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Teacup Maltese: A Complete Guide to This Miniature Pooch

Cute teacup Maltese dog in a baby buggy
Height:3 – 6 inches
Weight:2 – 4 pounds
Lifespan:12 – 15 years
Coat Colors:Solid white, white & lemon, white & light tan
Temperament:Affectionate, responsive, vigilant, playful, outgoing, snuggly
Suitable for:Active households; first-time fur parents; families with older children; singles living in small apartments

The toy Maltese is one of the world’s smallest dogs; however, there is even a smaller version called the Teacup Maltese.

In fact, this variant of the breed is so tiny that it can easily fit into a handbag or even in your coat pocket.

Although some people may scoff at the idea of teacup dogs as pets, these minuscule creatures are highly valued in the United States for their companionship and cuteness.

So if you want to own a Teacup Maltese but aren’t sure whether they’re right for you or not, keep reading!

This article provides a detailed overview of the origin, traits, and health concerns associated with these pint-sized pups.

What Is a Teacup Maltese?

Cute teacup Maltese dog sitting on the rock

The Teacup Maltese, also known as the mini Maltese, is a tiny variety of an already small breed. They share the same traits as standard Maltese dogs but are more compact due to the dwarfism gene. When fully grown, these small dogs stand no taller than seven inches at the shoulder.

As such, you can expect that Teacup Maltese dogs make great companions for individuals who live in small apartments or condos.

They’re also ideal for those who have trouble lifting heavy items or bending down to play with their pets.

It’s worth noting, however, that the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the term “teacup” when describing a dog breed.

This means that the tiny Teacup Maltese may not meet the breed standard set by this association.

So even if the dog is a purebred Maltese and not an entirely separate breed, there’s a high chance that this pooch won’t be able to compete in conformation shows.

Nonetheless, with the miniature Maltese dog’s playful nature and adorable looks, it is easy to see why many dog owners are drawn to these little pups.

Teacup Maltese Origin and History

In terms of the history of the Teacup Maltese variant, no official records can be traced back to their origins.

However, because they’re still the same breed as the regular Maltese, this small dog has likely existed for hundreds of years.

Generally speaking, the Maltese breed has been around since Roman times. Their name is derived from Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, and they were originally bred to be companion dogs to royalty and nobility.

Furthermore, since this ancient breed has been around for so long, they go by many aliases, including the following:

  • Melitae Dog
  • Bichon
  • Maltese Terrier
  • Spaniel Gentle
  • Maltese Lion Dog
  • Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta
  • The Comforter
  • Roman Ladies Dog

But as the years passed, the demand for teacup breeds skyrocketed due to their popularity among celebrities and social media influencers.

This resulted in an influx of people wanting to buy these little dogs as pets.

Thus, many facilities started creating micro Maltese puppies by breeding a standard Maltese with other smaller dogs, such as Miniature Poodles or Chihuahuas.

Some breeders also purposely mate two Maltese runts in hopes of producing the tiniest pups possible.

Teacup Maltese Size and Weight

Close up of two newborn teacup Maltese dogs

Compared to the size and weight of an already tiny toy Maltese, a full-grown Teacup Maltese is a very small dog.

On average, they can stand between 3 and 6 inches tall, with a weight ranging from 2 to 4 pounds.

Aspiring dog owners should also know that it takes about six months for a miniature Maltese puppy to reach its adult weight and size.

However, whether you decide to go for a male or female Teacup Maltese dog, their genes, diet, environment, and lifestyle will still determine how big or little they become as an adult.

Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that even though Teacup Maltese dogs are short in stature, they consistently require proper maintenance to thrive.

These tiny dogs are also predisposed to obesity, so knowing how much food your furry friend should be eating is crucial for their health.

Teacup Maltese Appearance

Two tiny teacup Maltese puppies sit with red heart together

When it comes to the appearance of the Teacup Maltese breed, you can expect their coats to be long and silky with a soft feel. In fact, these canines often look like they’re wearing lengthy satin robes.

The American Kennel Club (AKC)’s standard for the Maltese dog breed also specifies that they should be solid white with no markings.

However, the only exception is if there’s a presence of lemon or light tan spots on their ears.

Thus, if someone offered you a black-colored Teacup Maltese puppy, you should immediately suspect that they are not purebred.

Other than the difference in their size, Toy Maltese and Teacup Maltese dogs share similar characteristics.

They both possess dark, almond-like eyes, a short muzzle, floppy ears held close to their heads, and long tails that curve over their backs when standing straight up on all four legs.

Teacup Maltese Temperament and Personality

A white toy teacup Maltese dog outside in tall grass

Among all the breeds in the toy dog group classified by the American Kennel Club, the Maltese dog, in general, is known for its friendly and outgoing temperament.

Thus, you can expect that a Teacup Maltese makes a good family dog. However, obedience training and socialization should still be given at a young age to ensure that they will grow into a well-rounded adult.

Households with very young children should also be aware that Teacup Maltese dogs do not tolerate rough handling.

