View Full Version : Any additional health issues with "teacup" Cavs?

Derby Hollow
4th October 2006, 03:51 PM
Do the "teacup" Cavs (8 to 10 pounds) have any additional health problems other than the usual Cav health problems? I have had a lot of people ask for them lately. We have always bred to the middle range of the breed standard (14 to 16 lbs), and it just does not seem healthy to me to breed for an 8 lb. Cav. I have not seen any of the teacup size ones do well in the ring...in fact just the opposite...I have seen some 20 lb. dogs do quite well, even though they are technically out of the breed standard weight range.

I have heard that the smaller sized ones tend to have more health problems, don't show as well because of bone structure and angles, and often end up with heads that are too large or legs that are too short.

So, is that generally true?. I would like to give people honest, accurate answers...but I just don't have the information.


4th October 2006, 04:07 PM
I had a question about this too when I got Lucky, because I was seeing a lot of those teacup Cavs as well. Karlin gave me a very good answer to my post (called "Adult Size")

Thought you might find this link helpful: http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3442&highlight=adult+size

Derby Hollow
4th October 2006, 04:23 PM
Thank you so much Lani.

I read the entire thread, and I have to say I agree 100% with Karlin. Now I have some real information to give people when they ask "why don't you breed the little tiny ones?" Up to now, I've just told them I didn't think it was the right thing to do, but now I can answer the question in more depth. Thank you!!

4th October 2006, 04:53 PM
When I got my second cav, I was adamant to find a pup who was NOT the alpha...a mistake I made prior. I wound up falling in love with the runt of a litter, a little, submissive, adorable fella. I struggled to keep his weight at 12#. He was not a good eater...very picky...not interested in any food. He had numerous health issues that are probably more prevalent with runts: patella surgery, platelet inconsistencies, difficult neuter surgery. Yes, he was cute. But I can't imagine breeding two cute runts to get teacups. It sounds like a recipe for disaster.

I think I have the opposite "problem" with my dog now. Cappy is 6.5 months, eats everything he can get a hold of, and weighs 13.6#. Since I don't show or breed, it really doesn't matter to me if he's a large cavalier, as long as he's in proportion and not fat. I just want him healthy and happy.


Cupcake Love
4th October 2006, 08:15 PM
Cupcake was the runt of her litter (though both her parents were within a healthy range for the breed) and even though she is absolutely adorable at a year old and 10 lbs I would be very cautious about getting a teacup Cav. She is incredibly picky about her food (though perhaps that is just her) and when she gets sick things can go downhill very quickly because she doesn't have a lot of reserves. The vet says she is at a healthy weight, but I wouldn't be too upset if she filled out a bit more. She is very well proportioned in my opinion, though I'm not up on the showing standards. :)

Anyway, personal story here, when we first brought her home she became horribly ill and dropped down to 1.5 lbs. She wouldn't eat, she would rarely drink and she had to be hooked up to an IV for 2.5 days. Thankfully, after $1500 in vet fees and a significant amount of emotional turmoil, she picked back up and was fine (ended up she had worms, the breeder "forgot" to worm her - how is this even possible?). Before we found out what was going on the vet told us runts often have an issue with the way food is digested in the liver - a liver shunt.

After that experience I'd be really careful and mentally/financially prepared before getting a "little guy." :) I don't regret bring Cupcake into our home for a second, but I wish I had been a bit more knowledgeable about runts.

4th October 2006, 09:13 PM
When I got my second cav, I was adamant to find a pup who was NOT the alpha...a mistake I made prior

How can I pick a puppy who isn't the alpha?

4th October 2006, 09:32 PM
A good breeder will be able to tell you very easily which is the most dominant puppy in the litter because they will have spent time observing and interacting with all of them to socialise them. The one that comes straight to you is also most likely to be the alpha pup. Hence it is a good idea to ask the breeder about each puppy's personality and not make the mistake of thinking the one that comes to you first has 'chosen you' (unless you want that personality!!) -- it is almost definitely going to be the most outgoing puppy in the litter and hence, more of a handful than any of the others, often with more of a mind of its own. Many people find this was not the personality they expected! :shock: So it is good to always talk to the breeder about personalities as that will be far more important than colour or markings ever will be to most people. :)

That said Jaspar was NOT the alpha and is quite submissive with other dogs but he has a very strong personality with people, as anyone who has met him will know! :roll: Someone here who has met him kindly described him as 'a character'... :lol:

4th October 2006, 09:38 PM
platelet inconsistencies,

Mic are you aware that cavaliers can have oversized platelets which vets unfamiliar with the breed will totally misread as a serious platelet problem? It is very important not to treat for this, and have the vet handcount platelets when it appears that they don;t have enough platelets. There's more info stickied to the top of the 'Health' section of the Cavalier Library section.

4th October 2006, 10:51 PM
Gosh, I didn't even realize that there were teacup Cavaliers, I need to do some more reading! My sister has a teacup Poodle, and incredibly that little dog is going on about 13 or 14 years of age, I was very surprised that she has been so healthy and long-lived as I had heard that they are sometimes prone to more illnesses than the usual sized dog.

4th October 2006, 10:58 PM
I have two cavaliers. Cedar is just shy of 12 lbs, and Willow just weighed in at 10.4lbs on Monday. While Cedar came from a breeder, she was not a good one. Willow is a rescue from a puppy mill. Both dogs are one year old.

