Call us: 555-555-5555

Mini & Teacups

Miniature and Teacup Maltese


When it comes to just about every toy sized dog breed, the Maltese included, you will hear a lot about a variety of that breed that is a 'miniature', 'toy', 'teacup' or another term that implies a smaller than standard dog.

Here, we will cover:
  • What this really means
  • What size a teacup Maltese would be
  • The reasons that his term is used
  • How this has become a popular vernacular in regard to expected size for the Maltese dog. 
So, if you have a teacup Maltese or are interested in having one, this section will be for you. 

Teacup and Miniature Maltese - What This Means

Though these terms are widely used, there is no such official breed nor variety of Maltese known as a 'teacup'. And for good reason. 

The Maltese is already one of the smallest toy breeds that exist. With a standard weight of under 7 lbs. (3.17 kg) and with a preferred weight of 4 to 6 lbs. (1.81 to 2.72 kg) there cannot be a smaller Maltese than the 'regular' Maltese.

In looking at the low end of the preferred weight of 4 lbs. (1.81 kg), any smaller than this would only include the 1, 2, and 3 pound weight. 
It is essentially impossible for a full grown dog to be just 1 lb. And it is highly improbable for an adult dog to be 2 lbs. This does occur occasionally, but when it does this is most often with the Chihuahua or Yorkshire Terrier.

Therefore, the smallest that a Maltese could be, realistically, is 3 pounds. And a 3-pound Maltese is not a teacup Maltese. Nor is this a miniature Maltese. Why? Because the breed standard is any weight under 7 pounds. A 3-pound Maltese is simply a Maltese. 

Why the Term Teacup is Used

There are 3 main reasons why the term teacup Maltese is used. Two could be considered valid reasons, and the other not so much. Not even close. 

#1. As a descriptive noun. Some owners or people talking about dogs in general, may say the word teacup or miniature, meaning that the dog is small. 

It is a misstep. However, those who are not familiar with the dishonest way in which this term is used may dub any Maltese to be a teacup, since they are toy sized dogs.
#2 To describe a Maltese that is on the lower end of the expected weight scale. Since a Maltese can be a bit larger than the standard (7, 8 or even 9 pounds is not completely unheard of), the term teacup may be used by some to describe a puppy that appears destined to be, or an adult that is in the 3, 4, or 5 lb. range. 
This Maltese is the same size as this camera; this breed is already tiny. There is no need for a 'teacup'; they are all small dogs.
Milo, at 11 months old, photo courtesy of Urvi Sedani
This in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing; as long at it is made clear that 'teacup' is not an official variation. (See point #3)
#3 Used unscrupulously by breeders to mislead puppy buyers. This, unfortunately, is the most common reason for using the term teacup Maltese. And it really is a shame. 

There are breeders who will advertise that they have teacup or miniature Maltese, in an attempt to sell more puppies, set high prices, or both.

They will lure in potential puppy buyers with the guise of offering special puppies that due to size are set apart from 'regular' Maltese. When in fact, they are the same size as all other Maltese that exist. 

Prices for teacup Maltese may be several hundred dollars more than regular Maltese, when again, there is no difference in the size of the dog. 

Reputable breeders will stand steadfast in making it clear that there is no such thing as teacups. And they will educate potential puppy buyers about these terms, usually making a statement on their site and/or once they speak to those looking for puppies. 

Be wary of breeders that insist that they have a special teacup variety of Maltese dogs; this is a marketing term only.
Are You a Member Yet? Why not sign up today to become a free Member. You will be able to submit a photo of your Maltese to be added to the site, suggest a topic for us to write about, and receive a friendly notice when new pages of helpful info are added here. 
Don't be fooled by nice packaging and catchy names. There are lots of manufactured treats that can really do a number on Maltese dogs. See what to avoid, and our top picks for all-natural treats for a boost of nutrition. 
close-up of Maltese dog

Tips and advice in regard to all grooming elements. Bathing, products, brushing, dealing with tangles, keeping the coat white, and more.
You May Also Like:

Helping a Maltese Puppy with Teething - The age this occurs, and helpful tips for helping with chewing urges.
Share by: