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Teacup Maltese Dog Guide: The Complete Breed Profile

Teacup Maltese Origin

The Teacup Maltese – also known as a Toy Maltese or Mini Maltese – is one of the tiniest dog breeds around! Undeniably cute and fluffy, these dogs have soared in popularity in the last few years. They sell for around $800 to $2,000 and are loved for their playful temperament and endearing appearance. The breed originated by crossing Miniature Poodles and Spaniels with the Maltese line. The result is a miniature Maltese, almost identical in every way apart from their size. In fact, these two breeds are so alike that Teacup Maltese dogs are not recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Officially, they’re classed as a small Maltese! Aside from their small stature, the only other notable difference is the number of puppies they have. While a standard Maltese dog typically produces three puppies, Toy Maltese dogs produce one or two Teacup Maltese puppies. It’s this that gives Mini Maltese dogs a slightly bigger price tag – that and their high demand in the US and beyond.

What Does A Teacup Maltese Look Like?

As you’d expect, a Teacup Maltese looks remarkably similar to a standard Maltese dog… only smaller! They both have a characteristic white fluffy coat and contrasting black eyes and paw pads. The faces and bodies of Mini Maltese dogs are also distinctly round. It is this that gives them such a cute and cuddly appearance. In terms of size, the Toy Maltese is as tiny as it gets. Even a full-grown Teacup Maltese only ever reaches around 5 to 7 inches tall and weighs as little as 4 to 5lbs. This makes these dogs easy to pick up or pop in your handbag. The Teacup Maltese also doesn’t have an undercoat. This is a bonus for anyone with pet allergies as they don’t shed as much fur as other dogs do.

Personality and Behavior of Teacup Maltese

If you thought the appearance of a Teacup Maltese was great, wait until you hear about their personalities! Although all dogs are different, Mini Maltese dogs are known for being extremely loving and friendly. They’re also tremendously playful and high energy, with a seemingly endless ambition of getting involved in all the fun. For this reason, they’re fantastic family dogs. They get on well with people of all ages and can handle even the most active and high-energy kids. On the other hand, their loving side also makes the Miniature Maltese a great lapdog suitable for older people. They give you the best of both worlds – a lover of cuddles and playtime in equal parts. These personality traits aren’t for everyone though. The Teacup Maltese is not the right option for busy owners, and they don’t do well-being left alone for long periods. Doing so could result in separation anxiety. A lot of time and effort needs to be put into socializing these dogs when they’re young, too. If Maltese Teacup puppies aren’t properly socialized, they can easily develop anxieties about people and larger dogs that last into adulthood.

How to Train a Teacup Maltese

Training a Teacup Maltese is a relatively easy task. They love mentally stimulating exercises, and the large amount of love they have for their owners means they respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. Give your pup treats or verbal praise, and they’ll soon be well-trained and obedient. You can teach your Miniature Maltese dog all kinds of commands! Because of their small size, some physically demanding exercises are out of the question though. Additionally, their smaller stature means Toy Maltese dogs have tiny bladders. This often leads to bathroom accidents in your home. Be mindful of this when potty training your dog – they might not be able to “hold it” any longer than they already are. This is one of the most challenging parts of owning this breed, and you need to get into the habit of letting your dog outside regularly. If your dog does have an accident or doesn’t respond well to training, don’t get angry or frustrated. As Teacup Maltese dogs are highly focused on positive reinforcement, reacting angrily can have negative effects. The best thing you can do is ignore any bad behavior and keep on rewarding your dog when it does something right.

Grooming and Maintaining a Teacup Maltese Coat

As mentioned, there is no undercoat on a Maltese Teacup pup. This means they don’t shed much and are considered hypoallergenic dogs. However, this doesn’t mean grooming is easy! These dogs have long snow-white fur which is quite high maintenance. Consider treating your furry friend with skin and coat chews. They'll help boost the shine and overall health of their fur. If you choose to clip the fur short, you need to brush your dog 1 to 2 times per week. If leaving the fur long, daily brushing is mandatory. Like all dogs, nail trimming is another essential grooming task. However, it is even more vital for Teacup Maltese dogs. As a smaller breed, they don’t spend as much time outside exercising, so their nails are naturally worn down less. Therefore, you should always keep a close eye on the length of their claws. When they are getting too long, we recommend keeping your pup’s claws short using a dog nail grinder. This is an easier tool to use on such tiny nails. Additionally, crust tends to form around the eyes of Miniature Maltese dogs. Against their snowy white coats, the crusts are very noticeable. They need to be wiped away as they accumulate. Likewise, dirt can easily collect and ruin the appearance of the long white coats. Be prepared to bathe your Toy Maltese more often than you would other dogs.

Common Health Issues

It is important to consider health issues before purchasing any dog. Thankfully, Teacup Maltese dogs are relatively healthy compared to other breeds. Your biggest concern is obesity. As these dogs are small, it is easy for owners to feed them too much. Coupled with a lower activity level and it is easy to see how the weight accidentally piles on. Unfortunately, obesity is a risk factor for many diseases. The main concern is diabetes. This is already more likely to occur in miniature breeds, and obesity makes a dog even more at risk of developing this condition. The extra weight also puts pressure on the tiny joints of a Toy Maltese. This can make movement difficult, increase the risk of arthritis, and lead to muscle atrophy. To alleviate these discomforts, explore the option of giving your Teacup Maltese hip and joint supplements. Joint chews are designed to address and prevent joint pain, promoting a more comfortable, playful life for your furry companion.

With that said, most Miniature Maltese dogs live for 10 to 15 years. Their small size is partially what gives them this generous life expectancy. Small dogs live longer on average than large breeds, though scientists have yet to figure out why! Regardless, as one of the smallest dogs around, your Teacup Maltese will be around for longer than most.

Final Thoughts

The Teacup Maltese is a small, loving, playful, and undeniably adorable dog. It’s a versatile breed that suits almost every household and wants nothing more than a close bond with its owner. If you have the time and love to give this breed, it will be a friendship like none other. However much love you throw at it, it’ll give it right back!
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