Teacup Maltese: All You Need to Know About This Tiny Pup

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

This ball of fluff is so tiny it can fit in the palm of your hand. With the personality of a Maltese in a miniature size, you won’t find a cuter pet.

Mini Maltese are loving companions, especially for families. Known by various names, including the Maltese Lion Dog, this breed has an ancient and royal history.

Cute Teacup Maltese dog wearing a pink ribbon

Let’s find out if the micro teacup Maltese is for you.

What is a Teacup Maltese?

Cute tiny Teacup Maltese

A Teacup Maltese is the same Maltese breed in a miniature version. They also have a loving personality and charming face that we adore, but they also share the ambiguity about the breed’s origins.

It is widely accepted that they come from Malta, where they got their name. They were initially called Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta but are also known for other nicknames such as Melitae Dog, Roman Ladies Dog, Spaniel Gentle, and Maltese Terrier.

You’ll find this breed or its name in ancient poems, even in the work of Aristotle. They referred to this fido as “small white dogs,” which Historians have identified as an early Maltese type dog.

People believe that they descended from Swiss Spitz dogs or Tibetan Terriers back in 500 BC, but the Teacup Maltese was only bred much later in the 17th and 18th centuries.

They’re often mistaken as the Bichon Frise, but they’re two completely different breeds. Still, they fall under the same family — the Barbichon.

The Maltese gained popularity amongst royals for its size and floor-length coat. Both Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots have owned a Maltese.

In case you’re wondering, the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognizes the standard-sized Maltese under their Toy Group. They don’t acknowledge or “endorse teacup breeds,” so the Teacup Maltese is just called or known as a small Maltese.

Teacup Malteses are created in ways that aren’t acceptable for major kennel clubs. It’s either a Maltese is mixed with a smaller breed, by breeding runts repeatedly, or introducing the dwarfism gene.

What does a Teacup Maltese look like?

Cute Teacup Maltese dog walking outside

Teacup Maltese dogs have the same appearance as a standard Toy Maltese, but tinier. They have the same single-layered, white coat, round face, small drop ears, black eyes, and that cute nose.

We often see these tiny dogs with silky, white hair that’s long and hangs flat over the side of the body. Most Teacup Malteses sport a puppy cut or a short coat because it will be difficult for them to move around while dragging their fur.

Although they almost always have a white coat color, some do have a hint of lemon or tan markings.

Size: How big do Teacup Malteses get?

While Malteses are already small dogs that fall under the toy dog category, Teacup Malteses are even way smaller! They generally have a height of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) and a weight of 2 to 5 pounds (0.9 to 2.2 kg).

Some can reach a height of 8 inches (20 cm), but teacup dogs usually are less than 7 inches (18 cm) tall.

This breed of dog stops growing at the age of about eight months old, but they’re still so small, you can literally fit them in a teacup!

And as you may have guessed, a tiny Teacup Maltese is a great apartment dog. Not only because of their size but because they can get all the exercise they need indoors because of those little legs.

Want to see how cute the fun-size Teacup Maltese is in action? Watch this video:

Temperament: Are Teacup Malteses good family dogs?

They are excellent family pets, especially for first-time owners because they’re easier to care for than a large breed.

But we recommend them for adults-only households or families with young children who know how to handle such a fragile dog properly.

Regardless of size, Maltese are playful little dogs without being too rambunctious. They’re also gentle and affectionate lap dogs, so they’ll love to curl up with you and cuddle. Be careful, though!

You may not notice your little pooch when she’s getting some snooze on a white pillow or couch, or even your fluffy, white carpet!

A person holding a cute Teacup Maltese dog

Some Teacup Malteses may have that feisty look in their eyes, but any dog lover would know that they’re not aggressive or dangerous at all. They’re just inherently wary of strangers and other dogs.

Expect your tiny furry friend to have that fire to challenge bigger canines and not know how reckless that is.

So aside from early socialization, protect her from doggos twenty times her size whenever you’re out with her. It will avoid accidents or injuries, even with a little roughhousing.

Other than that, all Maltese dogs are friendly with other pets and humans, as long as they’re introduced properly.

Do Teacup Maltese bark a lot?

Teacup Malteses can be yappy if they’re lonely or not taught how to be well-behaved. Given their desire to be with their owners at all times, they do suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for a long time.

With their intelligence and desire to please their owners, you can easily train a teacup Maltese the do’s and don’ts, whether it’s inside or outside the house.

They respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based training, so prepare that and your patience, then learning will go smoothly.

Potty training will be one of your biggest training challenges. Because of their size, they have tiny bladders and will need to do their business often. Be patient and always assume they will need to go after eating, playing, or sleeping.

If you don’t have time to teach a Teacup Maltese or give any adverse reaction during training, you’re slowly going to have a naughty and stubborn pet.

Teacup Maltese dog playing with the tissue
Source: @minimaltesepuppy / IG

How do you take care of a Teacup Maltese?

The standard Maltese is considered high maintenance, especially those who are kept as show dogs. But Teacup Malteses are more compact and easier to care for.

Since they’re mostly kept indoors, we can safely say that Teacup Malteses can adapt to various climates. Being outside is different, though. If it’s too hot or too cold, better keep them inside to avoid chills or sunburns, or worse, overheating.

Exercising your Teacup Maltese

We mentioned that Teacup Malteses are highly active indoors and would have fun with her favorite stuffed animal and toy.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no need to take her out for some fresh air. Even if this breed’s not extremely energetic, it will be good for your tiny pup to get some mental and physical stimulation. Plus, it will keep her entertained.

Teacup Malteses only need a 15-minute exercise daily. You can easily plan different activities every day so your canine friend won’t get bored.

Place her on a cozy dog carrier so she can tag along while you run errands, go for a car ride, or when you want to do some window shopping.

It’s also possible to let her go to a park that’s not crowded with people and dogs, or hiking trails. Then you can pick her up or let her rest in her bag once she completes her minutes of exercise.

Try not to carry your Teacup Maltese all the time just because you’re scared that she’ll overexert herself.

A little movement is good as it will keep her from gaining too much weight. Not getting enough exercise can also lead to muscle problems.

Grooming: Does a Teacup Maltese shed?

Adorable Teacup Maltese holding a hair brush
Source: @oliver_atom_dog / IG

The Maltese don’t have an undercoat, so there’s little to no shedding that they’re considered hypoallergenic. If you have dog allergies, then you should include this breed on your list of pets that you may own.

And since they’re smaller, time spent on grooming will depend on whether you want to keep your Teacup Maltese’s hair short or long.

Short-haired Teacup Malteses will only need to be brushed once a week, while those who have long hair should be brushed daily to keep it from matting.

Baths can be done once a week, especially if you have your Teacup Maltese running around freely in your garden or backyard every day. Wiping is different from bathing, though.

We recommend that you wipe her face daily to avoid unsightly tear stains and facial stains from eating or drinking.

Then it’s just basic steps for the rest of her grooming routine like clipping her nails once or twice a month, as well as checking and cleaning her ears weekly.

Except for oral hygiene, though. Maltese dogs tend to have bad breath and dental problems. To steer clear of those, brush her teeth daily, or two to thrice a week, with dog toothpaste.

Feeding your Teacup Maltese

Cute Teacup Maltese dog ready to eat her food treat
Source: @cocotum18 / IG

This furball only requires less than a cup of dog food a day. That might sound like a relief, but Malteses are picky eaters.

You can let your Teacup Maltese try some of these high-quality dry kibbles and see which one she’ll like:

  • Blue Buffalo Small Breed Life Protection Formula
  • Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe
  • Nutro Ultra Small Breed Recipe

Their diet should be packed with proteins, but they won’t need too many carbs, given their size and energy level.

The amount is also adjustable depending on how active your Teacup Maltese is. You can also use this calorie calculator if you’re like other paw parents who compute for their Maltese’s daily caloric needs.

Avoid feeding your Teacup Malteses human foods such as fatty and rich table scraps because it may upset her sensitive stomach. You may be surprised how you often share a french fry with your pup, so think about it.

Do Teacup Maltese have health problems?

As with any dog, the tiny Teacup can suffer from a few health issues over its 12- to 15-year lifespan. In fact, they have more illnesses than the standard-sized Maltese.

One of their most common health concerns is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar that can cause seizures. Feed your pup in small amounts 3 to 4 times a day to manage this.

Obesity is often seen in inactive dogs, so ensure your little Maltese is getting enough exercise.

You should also watch out for heart problems, congenital liver issues, and respiratory problems.

Extremely small breeds have fragile bones that break easily, making them prone to joint problems like elbow and hip dysplasia. It’s best to take it easy on your new puppy, and that includes walks.

When choosing your puppy, make sure the breeder can provide the following health screenings from the parents; Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip and elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hypothyroidism.

