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Discover the World of Teacup Maltese: Care, Health, and Ownership Tips

Teacup Maltese: Debunking Myths & Understanding Facts (2024)
Published Wednesday, March 15, 2023 by Elena R.

The Teacup Maltese is an undeniably adorable and fascinating variation of the much-loved Maltese breed. With their tiny size and heartwarming charm, it's no wonder that these pint-sized pups have gained significant popularity among dog lovers. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of Teacup Maltese dogs, providing you with accurate and valuable information. 

Our goal is to debunk common myths surrounding this miniature breed while offering essential insights into their health, temperament, and care requirements. We'll also explore how to find a responsible breeder and provide tips for ensuring your Teacup Maltese leads a happy and healthy life. 

Whether you're considering adding one of these enchanting dogs to your family or simply eager to learn more, you'll find everything you need right here. So, let's embark on this journey together and uncover the truth about these captivating, tiny companions. 

What is a Teacup Maltese? teacup maltese on a white background

Definition and Characteristics 

The term "Teacup Maltese" refers to a significantly smaller variation of the standard Maltese dog. While the standard Maltese typically weighs between 4 to 7 pounds, Teacup Maltese dogs often weigh less than 4 pounds and are much smaller in stature. Despite their petite size, these tiny canines still possess the hallmark features of the Maltese breed, including a silky white coat, dark button eyes, and an affectionate disposition. 

RELATED: How Puppies Help Change Your Life For The Better 

How Teacup Maltese Differ from Standard Maltese Dogs 

Although Teacup Maltese dogs share many characteristics with their standard-sized counterparts, there are a few key differences. The most obvious distinction is their size, which is the result of selective breeding practices aimed at producing the smallest puppies possible. It is important to note that the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other reputable dog organizations do not officially recognize the "Teacup" designation, as it falls outside the official breed standard

In addition to their size, Teacup Maltese dogs may also have slightly different care requirements and may be more prone to certain health issues due to their small stature. However, their lovable temperament and affectionate nature remain consistent with the standard Maltese breed. 

RELATED: 5 Facts About the Maltese Dog We Guarantee You'll Love 

The Role of Genetics in Creating Teacup Maltese 

Teacup Maltese dogs are primarily created through selective breeding practices, where the smallest dogs within a litter are bred together to produce even smaller offspring. This process may involve breeding dogs that are smaller than the breed standard or that carry specific genetic traits that result in smaller puppies. It's crucial for potential Teacup Maltese owners to understand the risks associated with these breeding practices, as they can sometimes lead to health issues and genetic abnormalities. However, responsible breeders will prioritize the health and well-being of their puppies over achieving the smallest possible size. 

RELATED: When Do Puppies Stop Growing? 

Debunking Common Myths teacup maltese puppy walking on pavement

Myth 1: Teacup Maltese are a Separate Breed 

One common misconception about Teacup Maltese dogs is that they are a distinct breed, separate from the standard Maltese. In reality, Teacup Maltese are simply smaller versions of the Maltese breed, created through selective breeding practices. As mentioned earlier, reputable dog organizations, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), do not recognize the "Teacup" designation as a separate breed classification. 

Myth 2: Teacup Maltese are Always Unhealthy 

While it is true that Teacup Maltese dogs can be more susceptible to certain health issues due to their small size, it is not accurate to claim that they are inherently unhealthy. Like any dog breed, the health of a Teacup Maltese depends on various factors, including genetics, breeding practices, and proper care. By choosing a responsible breeder and providing appropriate care, all Teacup Maltese can lead happy, healthy lives. 

Myth 3: Teacup Maltese are Easier to Care for than Standard Maltese 

Some people may assume that because of their small size, Teacup Maltese dogs are easier to care for than their standard-sized counterparts. While it's true that their small stature may make certain aspects of care, such as transportation and housing, more convenient, Teacup Maltese dogs still have specific needs and challenges. 

For example, Teacup Maltese may require a specialized diet to ensure they receive proper nutrition in smaller portions. They can also be more prone to injury due to their delicate size, so extra precautions should be taken to keep them safe from harm. Additionally, their small size doesn't exempt them from regular grooming, exercise, and training requirements. Overall, it is essential to understand that owning a Teacup Maltese is still a significant commitment and responsibility, just like owning a standard Maltese dog. 

