Toy vs. Teacup

by Debra Levy
    Chihuahuas are a popular toy breed.

    Chihuahuas are a popular toy breed.

    Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    "Toy" and "teacup" are terms used to describe the size of certain types of dogs -- but don't let the terms fool you. Toy breeds belong to a group of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. Teacup breeds, however, are the unofficial name given to very small dogs that can be the design of unscrupulous breeders.


    The toy group consists of small, sometimes tiny, dogs who are considered to be perfect companion pets. Because of their size, the toy breed is often the choice of city dwellers or those who live in apartments. Some examples include Yorkshire terriers, shih tzus, poodles, Italian greyhounds and Chihuahuas.


    Teacup dogs are not recognized by the AKC, which only sanctions various breeds covered by the toy group. However, breeders refer to teacups as any pups who are extremely small in stature. As a rule, adult teacups are 4 pounds or less.


    Certain breeds of teacups, like Yorkies, can be more prone to hypoglycemia, although they often outgrow the risk as they age. And because of their delicate bone structure, teacups are more prone to injury. Finally, if you buy a pup, make sure the breeder is reputable and uses only healthy bloodlines.

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    About the Author

    Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

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