The decision to welcome a dog into your home is an important one, as
you are obviously aware. I congratulate you for taking the time to
consider possible health problems that may be associated with your new
Be sure to check with the breeder to make sure no skeletal or
endocrine problems, eye, heart or other hereditary diseases are
present in the dog's ancestry (I suggest that you pay particular
attention to any history of "patellar luxation" or "luxating patella";
this is a crippling skeletal condition that can be inherited.) Once
you find a dog that you'd like to adopt, ask to meet the dog's
parents, and spend a little time playing with them; this will help you
to evaluate the disposition and personality that your dog is likely to
develop as he grows older. Ask whether the breeder offers a written
guarantee that the dog is free of congenital health problems. Many
breeders are willing to offer such a guarantee, usually for a period
of one year.
Below are a few online references regarding health.
"There is no such thing as a 'teacup Maltese.' Unknowledgeable
breeders use this cutesy phrase as a 'marketing term' for the smallest
Maltese, but in reality, there is only one Maltese breed, ranging from
about 2 pounds up to about 10 pounds.
You do NOT want a Maltese under 3 or 4 pounds, no matter how cute it
is. These individuals are great risks in the health department. Their
bones are fragile, there is not enough room in their mouth for healthy
teeth, and their internal organs are often very weak.
They tend to have lots of health problems and great difficulties
regulating their blood sugar. Often they live a few years and then
their owners wake up one morning and find them dead in their baskets
from sudden heart or other organ failure.
To make matters worse, some breeders actually charge MORE for these
high-risk Maltese. There are breeders on the Internet taking advantage
of naive buyers with prices of $1000, $1500, $2000 for "teacup"
Maltese. Don't be taken! Stick with Maltese who will be 4 pounds and
up at maturity. And don't pay more than $400 or $500."
Your Purebred Puppy
"Smaller sounds easier than huge, right? Not really. While they won't
break your teeth, they may break their own legs hopping off the bed or
getting caught in a door by mistake. Stepping on a toy breed can cause
serious injury to the dog. Trying to avoid stepping on one can cause
injury to you.
They are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dehydration
because they are so small. A bout of diarrhea inconsequential for a
normal-sized pup can mean hospitalization for a 'teacup' poodle puppy.
Dental problems are also significant, with retained puppy teeth and
rotting adult teeth needing surgical attention. Again, their charms
more than outweigh their downfalls, but anyone contemplating an
extreme size should be aware of what they are getting into.
Basically, the ancestors of the dog were 35-45 pound wolves with
pointed noses, erect ears, short coat and long tail. The further you
get from that general model either in size or shape, the more trouble
problems you are likely to discover."
"When you're buying a Miniature Poodle...
Both parents should have OFA certificates (hips), yearly CERF (eyes),
and be screened for luxating patella. A DNA certificate that shows
whether they are affected, carriers, or clear of vWD (at least one
parent must be clear) is extra security. Also ask about Legg-Perthes,
low thyroid, seizures, allergies, and heart disease in the lines.
Lifespan: 14-16 years."
Your Purebred Puppy
Here is an excellent article about teacup dogs in general:
Search terms used:
I am a dog-loving layperson, and I am active in an animal rescue
group, but I am not a veterinarian. Please do not regard the material
I have presented above as a substitute for advice from a veterinary
professional. If anything that I've said is not clear, please request
clarification before rating my answer; I'll be glad to offer further