RELATED: New Puppy Owner Guide 

Health and Care

full grown teacup maltese

Potential Health Issues 

  • Genetic Predispositions 

Due to their small size and selective breeding practices, Teacup Maltese dogs can be predisposed to certain health issues. Some common genetic health concerns for these miniature pups include patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, dental problems, and heart conditions. It's crucial for potential owners to be aware of these risks and to choose a responsible breeder who conducts health testing and follows ethical breeding practices. 

  • Size-related Health Concerns 

In addition to genetic predispositions, Teacup Maltese dogs may also face size-related health challenges. Their small size makes them more fragile and prone to injuries, such as fractures or dislocations. It's essential to handle these tiny pups with care and to provide them with a safe living environment. Additionally, Teacup Maltese dogs may have difficulty regulating their body temperature, making them more susceptible to extreme temperatures. Always monitor your Teacup Maltese's comfort and protect them from harsh weather conditions. 

RELATED: How Big Will My Puppy Get? 

Proper Nutrition and Diet 

Feeding your Teacup Maltese a well-balanced, high-quality diet is critical to their overall health and well-being. Due to their small size, these tiny dogs may require smaller, more frequent meals to maintain their blood sugar levels and prevent hypoglycemia. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet plan for your Teacup Maltese, taking into account factors such as age, weight, and activity level. 

RELATED: Puppy Feeding 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Raising a Healthy Pup 

Grooming and Coat Care 

Like standard Maltese dogs, Teacup Maltese require regular grooming to maintain their beautiful, silky white coat. Regular brushing is essential to prevent tangles and matting, while baths should be given as needed to keep their coat clean and healthy. In addition, pay attention to their dental hygiene by brushing their teeth regularly and providing dental chews or toys to help reduce the risk of dental problems. 

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps To Maltese Grooming 

Exercise and Mental Stimulation 

Although Teacup Maltese dogs are small, they still need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Ensure that your Teacup Maltese receives daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys to keep them physically active and mentally engaged. Keep in mind that due to their small size, Teacup Maltese may tire more quickly than standard Maltese dogs, so it's essential to monitor their energy levels and adjust exercise routines accordingly. 

Teacup Maltese Temperament teacup maltese in grass

Personality Traits 

Teacup Maltese dogs share many of the same endearing personality traits as their standard-sized counterparts. Known for their affectionate and friendly nature, these tiny canines make excellent companions for those who appreciate their loving demeanor. They are typically intelligent, easy to train, and eager to please their owners, making them a delightful addition to any family. 

Despite their small size, Teacup Maltese dogs can have a big personality. They are often fearless, curious, and can be quite vocal, particularly when they sense something unfamiliar or feel the need to protect their territory. This characteristic makes them excellent little watchdogs, but it's essential to curb excessive barking through proper training and socialization. 

RELATED: Creating a Lasting Connection: Techniques for Bonding with Your New Puppy 

Socialization and Training 

Socializing your Teacup Maltese from an early age is crucial for their development and overall behavior. Introducing them to various people, pets, and environments will help them become well-adjusted and confident adults. Regular, positive social interactions can also prevent potential behavioral issues, such as fearfulness or aggression. 

Training your Teacup Maltese should be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pup. Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise and treats, will encourage your Teacup Maltese to learn new commands and behaviors. Keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain their interest and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. 

RELATED: How To Crate Train A Puppy 

Compatibility with Families, Children, and Other Pets teacup maltese and rabbit playing

Teacup Maltese dogs can make wonderful family pets, as they are generally good-natured and enjoy spending time with their loved ones. However, due to their small size and delicate nature, they may not be the best choice for families with very young children, as rough play or accidental mishandling can result in injury. 

With proper socialization and supervision, Teacup Maltese can coexist peacefully with other pets, including dogs and cats. It's important to monitor interactions between your Teacup Maltese and other pets, especially larger dogs, to ensure their safety and well-being. 