So if you have a toddler, it’s best to wait until they’re older before bringing home this teacup-sized pup.

As a sociable dog breed, these lap dogs thrive on human interaction. If left alone for too long, they may develop behavioral problems such as excessive barking and separation anxiety.

Nevertheless, Teacup Malteses are very loyal and affectionate toward their owners. They are also highly energetic and playful with other dogs.

Teacup Maltese Lifespan and Health Issues

Similar to regular Maltese, the Teacup Maltese can live between 12 and 15 years. While the term “teacup” has a lot of negative connotations in terms of wellness, this tiny pup can be just as healthy as a large dog.

However, as with other dog breeds, Teacup Maltese dogs are susceptible to several health problems. For example, their fragile bones — which are prone to breakage and fractures — require special care.

To be specific, here are some of the most common health issues that can affect the lifespan of a Teacup Maltese:

  • Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar: If your Maltese Teacup dog is often lethargic, has discoloration on its skin and gums, and suffers from seizures, it may have hypoglycemia. This condition happens when your pooch has a low blood sugar level, which can be caused by consuming too much insulin or too little food.
  • Periodontal Disease: Like all toy breeds, Teacup Maltese dogs are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Because of their tiny teeth, the bacteria that cause the infection can easily get into the gum tissue and cause inflammation.
  • Mast Cell Tumors (MCTs): Regardless of breed, another health problem that shortens the longevity of most dogs is a type of cancer called mast cell tumors. MCTs can appear anywhere on a Teacup Maltese dog’s body and spread quickly. If left untreated, these tumors or bumps can be fatal.
  • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS): One of the genetic health issues that can affect Teacup Maltese dogs is the portosystemic shunt or liver shunt. This is a disorder where the dog’s blood does not flow through the liver effectively and instead flows through a separate path.

Despite being an adorable breed, it’s evident that the Teacup Maltese dog faces various health issues that can reduce its life expectancy.

Consequently, buying from a reputable breeder and investing in pet insurance are the best ways to ensure your Maltese dog lives a healthy, long life.

How to Take Care of Your Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese dog feeding her teacup puppies on a bed at home

Being a dog parent is one of the most rewarding things in the world, but it is not always easy. As established earlier, Teacup Maltese dogs are at greater risk of developing many health problems.

So if you are new to the world of dog ownership, or perhaps you are looking for additional tips and tricks to help your Teacup Maltese live a happy life, this section will be your guide.

Food and Diet

Like most teacup breeds, the Teacup Maltese requires a special diet to maintain a healthy weight. However, your pet’s age, activity level, and overall health can affect how much they need to consume daily.

Usually, pint-sized pooches like this should eat ½ to 1 ⅓ cups of food throughout the day. Fur parents should also be mindful of their dog’s size and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly.

Furthermore, the number of calories, animal protein, and fats they get from their meals must be modified as well.

While table scraps and treats are great for encouraging good behavior when training Teacup Maltese puppies, they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of a pup’s daily diet.

Another thing to remember is the foods that Teacup and Toy Maltese dogs can and can’t eat. These include dairy products, grapes, raisins, and citrus fruits, to name a few.

READ NEXT: How Much to Feed a Maltese (Puppy & Adult Feeding Chart)

Cleaning and Grooming

Known for their long, silky hair, Teacup Malteses require regular grooming and cleaning to maintain their elegant appearance.

Fortunately, dog owners can easily buy the right supplies and tools in pet stores and online shops.

First, a Teacup Maltese parent should invest in a gentle brush that can remove tangles and tear stains without damaging the canine’s coat. Ideally, brushing thrice every week should be sufficient for most dogs.

Second, your pet needs to visit the groomer once a month for professional maintenance. This includes bathing, clipping nails, and trimming hair if necessary.

Finally, in terms of oral hygiene and ear cleaning, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice daily and check for foul odors from the ears once per week.

If you want to learn how to bathe a Teacup Maltese, watch this video:

PUPPY'S FIRST BATH! [Teacup Maltese]

Training and Exercise

When it comes to training, Teacup Maltese dogs respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

Although they are intelligent like their toy Maltese cousins, their stubborn streak can sometimes make them difficult to handle.

Initially, you want to make sure that your furry friend is potty trained before anything else. Once they have mastered this skill, you should work on teaching them how to sit on command and stay still while you put on their leash.

After this step, you can start working on more advanced commands such as “come” and “speak.” Doing this will ensure that your pup is safe in the presence of other dogs or people.

Due to their energetic nature, Maltese Teacup puppies will need 15 minutes of daily exercise. This time can be divided into multiple short play sessions throughout the day.

How Much Does a Teacup Maltese Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Four teacup Maltese puppies for sale and adoption

A micro Teacup Maltese puppy usually costs around $750 to $3,500, depending on the reputation of your chosen breeder, the location, the pup’s overall quality, and whether or not they come with an AKC registration.

But if you want to save money, you can always adopt a teacup dog instead. For an adoption fee ranging from $200 to $500, you can take home an adorable Teacup Maltese from a local shelter or rescue group.

