Teacup Shih Tzu: Interesting Facts To Know About These Tiny Lion Dogs!

tiny shih tzu in a teacup

Shih Tzu dog breed, or the “Lion Dog,” is a famous lapdog for its adorable good looks, perky personality, and affectionate temperament. They belong to the small dog category and are great companions for homes with limited spaces. But what if you can get an even smaller version of these cute dogs? Make way for the glamorously tiny Teacup Shih Tzu!

The Teacup Shih Tzu is not a separate breed from the standard, but they are an undersized version with a beautiful name. According to American Kennel Club (AKC), the standard size of the adult Shih Tzu dog is 9 to 16 pounds in weight and 9 to 10.5 inches in height. Those who are way below these measures are described as “toy,” “mini,” “imperial,” and “teacup.” A teacup Shih Tzu puppy may naturally occur in a litter, but sometimes they are bred deliberately. These dogs grow to a full adult weight of 7 to 8 pounds. And like other teacup varieties, they are also at a higher risk of having more health conditions due to their size.

Despite the risk, Teacup Shih Tzu remains a popular pet choice for families and pet owners. They look cuter than the standard size and have that puppy-like appearance even when they become adults. Let’s take a closer look at these delightfully tiny canines and learn more about their temperaments, grooming, and caring needs.

What Does the Teacup Shih Tzu Look Like?

very cute shih tzu dog

Typically, a fully-grown teacup Shih Tzu weighs less than 8 pounds and has a height of less than 7 inches from the shoulder. Most teacup dogs are around 5 to 7 pounds. Any dog falling below this is unlikely to live a long life.
You will see that everything about the Teacup Shih Tzu is the same as their standard-size cousins when it comes to appearance. They have a large round head, protruding eyes, and a small body structure even when fully grown. They also have short legs and long bodies like any other Shih Tzu varieties.

Teacup Shih Tzu also sports a long and double coat that can grow very long if not clipped. The most common colors in this teacup variety include black, liver, silver, brindle, gold, white and red.

The Temperament of the Teacup Shih Tzu

The name “Shih Tzu” literally translates to “little lion,” but there is nothing ferocious about the behavior of the teacup Shih Tzu. They are still regarded as courageous little pets because they can stand up and defend themselves and their owners when the need arises. Owners also love that these dogs are caring, playful, and loyal companions.

Like the standard Shih, teacup Shih Tzu dogs are also highly territorial. They will do their best to protect their owners, home, and property against intruders. But they also love to sit on laps and are very cuddly. They love to play with little kids and can be the perfect companion for families, big or small.

With the sweet and friendly temperament of the teacup Shih Tzu, they quickly get along with other pets and children. However, because of the teacup Shih Tzu’s tiny size and fragile structure, owners should monitor their interaction with little kids or pets. They can easily get injured or accidentally killed.

What is the Lifespan of the Teacup Shih Tzu?

Every teacup dog owner is aware that their pets have a shorter lifespan than standard-sized dogs. But still, losing a beloved pet that is adorable and pricey is a depressing thing to happen. By carefully raising them and giving them the best care possible, a healthy and adequately bred teacup Shih Tzu has a lifespan of about 12 years or more.

The number of years that a teacup Shih Tzu lives can be affected by the breeding practices applied to produce them. Unconventional methods might cause teacup Shih Tzu puppies to be sickly, susceptible to various health issues, and a shorter life span.

Health Problems Common with Teacup Shih Tzu

Teacup Shih Tzu is prone to the same health problems that affect the standard size Shih Tzu. However, these conditions may become more pronounced because of their diminutive size. It is a fact that toy and teacup dog breeds are prone to an array of illnesses that can significantly affect the quality of their life or shorten their lifespan.

Pet owners of Teacup Shih Tzu should look out for these conditions and address them at the onset of signs or symptoms to prevent them from worsening.


Low blood sugar count or hypoglycemia is a common health issue in small dog breeds. Teacup Shih Tzu is more likely to have this condition than the regular-sized ones. Dogs with this ailment require small, frequent feedings to have a steady energy supply throughout the day. Teacup Shih Tzu puppies have a small stomach and often a high energy level, and they need small portions of food at least 4 to 5 times a day.

If your pet is not tolerant of solid food, ask your veterinarian for a formula that will provide the nourishment that his little body needs with this condition.


