, beware that this little canine is likely to suffer from serious health issues that could be costly to address and limit his life span as well as his quality of life.

Potential Health Problems

A teacup Maltese usually weighs less than the AKC standard for the lower end of the breed. That means the dog matures at less than 4 pounds. Because of her size, a teacup Maltese will be especially fragile, easily injured by other dogs or even you. Potential health problems include heart disease, vision loss, dental issues, breathing difficulties and neurological symptoms, such as seizures. Most often, teacup dogs experience hypoglycemia, or sharp blood-sugar drops, meaning they require special feeding schedules throughout their lives.

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