Teacup Shih Tzu: The small, fragile dog

teacup shih tzu
The Teacup Shih Tzu is an adorable dog, but they come with many health problems

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Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Jackie Castle

Many people love teacup dogs or mini dogs. These mini dogs are just too cute to handle. They might be small, but they are full of love. One of those dogs is the Teacup Shih Tzu.

Teacup dogs are called that because they can literally fit into a teacup. But how could breeders even make such a small dog? How is it possible for a dog to be so tiny?

But, that’s not the only question you should ask. There is a lot of talk about the Teacup dogs’ health. And for good reason. Many people believe these tiny dogs come with big health problems.

Teacup Shih Tzu – What to know

The Teacup Shih Tzu is a ball of fluff. To get them breeders find the smallest Shih Tzu dogs and breed them together.

FUN FACT: The smallest dogs in a litter are called runts.

By breeding runts breeders keep the characteristics of the original breed but get them in a smaller version. But, breeders can’t completely control how big the puppies will be.

The Teacup Shih Tzu might be a small dog, but they come with a big price tag! The standard Shih Tzu costs around 1000 dollars. But the mini version, so the Teacup Shih Tzu costs up to 1500 dollars!

What they look like

So what does the Teacup Shih Tzu look like?

These dogs are around six inches tall (or should we say small) and weigh less than seven pounds. In comparison, the average Shih Tzu is around 10 inches tall and weighs between nine to 16 pounds.

Even though they are smaller than the standards Shih Tzus, they are still within the rules of the AKC. This means they are recognized by this kennel club.

The difference between the standard Shih Tzu and the Teacup Shih Tzu

These dogs come in many colors. But the most common combination is black or grey patches on a white base. However, you can see blends of black, white, light bright, dark brown, and reddish hair as well.

What they’re like

The Teacup Shih Tzu is exactly like the standard Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzus were bred to be companion dogs. So, they love to be with you all the time. Everything they want in life is to be with you. No matter what you’re doing.

They love to show affection and your lap will be their favorite place to be. They will be the happiest when they are with their family, giving and getting attention.

But, just because they are affectionate and loving, it doesn’t mean they are couch potatoes. They are actually very active. They love being outside and lively. The Shih Tzu might even bark at your visitors to show them who is the boss. But they’ll end up just cuddling with whoever came to your house.

What’s important to mention is that Shih Tzus are difficult to housebreak. It won’t be easy to teach them where they have to do their business.

They will probably have many accidents inside your house. In that case, you need to be firm and determined, but at the same time stay kind. Don’t be harsh or mean to your dog if they end up peeing on your carpet.

If you want more info on how to house train a dog you can check out our article titled “How to house train a dog? NOAH strategy“.


Shih Tzus, including the Teacup Shih Tzu, don’t shed! But, they need a lot of grooming. Their coat is long so you will need to brush it every day! Only this way will it stay healthy and shiny. And it won’t get matted.

You’ll make it easier for yourself if you have a grooming routine. Buy all of the needed supplies and set up a time when you will groom your dog.

Because their coat is so long many dog owners clip it during the summer. By clipping your Shih Tzus coat you are minimizing the risk of them overheating.


The Teacup Shih Tzu is a tiny dog but big health issues. Teacup dogs are known for having many health problems. Which is the reason why these dogs are so controversial.

Puppies that are born from runts are at a higher risk of having serious health problems.

Periodontal Disease

It’s also called periodontitis. This is a gum disease that even humans can have! It’s a progressive disease caused by bacteria in the mouth that damages the gums, bones, and other supporting structures of the teeth.

Sadly, in many cases, this disease goes unnoticed. Signs usually appear when the disease is already advanced.

Misaligned Teeth

Teacup Shih Tzus are tiny dogs with tiny mouths and tiny teeth. Because of this, they are prone to having misaligned teeth. Some even miss certain teeth completely.


Because the Teacup Shih Tzu is so small, their organs are small too. So it’s hard for their body to regulate blood sugar. That’s when seizures happen. If their blood sugar is extremely low, your dog could fall into a life-threatening coma!

Respiratory problems

You can say that a Teacup Shih Tzu is an undeveloped dog. So, they have undeveloped lungs as well. The air passages and lungs of a Teacup Shih Tzu might not be fully developed and functional, which could lead to a relapse or complete lung failure.

Some of the symptoms of this condition are nasal discharge, a fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.


The Teacup Shih Tzu is an adorable dog. They are loving and affectionate. These dogs are really the definition of companion dogs. They have many great traits and could fit into every family.

Because of their size, they might not be the best for families with small children. But, if you have kids and want a Teacup Shih Tzu, you need to teach your child how to treat the dog. They need to know that they have to be gentle and not fall or step on the dog. It’s a little bit of a risk, but it can work.

But, they also come with many health issues. So they really need a good home. They need someone who will take good care of them. These dogs are very fragile and need a responsible owner. And they need an owner that will be able to pay for all the vet bills.

So, if you think you can handle their many health problems, mentally and financially. Then maybe the Teacup Shih Tzu is the right dog for you.

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