RELATED: The Best Pros and Cons of Owning a Maltese 

Finding a Responsible Breeder maltese teacup puppy in grass

Red Flags to Avoid 

When searching for a Teacup Maltese puppy, it's essential to find a responsible, ethical breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. Be cautious of breeders who: 

  • Do not provide a clean, safe, and comfortable living environment for their dogs 
  • Refuse to give health guarantees 
  • Cannot provide reviews from previous buyers  
  • Pressure you to make a quick decision or offer "discounted" prices for immediate purchase only 
  • Do not provide resources on care, health, and other useful information 
  • Do not provide real photos of their puppies 

Importance of Health Testing and Screening 

Health testing and screening are essential components of responsible breeding practices. By choosing a breeder who prioritizes the health of their dogs, you are more likely to bring home a Teacup Maltese puppy with a lower risk of genetic health issues. Reputable breeders will perform various health tests, such as screenings for patellar luxation, heart conditions, and eye problems, to ensure that they are only breeding healthy dogs. By investing in a Teacup Maltese from a responsible breeder, you are taking a vital step towards ensuring a happy and healthy life for your new companion. 

RELATED: 7 Ways to Identify a Responsible Breeder 

Adopting a Teacup Maltese from Premier Pupsbasket with two teacup maltese dogs inside

Why Choose Premier Pups as your Teacup Maltese Breeder? 

When looking for a healthy Teacup Maltese puppy, Premier Pups stands out as a reputable and trustworthy breeder. By choosing Premier Pups, you can rest assured knowing that we prioritize the well-being and health of our dogs, using ethical breeding practices and comprehensive health screenings. With years of experience and a commitment to excellence, we are dedicated to providing loving homes with the perfect Teacup Maltese companion. 

RELATED: See Available Teacup Maltese Puppies For Sale

Health Guarantees and Ongoing Support 

At Premier Pups, we understand the importance of providing new owners with peace of mind. That's why we offer a comprehensive health guarantee for our Teacup Maltese puppies, ensuring that you are adopting a healthy and happy dog. Additionally, we provide ongoing support to new owners, offering guidance and advice throughout your Teacup Maltese adoption experience

RELATED: 10-Year Health Guarantee at Premier Pups 

Preparing your Home for a Teacup Maltese 

Once you've decided to adopt a Teacup Maltese from Premier Pups, it's essential to prepare your home for your new family member. Consider the following steps to create a safe and welcoming environment: 

  • Remove potential hazards: Keep small items, toxic plants, and harmful chemicals out of reach, as these can be dangerous for your tiny pup. 
  • Provide a cozy space: Set up a comfortable bed or crate where your Teacup Maltese can feel secure and rest peacefully. 
  • Invest in appropriate gear: Purchase a small, adjustable harness and leash for walks, as well as toys and supplies designed specifically for small breeds. 
  • Plan for puppy-proofing: Install baby gates or barriers to keep your Teacup Maltese in designated areas and prevent them from accessing unsafe spaces. 
  • Schedule a vet visit: When bringing your new puppy home, schedule a veterinary appointment to ensure that they receive a thorough health check and any necessary vaccinations. 

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Teacup Maltese teacup maltese face

Regular Veterinary Care 

One of the most important aspects of ensuring a happy and healthy life for your Teacup Maltese is maintaining regular veterinary check-ups. Schedule annual exams, stay up-to-date with vaccinations, and consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog's health or behavior. Preventive care is crucial for catching and addressing potential health issues early on. 

RELATED: How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Vet? 

Proper Nutrition

teacup maltese with tongue out

Feeding your Teacup Maltese a well-balanced, high-quality diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. Work with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan tailored to your dog's specific needs, taking into consideration their age, weight, and activity level. Be cautious of potential food allergies and be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overfeeding. 

Consistent Grooming and Hygiene 

teacup maltese with short hair

Regular grooming is key to maintaining your Teacup Maltese's beautiful coat and overall cleanliness. Establish a grooming routine that includes regular brushing, bathing, and dental care. Pay special attention to your dog's eyes, as Teacup Maltese dogs are prone to tear staining. Consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer for advice on maintaining your dog's coat and appearance. 

RELATED: A Guide to the Best Maltese Haircuts 

Mental and Physical Stimulation 

Keeping your Teacup Maltese mentally and physically active is crucial for their happiness and well-being. Provide daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys to keep your dog engaged and active. Remember to adjust exercise routines according to your dog's energy levels and size, as Teacup Maltese dogs may tire more quickly than larger breeds. 

