One look at this video and you’ll most likely fall in love with Teacup Shih Tzus. This isn’t really surprising since these dogs are unbearably cute with their small size and furry faces. But you have to realize that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Teacup Shih Tzus, and you need to know about these issues before you go out and buy one.
Is Teacup Shih Tzu a Breed?
For one thing, Teacup Shih Tzus aren’t exactly a breed. There’s only one breed that’s recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and it’s the Shih Tzu. The standard Shih Tzu weighs between 9 to 16 pounds (with some even weighing 19 pounds) and measure 11 inches maximum at the withers. However, there are a lot of Shih Tzus that fall below these measurements. Some are bred according to AKC standards but are naturally born smaller than normal, while others are specifically bred to grow up to weigh around 7 to 8 pounds. There are no problems with either of these situations, and these smaller dogs are often called “Teacup”, which signifies their smaller stature.
The problem lies in breeders who intentionally breed Shih Tzus to be a lot smaller than normal, weighing 5 pounds or even less when fully grown. They mainly do this to keep up with the demand for smaller dogs, which many people prefer since they’re cuter and easier to handle and care for. This is dangerous, though, since Shih Tzus are not meant to be that small!
What Are The Health Effects?
Teacup Shih Tzus that weigh only 5 pounds or below often experience a lot of health issues because their organs are unnaturally tiny. Their stomachs, for example, may not be able to digest solid foods properly because of their size, leading to malnutrition and other digestive problems. Their bladders may also be too small and lead to incontinence problems.
If you really want to own a Teacup Shih Tzu, make sure to get one from a responsible breeder. This way, you’ll get a dog that’s a bit smaller than the AKC standard (around 7 to 8 pounds fully grown) but is less likely to have health issues. However, if you’ve already bought a purposefully bred Teacup Shih Tzu that won’t go beyond 5 pounds in weight, you’ll want to take the right steps to protect your pet’s health.
The first thing you should do is to bring your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian ASAP. This way, he’ll get a check-up and the vet can determine if there’s anything wrong with his overall well-being.
Many Teacup Shih Tzus are prone to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, which means you’ll need to feed your pet more often than regular dogs. If he doesn’t take well to solid foods, you might have to ask your vet if you can give your Shih Tzu a formula that meets all his nutritional needs.
Teacup Shih Tzus usually have fragile bones and get injured easily. Because of this, you should keep your Shih Tzu away from bigger dogs who love roughhousing play as well as little children who don’t know how to properly handle your pet. They’re also extremely sensitive to temperatures, so you have ensure they don’t get too warm or too cold.
Teacup Shih Tzus require a lot of care. But, once you know how to manage them, they can stay healthy and brighten up your life.