Shih Tzus are brachycephalic dog breeds, meaning they have a shortened skull and a flat snout. Some of the fleshy palates inside their mount partially obstruct the throat and the airway. It often leads to breathing difficulties in dogs of the same condition. The case worsens for teacup Shih Tzu because their smaller structure means an even shorter skull and a flatter nose. At some point, they will experience labored breathing, especially if they are exhausted. They may also suffer from a common problem related to brachycephaly, the stenotic nares – this condition refers to the constriction of the opening of the nostrils.

Fragile Bones

Teacup dogs are expected to have tiny and fragile bones. If your teacup Shih Tzu is allowed to play with bigger dogs and children, there must be a responsible person to care for them. These tiny dogs should not be allowed to jump too high and must be trained to stay away from high traffic areas.

Back Problems

Teacup Shih Tzu has long backs and short legs; thus, they are prone to intervertebral disk diseases. This health condition can lead to chronic pain for the little dog. Severe cases of IVDD can cause spasms and even paralysis in dogs.

Eye Problems

The Shih Tzu’s eyes are large and protruding as they have shallow eye sockets. The same is observed in teacup Shih Tzu varieties. It makes them susceptible to various eye conditions such as Epiphora and Entropion.

Epiphora is an eye condition wherein there is an excessive flow of tears that stains the eye area’s fur. Entropion happens when the eyelids grow inwards towards the eyeballs. It causes the lashes to rub against the eyeball and lead to irritation.

Dental Health Problems

Due to their tiny mouths, it is hard to provide thorough dental care for the teacup Shih Tzu. As they get older, the build of tartar and plaque makes them more prone to dental health problems, including unhealthy gums and teeth.

cute shih tzu dog sitting in the garden

Grooming Requirement of the Teacup Shih Tzu Dogs

Teacup Shih Tzu is not allowed to compete in any dog show despite their charming looks. Shih Tzu owners often grow their pet’s hair to the floor because it gives them an air royalty. However, such a hairstyle is very time-consuming to maintain. It requires constant brushing to prevent matting and avoid knots from forming.

To highlight the “cuteness,” while having an easy-to-maintain do, most owners opt for the popular puppy cut hairstyle. But of course, it will still be up to you to choose the best ‘do for your Teacup Shih Tzu puppy.
Shih Tzu dogs, whether they are toys or teacups, need to visit groomers regularly. They have fast-growing coats that require trimming at least every six weeks or so. Groomers must also clip inside the ears, in-between the toe pads, around the bum, and genitals.

Likewise, Teacup Shih Tzu nails also need trimming in-between groomer visits as they grow quicker than their coat. Pet owners can learn how to clip the toenails and trim the hair growing profusely between the toe pads.

How Much Exercise Does a Teacup Shih Tzu Need?

Shih Tzus, including their teacup version, have short legs that are not designed for long-distance runs. However, these dogs love strolling and playing with their owners. You can take them for a short walk or have a game of fetch to fulfill their daily exercise needs.

These tiny dogs are surprisingly active despite their delicate teddy-bear-like appearance. They are energetic, and they love outdoor adventures. On the other hand, always watch out for signs of hypoglycemia as these dogs don’t have much energy reserves to sustain their love of play.

If you live in a small apartment, you can quickly satisfy their need for physical activities and mental stimulation with indoor games several times a day. They will be happier if you can go out, meet other dogs and people, and explore the world.

After a day of play, you can expect your teacup Shih Tzu dog to revert to its lapdog personality and adapt to a pampered, luxurious lifestyle. They are very social beings who love soaking on your attention, cuddles, and affection.

Training Tips For Your Teacup Shih Tzu

Early training is crucial in any dog breed. There is always some challenge in a breed with a defiant, stubborn nature like the Shih Tzu dog. They are brilliant and willing to please, but there will be instances that they don’t like to train at all. Here are a few tips to help you housebreak and train your teacup Shih Tzu puppy.

Set The Rules

Pet owners must remain firm and consistent with the rules that they establish for the new puppy. Teacup Shih Tzu puppies are hard to resist, but they are intelligent and will soon understand what is expected of them through consistent training.

Praise and Reward Your Puppy

As you continue with your training, offer your dog praises and rewards for the commands they follow correctly and for their excellent behavior. Ignore and do not punish them if they misbehaved. Teacup Shih Tzu loves praises and rewards, and they also love pleasing their owners, so they will work harder to learn during training.