Positive Training and Socialization teacup maltese outdoors on a leash

Invest time in positive training and socialization to promote good behavior and a well-adjusted temperament. Use praise, treats, and positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors, and introduce your Teacup Maltese to new experiences, people, and animals to build their confidence. Early socialization and consistent training will result in a happy, well-mannered companion. 

RELATED: How To Leash Train A Dog - Step-By-Step Leash Training Guide 

Safety and Security 

As a Teacup Maltese owner, it's essential to prioritize your dog's safety. Ensure that your home is free of hazards and provide a secure environment both indoors and outdoors. When taking your Teacup Maltese for walks or outings, use a properly fitted harness and leash to prevent injuries or escape. 

RELATED: Week One with A New Puppy: See What to Expect 


In summary, Teacup Maltese dogs make delightful companions for those who appreciate their affectionate nature, petite size, and charming personalities. By understanding the unique aspects of this breed, debunking common myths, and learning about their health and care requirements, you can provide the best possible life for your Teacup Maltese. 

Selecting a reputable breeder, such as Premier Pups, will ensure that you bring home a healthy, well-adjusted puppy. Additionally, preparing your home for your new family member and following essential tips for a happy and healthy Teacup Maltese will contribute to a long-lasting, loving bond with your pint-sized canine companion. 

Remember that proper veterinary care, nutrition, grooming, mental and physical stimulation, training, and socialization are crucial components of responsible dog ownership. By dedicating yourself to your Teacup Maltese's well-being, you'll not only provide them with a happy, fulfilling life but also create a cherished, lifelong friendship. 

Scroll down to see FAQs about teacup Maltese dogs!

Elena R.

About The Author

Elena is a leading expert in the field of dog behavior, care, and training, with over a decade of experience in writing about dogs. As a published writer and lifelong dog enthusiast, Elena currently shares her home with three beloved canine companions. She is dedicated to staying up to date on the latest advancements in dog care and training, ensuring that her articles provide readers with accurate and valuable insights. With her extensive knowledge and passion for all things canine, Elena's contributions to the Premier Pups community offer both expertise and authority on a wide range of dog-related topics.
Elena R. - Author Photo

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Frequently Asked Questions

How big do Teacup Maltese get? Teacup Maltese are generally smaller than standard Maltese dogs, typically weighing between 2 to 4 pounds and standing around 4 to 6 inches tall. However, individual sizes may vary depending on genetics and other factors.

How much does a Teacup Maltese cost? The cost of a Teacup Maltese can vary widely, ranging from $1,000 to over $4,000. Factors that influence the price include the breeder's reputation, the puppy's lineage, and the demand for Teacup Maltese in the market.

How long does Teacup Maltese live? With proper care, Teacup Maltese dogs can live anywhere from 12 to 15 years. Providing a healthy diet, regular veterinary care, and a safe living environment can significantly contribute to your dog's lifespan.

Do Teacup Maltese bark a lot? Teacup Maltese dogs may be more prone to barking than some other breeds, as they are often alert and communicative. However, with proper training and socialization, excessive barking can be managed and minimized.

Why are Teacup Maltese so expensive? Teacup Maltese can be expensive due to factors such as high demand, the costs associated with responsible breeding practices, and the rarity of their tiny size. Additionally, reputable breeders invest time and resources into ensuring the health and well-being of their puppies, which can also contribute to the higher price.

Are Teacup Maltese healthy? Teacup Maltese, like all dogs, can be prone to certain health issues. Some potential concerns include hypoglycemia, dental problems, and respiratory issues. Regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and a safe living environment can help maintain their overall health.

What do Teacup Maltese eat? Teacup Maltese should be fed a high-quality, well-balanced diet tailored to their specific needs, considering factors such as age, weight, and activity level. Consult your veterinarian for personalized feeding recommendations.

Do teacup dogs stay small? Yes, teacup dogs, including Teacup Maltese, are bred to stay small throughout their lives. Their tiny size is a result of selective breeding for smaller-than-average dogs, so they will not grow significantly larger as they age.

Are teacup dogs fragile? Teacup dogs can be more fragile than larger breeds due to their small size and delicate bone structure. It's essential to handle them with care and take precautions to keep them safe from potential hazards, such as larger dogs or high places they could fall from.