What comes to mind when you hear the word Pitbull?
I picture a stocky, medium-sized dog. It has a smooth coat and a long, pointed tail. A large head and visible jaw muscles compliment a muscular upper body.
The dog I’m seeing has medium-length legs and is of lean build. It’s awake, alert, and ready to pounce at a moment's notice.
And that’s a fair description of the pit bull terrier. They’re one of the most popular yet controversial dog breeds in the USA due to their loyalty to their owners and their willingness to tackle (literally) any obstacle in their path.
Now - What comes to mind when you hear the word Teacup Pitbull?
You’re probably thinking of a tiny puppy trying to fit onto a teacup. This dog doesn't seem so ferocious now, does it? It’s strange what a difference one word can make.
As odd as it may sound, teacup pitbulls, also known as pocket pitbulls, are a real thing. And they’ve grown in popularity in recent years.
So, let’s have a closer look at this pint-sized pet and perhaps help you decide whether or not you actually want one of these in your life.
What are Teacup Pit Bulls?
I regret to inform you that a teacup pitbull isn’t actually small enough to fit into a teacup. Unless you drink huge cups of tea…Their name simply describes their small stature.
The breed came into existence through selective breeding. Their bloodline is a mix between the American Pitbull terrier and the Patterdale Terrier.
The Patterdale Terrier is a less known breed to American households but is still very popular amongst lapdog enthusiasts.
The United Kennel Club describes them as “an active little terrier that presents a compact, balanced image. As a working terrier, they have to be capable of squeezing through very small passages underground to follow quarry.” (1)
And so, with looming housing costs and the demand for a smaller dog that still had the same ferocity and tenacity as a full-sized Pitbull, the miniature pitbull was bred.
Although small, these little guys pack a heavy punch as they haven’t lost any of their personality traits through breeding. If anything, teacup pitbulls seem to try and make up for their smaller size by being extra loud, extra confident, and at times even extra aggressive.
Teacup Pit Bulls as Pets
Just like their full-sized counterparts, these mini pitbulls make great family pets.
Even more so if you live in a smaller apartment with limited space, as they require much less space to stretch their legs. The mini pitbull has a strong personality. It can be headstrong and can try to dominate other pets.
But they respond really well to training, so there shouldn’t be an issue with them getting along with other family members.
As with any other dog breed, they fare much better when exposed to other animals and humans from an early age. So make sure to socialize your puppy from an early age and they’ll be an absolute pleasure to be around.
Caring for Teacup Pit Bulls
A well-balanced diet is important to any dog's health and overall condition. So, if you have one of these miniature pitbulls, keep the following in mind:
Feed Them High-Quality Dog Food
Choose a premium, commercial dog food specifically formulated for small or ‘toy breeds.’ Look for options that list a high-quality source of protein as the first ingredient.
High quality doesn’t need to be over-priced or expensive. Simply consult a veterinarian or do some online research to find brands that will deliver all the nutritional needs that your pup needs.
Balance Protein and Fat
Like all dogs, Teacup Mini Pit Bulls need a protein-rich diet. Protein helps support muscle development and overall health. Aim for dog foods that contain at least 20-30% protein.
Ensure the dog food contains appropriate amounts of healthy fats, as they provide essential energy and support skin and coat health. Look for dog foods with around 8-15% fat content.
All dogs will overfeed, no matter their breed. They simply eat until they can’t move anymore. Mini Pitbulls are no different. So when feeding them, also keep the following points in mind:
Due to their small size, Teacup Mini Pit Bulls require smaller portions than standard-sized Pit Bulls. Follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food label and adjust the portion size based on your dog's age, weight, and activity level.
Be cautious not to overfeed your miniature pitbull, as they can quickly become overweight. Obesity can lead to various health problems. Monitor your dog's weight and adjust the portion size as needed.
Exercise Needs and Activity Levels
While the real deal American Pit bull terrier is a dog that requires regular strenuous exercise to stay mentally and physically healthy, teacup pitbulls require a lot less exercise.
They have shorter legs and thus aren’t able to run as far and hard as a medium or large size dog. So keep their stature and size in mind when exercising your dog. You could aim for a good 30-40 minute exercise session each day instead of those long walks that many pitbull owners would be used to.
