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Caring For Your Teacup Yorkie
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Caring For Your Teacup Yorkie

Amelia, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Dec 3, 2020

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A small dog packed full of personality and energy, the teacup Yorkie weighs in at under 4 pounds. Its tiny stature makes it the smallest dog in the world. This lovable breed is just a smaller version of the standard Yorkshire terrier, which weighs about twice as much. They hail from England, originating just about 100 years ago.

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Getting to know the teacup Yorkie

Toy breeds are often associated with cutesy bows and a designer purse lifestyle. However, teacup Yorkies have earned the nickname "the tomboy toy," thanks to their spunky personality. Confident and courageous, these little dogs carry their heads high. Their mannerisms project vigor, alertness, and self-importance. They're also extremely good at canine sports. In fact, they're a favorite in the agility ring and a go-to breed in the world of therapy dogs and travel companions.

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High-maintenance, hypoallergenic coats

Many dog breeds have lovely fluffy or sleek coats but none are quite like the flowing, silky hair of a Yorkie. Their lack of an undercoat means these dogs barely shed and are hypoallergenic, so they can be a suitable pet if most dogs give you the sniffles. Yorkies' coats are desirable but high-maintenance, requiring daily brushing to prevent tangles. Their hair is delicate and rubbing against carpet can cause breakage, which is why many owners put them in sweaters or clothing. Groomers might recommend a short "puppy cut" for easier maintenance.

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They need an owner who can give them lots of attention

It's clear that teacup Yorkies can be quite high-maintenance. Being lovable and affectionate, they tend to grow very attached to their human companions and often suffer from separation anxiety. They do not like to be left alone for too long, which is why you often see these dogs tagging along everywhere their owner goes. If you have a busy lifestyle and cannot provide constant companionship or a suitable alternative – day care, a pet sitter, or video interaction, for example – a teacup Yorkie might not be the right breed for you.

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Tiny bladders mean frequent bathroom breaks

In addition to needing lots of attention and affection, teacup Yorkies need you (or someone) around to take them outside for frequent bathroom breaks. All the organs, including the bladder, are tinier in these miniature dogs, which means they can't hold their pee for very long. House training is achievable but can be difficult, and incontinence can be an issue.

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Their hunting roots make them prone to chasing small prey

Teacup Yorkies are just smaller standard Yorkshire terriers and have the same hunting instincts as their larger relatives. Breeders made Yorkshire terriers to chase and kill mice and other pests. This heritage means today's teacup Yorkies still have a very strong prey drive. They are not a great fit for households where pet rodents or other small pets reside.

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Yappiness is in their blood, but you can work on training it out

Teacup Yorkies have a confident, even arrogant, personality, so it's not surprising they like to make themselves known. They're also territorial by nature. This means they'll always make an effort to defend their home, even if it's just from the mailman making his daily run. This makes them quite a "yappy" breed, prone to barking whenever someone knocks. Fortunately, all dogs are trainable. With positive reinforcement and other training techniques, you can break these habits.

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Constant mental stimulation is an absolute necessity

Teacup Yorkies are prone to anxiety. That, when paired with their energy levels, can make them quite destructive. To save your shoes, make sure you give your Yorkie plenty of mental stimulation. Good examples are puzzle toys and trick training. Socialize them regularly and make time for playtime, too, which can reduce anxiety and stress in any breed of dog.

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They need gentle play, especially as they age

They may love to run and jump, but be mindful of how you play with your teacup Yorkie, because they have very fragile bones. Don't allow them to jump to and from high surfaces. Also, be careful with obstacles that might be in the way when playing chase. As they age, pay special attention to their bone health. Your veterinarian will likely suggest a supplement for prolonging skeletal strength.

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Your grooming routine should go beyond brushing

While combing or brushing your Yorkie is a must to avoid tangles, your daily grooming routine will be a bit more involved than that. Beyond a regular bath and trim, keep their nails trimmed up and have both a professional groomer and vet check them over regularly. Ear issues, such as wax build-up and infections, are common, so your routine should involve regular ear cleaning.

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Anticipate feeding them every 3 to 4 hours, every day

While they don't eat much, teacup Yorkies do need a very balanced, specialized diet along with a consistent feeding schedule. This breed is prone to low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, which is why skipping a meal could be a very big deal. Fortunately, they only need about 40 calories per day for each pound of body weight. That means a standard 4-pound teacup Yorkie will only consume around 160 calories daily.

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