Monday, April 14, 2014

"Teacup" Puppies For Sale

You've seen the advertisements in the papers, online and sometimes in pet store windows: Teacup puppies for sale! The only problem is, there is no such thing as a "teacup". "Teacup" is a term made up by bad breeders and puppy mills to lure impulsive people into buying from them. Breeds like Yorkies, Maltese, Poodles, Chihuahuas are all "Toy" breeds meaning they are already on the tiny side. Words like "teacup", "micro", "mini" are used by bad breeders for dogs that end up being normal size most of the time. They sell the dog at 4 weeks of age (4 weeks younger than is legal in most states) because they look smaller. People are either shocked when their puppy grows to be 3-7 pounds or they don't realize that is standard size and think they have a "teacup" when they don't. You can't tell how big a puppy will be when they are that young. These bad breeders guarantee their puppy will be a certain size as an adult, but that's not a guarantee anyone can make.

"Teacup" is not a size recognized by the AKC. All of the breed clubs now have warnings on their websites about "teacups". There are occassionally runts in the litter that will grow to be less than average size. A good breeder sells these puppies at a LOWER cost than the rest of the litter. I will say that again so that you know it is NOT a typo - a good breeder will sell a runt at a LOWER price than the rest of the litter. Why? It is not up to breed standard. Toy breeds have certain health risks and a runt from those litters stands an even greater chance of suffering major health problems. Toy breeds can live an average of 15 years or more. "Teacups" or runts don't tend to live half that long. In most cases they are so fragile, they don't live more than a few years. The list of genetic and congenital defects in these poor puppies is long:

Open fontanels: soft spot from the cranial bone not forming
Portosystemic shunts: abnormal vessel that allows blood to bypass the liver so the blood is not cleansed as it should be.
Cardiac problems
Collapsing trachea
Luxating patellas
Digestive problems

"Teacup" puppies don't grow properly. Their bones and organs are stunted due to their size. This sets them up for health problems that lead to expensive vet bills or death. Any puppy that does not weigh 2 pounds by 8 weeks is a huge health risk. Most don't live to adulthood. There always rare exceptions to the rule when owners educate themselves about the health risks associated with a dog under 3 pounds. Those dogs are lucky to have owners who did their research and were willing to give up sleep, social lives and money (for vet care) to insure that they reached adulthood.

If your dog weighs 3 pounds or more, you do not have a "teacup." You have a standard size (insert breed here). This is the most common misconception people have. They tell people that their "teacup" is healthy at 4 pounds when they don't actually have a "teacup." They simply paid for a label and got a standard size dog at a more expensive price. Don't be fooled. Good breeders will not label their dogs "teacup", "micro", "miniature", "pocket" or "toy." Toy is already implied in the breed itself.

For more information, you can click on the following links:
Chihuahua Club of America

Yorkshire Terrier Club of America

(NOTE: The Yorkie pictured is purebred and up for adoption through a Fresno rescue group. You can find purebred puppies and dogs in ANY shelter. This one is 10 months old, but shelters and breed rescues across the country get them younger and older than that age. If you do your homework, you can find exactly what you are looking for. Meredith and I are always available to help you in your search.)


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