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The Shih Tzu teacup is the smaller version of the Standard Shih Tzu. It is also known as Imperial Shih Tzu or Miniature Shih Tzu. 

The Shih Tzu breed dog is one of the popular small breeds and its origin is traced to the ancient Chinese Empire.  This dog has a high demand and so breeders found ways to breed small dogs to produce smaller than standard-size puppies. 

These dogs are great to cuddle and will easily fit on your lap. Moreover, Shih Tzus are relatively cheaper to own in terms of food and maintenance. 

Before bringing a Shih Tzu teacup home, it is important to know everything about them. 

What is a Shih Tzu teacup? 

teacup Shih Tzu

The original Shih Tzus is from China and it was owned by Chinese royalty. This was created by breeding with Tibetan breeds like the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. 

They have the background of the lion back to old age and these miniature Shih Tzu Dog have a name which is originated right from Chinese mythology and sources from around the world.

They resemble the appearance of the traditional and Asian art which were formed by the Chinese.

It is to their value that the Teacup Shih Tzu Dog were the dogs who were called in by that name.

It was in the early 20th century, these people came to the United States and other areas.  It was during the decades when tiny dogs gained popularity and so this dog was bred. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC)  does not consider Shih Tzus teacup as a separate dog breed.  Instead, they are considered to be smaller than the AKC standard.  

They usually weigh less than 8 pounds and measure less than 7 inches. Some of these special undersized Shih Tzu types are said to have occurred naturally and grown to about 8 pounds in weight but breeders through several procedures produce a larger number of them.

So although it is the same dog, it does not ideally conform to the club’s breed standard. 

Teacup Shih Tzu appearance 

An adult teacup Shih Tzu usually weighs less than 8 pounds and measures less than 7 inches from the shoulder.  Most would usually be between 5 to 7 pounds. 

It looks similar to that of a normal Shih Tzu with a round head,  puppy-like body, and large eyes.  They also have long bodies and short legs. The Shih Tzu dog breed has a long and double coat that tends to grow to the floor with packed-up hair that doesn’t fall on the eyes. 

The flowing double coat that’s dense, thick, and can either be straight or slightly wavy. Some parents of Shih Tzu will leave their pets with their hair long, while others choose to cut it in many different styles to make grooming easier.

Some common coats come in the colors black, white, liver, gold, brindle, silver, and red.

Shih Tzu Temperament

The positive side

Teacup Shih Tzus have a similar personality to the standard Shih Tzus. These are known for being incredibly loving, affectionate, and friendly and will prefer to be with the owner all the time. 

This dog is sometimes stubborn due to their confident and assertive personality. They will let you know if they want something. They are known to be charming, intelligent, and happy and would make exceptional pets for anyone who wants a loyal and constant companion.

This dog would be a happy dog and will love everyone from kids to elderly people. But make sure to teach the children to play carefully with tiny dogs. They get along with other dogs and pets. 

The downside

Shih Tzu temperament

Although they are affectionate in nature, this can sometimes be a problem as they are prone to separation anxiety and get stressed out when they can’t be with their owners. 

Suffering from separation anxiety may urinate or defecate in the house, chew on things, bark, pace, or whine. If these dogs don’t want to do something, it can be trouble where they can engage in housebreaking. 

They would run into trouble getting their dogs to go potty outdoors, sometimes, so you’ll need to pay extra attention to potty training. 

During training, you will need to be consistent, patient, and calm to help your pet get over this.  While teaching her, rewards and praises will bring out great results, like a well-behaved pooch. 

Shih Tzu teacup care

Obviously, when it comes to caring for Shih Tzus, it is high in maintenance and you need to be concerned about taking care of that glorious coat. 

Also, they have a sensitivity to both heat and cold. Spending long periods of time in the hot sun may make it difficult for your Teacup Shih Tzu to breathe. By keeping your dog around fans or in air-conditioned rooms, you can avoid heat exhaustion. 

You need to protect them during extreme weather and this is why they are high maintenance. 

Shih Tzu Grooming 

The biggest challenge in caring for a miniature Shih Tzu is grooming. At least once a day, you need to brush them, if you want to keep their long coat looking good. 

They need daily brushing to prevent matted or tangled fur and also need a haircut at least once a month to keep their coat healthy and shiny. 

You can trim the dog’s hair with different Shih Tzu haircuts as it would be easy to care for. 

