~written by Kathryn Henzerling
Copyright January 2005
The ‘teacup” (or “t-cup”) puppy is an ongoing discussion on most professional Toy Breed websites and forums. Professional breeders claim that “There is No Such thing as a teacup puppy!”. This is very true…to a point.
There is no more a teacup puppy than there is a Labradoodle, Maltipoo or Puggle. These are slang terms that people have made up. Other Toy dog breeders have presumably had the same dilemma as Maltese breeders when it comes to dealing with size standards and the teacup puppy.
Is there such thing as a teacup Maltese?
Well, YES………and NO!!
According to the AKC Maltese standards, the adult Maltese shall be “under 7 lbs with from 4-6 lbs being preferred”. Show breeders do not use terms that are not specifically recognized by the AKC standards for their breed!
Do Maltese dogs come in smaller sizes or less than 4 lb. range?…. Yes!
In fact, prior to the AKC standards change on March 10, 1964, The AKC Maltese Standards read, “Three pounds or under” as the standard size for this breed. Today and for the past 50+ years it is the AKC belief that “Overall Quality is to be favored over size”.
Do professional breeders intentionally breed for less than 4 lbs?…. No!
Professional breeders breed for the healthy standard. But in nature, sometimes a tiny will arrive. Is it called a teacup puppy? Not really, but in my opinion…the term ‘teacup’ is just a slang word for ‘below the PREFERRED standard weight”…or “smaller than the PREFERRED standard”.
I don’t get upset about one person using the slang term for a ‘smaller than preferred’ Maltese, but it happens. I’ve been known to throw around some slang terms myself!