Teacup Yorkie: A Pet Parent’s Guide To This Tiny Toy Handbag Dog

Are you looking for a Yorkshire Terrier but even tinier?

Then look no further than their miniature cousins, the Teacup Yorkie.

Also affectionately known as the Teacup Yorkshire Terrier and much smaller than their “Teapot” cousins, these tiny designer dogs are mostly commonly seen peering out of purses rather than teacups!

These tiny dogs have been picking up steam since designer handbag dogs became popular in the 1990s, and it is not hard to see why.

Teacup Yorkies started as a fashion accessory, but, they are so much more.

Want to know what it’s like to own one of these dogs? How much they cost and where to find a reputable breeder? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this toy breed.

Teacup Yorkie Feature

Teacup Yorkie Profile
Size 4-5″ in height
Weight 2-4lb
Lifespan 12 – 15 years
Breed Type Toy
Purpose Companion
Suitable For Adult only houses
Color Variations Tan, Black, Blue, Silver, White
Temperament Tenacious, Loving, Loyal, Intelligent
Other Names Teacup Yorkshire Terrier

Teacup Yorkie Overview

Yorkie Puppy

The Yorkshire Terrier was first seen in England in the 19th Century and the Teacup Yorkie was first seen in the 20th Century.

Their original bloodline is unknown, however, it’s thought three purebred dogs were bred into the line:

  1. Paisley Terriers
  2. Skye Terriers
  3. Maltese

When the breed first appeared, as there was no breed standard, anything that resembled the shape of a Yorkie dog was considered to be a Yorkshire Terrier.

However, in the 1860s a woman named Mary Ann Foster had a Paisley Terrier named Huddersfield Ben. This dog went on to be defined as the first Yorkshire Terrier, and is widely known as the father of the breed.

The Yorkshire Terrier was first seen in America in 1872 and registered with the American Kennel Club in 1885.

However, the Teacup Yorkshire Terrier is not recognised as a breed by the AKC.

It is a mystery as to when the first Teacup Yorkie appeared, however it is thought to have come with the designer dog breeding trend.

Beloved by all who meet them, these dogs have become a real staple of the dog community, taking social media by storm.

Teacup Yorkie Puppy Overview

Teacup Yorkie Dog

Teacup Yorkies can cost anywhere between $800 and $10,000 USD.

This price is typically based on the pedigree and show quality of the parents, and, unfortunately, how many other breeders are based in the area.

Your average American Kennel Club breeder will charge between $1,200 and $1,500 USD per puppy.

Importance of Finding a Good Breeder

Unfortunately, because of their designer handbag nature, Teacup Yorkies have found their way into the Puppy Mill market.

Their small size and adorable appearance combined with their larger price tag makes them a favourite for backyard breeders and puppy mills.

When looking to source a teacup puppy, be sure to avoid responding to adverts on websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or GumTree.

To breed a Teacup Yorkshire terrier, you must breed two smaller Yorkshire Terriers together in the hope of smaller puppies – this is known as selective breeding and is common with Miniature breeds.

Teacup Yorkie mothers (i.e. Dam) can only bare one or two puppies each litter, even this can be very risky and consequently employing good health care is imperative.

Consequently, if you are looking to purchase one of these designer dogs, you should choose someone with a reputation as an ethical breeder.

Speaking to others who have teacup dogs and getting recommendations is a good start. Always take multiple visits to the breeder and ask to see the mother with the puppies.

Alternatively try to adopt a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier. There are many reputable organisations across the states, such as the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue.

Teacup Yorkie Personality and Temperament

Characteristic Rating
Ease of Care
Exercise Requirements
Social Tendencies

Though small in size, these dogs pack a punch with their personality.

Just like their standard sized cousins, they are very sassy in nature, albeit curious and loving.

Although now companion dogs, Yorkies were originally bred as working dogs and as a result love to be busy, be that chasing a ball or getting a belly rub.

Despite their tiny size, Yorkies are known for their big hearts.

They are very loving dogs, and their favourite place to be is on their owner’s lap. However, despite this, care must be taken around them due to their small size and fragility (more on that later in the care guide).

