Nowadays, dogs seem to get smaller and smaller, and often this is attributed to the fact that dog owners living in apartments want dogs that are easy to take care of, requiring little exercise regimens, and capable of easily fitting into a purse or even a pocket. Maltese dogs are already small, toy dogs weighing at the most seven pounds, but some breeders have been working on considerably reducing their size to produce teacup variations. There are several differences between toy Maltese and teacup breeds both in physical characteristics and in the ways they are bred.
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Toy and teacup Maltese sizes
Obviously, the most distinct and significant feature that differentiates toys and teacups is size. Regular Maltese dogs are small dogs categorized by the American Kennel Club under the toy group. Maltese dogs stand seven to nine inches tall, making them one of the best dogs for small households. But teacups are significantly smaller when compared to a regular Maltese. To better get the idea of their petite size, teacup Maltese are so small that you can easily fit them in a teacup when they are puppies, hence their name.
Toy and teacup Maltese weights
Of course, small breeds tend to have a light weight. A regular Maltese according to the American Kennel Club's standards should be expected to weigh under seven pounds. With that said, it's preferred that toy Maltese weigh between four to six pounds.
Teacup Maltese full grown, on the other hand, weigh significantly less. Teacup breeds are expected to generally weigh somewhere between two to four pounds.
Toy Maltese breeding methods
Regular toy Maltese dogs are obtained by reputable breeders using traditional breeding methods that focus on improving the breed. But not many people know that in reality, teacups are premature puppies, technically speaking ''runts of the litter'' that are selectively inbred with mostly size in mind. No responsible Maltese breeder would ever breed a female that weighs considerably less than the standard and pass on undesirable genetic flaws.
Toy and teacup breeds health
Maltese dogs are generally considered to be a healthy breed and tend to live a long life for about 12 to 15 years. Weighing and being so little however does not come without significant risks and health problems.
As with any toy breed, both teacup and toy Maltese are prone to dental issues like periodontal disease, so prioritize their dental health with daily teeth brushing and regular veterinary visits. They can also suffer from luxating patella (slipped kneecaps), respiratory issues, and eye diseases. The American Kennel Club recommends that responsible breeders screen for luxating patella and cardiac issues.
Teacup Maltese are significantly prone to health issues when compared to regular Maltese. Conditions common in teacup Maltese are low blood sugar, dental problems, seizures, fragile bones, and significant heart problems just to name a few.
Toy and teacup breeds price
Despite teacup Maltese not being recognized as a breed on their own by the American Kennel Club, unethical breeders use the term ''teacup'' as a marketing ploy, making potential buyers believe they are producing something particularly scarce and precious. Therefore, they will typically ask for a premium for teacup Maltese dogs, considerably much more than what one would expect to pay for a regular-sized, much healthier Maltese.