Also, make sure you get Canine Eye Registry Foundation clearance to guarantee normal eyes.

How much does a Maltese Teacup cost?

Cute, tiny Teacup Maltese on a literal tea cup
Source: @bbo_gry / IG

You can expect to pay anywhere between $1,200 to $2,000 for a Teacup Maltese puppy. This hefty price tag is because the tiny mother can only give birth to a litter of 2 to 3 puppies and her small size means high pregnancy risks.

Aside from these care costs you have to compensate for the breeder, it also means there’s just too few available Teacup Maltese for sale.

Teacup Maltese breeders

Breeding teacups aren’t easy. A responsible breeder who can do this should have experience while using ethical practices.

Doing so will help mitigate the risks involved for their female breeding stock when carrying the pups and giving birth.

If you can find a reputable breeder who’s transparent with all the breed information about their dogs and can provide a health guarantee, then it’s worth giving that puppy seller a shot.

You can request to visit the kennel and the puppy, so you can also meet its mom and littermates. This will allow you to get an idea of how your pup will look like and what temperament it will have.

If you feel like you’re ready to browse the available Teacup Maltese puppies for sale online, we found these websites for you to check out:

  • Teacups Puppies and Boutique (Florida)
  • Texas Teacups (Texas)
  • Happy Teacup Home (Maryland)

Rescuing Teacup Maltese dogs

Adopting a rescue dog or puppy is rewarding and brings a great deal of joy to the person and the pooch who’s finally getting out of the shelter.

Consider choosing a Teacup Maltese that is up for adoption when looking to add a tiny pup to your family.

Take a look at these Maltese rescue organizations, and they may have a teacup-sized doggo for you. Who knows, you might even end up rescuing a Maltese mix or a fellow teacup breed.

  • Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue (Tennessee)
  • Northcentral Maltese Rescue, Inc.

We also found Rescue Me! Maltese Rescue’s Facebook page and they have a website where you can select the state with an available pup for adoption near you.

Maltese mixes you ought to meet

Other cute and loving Maltese crossbreeds might be more suitable for you if you feel like the Teacup Maltese isn’t the one.

Maltese Yorkie mix (AKA Morkie)

Meet a Maltese Yorkie mix aka Morkie
Source: @olivia.chloe.sophia / IG

Also known as the Morkshire Terrier, this ultimate designer toy dog will make you think twice if it’s battery-operated or not. Even if it has a tiny body, the Morkie has a big heart and personality, just like its Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese parents.

Maltese Poodle mix (AKA Maltipoo)

Meet Maltese Poodle mix aka Maltipoo
Source: @emeliefde / IG

The list wouldn’t be complete without a Poodle mix. The Maltipoo is a cross between a Maltese and a Miniature Poodle or Toy Poodle, giving us that classic teddy-bear-look we couldn’t resist.

Whether they have curly or wavy hair, they’re straight-up loving family dogs suitable for households with children who are six years of age or older.

Maltese Chihuahua mix (AKA Malchi)

Meet Maltese Chihuahua mix aka Malchi
Source: @bougie.the.malchi / IG

If you can’t choose between the Maltese and Chihuahua, why not get their hybrid offspring? The Malti-Chi is another small-sized pooch that’s undeniably attractive and adorable!

Maltese Pomeranian mix (AKA Maltipom)

Meet Maltese Pomeranian mix aka Maltipom
Source: @chicagocubscout / IG

Maltipoms are one of the well-loved Pomeranian mixes in the canine world. They’re family-friendly, sociable, and affectionate.

Some of their quirks include being territorial and fragile. But then again, miniature and toy breeds can’t fight the Napoleon Complex.

Who should get a Teacup Maltese?

Even if you’re a first-time dog owner, the Teacup Maltese will be a delightful member of your pack.

Owning a Teacup Maltese shouldn’t be an issue if everyone in your home knows how to care for such a delicate pup.

Tiny Teacup Maltese dog hopping to stand
Image source

They may not need plenty of exercise and food and not overly high maintenance when it comes to grooming, but they can be costly in terms of health. You should also be able to provide the time and attention they need.

If all of that is a-okay with you, then a teeny tiny doggo will happily wag its tail for you every time it sees you.

Have a cute Teacup Maltese of your own? We’d love to hear how your fido is like, so share it with us and other paw parents by commenting below.

Further reading: Similar breeds to the Teacup Maltese


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