Are They Good With Other Pets?

Although loving with people, they tend to shy away from other dogs and pets due to their smaller size, preferring to be beside their human for comfort.

These dogs can be quite nervous around other animals and unfamiliar people.

Consequently, Teacup Yorkies are not recommended for homes with other non-human animals.

These dogs may not be suitable for first time owners due to their intelligence and quick wit. Ranking 34th in Stanley Coren’s “Intelligence of Dogs”, these cheeky dogs may give owners the run around!

Do These Dogs Bark?

Yorkie Size
A fully grown Yorkie will measure 8 to 9″ compared to a Teacup Yorkie 4-5″ in height

Teacup Yorkies are known barkers, making their presence known to anyone or anything they dog like.

They are tenacious dogs, barking at everything from a passing car to the mailman to guests in your house. This tendency can be mediated with socialization as a young dog, as well as training and exercise.

Like other small designer breeds, this breed is known for their tendency to develop small dog syndrome.

These dogs can be neurotic, barking at strangers and occasionally being snappy. However, this is a behavioral condition and with consistency these behaviors can be rectified.

The smaller size of the Teacup Yorkie can make them incredibly nervous dogs. This can be combatted somewhat with socialization, however, remember to take it at your dog’s pace.

Who Are These Dogs Suited To?

These dogs do not do well with other pets or small children. Consequently, they are best suited to families that are adult only and can provide great care of these adorable little dogs.

On top of this, their smaller size and fragile nature means they struggle to climb stairs.

Consequently, houses are out of the question for these tiny dogs to avoid any unnecessary accidents.

Care Guide To The Teacup Yorkie

Teacup Dogs

Food and Diet Requirements

Daily Food Consumption
Calories 400
Cups of Kibble One Bowl of Kibble Required per Day

These dogs should be fed every three to four hours (little and often is the best way to go with these tiny dogs).


You do not need to wake them through the night to feed them, just make sure that they have dinner before they sleep and breakfast once they wake.

These dogs need a maximum of one cup of dog food daily, this should be split into four or five meals.

Purchase a brand of food specifically designed for smaller dogs, as the kibble will be smaller and better sized for their tiny mouths.

You can purchase foods like these in a variety of places, including your local pet store, online or with your veterinarian.

Always look at the label and ensure you are purchasing a high quality, grain free dog food.

Teacup Yorkies are known to have very sensitive stomachs, so it is important to carefully monitor how what they eat affects their behavior.

When your dog first comes home be sure to feed them some of the food that they were eating at the breeders and then slowly move them onto the brand of food you have selected for them.

A Teacup Yorkie should rarely skip a meal, if their appetite is off this may be a sign of an illness and a veterinarian should be consulted.

Exercising a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier

Daily Exercise Requirements
Minutes 20 minutes
Activity Level This is a low activity dog breed

Teacup Yorkies have very small exercise requirements – due to their smaller size.

Their little legs don’t require more than about 20 minutes of exercise daily. Although this can and should be a walk, Teacup Yorkshire Terriers exercise requirements are so small that this can be substituted through play occasionally.

When walking your dog, it is important to use a harness as opposed to a collar. Due to their smaller size too much pressure on their throat may cause their trachea to collapse.

Tugging on their leads may lead to pressure on the throat and trachea causing irrevocable damage. This condition is already prevalent in smaller breeds and is even more pronounced in Teacup dogs.

They are also very fragile in nature, as a result any sort of rough play (e.g. wrestling) should be prohibited with these designer handbag dogs.

How to Train This Dog

When you get your Teacup Yorkie home, it is best to allow them to explore one room at a time.

Due to their smaller size, these dogs are easily spooked, so it is best to restrict their access to the house at first and slowly introduce them to new spaces as they get more comfortable.

Teacup Yorkies are usually very easy to train. This comes from their natural drive to work, they are born people pleasures and love to work.

They are play, food and praise oriented dogs, as a result, it makes it very easy to teach them. Try harnessing their natural intelligence and use a clicker to train these dogs.

Be patient with your designer dog, although they love to learn, the world can be pretty confusing when you are only five inches tall.

Offer verbal reassurance when they are displaying the right behavior and be sure to keep your training sessions short and sweet, no more than 15 minutes a time every few hours.

Health Problems

These dogs on average live between 12 and 15 years.

As Teacup Dogs are fragile, and their bones break easily, as a result of this running up and down stairs or jumping off the couch is not plausible at any point for this puppy.

If you’re going to allow your dog on the furniture, be sure to either lift them, or provide them with ramps – jumping can be very dangerous.

Teacup Yorkies have a lot of dental issues, struggling to lose their baby teeth, but, struggling to fit all the teeth required in their tiny mouths.

It is not uncommon for Yorkshire Terriers to have lost half their teeth by the time they are 12 years old. Consequently, food choice and regular visits to your veterinarian for check ups will be essential.

Patellar Luxation is extremely common in teacup dogs. Their smaller knees mean the bones are more likely to be incorrectly formed.

There is also a history of Yorkshire Terriers developing progressive retinal atrophy.

This is a genetic condition that may cause your dog to go blind. At present there is no cure for the condition and it is hard to diagnose as your dog may not show symptoms.

No health section about Teacup breeds would be complete without referring to their propensity to develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) – if this is improperly monitored, it can cause seizures and even death.

Breed Appearance: Coat, Color and Grooming

Appearance of a Teacup Yorkie

Weighing just 4lb and standing about 4 to 5 inches tall, they are truly teacup sized.

Typically speaking, a Teacup Yorkie will be a tan dog with a black saddle, however, they can also be seen with black, blue or silver coloring.

White Teacup Yorkies exist but it is an extremely rare and recessive white gene that causes the paler coloring and consequently this drives the price up.

Their long, straight coat is soft to the touch, which falls straight on the dogs back.

One common misconception is that this is a hypoallergenic dog, this is unfortunately not true.

As they shed less than other breeds, they do not trigger the same allergic reaction that you may see from other breeds. Yorkies only shed when bathed or brushed, and consequently they do not release as much as dust or dander that causes the reaction.

Grooming a Teacup Dog

The Teacup Yorkie coat may require a lot of maintenance. The traditional long-haired coat of the Yorkie requires daily brushing to keep their hair from getting knotted.

Due to their longer hair, Teacup Yorkies may have trouble seeing if their hair covers their eyes. You may wish to give this hair a trim or ask your groomer to do so.

To really maintain the coat, small amounts of coconut oil can be applied periodically, as is traditional with the breed.

Alternatively, the coat can be clipped by a groomer for a much lower maintenance dog. This shorter clipped coat requires less regular brushing, but, still requires a proper groom every few days.

Brush with a pin comb to really comb through the hairs and encourage the coat to shine.

Nail clipping and ear cleaning should be done once monthly by an experienced groomer or veterinarian. Never attempt to do this if you do not know how.

Teacup Yorkie


That just about wraps it up, everything you need to know about a Teacup Yorkie.

These very sweet little dogs need a careful owner who can make sure that they are very well looked after and protected from any potential accidents.

This means a pet and child free home, as well as minimal access to stairs and anything else they could injure themselves on.

Teacup Yorkies are kind, loving dogs, who make wonderful companions for adults of all ages, background and lifestyles. Cute and compact, they do well in apartments and bigger homes alike. They need little exercise but a lot of affection and grooming.

Do you have an adorable pup at home? Are you thinking about getting one? Let us know what you think of these incredible designer dogs.

John Woods Headshot
John Woods is the Founder of All Things Dogs and leads our editorial team as our Editor in Chief. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, he has been a dog lover since he was 13 years old. John is parent to Nala, a working lab retriever. John has also volunteered at multiple animal shelters, where he gained firsthand experience of rehabilitation and force-free positive reinforcement training methods.


  1. I had 2 little girls 12yr 4lb and a 14yr old 3lb they were my world. I can’t seem to find an honest reliable breeder; I’m a 70yr old retired mom who needs a baby again and need help in my search. Can you please give me some advice?

  2. Hello. We just lost our 15 year old little min pin fur baby girl. We are very interested in a list of approved breeders for the teacup Yorkie. Thank you.

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