Teach Them Simple Commands

After housebreaking a pet, teaching them simple commands are the following things you do with your teacup Shih Tzu puppies. This stage requires consistent and firm training. You will need a lot of patience and rewards to teach them proper responses to your commands.

Avoid Giving Them Too Much Treats

Rewarding your pet during training does not mean that you will always give them treats or food. Rewards can be anything that will make them feel happy and loved. Given them praises for their excellent work, a belly rub, or some extra cuddly time.

End Each Training Session With A Reward

Your teacup Shih Tzu dog will be looking forward to their training sessions because they know that you will reward them afterward. Play with them and have some fun after a challenging training session. Doing this will also foster a strong bond between you and make them well-behaved dogs during and after the training sessions.

How Much Do Teacup Shih Tzu Dog Cost?

Teacup Shih Tzu dogs fetch prices ranging from $500 to $2,000 if coming from a reputable breeder. If you want to have a real teacup Shih Tzu, avoid irresponsible breeders and puppy mills. Some breeders will pass off a sicky runt from the litter as a rare “Imperial” or “teacup” puppy and ask for as much as $10,000. Although teacup puppies are not very common, they are not priced exorbitantly; thus, always be careful when looking for a breeder.

Another option you can explore is to adopt a miniature or toy Shin Tzu dog from rescue centers. The fees are lower, and you will give new hope and home to your adorable, sweet, and hopefully tiny Shih Tzu pet!

Is Teacup Shih Tzu An Ideal Pet for Families with Children?

Shih Tzus, big and small, bask in the love, attention, and affection of humans. They are bred to be companion dogs to the Chinese Emperors; thus, they are friendly, outgoing, and cheerful pets to children and adults. They are comfortable and good-natured, even around little children. They are ideal pets for families with kids but exercise caution when they are interacting.

On the other hand, these cute and adorable canines might not welcome being dressed up or groomed endlessly with new hairstyles. Though they love attention, too much of the wrong one can make your teacup Shih Tzu puppies less enthusiastic about playing with the little ones. Therefore, teach your kids how to handle these fragile dogs and how to behave around a pet. Also, make sure that your teacup rests for some time after playing with your kids.

Are Teacup Shih Tzu Aggressive Little Dogs?

Some might expect that Shih Tzus are spunky and defiant little puppies. With a name that means “little lion,” there is a bit of fierceness in the teacup Shih Tzu, but it is not the aggressive attitude. These dogs are more likely to lick intruders to death than bare their teeth in aggression.

These friendly, sweet-natured dogs are popular because of their mild temperament. On the other hand, small dogs like the teacup Shih Tzu dog may also display the “small-dog syndrome.” It can make them anxious and show aggression towards larger dogs. But for the most part, you can expect them to be on their best behavior – around humans, may they be adults or kids.

How big will a Teacup Shih Tzu dog get?

Teacup Shih Tzus are about three inches shorter than the standard and 10 pounds lighter. The difference in their size is very apparent. Typically, teacup Shihs are only six inches tall and weigh less than seven pounds in their fully grown state.

Is Teacup Shih Tzus healthy?

Teacup and tiny dog breeds are more susceptible to a host of health issues due to their unnaturally tiny body structure – including bones, muscles, and organs. A teacup Shih Tzu dog needs extra care and attention for them to be in the best of health during their lifetime.

What is An Imperial Shih Tzu?

An “Imperial Shih Tzu” is just a fancier name given to teacup Shih Tzus.

Final Thoughts

Shih Tzus are wonderful dog breeds that people big or small would love to have as pets. The teacup Shih Tzu variety is even more adorable because they remain puppy-like in size even in their grown-up state. They have the same looks, temperament, and intelligence as their standard size cousins. You can expect your toy or teacup Shih Tzu dog to be friendly, outgoing, affectionate, loyal, and easy to train. They love people – children included. It makes them an excellent family dog despite worries about their health and size.

If you plan to take home teacup Shih Tzu puppies, make sure to research their health conditions and how you can adequately take care of their needs. Teach your kids how to handle them with care. Likewise, set the rules or train your teacup early so that they know their limits, stay safe and well-behaved. They are susceptible to the same health issues that a standard Shih Tzu dog has, but the condition is more pronounced in their case. If you are lucky enough to find a teacup that resulted from natural breeding, you will have an excellent, happy, and healthy puppy around.

Must Read:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top