Here is a rundown of the initial expenses associated with owning a miniature Maltese pup:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$50 – $80
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Bed$30 – $150
Crate$30 – $200
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$20 – $30
Grooming Essentials$30 – $150
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$525 – $1,995

As seen in the table above, you should prepare as much as $1,995 for a Maltese Teacup puppy.

It should be noted, though, that this estimate does not include emergency vet bills, grooming costs, or any other unexpected fees.

To learn more about the recurring and potential expenses related to Teacup Maltese ownership, check out our article about how much a Maltese dog costs.

RELATED: How Much Does a Maltese Cost? (2022 Price Guide)

Places to Find Teacup Maltese Puppies for Sale and Adoption

With the increasing number of backyard breeders and puppy mills today, finding reputable breeders who can offer you healthy Teacup Maltese puppies can be challenging.

The following are some of the most reliable Teacup Maltese breeders and kennels:

  • Bella Dolce Maltese (BDM) – As a proud member of the American Kennel Club, BDM kennel is devoted to producing Teacup and regular Maltese puppies with the best possible health, temperament, and appearance.
  • Always Maltese – Alan and Veronica Fawcett of Always Maltese kennel are committed to breeding high-quality pups. And if you choose to buy from them, you’ll get an already housetrained and socialized miniature Maltese puppy.
  • Rhapsody Maltese – If you are from Texas, another reputable breeder that you might want to consider is Rhapsody Maltese. This kennel takes pride in selling Teacup Maltese puppies that are bred from outstanding bloodlines.

Besides the places listed above, you can refer to our list of the best Maltese breeders in the United States.

RELATED: 10 Best Maltese Breeders (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

Also, make sure to read our puppy buying guide to help you dodge common pitfalls and scams when looking for your fur baby.

However, if you are interested in adopting a mini Maltese dog, contact the following rescues:

  • Lil’ Paws Maltese Rescue (LPMR) – Starting with LMPR, this volunteer-run organization devotes its time to saving and rehoming Maltese Teacup dogs. To be considered, adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old and reside in the Austin Metro area.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder is a website with an extensive database of adoptable pets. If you are lucky, you may find a Teacup Maltese dog available for adoption here.
  • Tiny Paws Rescue (TPR) – TPR is a foster-based organization that rescues and finds loving homes for small-sized dogs like miniature Malteses. For those interested, you can visit their website to see their adoption fees.

If the sources above did not work for you, check out our list of the best Maltese rescues in the country.

Reading our ultimate adoption guide is also strongly suggested if you are new to this challenging but fulfilling process.

Another alternative is to find free puppies in your area for adoption. This way, you’ll be able to take home a Teacup Maltese puppy and save tons of money simultaneously.

RELATED: 10 Best Maltese Rescues for Adoption (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Adorable young white teacup Maltese chilling in the loving house

Do Teacup Maltese Bark a Lot?

Unfortunately, Teacup Maltese dogs tend to bark a lot. Because they do not appreciate being left alone for long periods, they may also resort to chewing on anything that might serve as an outlet for their frustration.

But to prevent your pet’s separation anxiety from becoming too much of a problem, providing mental stimulation is highly recommended.

Are Teacup Maltese Easy to Take Care Of?

Like standard Maltese dogs and other teacup breeds, Teacup Malteses are not easy to take care of.

They’re prone to many health problems, and their tiny size makes them vulnerable to accidents and injuries.

Are Teacup Maltese Hypoallergenic?

Yes, generally, Teacup Maltese dogs are said to be hypoallergenic. It is worth noting, however, that there’s no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic dog breeds.

This just means that Teacup Maltese are less likely to cause allergic reactions than other dogs.

Are Teacup Maltese Good Dogs?

Fortunately, Teacup Maltese are good dogs in general. In fact, many dog lovers will tell you that this is one of the best breeds for first-time fur parents. That said, early socialization and basic training are still necessary.

Do Teacup Maltese Shed?

If both of the Teacup Maltese puppy’s parents are purebred Malteses, you can guarantee the pup will not shed a lot.

However, if one of them is a mixed breed, there’s a possibility that the pup may shed more than usual.

Are Teacup Maltese Easy to Train?

Yes, Teacup Maltese dogs are usually easy to train. However, as with other dog breeds, using treats, praises, and additional forms of positive reinforcement can help them learn faster.

Final Thoughts: Is a Teacup Maltese the Right Dog for You?

If you’re still unsure whether a Teacup Maltese is the right kind of pup for you or not, you have to keep in mind that the size of this tiny dog is not recommended for families with young kids.

The reason is pretty straightforward: Teacup Maltese dogs can get easily injured by children who don’t know how to handle them or are too rough with them.

But all in all, with this ultimate guide as your reference, you’ll have a great time raising your Teacup Maltese puppy into adulthood!

The helpful tips provided here should prepare you for the journey ahead with your new furry friend.

Share your thoughts about the Teacup Maltese dog in the comments below!