A Teacup or Imperial Shih Tzu puppy is a Shih Tzu puppy that weighs below the breed standard when fully mature. Typically a standard sized Shih Tzu puppy weighs between 9 to 16 pounds as an adult. A Teacup Shih Tzu puppy or Imperial Shih Tzu puppy usually weighs less than 9 pounds when fully grown. It isn’t unheard of for Teacup Shih Tzu puppies to weigh less than 6 pounds as adults.
Imperial Shih Tzu puppies are popular because of their small size. Their tiny stature makes them conveniently easy to carry around. Teacup Shih Tzus are often very popular among the elderly as well. It is sometimes difficult for the elderly to lift a large dog. The pint sized Teacup Shih Tzu puppy is often very light which helps in this matter. Teacup Shih Tzu puppies are also popular with families that travel a lot. A Teacup Shih Tzu puppy fits perfectly under the seat in a travel bag.
Unfortunately, the really small Imperial and Teacup Shih Tzu puppies are sometimes more prone to health issues in adulthood. It isn’t uncommon to see a Shih Tzu puppy that falls a pound or two above or below the breed guidelines for weight. These slight weight fluctuations are merely part of Mother Nature doing her job. These minor weight discrepancies don’t typically lead to any adverse health risks. The health risks are more apparent when a Shih Tzu weighs much less than the breed standard. For instance, if a Shih Tzu puppy weighs a mere 3 pounds when fully mature health issues may arise.
Teacup Shih Tzu puppies are often much smaller at birth which is a health risk in itself. As a standard sized Shih Tzu Breeder my puppies weigh a mere 4-8 ounces on average at birth. If a Shih Tzu Breeder pairs together two four to five pound Shih Tzus for breeding the result will often be Shih Tzu puppies that weigh very little at birth. As a direct result, there are more chances that the Teacup Shih Tzu puppies may have trouble latching for nursing and controlling their body temperature and blood sugar.
Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed. This means that they have a very sensitive airway to begin with. Teacup Shih Tzu puppies are even more at risk from airway complications because of their small stature. Teacup and Imperial Shih Tzu puppies are also more likely to suffer from organ disease when compared to standard sized Shih Tzu puppies.
The above health risks are why I choose to only breed standard Shih Tzu puppies. Most of my purebred Shih Tzu puppies for sale weigh between 9 to 16 pounds. All of my adult female and male Shih Tzus in my responsible breeding program are currently at least 11 pounds. While Teacup Shih Tzu puppies may be adorable and in high demand, I choose to avoid the possible health risks associated with breeding Teacup or Imperial Shih Tzu puppies.