This exercise could come in the form of a stroll around the block, allowing your pup to stop and smell the flowers and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of its surroundings.
Take your dog's body size into consideration and order them a leash or harness that fits them well and is comfortable enough for your daily walk.
Below is an example of such a product from Sparkpaws. It’s a ‘comfort control harness’ designed to fit your dog's body quite snugly while not feeling restrictive at all. The soft lining won’t agitate your pup's skin and will allow you to take your dog for a hassle-free walk.
Sufficient exercise could also mean a good game of tug and war or fetch in the backyard. This would be easier for pet parents with less time to spend with their pups.
Always be consistent in your daily exercise routine and your pup will love you for it.
A few health concerns plague these small dogs, so if you’re considering adopting one, be aware that sooner or later, you’ll probably have to deal with some of the following:
Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic condition in dogs, characterized by the improper development of the hip joint.
This results in instability, joint wear, and potential pain. Genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development, and symptoms include limping, reduced mobility, and discomfort. Treatment options range from lifestyle modifications to surgery, with early diagnosis crucial for effective management.
These pocket pitbulls are prone to developing various skin allergies, ranging from dry and irritated skin to less common but more serious skin tumors.
You’ll have to closely monitor your puppy to see if their skin reacts to the pollen in the air or grass under their paws. Fortunately, these types of health issues are usually treated with regular grooming and medication in the form of cream or powder obtained from your local vet.
Although generally a healthy dog breed, teacup pitbulls are known to develop cataracts and/or other eye infections. So, act as quickly as possible to prevent permanent damage if you notice your puppy developing an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or keratitis.
Counting The Cost
When it comes to counting the cost of one of these puppies, a few things are stacked in their favor.
For one, they eat a lot less than a regular-sized dog. And although that might not sound like much, every bit adds up over the course of a lifetime, especially if you're feeding good quality dog food.
A pocket pitbull will also require less space to roam about. Smaller dogs are more comfortable and adapted to living indoors and in smaller outdoor spaces, making your life much easier.
Another thing to consider is the cost of pet accessories. For some pet parents, dressing their puppy up like a runway model is not just a once-off, fun thing to do - it’s an important part of their social life.
And smaller accessories are often a whole lot cheaper. Sparkpaws has a large range of accessories for breeds of all sizes, from great to small. Here’s an example of a matching hoodie set that won’t break the bank and still turn heads:
Price-wise, one of these pocket pitbull puppies will set you back anywhere from $1500 to $2000, which is a small price for years of love and affection.
The teacup pitbull is a relatively new dog breed that inherited their larger counterparts' affectionate and loyal traits, making them wonderful family companions.
Their small stature makes them well-suited for urban living, thriving in apartments and cozier spaces while retaining the confidence and determination characteristic of Pit Bulls.
Caring for these dogs involves providing a balanced diet tailored to their size and nutritional requirements. Although exercise needs are more moderate than larger breeds, daily walks and engaging playtime are still essential for their well-being.
If you’re looking for the perfect designer dog that won’t break the bank, why not approach a reputable breeder that can provide you with a healthy puppy at the appropriate adoption age or, even better, get in contact with a few shelters and check if you can adopt one of these adorable tiny breeds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What's the difference between an American Pitbull Terrier and a Pocket Pitbull?
American Pitbull Terrier is a well-known dog breed, while "Pocket Pitbull" is a term often used to describe a smaller version of it. Pocket Pitbulls are not a separate breed but are typically smaller due to selective breeding for size.
Are Teacup Pitbulls good family dogs?
Teacup Pitbulls can be great family pets if well-socialized and cared for properly. Choose a reputable breeder or adopt to increase the chances of a healthy and well-adjusted dog.
According to the American Kennel Club, is breeding Pocket Pitbulls or Miniature Pitbulls ethical?
The AKC recognizes the American Staffordshire Terrier but not Pocket Pitbulls or Miniature Pitbulls as separate breeds. Ethical breeding prioritizes dog health over size. Choose a responsible breeder for a healthy breed.