Teacup Shih Tzus shed, though they are not heavy shedders despite all that glamorous hair. They will drop their hair around the home. So be prepared for that. Try investing in some brushes and other tools for your pet. 

Bathe your dog once every few weeks and brush their teeth daily.


Shih Tzu teacup exercises

This dog breed has a lot of energy and loved to play, explore, and run around. But as they are tiny in size, just by running around the house, they get most of their exercise. If you want, you can take them on a walk for 20 minutes or so a day to keep them healthy and happy. 

You can just toss the ball in the backyard with them for a while. Make sure that you schedule some rest time so they do not become too tired.

Training a Shih Tzu 

Shih Tzu responds best to training methods based on praise and rewards. Training a Shih Tzu takes long-term dedication and time. 

Every dog should know the basics like sit, down, stay and come. It helps to behave well around people as well as save their life when in an instance of approaching traffic. A badly behaved Shih Tzu is no fun to be around and can make up annoying your friends at best, and at worst end up in a lot of trouble.

You should never hit your dog, but a simple “No” should be a sufficient correction of its bad behavior. If your Shih Tzu is chewing, take the object away and deliver a firm “No.” If he is barking excessively, place the hands on the  upper and lower jaw, hold the mouth gently closed, and say “No.” 

Your tone of voice is important, and don’t sound frustrated or angry, but just be firm. Training a Shih Tzu would not happen overnight.  But most Shih Tzu is highly intelligent, and with love and patience they will catch on.

Shih Tzu food

It is on its size depends, on how much you feed your dog. A 5-pound dog needs 150 calories per day, which is preferably spread between two meals. 

Look for high-quality food that is made for toy dogs that have a healthy protein as the first ingredient. Provide them with quality meals, as well as healthy snacks for them to play a huge role in keeping your puppy or dog healthy. 

If a Shih Tzu is fed foods with too many chemicals, various health issues will emerge with skin and coat issues and digestive issues being the top concerns. Foods with by-products or fillers can cause problems as well.

Shih Tzu haircuts

Shih Tzu teacup haircuts

When it comes to haircuts for your Shih Tzu, there are several different styles to choose from that range from very short to super long and everything in between. Each individual haircut has variations that can make the selection process even more personalized to your own taste and lifestyle.

Are teacup Shih Tzus healthy dogs?

The standard-size Shih Tzu lives with a lifespan of about 9 to 17 years. But like every other breed of dog, they are prone to certain health conditions and diseases. When dogs are bred to be smaller than they are, they can have a range of health issues. 

The smaller a dog is, the more likely they are to have problems. It is dangerous to breed dogs under five pounds intentionally. Most responsible breeders will refuse to breed a dog that is too small.

Tiny dogs will likely have a shorter lifespan and the Shih Tzu breed averages a lifespan of about 10-16 years, but an extremely small dog will probably have a shorter life. 

They may also have breathing concerns “brachycephaly” because of their flat face, eating problems, hypoglycemia “low blood sugar” or issues with their bones or organs which can dramatically impact your dog’s day-to-day life.

A dog with hypoglycemia needs to be carefully watched and if they have a crash, you will need to wipe their gums. Dogs with breathing problems must be protected from overheating and over-exerting themselves.

Shih Tzu Teacup Breeders

Shih Tzu puppy

It is important to be careful when shopping for a small Shih Tzu. It is hard to find responsible breeders because some breeders aim for standard-sized dogs, but mother nature might decide that one or two pups are just going to be naturally smaller. 

If you find a good breeder, take your dog home, and examine it by a veterinarian right away. A good breeder will encourage you to do this and will be willing to take the dog back if there are any issues. 

He will also be happy to let you meet the parents and answer any questions you have, and show you health certifications. If you have any issues, they will want you to keep in touch and they’ll be willing to take the dog back, no questions asked, if you can’t keep it.

You can check with the AKC or the American Shih Tzu Club for their breeder referral list. They will provide the contact information for reputable breeders. When you get your new puppy home, be sure to socialize them and start training right away to ensure that your dog is well-behaved and adjusted. 

Final thoughts

Should you get a Shih Tzu teacup? The adorable baby face makes people love them.  Remember, that you need to be careful when selecting a dog. Not all toy Shih Tzus are healthy dogs. If you find a good breeder or adopt a healthy pup, you can have a sweet, friendly, loyal, brave companion by your side.

Provide them with proper training, food, and exercise for them to have a happy and healthy life.

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