While I fully anticipate health problems in the future (and perhaps not so distant future at that!), right now both dogs are healthy. Willow is being treated for excessive tearing at the moment, but otherwise she and Cedar have not had any significant problems. Neither is picky about food, either. They dive in when it is feeding time and they steal whatever the can.

While I do not at all suggest that breeding for "teacup" size is the way to go, I do not the little ones to be looked over due to a fear that they undoubtedly will be picky eaters or have frequent issues. Just like any dog, some can be picky, but others will not. Some will be healthier than others. Size should not be the only reason for selecting (or not selecting) a dog/puppy.

4th October 2006, 11:13 PM
Sometimes it can just be bad breeders- Holly's original breeder basically stopped feeding her mother and Holly herself- result- a very tiny fragile puppy. At 14 weeks she was smaller and thinner than some 8 week old pups I've seen and heartbreakingly uncertain of things- you can see if in the photo of her when I first had her. Even now if she gets stressed she becomes quite nervous. Always been very healthy and now although petite, she's not a teacup. My vet reassured me by telling me she'd seen smaller Cavs than Holly and that Holly was simply a 'very pretty, dainty example of the breed.' You can't argue with that!

Basically while I think it's wrong to deliberately miniaturise, it's possible that a smaller puppy will develop very nicely. Holly's 'issues' are socialisation related, because we don't think she had any litter mates (if she did, they died or were PTS) and so missed out on that puppy play thing. Perfectly alright now though- I wouldn't even consider a second dog if I thought it would make Holls chuck and major and permanent wobbly :D

4th October 2006, 11:27 PM
Basically while I think it's wrong to deliberately miniaturise, it's possible that a smaller puppy will develop very nicely.


And small puppies often catch up to become within breed standard dogs anyway. Puppy size isn't always a very good yardstick (so to speak! :lol:) for guessing adult size. Check out Bruce's forum on his two litters and you can see the smallest puppies tend to catch up and sometimes surpass littermates eventually.

An ethical breeder knows the breed standard and breeds to it; always prioritises health issues first and then equally, temperament and conformation; and ideally, is involved in the dog world showing and with the regional and local clubs because then they are easily able tostay on top of breed health issues, latest news, and know how their dogs stand up against the benchmark dogs winning in the rings. :)

It's also really important for folks to know that there is no such thing as a teacup cavalier so they can buy a puppy wisely. This is a marketing ploy to breed non-conforming dogs and sell them to the unsuspecting -- and any breeder aiming for undersized dogs without regard to how this affects overall breed and individual dog health is sure unlikely to be breeding for health, temperament or conformation generally. Which means potentially costly health issues for owners, and very unethically, producing undersized puppies that may have truncated lives and suffer due to health problems (as posts here indicate, small size can be due to serious liver problems, hydrocephalus, and other potentially major problems that no one would want passed to new generations). If buyers are asking for teacup cavaliers, it's definitely a great opportunity for breeders to be really supportive and educate their potential buyers about why they should avoid same, and what they should really be looking for from a breeder -- like cardiac, eye, hip and patella clearances for dam and sire (and potentially, SM MRI for breeding stock).

Cavaliers are so wonderful just the way they are (need I persuade anyone? :lol:), and many naturally fall over or a bit under the breed standard without breeding outside of it -- and there are many options for people to select a miniaturised breed that has been miniaturised over decades -- even centuries -- of careful breeding for health and conformation. :thmbsup: That's what is wonderful about dogs -- if one breed doesn't meet one's desires there are always others. :)

The UK standard incidentally runs 12-18 lbs so takes in a slightly smaller cavalier.

I have a feeling Lily is now down around 12 lbs herself (from a whopping -- for her -- 18lbs when she came from the pound) ... might get a chance to weigh her at the vet tomorrow. She is definitely a BYB or puppy farm cavalier though and has a really tiny head. :( It's just not right.

5th October 2006, 01:43 AM
the "toy" "teacup" breeds arent they just a runt breed wit another runt and so on and so forth??? That's kinda what I've heard....just wondering?

5th October 2006, 03:08 AM
platelet inconsistencies,

Mic are you aware that cavaliers can have oversized platelets which vets unfamiliar with the breed will totally misread as a serious platelet problem? It is very important not to treat for this, and have the vet handcount platelets when it appears that they don;t have enough platelets. There's more info stickied to the top of the 'Health' section of the Cavalier Library section.

Yes, my vet and I went over that and he was very knowledgeable on the issue. Since Cosmo was pretty skinny, the vet wanted to see some consistent blood test results before his neuter surgery. Each sample was hand counted at two different facilities: the vet's office lab and the local hospital lab. I think we had to wait/delay the surgery 5 months (and make some diet modifications) until he felt his levels were stable. I appreciate your concern.

I didn't select Cosmo because he was the runt or small; his personality just matched what I was looking for (black and tan, NOT the alpha) and what the breeder felt would work best with our family. She is a very ethical and knowledgeable breeder, is a regional officer on the CKCS-USA board, and her dogs do very well in shows all over. We communicated during each of his medical situations and she helped pay for his knee surgery. After reviewing his medical history, she decided not to mate his parents (don't know the breeder's term) again...first and last litter. So I truly don't blame anything on her. Cosmo was high-maintenance, but such a love!! I miss him!


molly+charlies mum
5th October 2006, 12:51 PM
my cavalier is tiny she is the same size as my cat everyone thinks she is a pup but she is 3 she is a bad eater has skin problems, and is very slow at walking,she dosent play much just likes to sleep but she does get a lot of cuddles outside because she is so tiny and a lot of people say they like the little ones better they dont make a fuss of charlie as he is bigger :)